By Jon Christian Ryter
March 6, 2005
Mexico has their Bill and Hillary. Vicente and Marta Fox. Vicente Fox began his career at age 22 as a Coca Cola™ delivery man in Mexico City andd ended up, 16 years later, as president of the Mexican division of Coca Cola™. Fox has the same magnetic charisma that endeared Bill Clinton to the voters of the United States throughout his myriad of sex scandals. That's why the media called him Slick Willy or Teflon Bill. Clinton was so popular that the stigma of the scandals never stuck to him. Scandals and "rumors" of legal wrongdoing did, however, stick to Hillary.
While 38% of the American people (all left of center) want to see Hillary's name on the presidential ballot in 2008, roughly the same amount of Americans believe Hillary broke the law when she was a partner in the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock; and that she escaped punishment only because she hid the law firm's incriminating billing records until the statute of limitation on prosecuting her expired.
Just like Hillary, Marta Fox is the ambitious evil twin who is equally determined to become president of her country. And, like Hillary in 2000, she has denied having any presidential ambition while covertly building a campaign war chest and a political organization strong enough to steamroll her competition and assure her electoral victory.
Investigations initiated by the Financial Times of London last year revealed that Marta Fox planned to use money from two foundations she controls to launch a massive public relations/advertising campaign to convince the Mexican people that they need to "draft" her for office now held by her husband. Denise Dressler, professor of political science at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico [ITAM] told the Financial Times that "...it appears that the First Lady has a political piggy bank to campaign for office. The fact that she did not [reveal her ownership of ] Vision Mexico..." (an American 501[c]3 she controls} "...raises questions about why."
Fox's foundations—one in Mexico and one in the United States—first surfaced in the fall of 2003 shortly after PRI Gov. Arturo Montiel from the heavily populated State of Mexico (that includes Mexico City) announced, in July, 2003 that he would seek the office of President in 2006. One of the major contributors to Vision Mexico—Marta Fox's American 501[c]3—was Coca Cola™, Vicente Fox's old employer. They doled out $1.9 million. Strangely, though, that contribution went from Coca Cola™ in Atlanta, Georgia to Vision Mexiico. From Vision Mexico, the money was funneled through Marta Fox's Mexican foundation, Vamos Mexico and then, back into the coffers of Coca Cola through its Mexican Fundacion Coca Cola™ which then used the money to ungrade schools and provide educational materials in the poorest Mexican states.
The money shuffle makes it appear, at least to the Mexican people who don't understand how the shell game works, that Marta Fox had contributed 20.8 million pesos to help improve the school system for indigenous peoples in the poorest states in Mexico. If she's not elected president, the Mexican people will likely anoint her a saint. Fox has refused inquires from the Financial Times to reveal the names of the donors to Vamos Mexico, or to reveal how much of the foundation's money is being used for political purposes and how much for the foundation's "charitable" work. Vamos Mexico is not chartered as a "charity" in Mexico. As a "civic association" it is exempt from revealing the nature of its financial accounts, and who is contributing to the organization. I guess that's called a "blind trust"—which is precisely what the Mexican people feel towards their imperial family. Blind trust.
Hurriedly climbing on board the presidential express after Montiel's announcement was Mexico City's populist mayor, Manuel Lopez Obador of the Democratic Revolution Party [PRD]. Expected to contest Obador's claim to the PRD candidacy is Michoacan governor Lazaro Cardenas, the grandson of former the PRI president of the same name. Most troublesome to the announced candidates has been periodic remarks from Marta Fox that indicate her interest in succeeding her husband. And even though she has repeatedly said she is not a candidate, Marta Fox is spending millions of pesos in what is now a year old media campaign extolling her virtues. And, while she is not yet an "official" candidate, her image is plastered all over Mexico City's subway system, and Mexican Boy Scouts have been enlisted by Vamos Mexico to pass out parenting guides with—you guessed it—large photos of a smiling Marta Fox.
