FAN #194: La Reforma Política
>From the official Spanish version of the Constitution of 1819:
"NOSOTROS, la Gente de México, a fin de formar un gobierno más
perfecto, establecer justicia, afirmar la tranquilidad interior,
asegurar la unidad de nuestros pueblos, proveer la defensa común y el
bienestar general y asegurar para nosotros mismos y para nuestros
descendientes los beneficios de la Libertad, estatuimos y sancionamos
esta CONSTITUCIÓN para la República de los estados unidos de México."
>From a transcipt of President Moctezuma's televised address to
Congress, 11 April 1975:
"Power corrupts but slowly. I need not mention the evils that could
have been prevented had Alvin Silva been negated a second term. Even
the gran Andrew Jackson remained in power too long. The temptation to
build a camarilla rather than a legacy is one that only a santo can
resist. We all back sainthood of course." (Laughter.) "But lacking
the power of beautification, are you then in favor of the camarilla,
Senator Keating?" (More laughter.) "If you cannot achieve what you
want to achieve in six years, then it is time to give someone else a
>From a private meeting between President Moctezuma and five most
senior members of the Progressive Party's assembly delegation, the
Progressive governors of Guadalajara and Durango, and Senator Keating
(P-México del Norte), 8 April 1975:
"Anyway, caballeros, if el Presidente is limited to one sexenio, it
gives all of ustedes a better shot at the top job, no?"
The text of the proposed Thirteenth Article of the Constitution of the
Republic of the United States of Mexico:
"No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than
once, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as
President for more than three years of a term to which some other
person was elected President, shall be elected to the office of the
>From a speech of Representative Michael Danbury before a Progressive
Party caucus in Ashton, California, 14 April 1975:
"A lot of verbiage to put before the main point, which is to give
_children_ the right to vote. Yes, Yucatán's voting age of 25 is a
travesty. But 16! My son is sixteen, and I don't trust him with the
keys to my loke, let alone a ballot."
>From a meeting between Secretary of State María del Rey and a group of
Progressive Party leaders in Governor Rickover's mansion in
Guadalajara City, 22 April 1975:
"What matters to El Popo is section 3. He has a bicho up his butt
about that. As far as I can tell, he wants to try to insure that no
one can use one clause in the constitution to justify violating
another. Me, I'm not a lawyer, but Mayor Alvarez there tells me this
is what comes of letting people practice law without a license."
(Chuckles.) "So look. Section 3 doesn't matter to us, because it
just plain doesn't matter. Section 4 doesn't matter to El Popo nearly
as much. If you want the minimum voting age changed to 18, then I
think I can get him to go along."
>From a meeting between Secretary of State María del Rey and President
Moctezuma, 23 April 1975:
"María, you are a genio. Ask for a klick, get five hundred meters.
Thank you. And thank you for other support for the package."
"You're welcome, Sr. Presidente."
"I can't stand in your way for the nomination now, Madame Secretary."
The text of the proposed Fourteenth Article of the Constitution of the
Republic of the United States of Mexico:
"1. National sovereignty resides in the people. All public power
emanates from the people and is instituted for their benefit and on
their behalf. The people have an inalienable right to peacefully
alter or modify their government through regular and periodic
"2. The will of the Mexican people is constituted in a representative,
democratic, and federal Republic composed of free and sovereign states
perpetually united in a Federation established according to this
"3. The people exercise their sovereignty through the Federation, or
the states, under the terms established by this Constitution and the
charters of the various states. In no case may the actions of the
Federation or a state government violate the stipulations of the this
"4. All citizens have a right to participate equally in the free and
peaceful selection of their government. Therefore, all citizens have
the right to vote in federal elections, provided they are eighteen
years of age or older and have never been convicted of a felony by
either a state or the Federation or been otherwise disenfranchised in
accordance with the provisions of this Constitution."
>From a meeting between Chief of Staff Chewy Enciso and President
Moctezuma, 17 April 1975:
"'You can't pass a law telling people to respect the law.'"
"He said that?"
"Yeah, patrón, he did."
"That's what I thought."
"Well, you can pass a law telling people that we will be coming after
you if you don't respect the law. We've had two tin-pot dictators
spin temporary emergencies into decades-long vacations in Chapultepec
Castle. If this gets even one wannabe to think twice in the future,
it will have been worth it."
