A hyper-powerful presidency generates the alliance between antagonists

Arthur Cano

Newspaper La Jornada
Monday, August 15, 2022, p. 10

In an autobiographical text, Beatriz Paredes Rangel –whose political resume is longer than the sands of the sea– wrote one of her maxims: You do not have to give the fights that you are not going to win.

A few days ago she announced that she will seek to be the candidate for the presidency of the Republic for an eventual opposition bloc, since she says that, by doing numbers, there are chances of victory.

The former leader of the PRI receives the day in his home south of Mexico City with paintings in keeping with his fame as folklore lady dress up (Julio Hernandez said).

In the interview, she lives up to her reputation as a solvent speaker when she talks about her aspiration to the first magistracy, the mistakes of the opposition and Morena’s weaknesses.

The former governor of Tlaxcala – she was at the age of 32 – dreamed of living in Brazil, a country from which she loves music. She got it, as ambassador, from December 2012, after having been national leader of the tricolor at the time when Enrique Peña Nieto built his presidential candidacy.

–Do you find a parallelism between Lula-Dilma and Andrés Manuel-Claudia?

-I have thought about it. Dilma (Rousseff) was not a disciple of Lula, she was a companion of Lula, and that makes a huge difference, because Mrs. (Claudia) Sheinbaum is a disciple of hers.

–In his text in screams and whispers says that its maxim is: You do not have to give the fights that you are not going to win. Why does she want to be a candidate then?

-If a broad opposition front is constituted, this will help the diversity of the opposition begin to work more in coordination, to build a proposal that is acceptable to the majority of society.

Many of the positive comments following her announcement were from people who highlighted her status as professional policy as the main virtue. And in this line, Paredes suggests that one of his contributions would be to raise the level of the debate (that is not on the ground, there is no floor anymore!he says between laughs). Political campaigns do not have to be a topic of fighters in the Arena Mexico.

-In the same paragraph of the book that I mentioned, you say that you have always sought to be clear about the ground you are treading on and the risks you are going to face. What are they now?

-The biggest risk that everyone faces, including Morena, is that there is a state election. Because if there are elections with enormous interference from the government and patronage use of social programs, and if the victory goes to the party in government, it will be a highly questionable victory. You can have an electoral victory, but a huge loss in legitimacy.

–A state election, how in 1988 or 2006?

-A state election like many that have taken place in Mexico. Remember that the president was a brilliant PRI militant, so there are many things.

-It is almost a commonplace that the opposition has no project.

-The opposition has been on the defensive. And when you’re on the defensive they set your agenda. In my case, I am going to build an agenda with proposals, based on a backbone that I suggest, but putting together teams of professionals, convening university students and specialized professionals, and after there is a complex, collective construction, crossing it with the approaches of the citizenship.

In that tenor, he gives as an example the issue of water, crucial for our countryand the need to face a crisis that is putting stability at risk.

There is a set of issues that would lead me to suggest that Mexico must be thought of in a different way, from a different perspective.

From that other look, of womanhe maintains, it is not a question of saying that everything is bad, because it isn’t truebut invites to discuss issues such as the fight against poverty and the path of direct transfers (of popular subsidies), chosen by the current government. This path has been taken so much that it has already become a constitutional right. But direct transfers by themselves support subsistence. What you need is a strategy that also drives development. Not to reject what is being done, but to improve.

On issues such as the disappearance of trusts and public safety, he exemplifies, the political opponents of the federal Executive Power have presented well-founded objections and proposals regarding the municipal and state budgets. Nevertheless, they have not had the ability to have resonance.

–Is the worsening of the country’s problems and a possible division in Morena, are conditions sine qua non for an opposition victory in 2024?

-Nope. But the truth is that Morena has not been able to gel as a party. Morena is a movement that has a great caudillo, and the caudillo is not going to be on the ballot, for the sake of democracy. In that sense, it is very important that we also recognize what are the cracks that exist in Morena. From the pejorative title of bottle caps, the first to demerit the candidates are themselves. And the last-minute decision to integrate a new personality into the game.

Walls claims that advancing the succession has not been healthy for the governmentbecause they keep people distracted. They have fundamental responsibilities, but they are on the subject that they have already been put on this infinite carousel.

–I turn one of your answers into a question: what will have happened that even historically antagonistic parties have come closer?

-That we saw obvious threats to democratic conquests. Mexico is a country that has had a hard time evolving democratically, many years, many deaths…

“There are worrying signs: a structural weakening of federalism, some unimaginable interference in the Judiciary, a conviction that the Legislative Power is in the way, this is terrible… We have to learn to coexist majorities with minorities, that was what those who now they are carrying very stiffly. This series of warning lights about democratic development and the hyper-powerful presidency were essential for an alliance between antagonists to take place.

-A judge goes against the electricity law, the INE knocks down two candidates of the president, isn’t that exercising its autonomy without restrictions?

–Without any restrictions with an almost daily smear campaign, is that without any restrictions? When you use the most important tribune in the country to stigmatize and disqualify…

In this line of argument, he talks about the case of Rosario Robles, to whom he does not refer neither as a feminist nor as her friendbut he does expose with irony: Wow, what neatness to handle that case, how careful with the legal principles, there has been no due process.

-In a book for the 80th anniversary of the PRI, published under his presidency, Carlos Salinas de Gortari argued that the PRI’s defeat was due to its embracing of neoliberalism. Match?

–I agree that the neoliberal model reached its Peter principle.

-It is said that the day Enrique Ochoa went to the PRI, having already appointed its leader, the first thing he did was ask: Where is the Plutarco Elías Calles Auditorium? Speaking of that scene, I ask you: what is a technocrat?

-As the Greco-Latin roots say, he is a man who puts technique above.

-You aspire, Enrique de la Madrid too. When the generational change in the PRI?

–How long did President Peña Nieto last? When the generational change in the left?

The politician who began her career in the peasant sector is reminded that her inaugural speech lasted an hour. With that information he evokes: Enrique González Pedrero, teacher of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, dispatched seven-hour oratory pieces.

–Well, when the technocrats arrived, the long speeches were over.

They were cards.

And the interview, from which excerpts have been placed here, ended as it had begun, with a reference to Brazil: I hope Lula wins the presidency in the first electoral round.

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