>Latin America File: Calderón sworn into office, warring deputies occupied speaker’s podium for three days; "President" Obrador holds protest

>Calderón will begin to fall from his first day.
— Subcomandante Marcos, Zapatista Army of National Liberation; quoted in The Narco News Bulletin, November 23, 2006

Will the Zapatistas and the assorted communist insurgent armies in Mexico follow through on their promises to overthrow the new National Action Party regime? Much depends on the extent of their manpower, their armament, and their domestic and foreign sympathizers.

Pictured here, Mexican demockracy: Legislators exchange blows in the Chamber of Deputies this morning.

Calderon takes oath as Mexican president amid catcalls
December 1, 2006, CNN.com

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) — Felipe Calderon took the oath of office as Mexico’s president Friday amid jeers and whistles in a chaotic ceremony reflecting a divided nation.

Physically protected by ruling party lawmakers and flanked by outgoing President Vicente Fox, Calderon quickly swore to uphold the constitution.

The national anthem was then played, momentarily stilling the catcalls and shouting. Calderon quickly left the chamber as Congress adjourned.

“He did it! He did it!” chanted ruling party lawmakers.

Before Calderon’s arrival, opposition lawmakers threw punches and chairs and tried to block the doors of the congressional chamber.

Ruling party lawmakers, chanting “Mexico wants peace,” seized the speaker’s platform.

The brawl was shown on live television across Mexico.

Democratic Revolution Senate leader Carlos Navarette had said his party would do everything it could to keep Calderon out.

Democratic Revolution’s former presidential candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who claims he was robbed of the presidency, said he will march peacefully with his supporters to the National Auditorium, where Calderon is scheduled to address the nation.

Mexican law prevents security officials from searching lawmakers, and no police were allowed in the congressional chamber.

Amid the chaos, dignitaries began arriving, including former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and Spanish Prince Felipe Asturias.

“The situation here at Congress isn’t worrisome,” Bolanos said. “These things happen all over the world.”

Mexico’s Constitution calls for Calderon to take the oath of office before Congress, and the leftists argued that he cannot become president without that formality.

Anticipating the standoff, the conservative Calderon took control of the presidential residence early Friday in an unusual midnight ceremony with outgoing President Vicente Fox, swearing in part of his Cabinet.

In that closed-door ceremony, broadcast live from Los Pinos, Fox handed the presidential sash to a military cadet as his term ended at midnight.

In the broadcast, Calderon called on Mexicans to leave behind the divisions that have dogged him and the country since the disputed July 2 elections.

“I have received the presidential offices from President Vicente Fox, the start of the process of taking possession of the presidency,” Calderon said. “Later, I will appear before Congress to take the constitutional oath.”

Lopez Obrador, who lost the presidency to Calderon by less than a percentage point, massed thousands of supporters nearby in the capital’s main Zocalo plaza as thousands of riot police surrounded Congress to block them from moving in.

The leftist has refused to recognize Calderon’s victory, setting up a parallel government of sorts and declared himself the “legitimate president” of Mexico.

“This shows once again the violence of the PRD,” said the ruling party’s Senate leader, Santiago Creel, who expressed confidence that Calderon would still be able to complete the constitutional ritual.

While Fox argues that Calderon automatically became president at midnight, some constitutional experts say Calderon wouldn’t be president until being sworn in. The constitution states that Fox’s last day in office was Thursday, while Calderon must be sworn in before lawmakers.

Even Creel, interviewed on television inside the chamber Friday, was left talking about “the two presidents of Mexico.”

Creel was referring to Fox and Calderon — not Lopez Obrador.

“I am not unaware of the complexity of the political times we are living through, nor of our differences,” Calderon said earlier. “But I am convinced that we today we should put an end to our disagreements and from there, start a new stage whose only aim would be to place the interests of the nation above our differences.”

PRD and ruling party legislators had camped out in the huge congressional chamber since Tuesday, wrestling and shoving for control of parts of the stage and later camping out with pillows, blankets and pizza.

Fox previously had aid he would go to Congress with Calderon to hand over the presidential sash, but PRD has objected to his presence, accusing the former leader of throwing the elections to Calderon. The midnight ceremony meant there was little reason for Fox to attend, although Creel said he was still welcome.

After his scheduled inauguration, Calderon was expected to address the nation at the massive and heavily guarded National Auditorium on the other side of Mexico City.

He then planned to go to an adjacent military parade ground where army commanders will swear allegiance to the elected head of state, symbolizing the military’s tradition of staying out of politics since the 1930s.

One response to “>Latin America File: Calderón sworn into office, warring deputies occupied speaker’s podium for three days; "President" Obrador holds protest

  1. mah29001 December 1, 2006 at 10:18 pm

    >The Commies certainly want to heat things up in Mexico with a second Mexican Revolution. I would think it would be wise to look into the Marxist influences of the PRI along with the “Conservative” ruling party-PAN which currently controls Mexico.The rhetoric of the leaders of the “Conservative” PAN under Fox are akin to what Gorbachev attacks any building of a fence between Mexico and the U.S. “is” on the lines of building a Berlin Wall.

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