- The Washington Times - Friday, December 1, 2000


Today, as Vincente Fox is inaugurated president of Mexico, he breaks the 71-year monopoly that the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has held on power. Mr. Fox has promised, as one of his priorities as president, to re-examine Mexico's past.
Although Mr. Fox must prove his mettle as president, he has already demonstrated noteworthy leadership skills. While he campaigned, Mr. Fox won over influential allies across the ideological spectrum. Since the PRI still holds a plurality in Congress, Mr. Fox's ability to reach out could be crucial.
It is no wonder that Mr. Fox had such wide appeal. Mr. Fox's call to gradually establish freer movement of workers between the United States appealed to both liberal and conservative establishments. And his vow to combat corruption also resonated widely in Mexico.
The agenda that Mr. Fox and his advisers laid out this week is encouraging. In disinterested fashion, Mr. Fox has proposed creating a mechanism for presidential impeachment. The president has also recommended legislation which would allow legislators to run for re-election to Congress, noting that the ban on immediate re-election has created a slew of inexperienced legislators. The president has also cautioned against a military approach to fighting the drug war.
Perhaps one of Mr. Fox's most provocative proposals is his pledge to create a "transparency commission" that will take a close look at the official version of Mexico's past. In the seven decades that the PRI was in power, the party often manipulated the truth, papering over its role in brutal acts, such as the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre of students and protesters by troops in Mexico City. Like something out of a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, the government denied the massacre ever occurred and moved to eliminate its mention in history books.
In all fairness, Mexico began its break from PRI corruption under Mr. Fox's predecessor, Ernesto Zedillo. Under Mr. Zedillo's rule, Mexico held its first fair presidential election in decades, and he leaves the country in good economic shape. Although Mr. Fox will face formidable challenges, particularly in fighting drug-related corruption, Mexico's outlook is more positive than it has been in years.

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