21 July 2009

Visa demands will be costly, Mexicans say

Cdn. Ambassador to Mexico
Cdn. Ambassador to Mexico, Guillermo Rishchynski, speaks with reporters on the Canadian decision to impose visa requirements on Mexican travellers to Canada.

From the Ottawa Citizen

By David Agren
July 20, 2009

Adriana Arriaga, 28, fiddled with her iPhone and leaned impatiently along a metal barricade on a recent morning, while waiting for an entry visa outside the Canadian embassy in a posh district of the Mexican capital. A university graduate who speaks English well and works in a family medical-supply business, she booked a five-day junket to Toronto, Montreal and Niagara Falls last month and was scheduled to leave on Sunday.

She cited "Canada's natural beauty," as her main motive for heading north, but acknowledged that the ease of travelling to a country that imposed no visa restrictions on Mexicans also factored into her buying decision.

"You feel so much more welcome and respected," Arriaga said of the ability to travel without a visa. "It really gives you more of an incentive to go."

That incentive ended on July 13, when the Canadian government announced new visa requirements on Mexican travellers due to a flood of refugee claims from the Latin American country -- 89 per cent of which have been deemed invalid over the past five years.

Visa-free travel had been Canada's calling card in Mexico ever since NAFTA went into effect and been the foundation of successful promotional campaigns that have made Canada one of the preferred vacation and education destinations for Mexican travellers and students.

Past promotional efforts have included a popular education fair known as EduCanada that has toured the country for more than a decade, attracting up to 15,000 potential students each year. The Canadian Tourism Commission even imported a sappy teen telenovela (soap opera) called Rebelde to the Canadian Rockies in 2005 to film a week's worth of episodes.

Roughly 261,000 Mexican tourists visited Canada last year, according to Canadian officials. Kurt Schroeder, sales and marketing director for Banff Lake Louise Tourism, whose region benefited from the Rebelde campaign, called Mexico "one of Canada's bright spots for inbound visitors."

Other Canadian initiatives such as eliminating all visa requirements for those studying in Canada for less than six months and the continued expansion of a successful program for allowing agricultural workers to work in Canada have reinforced positive perceptions of Canada in Mexico -- and appeared to move in the opposite direction of the U.S., which has been tightening restrictions on travellers and beefing up security on its border with Mexico.

"For the last decade, trips to Canada, for work, pleasure or business, were very easy and taken for granted," said Marcela Lopez, a doctoral student in Canadian studies at University of the Americas in Puebla.

Imposing visa requirements on Mexican travellers, she said, "has injured the (Canada-Mexico) relationship."

The sudden decision to impose visa requirements has been poorly received in Mexico, where newspapers have run indignant front-page stories of long lines forming in the predawn hours outside the Canadian embassy and travellers facing the prospect of missing their flights.

The seemingly clumsy implementation of the program -- Arriaga called the visa application process "disorganized" -- and complaints that Canadian officials failed to fully explain the process to those needing travel documents only fuel the discontent.

The dissatisfaction and the long lines for visas show just how significant Mexican interest in Canada is, says Mexico City-based immigration consultant David Mendez, whose business sends students to study in foreign countries. He says that only the U.S. and Spain are more popular as destinations than Canada for Mexicans.

He predicted that over the long term, the new rules would be felt more in Canada, where an industry has mushroomed to serve Mexican students, than in Mexico.

"Thousands of jobs in Canada depend on Mexican students," he said.

08 July 2009

A blast from the past

With the PRI making such a comeback on July 5, this story originally published in early March on the PRI marking its 80th anniversary earlier this year seems apt.

80 years on, PRI strong

The News

Many foreigners and Mexicans best know the Institutional Revolutionary Party for the inglorious acts carried out during its 71 years of uninterrupted rule.

Those watching Mexico from abroad will likely recall the bloody crackdown on student protesters at Tlatelolco on the eve of the 1968 Olympics. Some may remember the Dirty War of the 1970s, when hundreds or possibly even thousands of rebels and left-wing activists disappeared. Then in 1988, when change in governance seemed a possibility - even if only a remote one - a mysterious computer crash in the Interior Secretariat wiped out early election results favoring the opposition.

