OPINION

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By ALEJANDRO ENVILA FISHER

The parliamentary defeat on Sunday, April 17, of Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) controversial electricity reform bill was not only a bruising blow for the Mexican president’s National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party, but it was also a chance for the Mexican people to settle some outstanding score within the country’s so-called Green Party.

In the follow-up to the Easter Sunday vote, many Mexicans have discovered that social networks can be used for a lot more than posting selfies and exchanging insults in times of polarization.

The weaponization of tweets and other internet posts to intimidate and demonize opposition deputies who blocked the current administration’s bulldozing efforts to win passage of the bill exposed the rotting core of a party that has repeatedly and unabashedly sold itself and its purported ideals for personal gain.

But that same tool of mass communication can be inverted into a viral campaign aimed at the disqualification of the members of a party that once presented themselves as pro-environment only to endorse and support a constitutional reform that would have significantly increased pollution and further endangered the nation’s fragile ecosystems.

The PVEM is and always has been a franchise party, that is, a political organization that exists for the sole purpose of being subsidized by a larger party.

Franchise parties survive precisely because they have franchisees, disguised as leaders, who, in addition to knowing how to sell their votes, are skilled at manipulating and winning over supporters who, in turn — as incredible as it may seem — finance the campaigns and allow these pseudo-parties to maintain their registration.

Mexico’s Green Party is, in fact, the country’s most successful example of the franchise model of political corruption, born out of under-the-table dealings and cryptic compromises between groups of opportunists and politicians of all stripes.

It exists within the spectrum of Mexico’s political landscape because its members are chameleons, adapting to whatever scenario surrounds them at the moment and camouflaging themselves to fit into the popular backdrop of the time.

An undiscerning Mexican public that lets itself be lured into the web of superficial illusions the party presents not only supplies the PVEM with enough votes to subsist, but contributes to its expansion.

The persistent presence of the PVEM in Mexican politics (the party has been around since the late 1980s) is due to the fact that its members have always known how to barter their votes in powerplay arenas, but also because certain sectors of Mexican society have supported it, at times naïvely, at times for personal gain.

The fact of the matter is that the PVEM is neither a real political party nor an environmental movement. It is an opportunist sham that contributes nothing to Mexican democracy. And its members have never taken any decisive action to stop the brazen abuse of the electoral franchise that hides a shameful family business, passed down from one generation of carpetbaggers to the next.

The PVEM has learned to adapt to whatever political trend is popular at the time. It was a faithful ally to the old Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that ruled the country for seven decades, until the conservative National Action Party (PAN) replaced the PRI. Then its members put on the blue-and-white hats of the PAN.

When the PAN was replaced by a return of the PRI under former President Enrique Peña Nieto, the Green Party again changed its fealty to the tri-color standard.

And now that Morena is in power, the PVEM members have sworn their allegiance to AMLO.

Examples of dark operations involving the PVEM abound. No one in the federal government today wants to remember, but it was the Green Party that was behind the video scandals that, 18 years ago, derailed the political ambitions of then-Mexico City Mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador. And it was the PVEM that was itself shrouded in calumny in 2004 when its then-leader Jorge Emilio González Martínez was filmed receiving a $2 million dollar bribe from a developer in Quintana Roo in order to obtain permits to build hotel rooms in the ecological reserve zone of Cancun.

During the June 2021 midterm elections, the PVEM shamelessly paid off influencers to say they supported their candidates, in blatant violation of Mexican electoral laws.

Ah, but in politics, memories are short-lived, and whatever strange bedfellows the winds of time may bring are always suitably accommodated, just so long as they have votes to be wrangled. And so, the PVEM has survived scandal-after-scandal and always come out smelling like a rose.

But after watching these fake environmentalists live comfortably off the federal budget for nearly 30 years, be handed over choice appointments as parliamentarians and even governors despite never having won an election on their own merits, and callously sell off their votes to the highest bidder as they switch from one side to the other on the political spectrum, the Mexican public has finally begun to see the Green Party for what it really is, a sham.

It is now up to the Mexican people to put an end to this farce of a party by denying it and its members votes in the next federal elections, and to expose the PVEM and its charades as lies.

The Green Party is a political anomaly that has survived far too long. It has cost billions of pesos to the government and taxpayers. Far from promoting sustainable development, it has in fact contributed to the degradation of the environment. It has elevated freeloaders and sold out the nation to line its members’ pockets with gold.

The PVEM is a horse-and-buggy spectacle that has no purpose within the framework of a modern-day democracy.

It is high time to bring down the curtain on these devious actors disguised as tree-hugging environmentalists. It is time for the PVEM to go.

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