By Raoul Lowery Contreras - Machismo is dead in Mexico. The United States of Mexico has leapfrogged over the United States of America politically in a manner not a single human being could have ever expected of and in Mexico.
Where women (Hillary Rodham Clinton, Michelle Bachman) have failed in the United States of America, the Mexicans have set the political bar higher than ever by a convention vote (February 5) within the Partido Accion Nacional (PAN) — *The National Action Party which has won the last two presidential elections* – when the PAN nominated a woman for President of Mexico.
Josefina Vázquez Mota, 51, is an uber-savvy political veteran who has served in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies (Congress) and as a heavy-weight Cabinet Secretary.
Educated at the Iberoamerican University in Mexico City, Josefina was Jesuit-trained in economics. Her graduate work at the PanAmerican University led to *EL FINANCIERO,* Mexico’s *Wall Street Journal,* where she wrote about business and economics.
A lifelong PANista, she worked in Vicente Fox’s historic victory in 2000 for President that smashed the 70-year-long tyranny of the drug cartel-infested corrupt Partido Institucional Revolucionario (PRI) and was rewarded with appointment as Secretary of Social Development, a position akin to our Secretary of Health Education & Welfare: renamed Health and Human Services.
She resigned to become underdog PAN Presidential candidate Felipe Calderon’s campaign manager in 2006. He suprisingly defeated ultra-leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) for the Presidency by sweeping the growing Mexican Middle Class and the Northern more-conservative states over AMLO and the third-place PRI candidate.
President Calderon appointed her Secretary of Education. She left to run for the Chamber of Deputies (Congress) and was elected to office and then elected to the PAN party’s congressional leadership.
Many a macho-Mexican-man smiled (smirked) when she announced her candidacy for President of Mexico. Unlike the Stalinist PRI selection process of the party dinosaurs selecting presidential candidates in a smoke-filled room (the *dedazo*, the finger-anointed-one) the PAN has a convention with open voting. Josefina won the nomination in a romp with 55% of the vote to former Finance Minister Cordero’s 38% and former Senator and Interior Secretary Creel’s 6%.
For the first time in the history of North America, a woman has been nominated for President by a major party. In fact her Party is the current ruling party.
Nonetheless, she is not the favorite to win July’s election. Needless to say, AMLO is running again as the nominee of the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) which is the ultra-leftist party. The PRI is running the favored movie handsome Enrique Pena Nieto, former governor of the country’s largest state, Estado de Mexico.
Josefina is an underdog for several reasons. First, the PAN has held the Presidency for 12-years and has embroiled the country in a vicious war with the drug cartels for the past six. Many Mexicans are tired of the war that has claimed over 42,000 dead and brought lawlessness to many parts of Mexico. The U.S. Department of State recommends against travel by Americans in most of Mexico north of Mexico City.
Then, there is a large cohort of young Mexicans under 30 that have no experience with the old corrupt national PRI and its stranglehold on the country for seven decades. However, many Mexicans even young ones know that the PRI caused Indian revolts in Chiapas and Oaxaca by using traditional thuggish methods of winning elections and running criminal governments.
Recently a PRI governor was arrested and charges of relationships with drug cartels are hurled at PRI politicians every day – by prosecutors.
What Josefina has going for her is the PAN’s crusade against the drug cartels and its fairly successful campaign that has led to over 300 extraditions to the USA of drug criminals who have been convicted and sent to American prisons for sentences longer than Mexican law would ever allow.
On infrastructure, Mexico has built more roads/highways in the past six years than ever in the decades the PRI was in power economically opening up huge parts of the country that were isolated since before the Spanish arrived.
A burgeoning middle class under the Fox/Calderon presidencies has concurrently lowered poverty to all time lows and allowed home ownership to grow exponentially with government-backed low down-payment and interest loans that never existed in Mexico before Fox/Calderon. Business flourishes. Homeownership skyrocketed under Fox/Calderon.
Given Mexico’s emergence out of recession faster than the U.S., with unemployment falling and a shrinking male labor surplus, Mexico’s political and economic future looks bright.
The question is — will it elect a movie-handsome corrupt PRIista politician who personally anointed his gubernatorial replacement in Mexico State, or an ultra-left-wing political sociopath in AMLO or a very bright, attractive, political operator Josefina Vázquez Mota?
Should Great Britain’s Lady Margaret Thatcher stand aside for a new Iron Lady?
Raoul Lowery Contreras (1941) was born in Mexico, raised in the USA. Former U.S. Marine, athlete, Deans List at San Diego State. Professional political consultant and California Republican Party official(1963-65)…Television news commentator, radio talk show host…published Op-Ed writer (1988 to present)…author of 12 books (as of 1-05-12). His books are available on Amazon.com.