For those living in Mexico, the PRI's actions touched their daily lives, sometimes for the worse. Recurring peso crises derailed the country's promising ascents toward First World status. The government's inept response to the 1985 earthquake left tens of thousands to fend for themselves. And come election time, coercive vote-grabbing schemes regularly suppressed the democratic will.

But as the PRI turns 80 on Wednesday, party members are largely unapologetic for any past transgressions or excesses. And, according to recent public opinion polls, many Mexicans seem willing to forgive too.

PRI members instead speak proudly of their legacy as the party that built modern Mexico and its most cherished institutions, ushered in stability and order after the chaos of the Revolution and presided over a country that has never suffered a coup - an unmatched feat in most of Latin America.

"People from other countries in Latin America always saw the PRI as a grand example of Latin American politics," said Rafael Rodríguez, a former national party president and ex-governor of Campeche. "I don't say that with false pride, or false modesty. I say that because it's a fact."

PRI members also boast of achieving the social objectives that were demanded by those who took up arms in the Revolution: labor rights, providing education that is both secular and free of cost and the disruption of haciendas and ensuing distribution of its parcels to landless campesinos. On the economic front, the PRI oversaw an expansion that saw the gross domestic product grow six-fold between 1930 and 1970.

"There wasn't only growth, but growth with social peace, with social stability," Rodríguez said.

Of course, many in Latin America hold far less effusive opinions on the PRI and its practices. Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa, for instance, once branded the successive PRI governments the "perfect dictatorship."

But the political system that the PRI built - with its strong respect for the presidency and institutions - has had staying power, as have the vices from that system - which include corruption, the formation of patronage groups and the practice of rewarding friends while severely punishing foes.

The political culture developed by the PRI is so entrenched in Mexico that former presidential candidate Patricia Mercado, who captured prominence by leading a small left-wing party that bashed the PRI way of doing politics, once candidly commented while campaigning in 2006: "I think that there's an inner PRIísta in all of us."


The PRI dates back to 1929, a period of chaos and political instability. The Revolution had ended barely a decade earlier, a Catholic uprising against anti-clerical measures was flaring in western Mexico and the country was still reeling from the 1928 assassination of President-elect Alvaro Obregón.

As Rodríguez and other PRI members tell it, former President Plutarco Elías Calles proposed the creation of a big-tent party that would be known as the National Revolutionary Party, or PNR.

The PNR would envelop the country's disparate political factions, impose order and solidify the gains won during the Revolution.

"It was a political movement that brought together the previous forces of the Revolution that were dispersed among military commanders and civilian groups," said PRI Deputy Alfredo Ríos Camarena. "No political body existed that represented in a uniform way all of the interests and principles produced by the Revolution and the Constitution of 1917."

Some historians, however, interpret the PNR's founding as nothing more than a naked power grab by Calles, who had served as president from 1924 to 1928 and is considered to have been the dominant political figure until 1936.

"The PNR was a party that brought together caudillos (strongmen) . [It]was the product of the most authoritarian tendencies of the Revolution," said Ilán Semo, a political historian at the Universidad Iberoamericana. "[It] was one of the greatest evils of the Revolution."

According to Semo, the new party showed its authoritarian tendencies almost immediately. The PNR's candidate in the 1929 election, Pascual Ortiz Rubio, won in a process widely considered to have been rigged.

The victory was just the first of many for the PNR and its subsequent incarnations. Allegations of fraud, too, would continue.


The PNR solidified its gains in the 1930s, but was still a work in progress when Lázaro Cárdenas took office in 1934. He rechristened the PNR as the Mexican Revolutionary Party, or PRM, and went about incorporating broad sectors of the society into the PRM, including labor unions and campesino groups. The incorporation of broad sectors of society set the stage for a corporatist system that the party would leverage for support in subsequent decades.

Cárdenas is perhaps best known for his populist measures, however. He expropriated the oil industry in 1938 and accelerated land reforms to redistribute vast tracts of hacienda land and create the "ejido" system of communal property ownership. He also introduced an education reform and expanded state ownership of numerous enterprises.

PRI members point to these initiatives as fulfilling social objectives that were fought for in the Revolution.

Semo said the moves simply reflected pragmatism: Distributing land nullified one of the main issues behind potential campesino uprisings, while expropriating the oil industry put "enormous economic power" in the hands of the state.

A leadership style known as "presidencialismo," which gave the president broad powers that would be transferred every six years to his preferred successor in a process know as the "dedazo," also took hold during that period.


