The Guardian: Diplomáticos de EU supieron que EPN pagó encuestas y cobertura a modo a Televisa desde 2009

11/06/2012 - 8:30 pm

Diplomáticos estadounidenses expresaron su preocupación de que el favorito en las elecciones presidenciales de México, Enrique Peña Nieto, pagara una cobertura televisiva favorable en 2009, cuando era gobernador del Estado de México, según cables del Departamento de Estado publicados por WikiLeaks y dados a conocer este día por The Guardian.

“Las denuncias de que la cobertura por televisión nacional a favor de Peña Nieto, ha sido el detonante de una ola de manifestaciones estudiantiles en el período previo a las elecciones del 1 de julio”, agrega el influyente diario británico. Los reclamos, agrega, se apoyan en documentos vistos por The Guardian, que implican también a otros políticos en la compra de cobertura de noticias y entretenimiento.

“Un cable [diplomático], escrito poco después de que funcionarios de la embajada de Estados Unidos fueron llevados a una gira por el Estado de México cuando era gobernador Peña Nieto, dice:

Es un hecho ampliamente aceptado, por ejemplo, que el monopolio de la televisión Televisa respalda al gobernador y le proporciona una extraordinaria cantidad de tiempo de emisión y otros tipos de cobertura”.

El documento, que data de septiembre de 2009, se tituló:

Una mirada al estado de México, al estilo del Pueblo de Potemkin”.

“Pueblo de Potemkin” es una expresión utilizada para describir cuando alguien hace pasar por maravilloso algo que en realidad es un desastre:

La expresión Pueblo Potemkin o Pueblo de Potemkin o Pueblos Potemkin [del ruso Потёмкинские деревни, pa’tjɔmkɪn, más correcto sería la forma Pueblo Potyomkin] se debe al mariscal duque Grigori Alexandrovich Potemkin (1739-1791) para designar aldeas, pueblos, villas inexistentes en Crimea. Algo se define como Pueblo de Potemkin cuando se quiere describir una cosa muy bien presentada para disimular su desastroso estado real. A primera vista parece muy bien acabado y deja a todos impresionados, sin embargo le falta la substancia principal. Es más común la forma plural pueblos Potemkin. –Wikipedia

The Guardian dice que otro cable al inicio de ese mismo año hizo hincapié en la importancia que el entonces gobernador Peña Nieto le daba a asegurar convincentes victorias electorales del Partido Revolucionario Institucional en su estado en las elecciones intermedias del Congreso de ese mismo verano de 2009.

Peña Nieto, dice el cable citado por el diario británico, “ha puesto en marcha importantes proyectos de obras públicas en las zonas seleccionadas por los votos, y los analistas y los dirigentes priistas por igual han expresado en repetidas ocasiones [a funcionarios políticos de Estados Unidos] su creencia de que él está pagando a los medios de comunicación por dar noticias favorables sobre él en su cobertura, así como, supuestamente, financiar a encuestadores para influir en los resultados de la encuesta”.

Los cables filtrados desde la Embajada de Estados Unidos en México contienen frecuentes menciones sobre el poder que Televisa, y la otra cadena principal de televisión en México, TV Azteca, ejercen sobre la elite política del país. Las dos redes controlan alrededor de 90% de los canales gratuitos y son percibidas ampliamente como “hacedoras de reyes políticos”, añade en su nota de este lunes Jo Tuckman.

“Esto es particularmente claro en los cables que se ocupan de una nueva ley de comunicación que privilegiaba los intereses ya establecidos y fue aprobada por la legislatura en el centro de la campaña electoral de 2006”, agrega.

Uno de los cables, con fecha de febrero de 2006, destaca cómo el proyecto de ley fue aprobado por la Cámara de Diputados en tan sólo siete minutos, sin debate, y antes de que hubiera sido votada en la Cámara Alta.

“Con la temporada de campaña en plena marcha, parece que nadie quiere molestar a Televisa o Azteca (quienes tienen también mucho más que ganar) por temor a perder las principales ranuras de publicidad a buen precio”, plantea el cable citado por The Guardian.

El cable destaca conjeturas como que es “dudoso que cualquier senador quiera arriesgar su carrera política en el futuro por balancear la embarcación en un momento en que todos los partidos están decidiendo su futuro político”. Asimismo, el diplomático no identificado, quien escribió el cable, supone que no había casi ninguna posibilidad de que el entonces presidente, Vicente Fox, vetaría la ley “y el riesgo de alienar a Televisa”, agrega Tuckman.

Algunos legisladores adoptaron otra postura después de que el proyecto de ley fue aprobado y montaron un desafío legal que llegó finalmente en la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, donde las partes más polémicas fueron declaradas inconstitucionales, comenta.