Indications are that Marta Fox will very likely make a grab for the political office currently being held by her husband—who, under Mexican law, ccannot succeed himself in the national elections to be held in Mexico next year. Marta Fox, according to the polls, is the second most popular person in Mexico (next to her husband), and would very easily overwhelm any of the other announced candidates for the office if the election was held this year. Vicente Fox, 62 is the most popular politician in recent Mexican history. Fox entered the history of his country during a time when one political party—the Reevolutionary Institutional Party [PRI] controlled Mexico. Presidential succession was a staged event. The outgoing president would hand-pick his successor. A mock election was held and the outgoing president's man was unanimously elected. The PRI controlled politics in Mexico this way for seven decades. Rules were zealously enforced, and any politician who tried to violate the status quo was exiled from the PRI. Not only was his political career over, he became a virtual political outcast.
Elections were a sham. The turbulent 1990s brought radical change to Mexican politics. President Carlos Salinas anointed Luis Donaldo Colosio as his successor in 1994. While campaigning in March of that year, Colosio was assassinated. The PRI then anointed his campaign manager, Ernesto Zedilla to replaced him. Zedilla was a democratic reformer. When Zedilla's six year term ended in 2000, he refused to pick a successor, opening the door for Mexico's first truly democratic election in seventy-one years. The election of 2000 in Mexico was so unusual that they actually counted the votes. The contenders for the office of president in 2000 were Francisco Labastida, the last PRI presidential candidate and Vicente Fox of the newly formed National Action Party [PAN]. In reality, all of the candidates in 2000 were PRI members, since prior to that election, the PRI virtually held all of the public offices. Fox became the 62nd president of Mexico. He holds the distinction of being the first truly democratically-elected president of Mexico.
The test, next year, will be whether or not Mexico's second free election will occur in Mexico, or if dynastic control will play a role in that election. While there is apparently nothing in the Mexican constitution that will prevent Marta Fox from throwing her hat in the ring, it is clear that the growing number of potential candidates do not believe a Marta Fox candidacy is in the best interests of Mexican democracy. Fox will likely be offered an unopposed seat in the Mexican Senate or, if she prefers, she can become the mayor of Mexico City. But, when you have been helping steer the ship of state, its hard to become just another political passenger. Clearly, Mexico is still on a democratic learning curve.
The Mexican people still tend to view their presidents in imperial terms—which is precisely why Fox launched the type of pre-ccampaign "campaign" that worked so well for her husband in 2000. That is also the reason why a growing frenzy of presidential-wannabes threw their hats in the ring in 2004 for an election that was still two years away. They want the Mexican people to realize that, under the new rules established by Zedilla, anyone can be president. And that is why Marta Fox has chosen to use her two foundations to help her look like Mother Teresa. She wants to be seen, and revered as Mexico's patron mother. When she officially leaps into the campaign—with a $220 million dollar war chest—she will most likely become the front runner with aa two furlong lead over the growing stable of PAN candidates.
Already announced PAN candidates
include Fox cabinet officials Josefina Vazquez Moto, an attractive woman
who heads the Department of Social Development; Santigo Creel, the Interior
Minister and Felipe Calderon, Minister of Energy. Also very likely to
join the fray are tourism minister Rodolfo Elizondo and Baja, California
Governor Eugenio Elorduy, and Senator Carlos Medina. The Mexican national
election of 2006 should be a free-for-all. For election watchers around
the world, it will prove to be as interesting a race as the American
presidential election of 2008. But for all appearances, if she decides
to run, Marta Fox will be the avalanche that no one can stop. The only
question is, will Mexico's first female president be working with America's
first female president?
© 2005 Jon C. Ryter - All Rights Reserved
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Jon Christian Ryter is the pseudonym of a former newspaper reporter with the Parkersburg, WV Sentinel. He authored a syndicated newspaper column, Answers From The Bible, from the mid-1970s until 1985. Answers From The Bible was read weekly in many suburban markets in the United States.
Today, Jon is an advertising executive with the Washington Times. His website, www.jonchristianryter.com has helped him establish a network of mid-to senior-level Washington insiders who now provide him with a steady stream of material for use both in his books and in the investigative reports that are found on his website. E-Mail: BAFFauthor@aol.com