The PRI adopted its present name in 1946 under the regime of President Miguel Alemán. A new generation of leadership with few links to the Revolution had emerged; generals and revolutionary figures had largely left the government.

The Revolution had become "institutional," reflected in the party's new name, which PRI Deputy Ríos Camarena called "antithetical."

"It represented the institutionalism that emerged from the Revolution," he said.

The economy flourished and industrial activity boomed in the subsequent decades under a scheme of import substitutions. PRI presidents would expand the scope of some of the nation's most iconic public institutions - the IMSS, the public education system and a military firmly under civilian control, for instance - and exert heavy influence over institutions developed in the private sector.

Government influence over many facets of day-to-day life became even more entrenched. Newspapers bought newsprint from a government-owned supplier, while vendors belonged to unions that staunchly backed the PRI. Campesinos purchased seed and fertilizer from state-run outfits and sold their crops to government buyers. The government also ran the telephone company, railroads and post office.

Opposition parties and rebel movements were kept firmly in check. The federal government violently suppressed a railroad strike in the 1950s, while the Army hunted down rebels in southern Mexico. Students protesting in Mexico City were shot dead in the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre.

For some, earning a livelihood also depended on backing the PRI. Newspapers that bucked the PRI line would suddenly find themselves without newsprint or find vendors unwilling to sell their papers. Campesinos who needed inputs and credit would find delivery of such necessities dependent on their support for the PRI.


The PRI was deposed by voters in 2000, but many political observers say the origins of its downfall began in the 1960s.

Some analysts and historians attribute the party's decline to changing social attitudes that simply passed the PRI by.

"The hierarchical structure of the PRI perfectly matched the culture . the culture of the church and other institutions ... but in the 1960s, the gaps were apparent," said Mexico City pollster Dan Lund. "The world changed . the PRI just didn't keep up."

Others point to recurring economic crises that resulted in peso crises each time. "A catalogue of sins in economic matters fatally wounded [the PRI]," said ITAM political science professor Federico Estévez.

PRI members, too, acknowledge that mistakes were made. Rodríguez, the former party president, declined to offer examples of specific actions on the part of PRI governments, but said that "many things" led to the PRI's downfall, including, "a natural decline." He also cited a lack of unity and the passage of electoral reform measures - by PRI governments.

But he rejected allegations that his party had ever been undemocratic.

"It's said that the PRI was a hegemonic party . and that the opposition parties forced it to implement democracy in this country. This is totally false," Rodríguez said. "[The PRI] was responsible for its own fall."

The National Action Party, or PAN, ousted the PRI from power in 2000.


The PRI suffered a rough adjustment to becoming the opposition upon losing the presidency. It also suffered disunity in the subsequent years. PRI presidential candidate Roberto Madrazo ran a distant third in the 2006 election. Some analysts would write the party off on the federal level.

Forecasts of the PRI's demise were premature, however. The party has bounced back on the local level and now leads public opinion surveys for the July midterm elections. With a plunge in the economy and surge in violence attributed to organized crime, some voters are expressing nostalgia for the order - however authoritarian it was - of the PRI years.

"In the PRI times, there were hardly any kidnappings. There weren't narcos going around killing people," said Mexico City taco stand owner Efraín García, who plans on voting PRI. "The PRI had control of all of this."

The current government of the National Action Party, García said, is run by "new people who don't know what they're doing."

PRI members are banking on that kind of public sentiment to recapture power.

"In the PRI . there's a great amount of experience," said Ríos Camarena. "The experience produces maturity and that maturity draws people in times of economic and security crises."

07 July 2009



The PAN losses suffered on July 5 extend beyond the disastrous performance in the midterm elections - and hit the conservative party hard in many of its heartland states. The party lost gubernatorial offices in San Luis Potosí and Querétaro. It lost the suburban corridor to the west of Mexico City in the State of Mexico that includes Naucalpan and Tlalnepantla. The PAN even lost municipal races in Guanajuato, the most conservative state in the Republic, as it dropped the state capital Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende.

Party president Germán Martínez resigned Monday, when he accpeted blame for the losses - and took gratuitous barbs from disaffected party rivals such as former PAN president Manuel Espino. But dissatisfaction with the party leadership goes beyond Martínez and the PAN National Executive Committee and has been expressed on the state level.

