January 17, 2008

Is this the next president of Mexico?

Mexican president Felipe Calderon just appointed his little-known 36-year-old chief-of-staff, Juan Camilo Mouriño Terrazo, "the quiet power behind the throne," to be Minister of the Interior, the traditional jumping off point for the Presidency, although now in Mexico there is a primary system, unlike in the good old days when the reigning president with his godlike (but term-limited) powers just picked whomever he felt like to be the next president.

In the U.S., Secretary of the Interior is a vaguely comic job, but in Mexico, like most Third World countries, it's the Big One. Traditionally, Mexico isn't as scary a country when it comes to disappearances and torture as some other Latin American countries ("Hey, at least we're not Guatemala!" could be the Mexican national slogan), nor is its Interior Ministry as formidable as the old Soviet Ministry of the Interior, which had a 200,000-man private army for overawing the Red Army in case it didn't feel like obeying Politburo orders. Still, it's definitely the coolest job in the Mexican government besides being President (although being Mexico City's police chief was a lot of fun in the 1970s for Arturo Durazo, a boyhood friend of President Lopez Portillo turned gangster's chauffeur turned civil servant, who parlayed his $1,000 monthly salary into an estate with 1,200 servants).

Still, you might be wondering why, 489 years after Cortez arrived and began turning Spaniards and Indians into La Raza, this bit of presidential timber looks so Spanish? Well, he is Spanish. Mouriño was born in Spain to a Spanish father and a mother who was a Mexican citizen. His zillionaire father moved the family to Mexico when he was seven, but he remained a Spanish citizen until 18. Nobody seems to know whether the Mexican constitution says a man of his birth and background can or can't be President. To paraphrase Johnny Tightlips on The Simpsons, "The Mexican constitution says a lot of stuff."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

16 comments:

TGGP said...

the good old days when the reigning president with his godlike (but term-limited) powers just picked whomever he felt like to be the next president.
Bring back the smoke-filled room!

Ross said...

"In the U.S., Secretary of the Interior is a vaguely comic job, but in Mexico, like most Third World countries, it's the Big One."

It is a big job in most European countries too (in France it was Sarkozy's job before he became President for example), in most countries the Interior minister has functions that are carried out by the Attourney General, Homeland Security Secretary and state governors in the US.

fwood1 said...

I may be wrong, but I thought the Mexican constitution requires the president to be native born and the child of native born parents.

professor said...

This guy is not macho enough for the Mexican electorate. They want someone who can nail the leader of a competing drug cartel, and also nail the secretaries. But then, I'm not sure whether they count the votes in Mexico.

Anonymous said...

Mexicans loved Spanish actors in their telenovellas when I was there. Anything Spanish was considered "high class" in old Mehico the way an aristocratic British accent is in America.

The question is if he'll be viewed as the Sean Connery, Hugh Grant or Timothy Dalton of Interior Ministers by the mezticos.

Speaking of race and politics, Hillary repeatedly used the term "Black/Brown" in her NV debate in her minority pandering speil. Blacks are defecting en mass to Obama now that he's viable, and Hillary needs to draw this distinction and divide their interests to salvage the Hispanic vote.

dearieme said...

Even more Spanish than Castro, eh?

Steve Sailer said...

"The Mexican constitution says a lot of stuff."
-- Juan Tightlips

Anonymous said...

Salvage the Latino vote? The 2000 Census has 35 million Latino, compared to 34 million Black. While I doubt in 8 years that the voting age population of Blacks has changed significantly, it would appear that the voting age population of Latinos (defined by the Census as Mexican or Hispanic origin) is significantly greater.

Obama raised Hillary Black voters and she saw him Hispanic ones. The smart play. There are far more Latino voters than Black voters.

Obama is not particularly smart nor does he have smart people around him who know how to win. Hillary is no genius but she can add.

Anonymous said...

"But then, I'm not sure whether they count the votes in Mexico."

Of course they do. Just not as many times as in Chicago.

Steve Sailer said...

They keep counting them until they get them right! In 2006, after Lopez Obrador had held the lead for days, a huge truck suddenly arrived at vote counting headquarters stuffed with ballots for the ruling party candidate.

This is classic Illinois tactics.

Anonymous said...

What do we want from Mexico?

A stable country where the rule of law exists.

If you follow the link. This guy was kidnapped once and ransomed. Presumably, this would be impetus to make him the law and order type of leader Americans hope reign in Mexico.

c.o. jones said...

"There are far more Latino voters than Black voters."

Really Anonymous? I would think that nearly all blacks are citizens, and most are of voting age. The same cannot be said for Hispanics - it's probable that somewhere between 40% and 50% are illegal and/or non-citizens, and a large chunk of the remainder are too young to vote. Steve, you're the expert on Hispanic voter turnout, what do you say?

RKU said...

Well, I personally think there are some pretty important advantages in having Ralph Reed's younger brother become President of Mexico...

Anonymous said...

C.O are you expecting only citizens to vote? Haha that's a good one.

J. said...

¡Qué bueno! El Amigo Steve Sailer taking an interest in Mexico´s politics!

Anonymous said...

He's still pretty swarthy, with dark, dry, curly hair.

Maybe he has some arab heritage in him?

He reminds me of those south asians you described in a recent posting.