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February 2002 issue of
World Press Review
(VOL. 49, No. 2)
Fox's Slow Start
World Press Review Contributing Editor
Foxs failure to make significant headway on diverse fronts,
ranging from human rights and security to fiscal reform and
job creation, has frustrated his political allies and emboldened
his partisan foes in Congress. It has escalated the pressure
for more effective governance and concrete achievements entering
his second year in office.
One year after assuming power, faced with the evident
distance between the many promises (of Foxs 2000 campaign)
and the few successes, Vicente Fox has been the object of systematic
broadsides of a harsh and even brutal tone from critics in the
media...and the political establishment, observed commentator
and historian Lorenzo Meyer in the newsmagazine Proceso
(Dec. 2). Today the happy warrior has been
transformed into an exasperated and exhausted president who
seems unable to find a way out of...the labyrinth in which the
real Mexico finds itself..., marked by profound social, geographic,
and cultural divisions, with few defenses against the tempests
of the sea of globalization through which he must navigate the
economy and politics of the country.
Sergio Aguayo Quezada, writing in Reforma (Nov. 28),
asserted that while unforeseen developments such as the U.S.
recession and war on terrorism contributed to Foxs difficulties
in his first year, a good part of the inaction is a consequence
of a strategic bet to appease the old regime. Thus, Fox deferred
measures supposing, in that way, that he would ensure his ability
to govern and obtain the support needed for his program of change.
Instead, he wrote, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, evicted
from the presidency for the first time in more than seven decades,
dug in to block congressional action on the centerpiece of Foxs
first-year legislative agenda, a sweeping fiscal reform that
included income tax cuts and a controversial elimination of
value-added tax exemptions for foods and medicines.
At the same time, Foxs indecision and delay in pursuing
human-rights and corruption cases squandered a rare opportunity
to make decisions that would have strengthened his support
from the domestic and international community....Appeasing the
repressors and the corrupt is not the way. The wager must be
on measures that combat impunity and build...a state of law,
Aguayo Quezada said.
Soledad Loaeza, writing in La Jornada (Dec. 1), argued
that the political reverses suffered by President Fox,
his advisers, cabinet, and party are attributable solely to
themselves. While strained relations with a combative
legislative opposition have contributed to policy paralysis,
Loaeza wrote, the administration has also incurred self-inflicted
wounds due to confusion over official policy and feuds
among cabinet members. Such infighting sends an image
of disorder and self-interest that damages the president...because
it reveals an unexpected lack of administrative and leadership
capacity in the great multinational business executive marketed
by the Friends of Fox.
Meyers analysis in Proceso was more optimistic
that Fox would be able to overcome a disappointing first year
to fulfill at least part of what he promised and initiate
a virtuous circle of democracy.