Take Jalisco, for example, where the Panistas in Guadalajara turned out in force to protest ... the PAN! (Pardon the Grupo Reforma-style headline.)

The PAN lost its majority in the state congress and all six mayoral races in the Guadalajara metropolitan area on Sunday - a reversal of the PAN sweep just three years ago. On Tuesday, the Mural newspaper reported that some 400 Panistas protested outside the party offices in Guadalajara's Col. Americana to demand the ouster of PAN Jalisco president Eduardo Rosales. A few colonias away, another group of Panistas armed with eggs protested outside the governor's official residence against the leadership of PAN Gov. Emilio González, who they blamed for the July 5 defeat.

Ironically, the local PRI had been rocked by internal conflicts that involved irate members taking over the party headquarters in central Guadalajara last April after the state PRI president - who eventually resigned - welshed on a deal for registering municipal councilors.

This week, it was the PAN's turn for conflict - not entirely unusual for Jalisco, where the party is split between a faction known as the "paquistas" that is loyal to former governor and former interior minister Francisco Ramírez Acuña - who won a seat in Chamber of Deputies and is being mentioned as the potential PAN leader in the Chamber - and González, whose PAN faction tilts decidedly in the conservative-Catholic direction.

The scorn for González is obvious. He courted controversy over the first two years of his term by mouthing off on contentious social issues - questioning if an AIDS prevention program that distributed condoms should also give away hotel vouchers and "un six de cerveza," for example - and pledging 90 million pesos of government money for the construction of a Catholic sanctuary in Tlaquepaque that would pay homage to the martyrs of the Cristero Rebellion. (The money was returned by the church; González made things worse by saying at an audience of business and religious types, "Me vale madre," which politely translates: "I don't give a flying ..."

But blaming González is not entirely fair. The paquista faction won the primary elections earlier this year. The losing PAN mayoral candidate in Guadalajara, Jorge Salinas, also happens to be the brother-in-law of Jalisco PAN president Eduardo Rosales. The runner up in the primary contest for the mayoral nomination - a former mayor of Guadalajara - alleged nepotism and quit the party. 

The PAN ran into other problems in Jalisco, most notably the mayor of Tonala being removed due to his alleged involvement in a homicide and the operation of an illegal slot machine operation.

Still, it must be said that this is far from being the end of the PAN in Jalisco, where it has governed since 1995. Six years ago, the PRI made gains in the 2003 Jalisco midterm and municipal elections, but the party was soundly thumped in 2006. The state also has a solid two-party political system in which the third-place PRD is divided and non-existent in places, the Green Party is on the rise and the PRI is said by some observers to be more conservative - and friendly with influential church leader, Cardinal Juan Sandoval - than the PAN.

06 July 2009

Calderón's right-hand man resigns


Germán Martínez promised big things upon winning the PAN presidency by acclamation in December 2007 - a move that analysts say was ushered in by President Felipe Calderón, who wanted to wrest control of his party from rival factions, and had been friends with Martínez from their days as young Panistas in Michoacán.

Martínez promised unity for a party that was split among warring factions, and divided over the leadership of polemic outgoing president Manuel Espino, whose conservative and Catholic factions never warmed to the 2006 candidacy of President Felipe Calderón. Martínez also promised to put an end to an electoral losing streak that had cost the PAN state and local governments in places such as Yucatán, Aguascalientes and Mazatlán. He said that the continuation of such electoral calamities - blamed on party infighting over nominations - would ultimately result in the PAN losing the presidency in 2012.

The losing continued throughout 2008, however. Martínez attributed those electoral misfortunes to geography; local elections were held in such PAN wastelands as Baja California Sur, Hidalgo and Guerrero that year. But late last year, he promised that 2009 would be different. He promised that the PAN would retain its leading stature in the Chamber of Deputies and win many of the six governor's races being held in 2009. He pointedly promised to win Nuevo León back from the PRI.

He promised too much.

