Mexican labor unions push for return of PRI
Institutional Revolutionary Party kept nation humming, although described as 'perfect dictatorship'
The working men and trade unions are rallying behind the PRI, which at one time governed Mexico for 71 years.
In its halcyon days, the PRI employed a corporatist structure or "big tent" including farmers' groups, national business associations, trade unions and basically anyone who wanted to be close to power.
Not everyone welcomes the return of the PRI. Government employee Manuel Villareal described his experience with the party as unpleasant. "They drew money from public sources to garner votes," Villareal says.
Several PRI politicians are under investigation for corruption. The former PRI governor of Tamaulipas State Tomas Yarrington is facing civil charges in the U.S. for allegedly receiving bribes from drug traffickers in the most recent high-profile corruption case.
While some associate the PRI with corruption and nepotism, Cesar Camacho, president of the Colosio foundation, a party-linked think-tank says that times have changed.
"We have been pushed by society to change . There has been a renewal of the PRI," Camacho says. He believes allegations of past corruption are overstated, a result of campaigns by the party's political opponents.
The PRI's history has been a spotty and checkered one, to say the least. Mexico's PRI president from 1988-1994, Carlos Salinas De Gortari is believed to have stolen large sums of public money from a slush fund controlled by the party. Carlos Enrique Cervantes de Gortari, his politically connected cousin, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by U.S. authorities in 1993 for links to drug trafficking.
Camacho is quick to downplay these events, which occurred in the distant past. "When Salinas was president, Pena Nieto was 22 years old," Camacho said. "Nieto will follow a different way of thinking and acting," he said, adding that allegations against the former president are unfair and unproven. "We need a new way of doing politics, this country is absolutely different than it was in the 1980s."
Rafael Morales Ramirez, professor of political science at the Autonomous University of Mexico City, says that the PRI's power became more diffused as it lost the ability to dole out favors at the national level.
"The old power of the PRI scattered across the country and ended up in the hands of state governors," Ramirez says. "They have absolute control over state politics, as they can mobilize support bases for their own political purposes and control their own succession."
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: PRI, Mexico, corruption, bribery, power, labor unions
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