By RICARDO CASTILLO
This is the brief story of a tempest in a teapot, along with a brief analysis of what the political situation in Mexico is in the times of covid-19, at least for the day.
The latest political snafu is a lot of fun, but it was also meaty enough to make for 24 more hours of political gossip, which seems to be the rhythm the Mexican political divide is taking these days.
I’ll just remind readers that on Monday, April 27, the news was fully devoted to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) bashing the $12 billion loan deal struck between the nation’s billionaires cartel, the Mexico Businesses Council (CMN, not to be confused with the Business Coordinating Council, or CCE) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) until both the CMN and the IADB made it clear that it had nothing to do with the Mexican Treasury, which was not responsible for it.
Pundits were just getting over that one when another news item made a rickety noise. Mexican Employers Confederation (Coparmex) president and alleged presidential hopeful Gustavo de Hoyos Walther announced the appointment of former National Action Party (PAN) Senator Javier Lozano Alarcón and labor secretary under former President Felipe Calderón, as well as spokesman for former Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) presidential candidate and notorious loser José Antonio Meade Kuribreña, as the official spokesman for Coparmex. The designation was made Tuesday, April 28, in the afternoon.
The flash in the pan stir lasted less than 24 hours, since by noon Wednesday, April 29, De Hoyos Walther – with the modern tool of a surreptitious stab in the back, namely via Twitter – changed the title for Javier Lozano Alarcón from “official” to “honorary” spokesman, with certain freedoms but making it clear that De Hoyos was “the only spokesman for Coparmex.”
This was too much for Lozano, who on Tuesday evening had been bragging about being the most feared political foe AMLO could have and telling the leftwing press cartoonists – who had a heyday Wednesday portraying him as a mean dog on the leash of De Hoyos, or with De Hoyos pulling him out of the sewer, smeared with excretions – saying “I scared them all.”
By Wednesday, April 29, Lozano Alarcón hit the noon newscasts – several of them – to claim that “I am not a spokesman or anything else for Coparmex.” Then he went on to describe what happened during the last 22 – not even a full day – hours.
Lozano Alarcón claimed that De Hoyos Walther “was incompetent at handling the situation, letting people inside Coparmex put a lot of pressure on him and then withdrawing the invitation he made me in a most untidy manner, just a few hours after the announcement. I want nothing to do with that and, if he can count, he can count me out.”
Lozano claimed he had accepted De Hoyos Walther’s invitation because he looked like the strongest voice within the entrepreneurial sector for a political career and try to achieve the unity of now-minority parties, which are badly in need of leadership, but “he couldn’t control internally (at Coparmex) the announcement of a spokesman. His people rebelled against him.”
Lozano Alarcón admitted on radio that his split with De Hoyos Walther “is a shame, because it is precisely actions like these that generate a situation in which there can’t be a strong and serious political opposition.” Lozano said he saw it also as a shame “because de Hoyos Walther is a counterweight to the totalitarian attempts by the government of the republic.”
The original Twitter messaging by Gustavo de Hoyo was: “The decisions by the @GobiernoMX are compromising the validity of democratic and republican institution. Debate is fundamental to prevent setbacks. I am grateful to @JLozanoA for his integration to this challenge as a special spokesman for @Coparmex for the defense of the state of law.”
Beyond the flash in the pan, it is no secret that Gustavo de Hoyos Walther is using Coparmex as his launching pad for a political career, even if the organization’s statutes claim that its president cannot do so.
It is also a fact that, while proposing democracy, De Hoyos Walther has sought reelection at Coparmex now for five years in a row – the regular tenure as president is for one year only – and also has approached the National Action Party (PAN), of which he is a bona fide registered member, as well as the still living remains of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) to come up with a political joint venture to launch candidates together during the 2021 midterm elections, and as the cherry on the cake, his own candidacy for president in 2024.
As a side hobby, De Hoyos Walther – in addition to running Coparmex, with 36,000 registered employers – has made it a custom to pummel López Obrador whenever he can. Actually, many saw his invitation to Lozano Alarcón as an open declaration of war against the president since Lozano Alarcón is an unbending AMLO adversary. It looked for a moment that the two could put up a unified front against AMLO. But, then, it became clear and evident that Lozano has enemies within Coparmex who would not admit De Hoyos imposition of him.
A shot in the foot for De Hoyos? You bet.