Martínez resigned as PAN president on Monday after leading the party to an election night debacle in which the PRI and its ally the Green Party (PVEM) gained a majority in the Chamber of Deputies. Even worse, the PAN lost five of the six governors races, including Nuevo León. Other losses came in PAN strongholds such as Querétaro and San Luis Potosí, where the PAN was knocked from power. The party also was decimated in places such as the conservative heartland of Jalisco as the PRI took 12 of the 20 seats in the state congress and the four big municipalities that comprise the Guadalajara metropolitan area. The PRI also displaced the PAN in its State of Mexico strongholds to the west of Mexico City - most notably in Nuacalpan and the state capital, Toluca.

Some of the PAN's lack of electoral success could be blamed on external factors such as the global economic crisis, an economy weakened by the outbreak of swine flu, and public security problems. The PRI also got its act together after being humbled in the 2006 election.

But Martínez - who some PAN politicians acknowledge works closely with Calderón - both annoyed and alienated many party members with his tactics, which were branded undemocratic. The PAN National Executive Committee appointed the majority of PAN congressional candidates in 2009, along with gubernatorial candidates in places such as Nuevo León. The practice drew accusations of Martínez using the "dedazo," an old PRI practice of the president hand-picking his successor that had been decried by many Panistas during their days of being erstwhile members of the opposition.

Martínez also was the public face of a fierce PAN electoral offensive that accused the PRI of being a half-hearted participant in the war on drugs and blamed it for failing to tackle the cartel problem during the years that it ruled the country. That strategy may have worked; it perhaps prevented the July 5 vote from being a complete wipe out, but not much more.

That strategy angered many in the PRI, whose leadership largely responded to the attacks in a non-combative fashion. And now with the PRI wielding power in San Lazaro, Martínez became an obstacle to Calderón pushing any sort of reforms through Congress in the latter half of his administration. Martínez's departure became even more necessary since the lower house is entirely responsible for the passing the budget - the PAN-led Senate has no role in the process.

No replacement has been named for Martínez, who assumed full responsibility for the elections outcome in his resignation address. (Calderón surely deserves some of the blame, too.) Espino weighed in earlier in the day by calling on Martínez to humble himself. No doubt, many disaffected Panistas - those on the outs with Calderón, the conservative-Catholic Panistas in Western Mexico, and those loyal to former PAN presidential candidate and legal bigwig Diego Fernández de Cevallos, former president Vicente Fox and, of course, Espino - will no doubt be jockying for control of the party in the coming months.

And what about Sen. Santiago Creel? PAN presidents appoint the party's parliamentary leaders. Could he be in line for a comeback, or another run at the PAN nomination in 2012? Perhaps. But Calderón surely must go down as the biggest loser in this affair; Martínez was his right-hand man.

This article ran in The News last December, one year after Martínez became PAN president.

For right-hand man, time to get it right

By David Agren
The News

Monday marks one year since Germán Martínez took the helm of the governing National Action Party amid allegations that, instead of promoting internal unity and ending a string of embarrassing election defeats as hoped, he has purged rivals from the party leadership and presided over a disastrous year at the polls.

Back in the fall of 2007, Martínez was tapped by President Felipe Calderón to restore order in the PAN, which was rife with internal conflict and led by an executive at odds with Los Pinos. He was to guide the party into 2009, when anticipated success in midterm elections would facilitate the president's agenda of reforms.

The jury is still out on the effectiveness of Martínez's short reign as party president. Some analysts and PAN lawmakers say it is still too soon to pass judgment. At the end of his first year, some conflicts are still simmering - particularly a rift with the faction loyal to former party president Manuel Espino - and he has presided over a string of unsuccessful election results at the state and local level.

But everyone agrees that next year will test Martínez's mettle as he leads the governing party into midterm elections that come amid a sharp economic downturn, a bloody and increasingly difficult war on drug trafficking cartels and a revival of the previously downtrodden Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

"The acid test is next year, with six governorships at stake," said ITAM political science professor Federico Estévez.

The PAN's unimpressive local election results in 2008 have been received poorly in some circles within the party.

"It's evidently a reflection on the inner workings of the party at the municipal, state and federal levels," PAN Deputy Cristian Castaños told The News.

In spite of the losses - many of them in states that traditionally vote against the PAN, anyway - the lawmaker was quick to credit Martínez with taking necessary, if not universally popular, steps toward modernizing PAN policies, working cooperatively with rival political party leaders and keeping a lid on internal discord.

In April, the PAN loosened restrictions preventing non-members from running as party candidates in order to tap a larger pool of talent and avoid nomination squabbles in cliquish local committees.

