Monday, June 27, 2005

On Mexico's window: A 'help wanted' sign

July 2 marks the fifth year that Mexican President Vicente Fox has been in office. Most people believe this guy hasn't done a thing.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, ruled Mexico for 70 years until Fox became president. So what happened to Fox's promise to create jobs and stop crime, help the poor, win a new immigration deal with the United States, fix education, and expose the corruption in Mexico's government and judicial system? What has Fox done exactly? Well, we know he gave important government jobs to PRI members. So much for cleaning house.

"I think Fox didn't know what to do with the PRI," said Dulce Maria Sauri, a senator who was PRI president in 2000. "During the campaign, it was very useful to paint the PRI as the devil. But to govern, that was not enough. Fox's plan was to get the PRI out of Los Pinos, but then he didn't know what to do. He opened the door to the transition, but then he stood there paralyzed in the doorway. He wasted his political power."

But Fox is proud that he ended PRI rule: "The revolution to me was breaking the 70 years of authoritarian dictatorship." When Fox was elected, Mexicans danced in the streets. Today, they're probably begging for food and crying.

"My government is not a failure. You don't build up a country in six years. Mexico was so far behind that we will need a generation to solve all the problems completely."

Mexico's previous president, Ernesto Zedillo, was a Yale-educated economist; Fox is a Harvard grad. I guess schooling didn't prepare them for this job. Guys--it's time to look for another profession.

For Mexico's Fox, a 'Revolution' Unfulfilled
By Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan, Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, June 27, 2005; Page A01

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