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The Federal District



     Tim Brown adds a note to the UNAM discord of opinions. He says:
     I spent several weeks last October in Mexico City with PRD leaders. I did an exclusive interview with Cardenas, and wrote an article based on it that ran more than a half page in the Washington Times.
     I heard nothing that would confirm a back room PRD role in the UNAM mess, but found that the PRD is not a monolith. Its far left, including several totally unrepentant Stalinists with whom I had extensive conversations, is perfectly capable of being directly involved I also saw a list of organizations in the US that are providing funds and political support to the Zapatista EZLN through the PRD-related hard left, including one AFl/CIO Local and several others in the San Francisco bay area.
     My own impression is that both WAIS correspondents are partly right because one of Cardenas's major problems is his wilder left, which probably is involved behind the scenes at UNAM, but I would be very surprised if it is doing so with his blessing. the same far left of the PRD is also involved with the EZLN. But, again, without his blessing. Cuauhtemoc chose to use my interview to signal a move from the far Left to Center Left because he knows very well that he cannot win without modifying his stance, and he is doing so. As a consequence he has been under severe personal attacks from his own hard left over Chiapas, as events in Puebla last year demonstrated. No one should be surprised to find that a party like the PRD can have problems with its extremes. Ours have them in the U.S, and as does Austria. Well.


     My comment: Tim is a man of wide experience, so he knows that leaders like Cárdenas often tell people what they want to hear. My impression is that Cárdenas is doing that, although he knows that he would have to practice peaceful co-existence with the United States. He and leaders of the two other main parties spoke yesterday at a meeting of the Mexican Bankers Association. He was careful not to offend them, but he took advantage of the occasion to attack the UNAM president, saying that UNAM was a federal problem and that he should have called on the federal government. Since the federal preventive police had been called in, the implication is that Cárdenas was hoping the federal troops would be called in, with a repeat of the 1968 confrontation. Frankly, I trust President Zedillo; I do not trust Cárdenas.
     In some strange way the Catholic Church is being dragged into this. The case of the assassination of the Cardinal Archbishop of Guadalajara is being revived, with the charge that it was not an accident. The present Archbishop of Guadalajara is indignant. It seems to be connected with the rumor that either he or the Cardinal Archbishop of Mexico Norberto Rivera is in line as the next Pope. This would thrill Mexicans. It would presumably help PAN and harm non-believer Cárdenas.
     There is in all this the possibility of a sharp confrontation similar to that between Cubans in Miami and those in Havana, but with both groups in the United States. It would be stupid to dismiss this possibility.

Ronald Hilton - 2/5/00


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