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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06MEXICO6546
2006-11-17 23:37:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Mexico
Cable title:  

PRD PREPARES FOR TWIN INAUGURATIONS

Tags:   ECON  FBI  DHS  PAS  DAO  CONS  OPAD  DCM  POL  AID 
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						86237
2006-11-17 23:37:00
06MEXICO6546
Embassy Mexico
CONFIDENTIAL
06MEXICO5318|06MEXICO6278
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DE RUEHME #6546/01 3212337
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FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4318
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TAGS: ECON FBI DHS PAS DAO CONS OPAD DCM POL AID
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 006546

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/16/2016
TAGS: ECON FBI DHS PAS DAO CONS OPAD DCM POL AID
SUBJECT: PRD PREPARES FOR TWIN INAUGURATIONS
REF: A. MEXICO 05318

B. MEXICO 06278

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

Summary
--------



1. (C) Poloff met with PRD leaders and Mexico City government
(GDF) officials to discuss PRD plans for Andres Manuel Lopez
Obrador's (AMLO) self-styled inauguration on November 20 and
for the official inauguration of President-elect Felipe
Calderon on December 1. For November 20, the PRD expects an
event similar to the September 16 PRD-sponsored National
Democratic Convention, with GDF officials planning for a
large turnout and party officials seeking to dampen
expectations. With respect to Calderon's official
inauguration on December 1, the PRD leadership has decided to
take some form of protest action at the ceremony, although
party moderates are advocating for a symbolic protest, and
party radicals have vowed to physically prevent Calderon from
taking the oath of office. PRD senate coordinator Navarrette
told poloffs that the best resolution would be having the
December 1 inauguration at a location other than the
Congress, suggesting that many in his party would settle for
such a symbolic victory.

The PRD prepares for AMLO's self-inauguration


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





2. (C) The PRD and allied parties PT and Convergencia (a.k.a.
the "United Progressive Front" or FAP), have been preparing
for AMLO's self-styled inauguration, which will take place on
Monday, November 20, in Mexico City's central square or
Zocalo. GDF officials are planning for a turnout similar to
the one achieved at the September 15, PRD-sponsored National
Democratic Convention (NDC), when 200,000 people are
estimated to have thronged the Zocalo (see reftel A). GDF
Secretary of Government Ricardo Ruiz told us that all

SIPDIS
necessary security precautions were being taken to prepare
for the event. At the same time, he warned that some radical
groups might set up protest camps in the Zocalo again. While
the GDF is planning for a major turnout, PRD federal deputy
Cuauhtemoc Sandoval -- perhaps seeking to dampen expectations
-- downplayed the prospects for a heavy turnout, arguing that
since the end of the post-election crisis, AMLO's civil
disobedience movement had lost some of its fervor.



3. (C) Mary Carmen Soria, assistant to AMLO advisor Dr. Perez
Gay, said that the November 20 event would be similar to the
NDC, with some formalities, including the "swearing-in"
ceremony and the presentation of AMLO's "legitimate cabinet"
(see reftel B). When poloff questioned why AMLO did not
choose current PRD legislators or respected PRD heavyweights
for his cabinet, party contacts gave a uniform response,
noting that AMLO needed people who could work full-time on
the civil resistance movement. On the other hand, Dr. Jose
Fernandez Santillin, political science professor at Monterrey

Tech, hypothesized that (1) either PRD heavyweights were
offered positions and turned them down because they were
trying to protect their political interests/reputation, or
(2) AMLO, a pragmatic politician, made a conscious decision
to choose those whom he could control.

PRD vows to impede Calderon's inauguration


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





4. (C) While the final logistical preparations are being made
for AMLO's self-inauguration, the PRD continues to debate its
next major protest action. In a November 11 meeting, the
PRD's National Political Council -- the party's highest
governing body -- formally decided to follow through on
threats to "impede" the December 1 ceremony in which
President-elect Felipe Calderon will take the oath of office
in Congress' Chamber of Deputies.



5. (C) However, local newspaper Reforma reported that the
party was divided on protest strategies. Deputies Cuauhtemoc
Sandoval and Fernel Galvez said the precise nature of their
protest might not be decided until a couple of hours before
the event, and that the possibility remained they would adopt
some form of symbolic protest short of actually seeking to

MEXICO 00006546 002 OF 002


block the event. PRD's moderates reportedly have proposed
such actions as boycotting the inauguration, turning their
backs as Calderon takes the oath, and/or placing black
blankets on their seats, to symbolize democracy's "death" on
Election Day, July 2. The party's radicals, however, are
insisting on blocking the ceremony at whatever cost. They
are considering installing protest camps outside the Chamber
and occupying the podium days before December 1. Some PRD
legislators, however, think it will be difficult to overcome
the security measures planned for the event. Many doubt a
repeat performance of the September 1 protest, when PRD
legislators took control of the podium in advance of Fox's
annual address. An element of surprise was present in the
September 1 protest; this time the logistics are different
and the GOM will be prepared.

An alternate location for December 1?


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





6. (C) Because of the PRD threats, some PRI legislators are
suggesting that Calderon consider taking the oath of office
elsewhere than in Congress, a suggestion supported by PRD
officials. Sandoval, for instance, alluded to President
Lyndon Johnson's swearing-in on an airplane following
President Kennedy's assassination. Ignacio Maravan, a
political science professor at CIDE and AMLO advisor, told
poloff that Calderon would by operation of the Constitution
be considered the "legal" (but not "legitimate") President on
December 1 and it did not matter if or where he took the
oath. In a separate meeting, PRD Senate coordinator Carlos
Navarrete said that an alternate location would be the best
resolution for both Calderon and the party.



7. (C) GDF Secretary of Government Ricardo Ruiz believes the
GOM is actually considering an alternate site, even if they
have not yet officially communicated this to the GDF. Ruiz
said the GOM is also exploring other routes and means of
access to the Chamber of Deputies. Ideology and political
affiliations aside, Ruiz said the GDF was committed to
providing security and avoiding blockades or disturbances
outside the event. He told poloff the GDF was going to
establish a working group with the GOM on November 16 to
coordinate inauguration security and logistics. On the other
hand, Ruiz forewarned that whatever happens inside the
Chamber was not the GDF's responsibility. He also admitted
that he was not privy to PRD legislators' plans.

Comment: December 1 depends on November 20


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





8. (C) AMLO's self-styled inauguration could mark a major
turning point for his civil resistance movement. He needs a
significant turnout to regain his lost momentum and keep his
campaign against Felipe Calderon from degenerating. Elements
in his party already are signaling that they are prepared to
negotiate with Calderon and his team, suggesting party
discipline may be breaking down. In addition to a loss of
support from some quarters in his party, AMLO's cause may be
losing financial steam: local news sources report that AMLO
has now resorted to soliciting contributions from ordinary
Mexicans in order to fund his "parallel government." The
tactics that the PRD chooses for Calderon's inauguration may
well depend on supporter turnout and enthusiasm at its
November 20 event. If turnout or enthusiasm on November 20 is
lower than expected, the PRD might opt for a more moderate
protest on December 1. On the other hand, if the November 20
turnout is large, party radicals may gain more influence and
seek to actually prevent Calderon from taking the oath of
office in Congress. In other words, the success of Monday's
event may well set the stage for Calderon's inauguration.


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