Sunday, October 4, 2009

Calderon announces changes in administration

Mexico Solidarity Network
Mexico News and Analysis: Sept 7-13, 2009

President Felipe Calderon announced changes in his administration this week, firing the Federal Attorney General, the Secretary of Agriculture and the head of Pemex.

Perhaps the most unexpected was the replacement of Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora, one of the architects of Calderon's war on drugs and a close political ally. Medina Mora is widely suspected of links to the Sinaloa cartel and has been battling the Secretary of Public Security, Genaro Garcia Luna, for control of the drug war strategy. Medina Mora will be reassigned to an overseas position as an ambassador, removing him completely from access to sensitive information on anti-cartel strategies. Calderon nominated Arturo Chavez Chavez, former Attorney General in the state of Chihuahua, who is famous for suggesting that women in Ciudad Juarez "use irritant spray and take courses in karate" and "stop wearing mini-skirts" to defend themselves from the rash of unsolved femicides that plagued his administration. His nomination was roundly condemned by women's organizations and human rights groups, and his approval by the Congress is anything but assured.

In Pemex, Calderon removed Jesus Reyes Heroles, one of two PRI members of his cabinet. He nominated Juan Jose Suarez Coppel, who is closely linked to a scandal during the Fox administration involving illegal Pemex contracts with private companies controlled by family members of former first lady Marta Sahagun de Fox. Suarez Coppel also faces an uphill fight for approval. Calderon nominated him early in his administration for a position in Pemex, but political parties across the spectrum rejected his candidacy.

Francisco Mayorga was nominated as the new Secretary of Agriculture, replacing Alberto Cardenas, a controversial figure who was widely distrusted in rural areas. Mayorga is noted for his strong support of NAFTA, and served in the same post during the Fox administration. His policies are expected to differ little from those of Cardenas.

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