The text of the proposed Fifteenth Article of the Constitution of the
Republic of the United States of Mexico:
"1. This Constitution shall lose neither force nor vigor, even when
acts of violence against the democratic system interrupt its
observance. Should any public tumult or violence establish a
government that acts against the principles sanctioned by this
Constitution, as soon as the people recover their liberty the rule of
this Constitution shall be re-established, and all laws and
arrangements issued by the illegitimate government shall be judged, as
will all those who cooperated with it.
"2. No person, organization, or group has the right to arrogate power
to itself in violation of this constitution. Doing so constitutes
rebellion or sedition. All citizens have the right to resist those
who attempt to exercise public power outside the limits established by
"3. Neither Congress nor the Cabinet may not vest extraordinary powers
on the President or any other executive official, nor may it grant
acts of submission or supremacy whereby the life, honor, or wealth of
the Mexican people will be at the mercy of governments or any person
whatsoever. Acts of this nature shall render those who formulate them,
consent to them or sign them, liable to prosecution for treason."
>From a meeting of El Popo's kitchen cabinet, 12 February 1975:
Chewy Enciso: "Look, Popo, we all know it's a good idea y long
overdue, but it draws attention to the race issue and that's not what
Joseph Osterman: "It's a bad idea."
Andy Gendrop: "They're right, patrón. No one cares. The issue had
been dead for more than fifty years. Why reopen old wounds?"
Immanuel Moctezuma: "Uh hhhuuuuuuuuh. I care. The text, as it
stands, is in."
The text of the proposed Sixteenth Article of the Constitution of the
Republic of the United States of Mexico:
"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for
crime, shall exist within the United States of Mexico, or any place
subject to the jurisdiction of the Federation. Nothing in this
article shall be construed to interfere with the obligation of all
citizens to serve their nation in times of need."
>From an editorial meeting at the Henrytown Mercury-Reporter, 14 April
Eduardo Nuche, reporter: "It's a fine reform. Great. Wonderful.
What's not to like?"
Franklin Sterett, abogado: "Note section 3. The implication is that
we're going to be hit by a demanda the second El Popo is out of
Kepler Peñaloza, editor: "Hey, Eduardo, we'll win any demanda,
Eduardo Nuche, reporter: "As far as I know, I've told the truth y
nothing but the truth, if not always the whole truth."
Franklin Sterett, abogado: "Then as long as you keep paying my
salario, you've got nothing to preoccupy you."
Kepler Peñaloza, editor: "In fact, I hope El Popo tries something.
It'd make good publicity."
The text of the proposed Seventeenth Article of the Constitution of
the Republic of the United States of Mexico:
"1. Private actions that do not damage the public morals or order, or
prejudice third parties, shall be outside the ambit of the law.
"2. All citizens have the right to manifest their thoughts in written
or spoken speech, and publicize them without prior censorship,
although they shall remain responsible for any abuses committed during
the exercise of this right in such cases as Congress shall establish
by law. Such abuses shall consist only of damaging the rights of
third parties, provoking the commission of a felony, or sedition under
Article XV of this Constitution.
"3. Congress shall establish no law allowing the President of the
United States of Mexico or other public officeholders of the States or
the Federation to pursue their rights under Article XVII, Section 2,
of this Constitution while they still hold public office."
>From a private conversation between Maria del Rey and her political
advisors, 14 April 1975:
Man in gray suit: "How did you get him to agree to this? It's simply
Maria del Rey: "It is good, isn't it?"
Man in blue suit: "It's more than good. The Progressive Party
received 73 percent of the popular vote for President in '71 and
almost 80 percent of the Congressional vote in '74. Under this
formula, we'll get a little more than half of all public funding, with
the rest split among five tiny little parties, none of which were ever
more than Mercatorista fronts anyway."
Man in black pinstriped suit: "And no private non-party fundraising
means that our candidates will be dependent on the Party for support."
Man in blue suit: "No worries about rebellions. Where would they go?
New parties get no public money, and it would be hard for them to get
donations from our supporters."
Maria del Rey: "You're right. It's more than good. It's superb."
>From a telephone conversation between a little man in a white linen
suit and a man with a thick mustache, 2 November 1976:
Man with thick mustache: "Did you put him up to it? It's simply
Little man in white suit: "Yo? I don't talk to the President. If I
did, he wouldn't be backing that dumb bitch, would he?"
Man with thick mustache: "When you look at it, it's designed for what
we talked about."
Little man in white suit: "It is? How?"
Man with thick mustache: "Have you read the fucking thing?"
Little man in white suit: "Stop jerking my chain, Bob. It's longer
than the rest of the pinche constitution."