La nota de The Guardian destaca que en lo que parecía ser una forma de venganza de la elite política en las redes, la recién elegida asamblea legislativa aprobó una reforma electoral en 2007 que prohibió la propaganda política pagada durante los periodos electorales y restringida fuera de ellos.

Esto, sin embargo, no cumplía con su objetivo de liberar a la política de la presión de los medios de comunicación, de acuerdo con un cable de Wikileaks fechado en junio de 2009, plantea Tuckman.

“En cualquier caso, los partidos y candidatos están bordeando las restricciones”, dice el cable. “Los periodistas y sus jefes han tenido más o menos libertad para dedicarse a la larga tradición electoral mexicana de vender impresión favorable y la cobertura de difusión a los candidatos y partidos”, concluye la cita de The Guardian a los cables de Wikileaks.

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MEXICO 001683 SENSITIVE SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/21/2017 TAGS: PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs], PREL [External Political Relations], PINR [Intelligence], MX [Mexico] SUBJECT: MEXICO,S NEW ELECTORAL REGIME PROVING DIFFICULT TO MANAGE Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Charles V. Barclay. Reason: 1.4 (b), (d). ¶1. (SBU) Summary. In the run up to the first national elections since electoral reforms were passed in 2007, it is clear that the electoral regime crafted by ongress is butting up against Mexico,s political reality. Criticism of the law’s inconsistencies abound, and the only question is whether and when a groundswell will emerge in favor of revamping it once the dust settles after polling is completed. End Summary. ¶2. (SBU) After the hotly contested elections of 2006, one of the first orders of business congress took up was an ambitious state reform effort, largely at the behest of both PRI and PRD leaders. Legislators failed to reach consensus on most of the broad political reform proposals, but found sufficient agreement to launch a reform of Mexico’s electoral regime, which many thought had been stressed to its limits by the raucous 2006 presidential campaign and its bitter aftermath. In November 2007, Congress passed constitutional reforms that reorganized the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), shortened the campaign period considerably, radically changed campaign funding and imposed controversial restrictions on how campaigns could use media to influence voters. At the time, most observers questioned the utility of many of the reforms, which they either characterized as a sop by the PAN to an embittered PRD or as a sinister scheme by PRI leaders to condition future elections to their advantage. Below, we look at the three most significant — and controversial — of the measures designed to reform the way campaigns are conducted in Mexico. IFE,s Stewardship of Airtime for Parties/Candidates Poses Challenges ¶3. (U)One of the more controversial and problematic regulation this reform created was to place the IFE in charge of administering time on radio and TV for all parties in federal, state, and local elections. TV and radio stations are required to provide authorities with 48 free minutes of air time a day to run election ads. IFE has divided that time into 2 and 3 minute segments per hour of transmission, which is being distributed among the parties mainly based on their representation in Congress as a result of the last elections. The law expressly prohibits parties and private individuals from buying air time on TV or radio apart from the IFE allocated time. Only authorized parties can run ads &for the purpose of influencing voters and the election,8 and they can only do so during IFE authorized spots. ¶4. (U)Media moguls, commentators and many political figures branded this aspect of the reform as antithetical to free speech. Broadcast giants Televisa and TV Atzeca, concerned by the loss of revenues the restrictions imposed, have carried the fight furthest, and IFE,s response has only muddied the waters. A months long battle emerged between the two companies and the IFE in January and February that erupted when the two deliberately cut into the crucial moments of popular sports events with political ads continues. IFE sanctioned both broadcasters only to postpone the fines, and is now haggling over whether to drastically lower, or forgive the, sending mixed signals to the body politic. ¶5. (C)Parties and candidates are skirting the restrictions on media buys at any rate. Subsequent to the law,s passage, IFE reached an agreement with the Chamber for the Radio and Television Industry to protect journalists, freedom of speech. Since then, journalists and their bosses have been more or less free to engage in the time-honored Mexican electoral tradition of selling favorable print and broadcast coverage to candidates and parties. ¶6. (C)PRI and PAN, with their comparatively large unofficial campaign war chests and stables of friendly reporters and editors, have probably been able to engage more effectively in this practice than have PRD and the smaller parties. One IFE counselor told Poloffs that while hard to substantiate, most of the allegations his institution has received are probably true. Mexico,s National Autonomous University conducted a content analysis of media political coverage and concluded that while the PAN, its candidates and public officials identified with the party received slightly more attention than their PRI counterparts, coverage of PRI and its adherents was more oftentimes cast positively by media. UNAM also found that Media coverage of PRD trailed far behind MEXICO 00001683 002 OF 003 that of the two leading parties. ¶7. (U)Further muddying the