By RICARDO CASTILLO
What happened during the first week of the National Regeneration Movement’s (Morena) new majority in both Mexican houses of Congress (the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Senators) only served to prove what I had suspected: The Mexican left, now represented by the Morena political party, has been down so long that its members don’t know what to do when they are finally up.
On Monday, Sept. 3, for instance, the presidents of both houses — Porfirio Muñoz Ledo for the Deputies and Martí Batres for the Senators — had their first head-on clash with a peer, Labor Party (PT) Deputy Gerardo Fernández Noroña, who offended Muñoz Ledo and Batres by calling them “traitors” to the leftist cause simply because he was not allowed to enter the National Palace to listen to the last State of the Nation Address delivered by now-lame duck President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Apparently, the plan to keep Fernández Noroña out of the National Palace was concocted by palace military security, as the deputy boasts a well-earned infamy of being a noisy opposition heckler and indeed a party pooper. Peña Nieto did not want any heckling during his last stand before the nation. And with Fernández Noroña outside – he picked up a handheld loudspeaker and heckled anyway – but the president’s speech went on without interruptions, in an appropriate and civilized manner. Fernández Noroña is well known for his disruptive shenanigans, and nobody will ever forget how, during a past legislature, he introduced into the Chamber of Deputies a pig’s head, which he then proceeded to put on as a mask to denounce a piggish rightwing National Action Party (PAN) conservative piece of legislation.
Then on Tuesday, Sept. 4, during the opening session of the new Chamber of Deputies, for Fernández Noroña could not be left out of the building because he has a right to be there, there was another incidence. And the inevitable came up, which was a head-on clash between Fernández Noroña and Muñoz Ledo.
Fernández Noroña called Muñoz Ledo all sorts of names, and he even accused him of still being an Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) member – a PRIista, in Spanish, indeed an offense – and again called him a “traitor” to the leftist movement now in power.
With these two accusations, Fernández Noroña finally managed to get Muñoz Ledo off his rocker.
“Don’t show disrespect for me, deputy,” shouted back Porfirio, clearly angered, which also sent Fernández Noroña into a rage. He got off his seat and walked up to the governing podium where the awesome twosome exchanged fits of rage and insults.
The problem between these two is that they belong on the same side of the political tract. Surely the fiery clash was pure gravy to the media, forcing Morena party leader and President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) to summon the leaders of Morena and the Labor parties to a peace meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 5.
Muñoz Ledo held a press conference the next day to talk about the “serious message” AMLO had delivered to them given the political rumblings caused by the clash between Fernández Noroña and Muñoz Ledo.
“The message was that we (the PT included) should present an image belonging to the majority party and not one of the opposition,” he said.
Just as I said in the first paragraph, the Mexican left has forever been down and now that it is up, its members still keep displaying bratty behavior.
But guess what? Surely AMLO’s admonishment (“it was not a scolding,” Porfirio told reporters) called for both deputies to tone down their tantrums and behave. Fernández Noroña also showed up at the press conference and mended fences with Muñoz Ledo.
That was in the Chamber of Deputies. Displays of political behavioral immaturity also occurred in the Chamber of Senators, where two of AMLO’s top politicos are also clashing over their perceived rights.
Senate President Batres and majority whip Ricardo Monreal clashed over who is supposed to do what. Batres tried to influence Morena senators feeding them a “line” or course to follow during the future sessions. Senator Monreal stopped Batres cold n his track because setting the course of legislation is the majority whip’s role, not the Senate president, who is in charge of overseeing the entire senate and maintaining peace and coordination among the eight governing political parties.
This surely was a rough week for the new Morena legislators and their allies in the Labor Party and Social Encounter Party (PES).
The Mexican leftists have been down forever and now being in power is indeed untrodden territory for them.
Hopefully, they’ll learn quickly.