By RICARDO CASTILLO
Has inner peace finally enlightened Mexico’s previously brawling National Regeneration Movement political party, best known as Morena? At least Morena’s new interim president, Alfonso Ramírez Cuéllar, said it has, but two very rowdy ladies don’t think so. (Note: For background on the topic, please read my previous article in Pulse News Mexico, “Orphaned Morena’s Democratic Schism.”)
On Friday, Feb. 28, Ramírez Cuéllar went to the National Electoral Institute (INE) to register his accreditation as interim president. The move came after the Electoral Tribunal validated his election on Jan. 26, which had been rejected by Morena Secretary General Yeidckol Polevnski and then, not now, backed by Bertha Luján, both of them contenders for the party’s presidency.
Polevnski lamented the recognition by the Electoral Tribunal that ousted her from the party’s presidency in what she still calls “an illegal congress.”
Luján, on the other hand, accepted the accreditation of Ramírez Cuéllar, but rejected the Electoral Tribunal tagging the manner in which the president is to be elected for three years through an open poll. She preferred the vote of party’s congress, where she enjoys a majority over Polevnski.
Party founder but no longer leader Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) is in favor of the Electoral Tribunal’s order to carry out a “poll open to the people” to elect the next president of the party he organized back in 2014.
But with that detail on how to elect the party’s next president solved, even if in controversy, Ramírez Cuellar started moving as of Monday, March 2, in rallying control from all sides to his effort to organize the election, which must be held, “at the very latest,” this summer. The party must start now electing candidates for the 2021 midterm elections.
Among moves made by Ramírez Cuéllar are for an immediate audit of Morena’s finances – “no witch hunting, I just want to know where we stand,” he said – as well as toppling arrangements made by Polevnski to go to (Coahuila and Hidalgo) 2020 state elections in alliances with other parties.
In a TV interview with Bloomberg TV over the weekend, Ramírez Cuéllar also complained that party registration has been abandoned and not grown in the past two years, a reason for which he said that he will start a registration
But also, Ramírez Cuéllar, besides publishing in Twitter a picture of peace and love with Polevnski, last Monday, is seeking support from all the Morena founding fathers, and for starters, on Tuesday, March 3, he visited the Senate, where he met privately with majority leader Ricardo Monreal and all Morena senators. At an ensuing press conference, Ramírez Cuéllar told reporters:
“We are starting a new stage. Morena is about to become a very big party. We’re going to incorporate all points of view. There Is going to be a lot of dialogue. The party will be meeting in a permanent way with its parliamentary groups at the federal and state levels. We want for the party and its groups to discuss policy jointly, proposals, and the agenda for change.”
He added, “We are going to leave behind party infighting, and in all the states, militants are attending informative assemblies massively and committing to make this party just like the one that led us to victory.”
The political gossip behind Ramírez Cuéllar is that, beyond rhetoric, the question arises: What has Ramírez Cuéllar to gain from all this partisan imbroglio? Apparently, nothing, as proven with facts.
Before accepting Luján’s proposal to be the sole candidate at the Sixth National Congress last Jan. 26, he was the president of the powerful Budgeting Committee at the Chamber of Deputies, a post for which he filed a leave of absence to go commandeer Morena.
Plausible gossip has it that, given his great experience in organizing masses and movements, the core leadership of the power Morena represents, he has struck an alliance with Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, who was extremely worried about the bickering between Polevnski and Luján for the Morena leadership. But why worry? Because – several pundits agree – Sheinbaum sees herself as the Morena presidential candidate in the 2024 elections.
In his past political histrionics, Ramírez Cuéllar led the debtors’ movement El Barzón – fed up with Mexico’s banking loan sharks – to have them cut down interest rates. He even stormed the Chamber of Deputies on horseback. To top it all off, he had his several hundred followers march in protest of high interest rates bare naked. That grabbed him a lot of media attention!
Furthermore, AMLO and his invisibly influential wife Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller fully sympathize with Sheinbaum being a presidential hopeful. The time to start aligning Morena in the direction of the 2024 presidential election is now, particularly when Polevnski – another presidential hopeful – has fallen from grace at the National Palace.
Colleague Héctor Moctezuma put it clear in his latest: “Don’t doubt it for a second that the recognized now-leader of Morena is also the product of the bedroom occupied by the president and his wife at the National Palace.”