waters, parties and broadcast outlets have openly challenged the proscription against &issues-oriented8 spots, outside the allotted 48 minutes, that are designed to appeal to voters, concerns without openly campaigning on behalf of a party or candidate. In one case, the Green Party (PVEM) was fined close to $800,000 USD for buying unauthorized ad time on TV, but successfully argued that the commercials were not propaganda but rather informative. IFE rescinded the fine, essentially leaving open the question of where to draw the line between public service ads and campaign spots. Negative Campaigning Prevails, Despite New Law ¶8. (U)Another controversial change in the legislation prohibited &negative8 campaigning, stating that &political or electoral propaganda that the parties distribute should abstain from expressions that denigrate institutions or parties or that slander people.8 However, while it specifies a range of fines and other penalties for engaging in denigrating or slanderous behavior, it fails to fully define what constitutes such behavior in the first place. ¶9. (U) Not surprisingly, this aspect of the legislation has also been hotly contested. PAN, in particular, has fought a long and expensive battle with IFE over its campaign ads and has been subjected to heavy fines. The Party,s most famous &negative8 ad was a word search puzzle run in magazines and newspapers that asked readers to find &characteristics of the PRI8 and included words like &poverty,8 &complacency8 and &corruption.8 After months of appealing an IFE decision that the ad constituted slander, PAN was forced to pay almost $100,000 USD. ¶10. (SBU) Of course, finger pointing between PAN and PRI over the question of corruption and organized crime continues unabated through a variety of channels, despite the restriction on negative campaigning. Battles rage in many locales over charges and counter charges of official complicity in the narco-trade ) none more bitter than in the state of Chihuahua whose governor stands accused of narco-ties by PAN leaders, and where a former PAN mayor, now candidate for a federal deputyship, was briefly arrested on malfeasance and corruption charges. Many analysts we have spoken with believe that PAN,s use of such tactics successfully chipped away at PRI,s once substantial edge that was demonstrated by early surveys. Incumbent Campaigning Restrictions ¶11. (SBU)The third key aspect of the 2007 reform was the attempt to prevent incumbent officials from political campaigning. The measure was seen as a response to the acrimony engendered during the 2006 presidential campaign, when President Fox unabashedly took to the airwaves to tout his party,s achievements and undermine opposition candidates. The restriction applies to all levels of government in Mexico. ¶12. (SBU)Again, the reform has generated more controversy than clarity. Federal, state and local entities have generally avoided blatant media campaigning on behalf of candidates from their parties, but many a government official has tailored his &official duties8 to maximize opportunities to lend support to favored candidates. In virtually every state in play for governorships, and in numerous localities around the country, charges of vote influencing have been lodged by opposition candidates against sitting governments. Most recently, PRI governors, with help from their PRD colleagues, have attempted to use the National Conference of Governors to denounce what they claim is the widespread use of federal social programs to influence voters, calling PAN &a would-be Santa Clause and giving out things that it is not his to give.8 ¶13.(SBU)The charge that the federal government uses its spending programs to cultivate voters is a long-standing one wielded by opposition politicians. Specific allegations will most likely never be investigated or substantiated. There is little doubt, however, that the PAN-led federal government’s command of the law enforcement heights has provided advantage. Numerous broadcast ads highlighting the Calderon administration’s commitment to clearing the streets of drug lords and petty traffickers are aired daily. Opposition parties are also charging that the federal government is using the tools at its disposal for political ends. Both PRI and PRD branded late May raids in Michoacan, which netted 28 state and local officials, an attempt by the president to MEXICO 00001683 003 OF 003 influence public opinion in favor of his party. Although a complaint was lodged with IFE, no action has been taken. Federal law enforcement officials deny they have staged such recent aggressive pushes into well known narco hot zones throughout the country to drive a point home to voters, and say that they are long overdue. ¶14. (C)Comments. The fears expressed last year that the electoral reforms would quash freedom of expression during the mid-term season have not been entirely borne out. Many observers believe this current election cycle has been singularly lackluster and ascribe it to the law. However, the kinds of free-wheeling activities the reform was designed to restrain continue. Ambiguities in the law, uneven application of its provisions and aggressive pushback by candidates and media have undercut its impact. IFE personnel feel their institution has been unfairly criticized by the media for its handling of the new legal framework, but admit privately that many of the reforms are unworkable. They expect to see an attempt to overhaul the new electoral regime before the 2012 elections. Whether Mexico,s legislators improve the law, or make a piece of bad legislation worse, remains to be seen. End Comment. Visit Mexico City’s Classified Web Site at http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap /

