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Mexico's Next President

November 04, 1987

Your editorial "Mexico: Troubling Question" (Oct. 7), indeed, leaves one both troubled and questioning. Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Mexico's next president, you admit, has "not much standing with the people;" he is a colorless candidate "who has never faced the voters in an election." His choice, you imply, "seems to ignore the public" will, while democracy, American vintage, it appears, has been flouted. Yet, ironically, you applaud the selection of Salinas de Gortari by Mexico's oligarchy.

You base your enthusiasm on his youth, "brilliance," schooling and "commitment" to economic reform. But, as the facts stand, the only youthful quality of this man is his age; his mind, judged by his politics of austerity and inflation, hardly speak for experimentation or change, the hallmarks of youth.

His "brilliance" and job qualifications, you apparently assume, stem from his years of study under American tutors at Harvard. Many Mexicans will certainly disagree with that evaluation; to their way of thinking, the formulas of the American success story have little relevance for underdeveloped countries--the sad situation of Mexico.

To the contrary, the austerity politics of International Monetary Fund and Ronald Reagan's United States may be what ails Mexico: They injure most Mexicans.

The "reforms" you speak of, to put it bluntly, have come at the expense of the poor; even the middle class, the offspring of modern Mexico, is less well off; only the rich benefit from austerity.

Worst still, with the imposition of Salinas, millions of Mexicans can merely look forward to more and more days without jobs, to poverty and, in many cases, to hunger. If this formula is good for the United States, as you say, it is not for the majority of Mexicans. It may be, furthermore, not even beneficial for wealthy Americans because, surely it will eventually turn the discontent visible today everywhere in Mexico into the seeds of rebellion.


San Diego

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