September 5, 2006

The Zarathustra of Zocalo Plaza

Hatched by Dafydd

In Mexico Headed for Civil War?, we fretted that the continued defiance of leftist loser Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and his announced refusal to accept his defeat -- even now that it has been certified by Mexico's Federal Electoral Tribunal, the "top electoral court" -- has the potential to develop into an outright civil war.

What does a civil war entail? The organized mass killings we see in Iraq don't rise to the level of a civil war, for example, and there isn't even any similar deadly violence sweeping Mexico -- yet -- over the presidential election. So what is needed for that definition?

One requirement of a civil war is the creation of a "shadow" or "parallel" government, run by those who were not elected (either because they lost or because they never even ran). The parallel government issues proclamations as vox populi, the "voice of the people."

López Obrador appears on the cusp of taking exactly that step:

López Obrador barely mentioned the impending decision Monday during his nightly address to followers in the Zocalo.

Instead, he focused on an upcoming national convention of his supporters to decide if he should declare himself head of a parallel government whose members would propose a series of government reforms. [Ah yes... "reforms." If (false) "patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel," as Samuel Johnson said, then false "reform" is the first refuge, as Big Lizards declares.]

"This movement is now about transforming the country," [López Obrador] said.

The lack of a shadow or parallel government is one reason there is no civil war in Iraq. But such a formation is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a civil war; Great Britain, along with many other parliamentary democracies, has a "shadow cabinet" comprising the opposition leader and those who would be the real government were control of Parliament to shift. Thus, the Conservative shadow secretary of state for defence in Britain, Liam Fox, would ordinarily become the actual secretary of state for defence (minister of defence) if the Conservative (Tory) party were to win the next election. It's not required; he could be replaced; but it's customary. (And note the British spelling of defense, which should solidify my coolness factor.)

But this doesn't imply imminent civil war in the UK. Nobody suggests that David Cameron is going to declare himself the new prime minister, absent an election, and storm Westminster.

The other factor required would be for López Obrador's parallel government to raise its own army and put it in the field against the official Mexican army, with the intent to put López Obrador in Los Pinos, the presidential palace. So far, that has not happened; but we're still concerned about López Obrador's mob, which he controls from his tent-city in Zocalo Plaza:

Neither candidate was at the session. López Obrador ate breakfast with lawmakers from his Democratic Revolution Party, then arrived at his protest tent in Mexico City's Zocalo plaza where he has been sleeping for nearly two months....

The convention is planned for Sept. 16, Mexico's Independence Day in the Zocalo, where the armed forces traditionally gather for a march down Mexico City's main Reforma avenue. Both places have been occupied by protesters for more than a month.

The clock is ticking. López Obrador must realize that the longer President-elect Felipe Calderón, soon to be President Felipe Calderón, continues to function as he was elected to do, the more people will lose interest in López Obrador, eventually forgetting about him altogether. If he is going to move, he must move swiftly.

So we'll keep a patient, unsympathetic, lidless, lizardly eye upon events down south; it would be terrible if our next-door neighbor had to fight a civil war.

But better by far a war, than to allow a leftist revolutionary, close friends with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez (who himself is buddies with al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Iran), to simply seize power in Mexico without a shot, because the Mexicans were too indecisive to defend their democracy. So if López Obrador looks ready to move -- please, President Calderón, move first.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 5, 2006, at the time of 4:50 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Dick E


I’m hoping that Lopez Obrador’s actions over the last couple of months have alienated enough people that he won’t be able to raise an army. Maybe then he’ll be relegated to gadfly status like “Subcomandante Marcos” and his Zapatistas in Oaxaca.

I also hope the government has been (and continues to be) alert to the possibility of arms smuggling from Chavez and other thugs. Even a small force could create significant havoc if they had RPG’s and Katyushas. Hezbollah on our southern border. Great.

By the way, the linked story missed the more important event that Lopez Obrador’s presence in the Zocalo will disrupt. At midnight on September 15 the president traditionally leads the “grito” (shout) of “Viva Mexico” in front of throngs of revelers in the Zocalo. It will be quite embarrassing if President Fox can’t carry on this nationally televised tradition. (The question is, will it be embarrassing to Fox or to Lopez Obrador? Stay tuned niños y niñas.)

(I give up on the accent wars. You will note no accents above in López, Chávez, Zócalo and México. Yup, that’s accented too. It’s too hard when writing in English. Heck, even the natives don’t always use them -- like in newspaper headlines. Only the really pedantic insist on … oh, I forgot where I am.)


The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 5, 2006 10:00 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

Excellent, Dafydd. I linked from Old War Dogs >> Bill's Bites.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 5, 2006 11:27 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Dick E:

Only the really pedantic insist on … oh, I forgot where I am.

That's þęđåŋţīç to you, Señor Smarty Pants.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 5, 2006 11:59 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E


Well excuuuse me!

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 6, 2006 12:32 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

I certainly hope it does not come to that, but in truth I think there ae enough people in Mexcio who have serious doubts about anyone assoicated with Chavez and who have serious doubts about picking up a gun and taking on the Federalis that this is not going to be a real possiblity. In fact the constant threats could backfire on this guy.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 6, 2006 3:46 AM

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