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Mexico's Capital (also Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, Nigeria)



     A previous posting spoke about the proposal to move Mexico´s capital to Querétaro. Don Mabry said the chilangos (inhabitants of Mexico City) would never approve it. Bernardo Naranjo said it was proposed by Miguel de la Madrid, who assumed the presidency in 1982: decentralization was one of the seven points in his program. He may have abandoned it because of opposition from the chilangos, or it may be that his successor Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who assumed the presidency in 1988, killed it. It is common for a president to start a project which is then abandoned by his successor. Carlos Salinas de Gortari may have decided that the plan was not in accord with his neo-liberal ideas.
     Bernardo Naranjo says the presidential candidate who proposed reviving the idea, Muñoz Ledo of PARM has been disowned by his own party, and his sponsorship killed the idea. Too bad; I think it was a good idea, despite the chilangos. Why did Muñoz Ledo favor the plan?
     When it is proposed to move a capital, its residents always protest. There was a plan to move the Argentine capital to Viedma to get it away from the Buenos Aires. The porteños are liked in Argentina about as much as the chilangos in Mexico. I mentioned the plan yesterday to Torcuato Di Tella, but he, as a good porteño, summarily dismissed the idea.
     When the capital of Brazil was moved from Rio de Janeiro to Brasília, the cariocas howled, but know the move is seen as a healthy one. The same for Australia when the capital was moved to Canberra; Turkey, from Istanbul to Ankara; Nigeria to Abuja. Capitals are moved to a more central location because of the resentment by "provincials". What about moving the capital of the US from Washington, DC to Denver?

Ronald Hilton - 5/17/00


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