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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06MEXICO4958
2006-09-01 18:47:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Mexico
Cable title:  

A DAY AT THE REVOLUTION

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  PINR  MX 
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						77011
2006-09-01 18:47:00
06MEXICO4958
Embassy Mexico
CONFIDENTIAL
06MEXICO4707
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TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR MX
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MEXICO 004958

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/31/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR MX
SUBJECT: A DAY AT THE REVOLUTION
REF: MEXICO 4707

Classified By: POLITICAL MINISTER COUNSELOR CHARLES V. BARCLAY,
REASONS: 1.4(B/D).



1. (C) Summary: With all eyes now focused on the Mexican
Congress and the Revolutionary Democratic Party's (PRD)
long-threatened effort to deny President Fox the opportunity
to deliver his final annual report there, poloff spent much
of August 31 with a range of PRD contacts to gain further
insight into their plans for the event. The leadership of
the PRD congressional delegation remains committed to Andres
Manuel Lopez Obrador's (AMLO) plan to humiliate the President
within the halls of Congress. Meanwhile, a larger group of
PRD supporters plans to converge on the Congress from around
the city, to provide a supportive audience outside. At least
one contact reports that AMLO continues to see himself as the
legitimate president-elect, willing to provoke a crisis of
governability in order to force Felipe Calderon to relinquish
the presidency. While in the short term, the PRD's
increasingly radical tactics provide unusually dramatic
political theater, we continue to believe that they
ultimately will lead to a further weakening of the party's
unity, prestige and influence. End Summary.

PRD,s Hierarchy Rallies the Troops


--------------------------





2. (C) With President Fox's annual report to Congress set
for September 1, high-level PRD officials have spent recent
days debating how they should respond, with the consensus
apparently forming that the PRD congressional faction should
do everything possible to deny Fox the opportunity to deliver
his final annual report. On August 31, poloff accompanied
Mary Carmen Soria Narvaez, assistant to AMLO's foreign policy
advisor, Dr. Jose Maria Perez Gay, to a meeting of the PRD,s
Central Executive Committee, at which PRD tactics were
vigorously debated, including by the party's recently elected
Senate and Chamber of Deputy coordinators.



3. (C) In well-received remarks, Carlos Navarette, the
incoming PRD Senate coordinator, reiterated the party line
that the elections were fraudulent, reflecting the
determination of Fox and his allies to put Felipe Calderon in
office. He said that while some in the PRD think that the
"struggle" is just about gaining the presidency, it was
actually about achieving greater institutional and social
reform, which would be discussed at AMLO's September 16
National Democratic Convention (NDC). He insisted that
current GOM institutions no longer function and that "Mexico
needs a struggle, a revolt, that transforms these
institutions." He told the assembled crowd that PRD actions
during President Fox's address would demonstrate the depth of
Mexico's political crisis, and insisted that Fox must not
succeed in delivering his speech. He urged PRDistas to

support AMLO and the congressional protest, declaring "we
cannot allow the movement to die...we are obligated to
(AMLO)."



4. (C) Javier Gonzalez Garza, the recently-elected PRD
coordinator in the lower house, criticized the PRI, the Green
(PVEM) and New Alliance parties for having struck a deal with
the PAN in electing congressional leadership, insisting that
"parties that have negotiated with the PAN have lost their
legitimacy." He said the PRD needed to seek support from
other parties such as Convergencia and the Workers Party
(PT), whose support would leave the PRD within two votes of
blocking the 2/3 majority the PAN would need to amend the
constitution. Likewise, he urged the PT and Convergencia to
support the PRD gubernatorial candidate in Tabasco, much as
the PAN and PRI had backed a single candidate in Chiapas in
an unsuccessful effort to keep the PRD candidate from office
(reftel).

PRD Moderate Critical of Party's Radical Turn


--------------------------





5. (C) After Gonzalez Garza's speech, Poloff met with
well-connected PRD member and advisor to the Mexico City
municipal government (GDF) Guillermo Flores. Flores was
critical of AMLO and what his movement was doing to the
party, saying that many in the party did not understand or
agree with AMLO, but that they continued to follow him
because "they have no exit...they have no other leader to
guide them in the right direction." According to Flores,
AMLO is convinced he is the legitimate President-elect and

MEXICO 00004958 002 OF 003


his plan is to form an alternative government at the
September 16 NDC. He sees AMLO as using the goal of
"institutional reform" as a guise to achieve his real
objective of becoming President. To do this, his strategy is
to make the country ungovernable, both through strikes and
strenuous PRD opposition in Congress, until Calderon
renounces his position. Yet Flores doubts AMLO's efforts
will last long, noting that Mexico enjoys macroeconomic
stability and that movements such as AMLO's only propser in
countries where there is uncertainty and instability.



