What's Going Down in Mexico? Free Market Moves or Status Quo?


The lefty Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is still demanding a recount (along with hundreds of thousands of his closest friends), but Felipe Calderon is now the presumptive next president of Mexico, with a 244,000 edge out of 41 million votes cast.

The Los Angeles Times profiles him under the headline "A Free Market Man," the evidence for which the story presents is that Calderon wants to open up Mexico's state-owned oil company Pemex to foreign investors (which will require 2/3 congressional approval), impose a flat tax (with the idea it will increase the government's collection ability, currently low), and "relax labor laws to make it easier for employers to hire and fire."

The San Francisco Chronicle, meanwhile, describes him as a "centrist" who

will continue the historic mechanisms of the Mexican state to keep social stability–paternalism, (welfare) assistance and subsidies," said Arnoldo Cuellar, executive editor of El Correo, a daily newspaper in Guanajuato state, one of the PAN's [Calderon's party, which has overcome the PRI that dominated Mexico through most of the 20th century] strongholds.

"And like Fox, he will focus more on stimulating business, and he will tacitly encourage traditional values," said Cuellar. "He's basically a status-quo candidate. He doesn't want to change much. There's nothing you can really say about him one way or another."

Reason's David Weigel on the non-threatening nature of modern Latin American leftism.