Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Revolution? When?

One of the things that you hear a lot about Latin America and Mexico --or maybe it's just something Oppenheimer writes, but I think it goes beyond that-- is that they are hopelessly obsessed with the past. This didn't really reflect my experience, in which Mexicans were basically no more or less oblivious to events in bygone eras than were Americans. That's not a knock, either; I'd say both nations' citizens are biologically and culturally driven to focus on the present and the near future far more than the past. Anyway, here's evidence supporting my view: a BGC poll published on Monday asked the following question:
Since the approval of the 1917 Revolution various presidents have governed. Tell me, with what you know of the people who have governed, which do you think is the one who best followed the ideals of the Revolution.
Predictably, Lázaro Cárdenas came in first place, but with a mere 13 percent of the votes (he should have been around, I don't know, 100 percent). But then he was followed by Felipe Calderón, who is light years away from the ideology of the Revolution. In third place, out of nowhere, is Adolfo López Mateos. And then in fourth place is Benito Juárez, who is indeed the most celebrated Mexican ever, but who died 40 years before the Revolution began, and therefore would seem to be disqualified by the question. This is not unlike a big chunk of the US crediting Lincoln for winning WWII. Sharing fourth place with Juárez is Ernesto Zedillo, whose most memorable contribution as president was handing the presidency to a panista, which, while in my opinion a major step forward for Mexican democracy, was about as unrevolutionary an act as could be conceived.


boz said...

Not Carlos Salinas?

pc said...

Yeah I guess they couldn't find room for him on there. He should privatized some more businesses, maybe he'd be remembered enough to find his way onto the revolutionary presidents list.