6. (C) Flores lamented that while AMLO had greatly
strengthened the party in recent years, his current "antics"
were undoing all of the contributions he had made. He noted,
for example, that by supporting AMLO, the PRD had "driven the
PRI into the PAN's arms." Among other things, this had
resulted in a PAN-PRI deal to divide key congressional
leadership positions among themselves, denying the PRD the
influence over the congressional agenda normally inuring to
the second place party.



7. (C) Flores said that with respect to the protest inside
the Chamber, there are several plans under consideration.
One plan is to have the PRD Deputies/Senators enter the
Chamber first and barricade the door, not allowing Fox -- or
perhaps even other congressional delegations -- to enter.
Alternatively, they will allow Fox to enter, but shout
insults and protests throughout the speech. Press reporting
suggests that the final tactical decision would be made by
AMLO himself just hours before the speech.

Protest Includes a Cast of Thousands


--------------------------





8. (SBU) According to press reports and embassy contacts in
the Mexican security services, Mexico City Mayor Alejandro
Encinas expects five or six groups of protesters marching
from various directions of the city toward the Zocalo, Mexico
City's central historic square, at noon today. Groups
expected to participate include members of several major
labor unions, the Organizations for National Dialogue (a mix
of moderate left-wing groups), and a small number from the
more radical Popular People's Party of Oaxaca (APPO).
Leaders of these organizations expect roughly 30,000
participants, who will then link up with an estimated 10,000
demonstrators waiting in the Zocalo. At 4pm, march
organizers will make a decision about how to proceed to the
Congress, with speculation that AMLO himself may lead them.
It appears that one goal of the protesters is to prevent
President Fox, non-PRD legislators, and other invitees
(including members of the diplomatic corps) from reaching the
Congress. Law enforcement authorities have already deployed
thousands of officers around the Congress as well as in the
city center, to maintain order.

Encampments Will Come Down Soon


--------------------------





9. (C) Looking beyond today's political drama, Sandoval,
Soria, and Flores each predicted in separate discussions that
they expect that the encampments that currently block Paseo
de la Reforma and the city's central square would soon come
down, although they differed as to the precise timing. Soria
speculated they would be removed in about one week, whereas
Sandoval expected them to be removed following the September
16 NDC, although neither seemed privy to a formal decision to
disband them. Soria observed that the encampments were being
financed in part by the party -- which she said was
well-funded -- and in part by GDF officials, who were
contributing a portion of their pay checks. (Note: The press
recently reported that incoming members of the PRD
congressional delegation also had agreed to contribute a
portion of their salaries to the protest movement. End
note.)

PRD "Moral Leader" Gone AWOL


--------------------------





11. (C) On an unrelated issue, Soria told poloff that PRD
founder, presidential candidate, and "moral leader"
Cuauhtemoc Cardenas is no longer in line with PRD thinking,
describing him as "the face of historical fraud" for his
unwillingness to maintain a long-term protest movement in the
face of the apparently fraudulent 1988 presidential election.
She described him as "collaborating" with those
international contacts that supported Felipe Calderon during

MEXICO 00004958 003 OF 003


the election.

Comment: High Drama in the Congress


--------------------------





12. (C) With the PRD's final plan of action for President
Fox's annual report to be determined only this afternoon and
by AMLO himself, today's congressional session represents
political theater of the very highest order. Yet from the
perspective of the PRD's political future, we cannot help
believe that the performance will be more of a tragedy than a
comedy. An opinion poll published in today's Reforma
indicates that 68% of Mexicans approve of Fox's performance
as President, reflecting his broad and fairly resilient
personal popularity, even in the face of numerous political
setbacks. Moreover, it is our impression that even many
Mexicans who do not consider themselves ideological soulmates
of the President strongly respect the prestige of the office
and are offended by any affront to its dignity. While AMLO
may feel driven to use today's event to carry out a personal
vendetta against the President -- and while he continues to
command the loyalty of many in his party in this effort -- it
is difficult to see how this strategy can result in anything
but the party's further loss of prestige.


Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity

BASSETT