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Victor or Victim?

VIEWS: 21 PAGES: 3

With all congressional seats on the line as well as the government and legislatures of up to ten states, not only do they represent the most important shift in the balance of political power until presidential elections in 2012, they are increasingly seen as a referendum on Calderon's leadership and the viability of PAN at the forefront of Mexican politics. FEW OPTIONS Election time will show whether actions such as shutting down Mexico City for a number of days were a bold move to stave-off mass contagion, or an irresponsible reaction to an unjustified panic fuelled by an alarmist media and international pressure.

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									                                                                         THEWORLDTODAY.ORG JULY 2009
                                                                                                                                             PAGE 27
MEXICO: SWINE FLU
Rodrigo Delgado Aguilera, RESEARCH ASSISTANT, INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS, CHATHAM HOUSE




Vıctor
or Vıctım?
                                                 i
On the verge of crucial mid-
term elections, President                                  N SPITE OF ITS CLOSE TIES TO THE UNITED STATES, MEXICO’S
                                                             role in world affairs now passes largely unnoticed outside
Felipe Calderon’s struggling                                 the Americas. There it is overshadowed by the fiery
                                                             rhetoric of Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez, which
government is facing the fallout                             seldom fails to make headlines, and the leadership and
                                                             visibility of Brazil’s President Lula da Silva, undoubtedly
from the swine flu epidemic,                      one of the stars of the developing world. Now this has abruptly
unabated drug violence and the                    changed, although for all the wrong reasons.
                                                      The swine flu outbreak has unexpectedly shifted international
country’s third economic crisis                   attention towards Mexico at a time when it must also deal with
                                                  escalating drug violence – which recently led some to label it a
in as many decades, the worst                     ‘failed’ state – and the impact of the global recession. The result is
                                                  an unappetising list of ingredients ahead of mid-term elections
in the western hemisphere.                        which will test the resilience of President Felipe Calderon’s

                                                                                           LO R N E M ATA LO N / B B C ’ S T H E W O R L D
THEWORLDTODAY.ORG JULY 2009
PAGE 28




          government in the face of growing concern over his ability to        believe the government overreacted to the crisis and caved-in
          manage the country’s plethora of problems.                           to pressure from the media and abroad at the cost of a
                                                                               further hit to the economy.
                                                                                   The economy is already expected to contract at least
          LO O M I N G E L ECTO RA L D E F EAT ?                               5.5 percent this year, according to official forecasts, but an
              After almost a decade in power, Calderon’s conservative          even more severe decline is not inconceivable, perhaps as
          PAN party confronts the likelihood of its first major                bad or worse as the devastating crisis of 1994-1995, better
          electoral setback in the July polls. With all congressional          known as the ‘tequila crisis’
								
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