Martínez also deepened relations with the presidents of opposition parties by striking agreements over how to keep illicitly gained funds out of election campaigns and issuing a joint condemnation of the Sept. 15 grenade attacks during Independence Day celebrations in Morelia.

Martínez even made attempts to reach out to some of the PAN's estranged factions - most notably, former President Vicente Fox, who was given an advisory position to the party's Strategic Planning Commission.

"The easiest path [for Martínez] was not to make any noise, not fight anyone, and don't pay any cost," said Castaño.

Martínez assumed the party presidency without a fight. No other PANista dared oppose Calderón's longtime collaborator and anointed candidate for deposing a regime headed by Espino. (Espino had fought Calderón's presidential aspirations and at times since 2006, had even hindered the newly elected president's ability to effectively wield power from Los Pinos.)

The ascent of Martínez, a Michoa-cán native like Calderón and a former federal comptroller, to the PAN presidency accelerated a process through which Calderón seized control of the party and began tightening the close inner circle of confidants he has depended on for governing during much of his second year in office.

Martínez adopted a similar style to that of Calderón. He renewed the party's National Executive Committee by appointing members close to the president, and sacked long-time Calderón rival Santiago Creel as Senate leader in June.

The move would give a "push" to the stalled energy reform negotiations, he said.

The changes spurred accusations that he was carrying out a purge, especially after the new PAN leadership in the Senate ultimately agreed to an energy reform deal that many analysts described as "watered down."

But then, the plan went awry. Calderón and Martínez were forced to open their inner circle with the Nov. 4 death of Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mouriño in a plane crash. The factions loyal to former PAN presidential candidate Diego Fernández de Cevallos and former party president Luis Felipe Bravo Mena were brought back into the fold when Calderón appointed Fernando Gómez Mont as interior secretary, and Bravo Mena as chief of staff.

Those moves could ultimately undercut both Calderón and Martínez, according to UNAM political science professor Francisco Reveles.

"There's been a modification in the relationships between the PAN's internal groups that doesn't favor President Felipe Calderón or the president of the party," he said. "The president and his team is having to [make] an agreement with other groups."

Some disagree. ITAM political science professor Jeffrey Weldon, for one, said that cracking open the inner circle would not bring peril, explaining that Fernández de Cevallos still commands respect within the party and that Calderón has simply ended a needless spat. Thawing relations with Espino, often identified as a leader of one of the PAN's most conservative factions, was another matter.

"The Espino faction will stay on the outs for some time, although [they] still control a bunch of states," Weldon said.

Espino, a figure known for sharp outbursts and the current leader of an umbrella group of Christian Democratic parties known as ODCA, has continued being polemic even after having left office. He has questioned Calderón's tactics of working closely with the PRI, saying such moves would only discredit the party. Espino also announced last Thursday that he would once again become active in the PAN leadership - a right bestowed upon all former party presidents.

But the announcement of his return coincided with the PAN leadership's eviction of the ODCA and Espino from the offices they had been lent by the party.

PAN Deputy Gerardo Priego called the gesture "rude" - the offices had been vacant for nine years before ODCA arrived - and said the eviction was evidence of the contradictions in the party leadership's claims that it was eager to find unity. "The discourse is inclusive . [but] if you're pretending to be inclusive, you have to show it in your actions," said Priego.

Espino told reporters last week that he was returning to the forefront of the PAN "so that this string of electoral defeats in our party doesn't continue."

Indeed, even though the election cycle appears to favor the PAN next year, with gubernatorial races being staged in its heartland states of San Luis Potosí and Querétaro, much is at stake in 2009, and no one is certain Martínez can do it alone. The party hopes to gain ground in states such as Nuevo León, Sonora, Campeche and Colima - and some say the pressure will really be on Martínez if the PAN fails to live up to expectations.

"If [Martínez] doesn't win Nuevo León, it would be a defeat for the party," Weldon said. "He has to hold his states, and ideally, pick up another one in either Sonora or Colima."

Priego is one PANista who expresses hope for 2009. But he also said that tactics needed to change. And, he said, Martínez would be better served by a different team of electoral advisors.

"Those who are directing the party don't have a history of working at the municipal or state committee level," the deputy from Tabasco said. "They don't know grassroots politics. They need to complement their [teams] with people [who have] this experience."