VERDE QUE TE QUIERO VERDE
Verde que te quiero verde
Federico Garcia Lorca
(GREEN HOW I LOVE YOU GREEN)*
by HOMERO ARIDJIS
from REFORMA, Sunday, February 29, 2004
The role possibly played by the President of the Partido Verde Ecologico de Mexico (Green Party) in the peddling of influences to facilitate construction in Quintano Roo is shocking, since instead of caring for the environment he is apparently cooperating in its destruction. The projects brokered by the shady operator, Luis Bara Braun, in the explosive video of the latest political scandal to emerge, will bring even more destruction to the devastated coast, marine life and wetlands of the zone. Fortunately, the permits had already been denied by the former Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, Victor Lichtinger. The sting operation is reminiscent of that of August of 2003 which exposed the ex-commissioner for the Consejo Nacional Contra las Adicciones, Guido Belsasso and led to his dismissal from the Ministry of Health. The case fell within the jurisdiction of the Secretaria de la Funcion Publica (Ministry of Public Policy), but so far, as is often the case where disgraced public figures are concerned, there have been no consequences. In the case of the video where Jorge Emilio Gonzalez Martinez* is caught talking to the above-named shady operator (who we may rest assured is neither being sought nor investigated, notwithstanding the clear examples of bribery and corruption), one is struck by the vulgarity of Lara's and Gonzalez' language, as well as the cynical utterances of some of the country's political leaders.
What is even more striking about this sticky affair is the lack of any real or committed defense of the Mexican environment and natural resources. The forests -including those of the Monarch sanctuaries - are disappearing at the alarming rate of 600 to 800,000 hectares a year, large expanses of national territory are becoming deserts, and throughout the country there is a water crisis. Transnational oil companies, like Chevron-Texaco, Shell/Sempra and Marathon Oil, plan to build enormous complexes on our shores and islands for liquified natural gas to satisfy the voracious consumption of energy in California and other states of the US Southwest, marine turtles are massacred and the trafficking of their meat and eggs continues to go unpunished under the noses of authorities who wash their hands of the business. Last week, the Grupo de los Cien and the Animal Welfare Unit, assisted by other groups inside and outside the country, did manage to halt the journey of the United States seismic research ship, Maurice Ewing. For five weeks it had been using 20 pneumatic canons, day and night, around 12,000 whales, orcas, dolphins, seals, manatees and marine turtles in the Gulf of Mexico, about 50 kilometers north of the Yucatan, where it was generating sounds of up to 225 decibels, changing the behavior of thousands of individuals, inflicting physiological damage, possibly causing death. The purpose of the voyage was to collect information about the Chicxulub crater, formed 65 million years ago by the impact of a meteorite or a comet, an event that might have been responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. During the fall of 2002, the Maurice Ewing was involved in the deaths of several whales in the Sea of Cortes, and three years ago it was linked to the deaths of whales in the Galapagos. The price of the massive harassment was high, and fortunately SEMARNAT (Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources) recommended that the authorization given by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for the noxious activities of the vessel be withdrawn. But where was the Partido Verde Ecologista de Mexico to defend our national waters and the species that populate them?
Since its inauguration there are basically three major problems that have overwhelmed the Green Party, a party that we had great hopes for. The country needs a party that would draft laws in the Legislature, offer proposals to the government and undertake campaigns to defend our bio-diversity. These problems are: the chronic lack of an internal democracy, no transparency in the management of the millions of pesos in funds granted by the government, and the absence of environmental projects and social justice. Green Parties, in Europe and the rest of the world, usually concern themselves with genetically modified foods (e.g. corn), illegal logging, toxic waste, fisheries, organic agriculture, renewable energy, consumer protection, endangered languages of minorities, destructive tourist development, huge dams, climate change, multilateral free trade agreements and human rights.
What is painful for me, who has been involved with ecology for the past 20 years, is the betrayal of green ideals by a Mexican Green Party; fighting for money and power while we live in an ecologically devastated country. When this party was born during the time of the Salinas government, I thought that it could provide a political platform for everybody who was defending the environment throughout the length and breadth of the country, and that it could, as years went by, not only represent an environmental policy, but also set a moral example on behalf of the Mexican people and Nature. Since it will be very difficult for the present leadership, as well as the accusatory and opportunistic opposition, to maintain credibility, the current crisis may signify the political, moral and conceptual death of the Green Party With the hypothetical resignation or removal of El nino verde (Jorge Emilio Gonzalez, now a constant butt of jokes and caricatures) and the rumors of his considerable wealth inside and outside the country), we risk of going from the frying pan to the fire (de Guatamala para entrar en Guatapeor) since the so-called dissidents do not appear to enjoy any great reputation for morality, nor possess honest and credible ecological credentials. There is yet another danger; in view of the 2006 elections, PVEM will become a political tool. One has only to visualize the politicians now wandering around orphaned from any party.
In spite of whitewashing efforts by the PRI, the current political ally of the PVEM and midwife when it was born, in spite of the evasiveness of the PAN which allied itself with the PVEM for the 2000 elections, and in spite of the PRD's efforts to extricate itself from the mud without getting dirty, those citizens who have witnessed this deplorable spectacle will be left with a very bitter taste in their mouths from Green Party and, in spite of the Mexican people's tendency to forgive and forget, they may remember when it is time to vote. Will the support of the Green Part be a benefit or a burden in the upcoming gubernatorial elections? The Minister of the Interior has said there is no way to prosecute political parties. Does Santiago Creel mean that they are above justice and the electorate? In that case, RIP Pemexgate, Amigos de Fox, presidential funds for Vamos Mexico and acts of corruption in the past and to come, The pile of discarded official files will be higher than Pococatepetl, and just as likely to erupt.
There is no doubt the PVEM has become a very expensive lie for the country. As such there are only two options. First, that it disappear. Secondly, that it democratically reconstruct from the bottom up. The problem with the second option is what to do with Kahwagi* and the pals of Gonzalez Martinez who came into the party during the 2003 elections. With those elements any restructuring is useless.
One lesson can be gained from all this: corruption and ecology do not go together. A party that fights against pollution of the environment cannot be polluted morally. The duality will not lead to a trinity. First there was the father, then came the son, but what was missing - either dove or toucan - was the Holy Spirit of Ecology. Clearly he flew far away from the Green Party of Mexico.
- This article is in response to the first of a series of videos recently shown on national TV showing acts of political corruption that have even shocked Mexicans. Here the President of the Mexican Green Party (PVEM), Jorge Emilio Gonzalez is shown asking for "2 million" to facilitate construction permits in the state of Quintana Roo.
- El nino verde (Kid Green). Jorge Emilio Gonzalez is 32 years old. He and his father have controlled the party since its foundation. The reason for its existence would appear to have little connection to the environment for which it has never demonstrated the slightest commitment. In a recent special closed meeting of party members in congress he received a unanimous vote of confidence.
- Jorge Kahwagi is a very wealthy young "businessman" who, although possessing very little talent, has somehow managed to acquire an unbeaten record as a professional boxer. Apparently he has political ambitions as well.