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R 262238Z JAN 09 FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4824 INFO ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL HQ USNORTHCOM DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC NSC WASHINGTON DC

Hide header C O N F I D E N T I A L MEXICO 000212 E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/21/2017 TAGS: PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs], PREL [External Political Relations], PINR [Intelligence], MX [Mexico] SUBJECT: MEXICO’S PRI JOCKEYS FOR JULY VOTE WITH AN EYE TOWARD 2012 Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Charles V. Barclay. Reason: 1.4 (b), (d). ¶1. (C) Summary. The Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) is confident six months out from the vote that it stands to make significant gains in July’s federal legislative and gubernatorial elections, even as PRI luminaries approach the electoral contest with an eye toward the next presidential bid. Most observers see party president Beatriz Paredes, Mexico State Governor Enrique Pena Nieto, and PRI Senate leader Manlio Fabio Beltrones as the three most likely presidential candidates, with Pena Nieto needing to prove that his personal popularity can translate into stronger electoral results and support for the PRI. The party is already increasing its attacks on the Calderon government and his National Action Party (PAN). Regardless of the electoral outcome, it is almost certain that from here on out, PRI’s policymaking and campaigning will be primarily geared toward recapturing the Mexican presidency. End Summary. State of Play ————- ¶2. (C) The PRI continues to be confident that it stands to make significant gains in July’s federal legislative and gubernatorial elections. Some analysts suggest that, while less likely, with enough victories in the winner-take-all votes, the PRI could be granted an absolute majority through the distribution of proportional representation seats. Director General of the Chamber of Deputies’ Center for Social Studies and Public Opinion (CESOP) and former advisor to PRI Senate leadership, Carlos Casillas, told Poloff on January 15 that the PRI is probably most likely to win about 215 seats, and Luis Rubio from the Center of Investigation for the Development of Mexico (CIDAC) agreed that the PRI is virtually guaranteed at least 210 seats. Rubio also noted that while he sees PRI as unlikely to win an absolute majority, it is not completely out of the question since the party would have to win only 42% of the vote–with alliances–in order to be allotted enough proportional representation slots to push them over 250 seats. (Note: The PRI currently has 106 seats in the Chamber, while the PAN has 207 and the PRD has 127. End Note.) ¶3. (C) PRI also hopes to make gains in the gubernatorial races. PRI Director for International Relations Ceslo Delgado told Poloff on January 20 that of the six governorships up for grabs, the party hopes to maintain its grip on Sonora, Campeche, Colima and Nuevo Leon, while perhaps picking up Queretero or, less likely, San Luis Potosi. Both Queretero and San Luis Potosi are considered PAN states–Queretero has been governed by the PAN since 1997 and the party has prospered in San Luis Potosi under PAN Governor Jesus Marcelo de los Santos–but corruption scandals plaguing the current Queretero governor and PAN infighting in San Luis Potosi could open the door to a PRI challenger, according to Casillas and other local observers. ¶4. (C) Analysts have pointed to the PAN and PRD as being slow off the mark in preparing for the July elections. Luis Rubio opined that President Calderon seems to be doing little to directly organize the PAN’s electoral effort. Splits within the party between ideological and pragmatic factions also are paralyzing the party, and PAN leadership has yet to prove that it is developing a coherent campaign strategy for the 40 to 50 swing districts it has to win in order to obtain the 168 seats it needs to be able to check the PRI in congress. The bitterly fought internal power struggles within the PRD will almost certainly prevent the party from effectively campaigning in the runup to the elections, and the still unresolved issue of 2006 presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s place in the party is alienating potential voters. Rubio opined that the PRD may only be able to secure between 80-85 districts. The PRD is also a virtual non-factor in the gubernatorial elections, which will turn into two-way races as the PAN and PRI battle for the posts. Internal PRI Positioning ———————— ¶5. (C) Some PRI heavyweights are eyeing the 2009 electoral season with the next presidential election in mind, and potential candidates are already looking to position themselves to advantage in 2012. Most observers see party president Beatriz Paredes, Mexico State Governor Enrique Pena Nieto, and PRI Senate leader Manlio Fabio Beltrones as the three most likely presidential candidates, with PRI Chamber of Deputies Coordinator Emilio Gamboa and several state governors (including the Governors of Veracruz and Sonora) also harboring their own hopes. Casillas and PRI-affiliated analyst Jose Alcalde both noted that Paredes is likely to take one of the plurinominal federal deputy seats, but Casillas reported that she may reconsider. Paredes almost certainly would only be willing to be a deputy if she were guaranteed to lead the PRI congressional bloc, which would require that she relinquish the party presidency. If she were to resign, the party’s Secretary General and close