The nation’s election chief gets most of the attention on this morning’s front pages, and not in a good way.
Lorenzo Córdova, president of the National Electoral Institute, is the latest unwitting recording star for Clandestine Gotcha Studios.
In a leaked cell phone conversation with another INE official, the man charged with preserving Mexico’s electoral democracy on June 7 goes off on an indigenous leader he met with last month, essentially making fun of him for being an Indian and driving home his point with an embarrassing approximation of the stereotyped fractured lingo that Hollywood once used to portray Native Americans.
That makes the front page of all the papers. Three lead with it, including La Jornada with this top head: “Córdova mocks indigenous man in leaked recording.”
The recording went up on YouTube yesterday. Televisa immediately came to Córdova’s rescue, giving him a chance to apologize in an interview, and to change the subject to the other issue — namely, the ease in which private conversations are made public with the intent to harm.
Córdova’s position is that he (and by extension the INE) is the victim here, the target of a malicious, illegal act. He’s not wrong. The 21st century assault on privacy is a true crisis, though the likes of Córdova, with his childish insensitivity, is more of an argument for the assault than against it.
Another 21st century, Internet-bred crisis is the proliferation of public shaming, the cowardly acts of the self-righteous who find it easier to put innocents in the virtual stockade for off-hand remarks than to bother with the heavy-lifting of eliminating real, on-the-ground racism.
Is Córdova being unfairly shamed? A little. But the thing is, he’s a public official. And not just any public official, mind you, but the public official in charge of an election process that’s been criticized for, among other things, making itself irrelevant to poor, isolated communities, many of them indigenous.
And he makes fun of those same people? Private conversation or not, you have to wonder — what was this guy thinking?
And then you remember. He was thinking that nobody was listening.
You never know, but the safe bet is that Córdova will survive this. There was no revelation of wrongdoing, as in the OHL case, where company officials talked openly of defrauding the government.
What was exposed, though, is that we may not have the right kind of person occupying the top election post.