Man with thick mustache: "Snort. You should read it, tonto. The
enabling legislation strictly limits donations from parties that take
Little man in white suit: "By God, you're right. We'd all be bound
by the same ceiling."
Man with thick mustache: "It's a pretty high ceiling."
Little man in white suit: "Not that high. It'd be a damned stretch.
But I could do it, I could do it. With some help from my friends."
Man with thick mustache: "Still. It is a lot of money."
Little man in white suit: "But to beat that Godbedamned little puta?
Might be worth it."
The President of the United States of Mexico, alone in his office with
Chewy Enciso, both of them laughing hysterically, several times over
the course of 1975 and 1976.
The text of the proposed Eighteenth Article of the Constitution of the
Republic of the United States of Mexico:
"1. The renovation of the legislative and executive power is realized
through free, authentic, and periodic elections, under the following
"2. Political parties are public organizations and the law will
determine the specific form in which they will take part in the
electoral process. National parties will have the right to
participate in state elections. Only voting citizens may affliate
themselves freely and individually with political parties. Political
parties have the function of promoting the participation of the people
in the public life of the nation and giving the people access to the
exercise of public power, in accordance with their programs and
principles and through the exercise of universal, free, secret, direct
and effective suffrage.
"3. Congress will guarantee all political parties equitable access to
the resources they need to carry out their functions. Congress will
therefore establish laws regulating the financing of the parties,
insuring that public funds distributed freely prevail over private
"4. Public financing for registered political parties will be used
for the continuation of their permanent activities as well as those
aimed at encouraging voting during election campaigns and will be
authorized according to the stipulations of the law and this
"5. Public financing for the permanent activities of political
parties will be fixed annually, using the minimum campaign cost
estimates calculated by the Federal Electoral Authority. One-third of
the resulting amount will be distributed equally among the parties.
The remaining two-thirds will be distributed in accordance with the
percentage of the total vote the party obtained in the preceding
"6. Public financing for activities aimed at encouraging and
obtaining votes during federal election campaigns will equal the
amount of public financing for permanent activities that corresponds
to each party.
"7. Congress shall fix spending limits for the political parties,
establish maximum limits for contributions by their supporters and
sympathizers, create procedures to monitor the origin and use of all
private spending, and fix appropriate penalties for the violation of
"8. Federal elections shall be organized and conducted under a public
authority called the Federal Electoral Authority, which shall enjoy
its own juridical personality. The Federal Electoral Authority shall
be composed of a Council Superior, an executive office, technical
support office, and vigilancia. The Council Superior shall be its
supreme administrative organ and consist of an Administrator-in-chief,
eight electoral consejeros, and non-voting representatives from every
political party holding seats in the Congress of the United States of
Mexico. The executive and technical support offices shall consist of
personnel with the necessary skills and qualifications to organize and
conduct elections. The dispositions of the electoral law and the
statute authorizing the Federal Electoral Authority will regulate the
working relationship of its personnel. The vigilancia shall consist
of representatives of the federal political parties. Voting places
shall be manned by citizens chosen by lot from the electoral list,
excepting only active-duty military personnel.
"9. The Administrator-in-chief and consejeros of the Council Superior
shall be elected, successively, by a two-thirds majority of the
Assembly. Candidates for Administrator-in-chief and consejero shall
be proposed by the respective party caucusses in the Assembly of the
Congress of the United States of Mexico. In accordance with the above
procedure, the Assembly shall also elect eight consejeros suplentes.
"10. The Administrator-in-chief and consejeros of the Council
Superior shall serve for a term of six years, during which they may
hold no other employment, office, or commission.
"11. The executive secretary of the Federal Electoral Authority shall
be nominated by the Administrator-in-chief and approved by a
two-thirds vote of the Council Superior.
"12. The Federal Electoral Authority shall be charged with monitoring
the federal electoral list, which shall consist of all citizens above
sixteen years of age who have never been convicted of a felony by
either a state or the Federation or otherwise disenfranchised in
accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. The Federal
Electoral Authority shall also be charged with the printing and
distribution of all electoral material, the preparation of the
electoral journal, the counting of the votes, and the determination of
the victor in all federal elections. Following every decennial
census, the Federal Election Authority shall be charged with drawing
the boundaries for Assembly districts, in accordance with the
provisions of this Constitution. All sessions of any organ of the
Federal Electoral Authority shall be open to the public.