ally to Pena Nieto, Jesus Murillo Karam would assume the presidency, thus strengthening the Mexico State Governor’s position. Nevertheless, even if Paredes chooses to serve out her term as president, her allies almost certainly will fill the majority of seats allocated to the party by proportional representation, and she will thus manage the most powerful PRI deputies in congress. ¶6. (C) Beltrones and Gamboa are also probably trying to strengthen their positions by influencing the candidate selection process, with a likely focus on the gubernatorial races given the power PRI governors still have in managing party affairs in their states. Party insiders suggest that Beltrones, for example, is attempting to see his ally be named as the gubernatorial candidate in Sonora. Gamboa and other party leaders publicly backed pre-candidate for the San Luis Potosi governorship, Jesus Ramirez Strobos, in the primary race against winner Fernando Toranzo Fernandez, rumored to be Paredes’ pick. Analysts suggest that internal bickering over candidate selection will continue to be fraught until the candidate selection process concludes. Big Year for Pena Nieto ———————– ¶7. (C) PRI is looking to Pena Nieto to prove in this year’s elections that his personal popularity can translate into stronger electoral results and support for the PRI in Mexico State. Carlos Flores Rico, currently the Director General for the party’s “Territorial Movement,” told Poloff in December that the party has not fared particularly well under Pena Nieto in Mexico State, and most analysts suggest that the PRI’s prospects remain at best uncertain in July’s vote. CESOP is projecting PAN to win some 11 seats in the state, with PRI ending up with 13 and the PRD with 16. This would be an increase from PRI’s current 7 directly elected deputies (PAN having 11, PRD 20, and Convergencia 2), but perhaps not the dramatic increase party luminaries would need to see in order to be convinced that public support for Pena Nieto can be chalked up to more than attraction to his charisma and youth. Perhaps unlike in previous electoral contests, Pena Nieto is focused on the July elections–he has launched significant public works projects in areas targeted for votes, and analysts and PRI party leaders alike have repeatedly expressed to Poloff their belief that he is paying media outlets under the table for favorable news coverage, as well as potentially financing pollsters to sway survey results. Campaign Heating Up ——————- ¶8. (C) PRI is focusing its campaign by attacking the PAN and President Calderon on economic, security, and corruption matters, while hoping to win support from disaffected PRD voters by appealing to their “social democratic” sensibilities. Delgado told Poloff that PRI will focus negative campaigning on the PAN’s neglect of the agricultural sector, deteriorating economic conditions, and that the PAN is “no less corrupt than the PRI was.” Local press is already honing in on what seems to be an increasingly acrimonious relationship between the PRI and PAN as Paredes and PAN Senator Santiago Creel have traded barbs over the past week on issues ranging from candidate selection mechanisms to governance and progress on reforms. ¶9. (C) PRI’s criticisms of its rival may have some legs–PAN Secretary for International Relations Juan Bosco Tinoco told PolCouns on January 23 that he is very concerned that Mexicans may be increasingly receptive to opposition attempts to blame President Calderon for worsening economic conditions, which may strengthen PRI prospects. Bosco noted that recent focus groups conducted by the party indicate that people are becoming more frustrated that the Calderon administration has not done more mitigate the local effects of the worldwide economic downturn, whereas focus groups last fall indicated that people understood the problem to be a global phenomenon rather than the result of mismanagement from the government. Most analysts predict a more acrimonious legislative session when it starts next month, and some suggest that PRI may secure significant compromises from the PAN on proposed laws such as police reorganization. Comment ——- ¶10. (C) The electoral landscape could change dramatically in the months of campaigning that lie ahead–for example, internal PRI politicking as potential presidential candidates seek to best position themselves for a 2012 bid could sow divisions during the candidate selection process for the legislative and gubernatorial contests. Real divisiveness within the party probably will be held at bay through the July elections, however, even as rifts exist that could serve to once again rend the party as the presidential contest nears. ¶11. (C) Analysts have suggested that the PRI, particularly if it were to secure a majority, will approach the next legislature aggressively and in pure campaign mode. Observers note that PRI probably would seek to pass laws recentralizing authority with an eye toward winning the presidency in 2012, looking, for example, to impose more controls on the private sector, changes to budget procedures, funneling greater resources to the agricultural sector, and imposing more controls over PEMEX. It is almost certain that between now and the end of the current Sexenio, PRI’s policymaking and campaigning will be almost exclusively guided by the goal of re-capturing the Mexican presidency and the internal power struggles that accompany such a bid. Visit Mexico City’s Classified Web Site at http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap /

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