Oaxaca: The End of Tolerance
Why is this Repression Carried out Against the Popular Movement? And why Now?
And who should be joining Harper on his little trip, why none other than the spokesperson for Deep Integration of Canada with the United States and Mexico, corporate shill Thomas d'Aquino.
Unlike Hapers controversial remarks on China, the Official Opposition had nothing to say about this because they were partying all week in Montreal.
Harper watches brawl at inauguration ceremony for Mexican president
MEXICO CITY (CP) - Felipe Calderon was hurriedly sworn in as Mexico's president Friday in a chaotic ceremony packed with brawling legislators as Prime Minister Stephen Harper watched from the balcony above.
Calderon took the oath of office, ignoring whistles and catcalls from leftist politicians who dispute his razor-thin victory in the July election as tens of thousands of people swamped the streets a few blocks away to protest the new leader.
After legislators threw punches and chairs and blocked the front doors, Calderon was whisked in through the back, surrounded by bodyguards and ruling conservative party members as outgoing leader Vicente Fox presented him with the tri-coloured sash.
The ceremony lasted just minutes, with Calderon conservatives hugging each other and yelling in triumph while their rivals jeered: "Felipe will fall."
Minutes before he arrived, legislators were still shoving one another to the floor.
"That was interesting," Harper said as he left the heavily guarded building. "Our parliament is tame after all.
Harper, the first foreign leader to call him and offer congratulations, was invited to the inauguration when Calderon visited Ottawa in October.
His trip was vital in bucking up Calderon, said Thomas d'Aquino, head of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.
"It it important for Canada to support Mexico in its voyage through this difficult period," said d'Aquino, who also attended the ceremony.
"I know that the conflict and disruption are painful. President Calderon faces an immense challenge but he is very determined to get the job done. In my view he is going to have to build a strong coalition and I believe he has the smarts to do it."
Harper's visit to Mexico seen as boost for Calderon
With Mr. Calderon's leftist opponents vowing to disrupt and even stop the swearing-in ceremony, saying the conservative's July election victory was fraudulent, the presidents of Peru and Ecuador have bowed out of a ceremony already short of big foreign political names.
Mr. Harper, scheduled to be in Mexico for just 15 hours, has already been promised a seat in the front row of visiting dignitaries, who include former U.S. president George Bush and Spain's Crown Prince Felipe.
"As far as I know, politically speaking, Harper is the highest-ranking leader who is coming," said Rossana Fuentes, a foreign policy analyst and former editor of the daily newspaper Reforma. She said Mr. Harper is living up to Canadians' reputation in Mexico as "los gringos buenos" (the good gringos).
"Calderon is a president who needs all the help he can get and he will appreciate Mr. Harper's effort to come down and be with him at a time when is facing a very difficult moment in his presidency," Ms. Fuentes continued.
"For the Prime Minister to go sends a very important message to the Mexicans that the relationship is extremely important to Canada," said Eduardo del Buey, executive director of the Canadian Foundation of the Americas, and a former Canadian diplomat in Mexico.
In deciding to attend the ceremony, Mr. Harper is repaying Mr. Calderon a favour. In October, the president-elect made a point of visiting Ottawa ahead of Washington in a series of courtesy trips to hemispheric allies before officially taking office.
Mr. del Buey said the two leaders have a lot in common. "They're both centre-right conservatives. They're both religious. They're both in their 40s. They're both a generation away from their predecessors. And they're both forming minority governments."Dario Lopez-Mills/Associated Press
Mr. Calderón and members of his conservative National Action Party defeated attempts by the leftist Democratic Revolution Party to block the entries to the Congress. With his own partisans crowding the dais, the new president and his predecessor, Vicente Fox, were spirited in by bodyguards through a door near the front of the chamber at 9:50 a.m.
Mr. Calderón quickly took the oath of office, and Mr. Fox handed over the traditional presidential sash and left the chamber. The entire ceremony lasted four minutes.
All the while, opposition politicians blew whistles and held up banners suggesting Mr. Calderón was “a traitor to democracy.”
Just before the public swearing-in this morning, Mr. Lopéz Obrador held a mass rally in the city’s historic central square, the Constitutional Plaza, attracting more than 100,000 supporters. Then he led a march down Paseo de la Reforma toward the National Auditorium, where President Calderón was to speak.
Speaking to his supporters, Mr. Lopéz Obrador charged once again that the election was fraudulent and that Mr. Calderón’s victory was engineered by a “neofascist oligarchy.” He claimed the “imposition” of Mr. Calderón as president amounted to a “coup d’etat.”
“We are not rebels without a cause,” he said. “Sometimes they forget the heart of the matter, which is that they robbed us of the election.”
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