Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Today's Headlines: Henry and Elizabeth

For the second time in a week, federal forces nabbed a major drug lord without considering the daily newspapers’ production schedules. Where are their priorities?
    As was the case last Friday with Servando Gómez (the Knights Templar capo known as La Tuta), León Omar Treviño, head of Los Zetas, was taken from a private home in a pre-dawn raid with no shots fired. 
    Treviño, who took over the notoriously bloodthirsty Zetas from his brother after the latter's arrest in July of 2013, was apprehended in a private home in the well-to-do San Pedro Garza García suburb of Monterrey.
    Welcome as the detention may be, recent history has served as a fairly consistent reminder that these high-profile busts don’t do much to loosen the grip of crime organizations in the areas they control.
    With this narco news breaking too late to make the morning print editions, our five dailies brighten their front pages with coverage of President Peña Nieto’s first full day in London. The itinerary was heavy on the royal side, which was duly reflected in the front-page photo-reefers, whose purpose was to point readers to more photos on the inside pages.
    So we’re treated to a pictorial gallery of the handsome young president with Queen Elizabeth II, striking in all-white as was the first lady, Angélica Rivera; with the Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburg; with Charles, Prince of Wales; with the Queen’s Guard in their bearskin headgear; and, in a nice touch, with a charro saddle selected from the queen’s personal collection of Mexicanalia.
    Who knew that reading the papers today would be like perusing the My English Vacation album of an especially photogenic couple with plenty of spending cash and a well-connected travel agent?
    El Universal found room on its front page for a presidential trip story with some substance, under the headline “Peña defends reforms and laments criminal barbarity.” Editors should be more careful with that word “defend” in headlines. Unless the speaker is responding to an immediately preceding accusation, the verb paints him as reacting, well, defensively, when that may not be the case.
    True, the president’s enacted economic reforms have received their share of criticism, but none of it was coming from the assorted British royalty in attendance Tuesday. Peña Nieto was in fact promoting the reforms, not defending them, and with considerable success, according to the headline Excelsior places with its front-page photo-reefer of a beaming Enrique and Elizabeth: “United Kingdom offers support for the reforms.”

El Universal’s lead head this morning is this: “Eight families control the PRD in the capital.” Raise your hand if the first thing that came to mind was mafia clans manipulating Mexico City’s governing party. But no, “families” here means literally families, and “control” means that an inordinate number of posts, elected and appointed, are occupied by people related to each other.
    The best-known family tie in the PRD may be the husband-and-wife team of René Bejarano and Dolores Padierna, he the head of the important PRD faction known as the National Democratic Left (IDN) and she a senator. Padierna’s brother Antonio is the PRD candidate this year for borough chief in Azcapotzalco, in the north of the city.
    EL Universal gives seven more examples of extended families playing musical chairs with party posts and city offices. The interbreeding may not be illegal, but it’s unseeingly and does nothing to improve the PRD’s current image problem. The paper implies that the nepotism is not so much to help family members as to solidify the family leader’s control of his or her bailiwick. Who’s more dependably loyal than a sister, son or nephew?
    But the paper overdoes it in an editorial. After pointing out that the Bejarano-Padierna marriage is not the only one among the eight PRD families in the DF (Anguiano-Hernández and Lobo-Arias are two others), the editorial reminds us that the Guerrero town of Iguala, from where the 43 normal school students were disappeared, was also “governed by the so called ‘imperial couple,’ of PRD origin of course.”
    You got to love that “of course.” It helps you follow the logic. Former Iguala Mayor José Luis Abarca and María de los Angeles Pineda, jailed on suspicion of organized crime ties and condoning, perhaps masterminding, the student massacre, are married to each other and are members of the PRD. René Bejarano and Dolores Padierna are also married and members of the PRD. Therefore . . .
    We need to start keeping a sharper eye on married couples. There's something about those rings.

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