"13. In order to guarantee the constitutionality and legality of the
actions and decisions of the Federal Electoral Authority, a system of
judicial appeals shall be established. The Federal Electoral Tribunal
shall be the highest authority with respect to the decisions and
actions of the Federal Electoral Authority. All sessions of the
Federal Electoral Tribunal shall be public. The Federal Electoral
Tribunal shall be composed of seven electoral judges. They shall
elect one of their number to serve a chief justice for a period of
"14. The Senate of the Congress of the United States of Mexico shall
select the judges of the Federal Electoral Tribunal by a two-thirds
vote of its members. Immediately after they shall be assembled in
consequence of the first election, the judges, not including the chief
justice, shall be divided into three classes. The offices of Judges of
the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the third year,
of the second class at the expiration of the sixth year, and the third
class at the expiration of the ninth year, so that one third may be
chosen every third year. If vacancies should happen by resignation,
then the Senate of the Congress of the United States of Mexico shall
select a new judge by a two-thirds vote of its members.
"15. The Federal Electoral Tribunal shall be a court of first
instance in: disputes regarding actions or decisions of the Federal
Electoral Authority; disputes regarding elections for members of the
Congress of the United States of Mexico; and disputes regarding the
election of the President of the United States of Mexico. In such
cases, the Federal Electoral Tribunal shall be charged with the final
count of the votes for President, openly and publicly.
"16. The Federal Electoral Tribunal shall be a court of appeals in:
Disputes regarding actions or resolutions that violate the right of
every citizen to have an equal voice in selecting their government
through free, peaceful, and secret voting; disputes between the
Federal Electoral Authority and its personnel; and disputes regarding
the actions of the competent electoral authorities in state and local
elections, when such actions are judged to have potentially affected
the substantive outcome of the election. In such cases, appeals to
the Federal Electoral Tribunal shall only be allowed when the
solicited reparation can be carried out before the legal date at which
elected candidates shall assume the powers of office. The Federal
Electoral Tribunal shall determine material sanctions in all electoral
"17. Congress shall have the power to give the Federal Electoral
Tribunal the power of appeal in other cases, to be determined by law.
In all such cases, decisions of the Federal Electoral Tribunal shall
be subject to review by the Mexico Tribunal.
"18. Whenever the Federal Electoral Tribunal shall decide the
constitutionality of an act or resolution or the interpretation of a
clause of this Constitution, such decision can be appealed by the
President or heads of the executive departments to the Mexico
Tribunal. In such cases, the Mexico Tribunal shall make the
definitive decision concerning the interpretations or decisions of the
Federal Electoral Tribunal."
SCENE: A man frantically shredding documents, while another man
stands at the door shouting, 1 August 1975: "We've only got an hour
to catch the next flight to Cisplatina! I've got the money, they've
got no treaty, who gives a fuck! Come ON!!"
Bill introduced to Congress on 5 May 1975:
"An ACT for the admission of the territories adminstered by the Office
of the Caribbean of the Department of War of the Republic of the
United States of Mexico as a full State of the Federation, to be
styled 'Las Antillas'..."
>From a private conversation between the Secretary of State of the
United States of Mexico and the Governor of México Central, 1 June
The Governor: "Déjame ver if I get this. I lose some of my tax base,
but I also lose those damned pinche liberals."
The Secretary: "That's right."
The Governor: "In essence, I can buy less votos, but the opposition
in my state --- fui! --- basically disappears."
The Secretary: "That's right."
The Governor: "Bueno, why shouldn't I be worried about four new
senators from those pinche suburbs?"
The Secretary: "Because I'm going to nominate them. And then, once
they're elected, they are going to depend on the Progressive Party, of
which we are both loyal members, for their future. The political
reforms will assure that."
The Governor: "Hah! How did you get El Popo to agree to all of
The Secretary: "My charm, I suppose, Mr. Governor."
>From a private meeting involving a little man in a white suit and a
rather larger but-still-shorter-than-average man who looks much
younger than his age, 9 March 1977:
The little man in the white suit: "We run you where you're sure to
win. And we fund you. Not that much, but how much will you need to
The young-looking man: "I need to talk to the President, you
The little man in the white suit: "Por supuesto, joven! But think
about it. Does that, uh, _woman_ carry on his legacy?"
The young-looking man: "I still need to talk to him."
The little man in the white suit: "I understand."
Bills introduced to Congress on 12 May 1975:
"An ACT to approve the transference of the following territories from
the sovereign State of México Central to the Capital District..."
"An ACT for the admission of the Capital District of the United States
of Mexico as a full State of the Federation, to be styled
 "Beautification" is not a typo. This is President Immanuel
Moctezuma, "The man with two second languages."