Prof. George Grayson of William and Mary College (shown below), is an expert on Mexico who has long avoided happy talk in describing our southern neighbor, such as when he remarked, "There is a small economic elite who live like maharajas, and there`s a political elite that protects them."
Grayson appeared on Lou Dobbs Tonight Thursday to comment on the new Mexican Presidente who will take office on December 1 [Lou Dobbs Transcript
, CNN 11/9/06].
DOBBS: To make another judgment, there is a view in this country that Mexico is the poorest nation in Latin America rather than the wealthiest, a view that if only the government of Mexico could be assisted, half its people would no longer live in poverty. But there is absolutely, at least — and I would like you to straighten me out on this — I see no impulse whatsoever on those elites to do anything about the abject poverty which they permit to be imposed on 50 million Mexican citizens?GRAYSON: I think the hope, Lou, is that Calderon lost to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who`s a messianic populist. And he`s now running around Mexico making speeches against any possible appointment or program that Calderon might propose. And it`s just possible — and this is a long shot — that Mexican nomenklatura may realize that if Calderon doesn`t accomplish reforms to improve the lot of the have-nots, that they may have another messiah, a second coming of Andres Lopez Obrador in six years. It`s a long shot, but it`s a possibility.
So Grayson is hoping against hope that the threat of uber-leftist Obrador attaining power in six years may frighten the Mexican elites into genuine reform.
In another Calderon preview
, Grayson noted, "He knows it is imperative that Mexican citizens feel that they are safe in their own streets." Because they don`t: average Mexicans fear
the growing Colombianization
of their country into a narco-state and the crumbling shreds of basic safety
for regular people.
After a White House meeting, Grayson described Calderon as "perceptive and pragmatic... a breath of fresh air."
Let`s hope that Prof. Grayson is right about Calderon being an improvement over his predecessor. The reign of Vicente Fox, initially hailed with great expectation
as the first non-PRI presidente
in 70 years, has been underwhelming for Mexicans and Americans alike.