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financial chairman, Miguel Aleman, for a substantial donation to the ruling party. “That’s how you do business in Mexico,” the ex-airline exec told his Texas interrogators. De Provoisin says that with the approval of Aeromexico’ s board of directors, he eventually kicked in a campaign plane, 1,500 free airline tickets, and eight checks for $1 million each. Aleman, the new governor of Veracruz and a presidential hopeful himself, denies the allegations. De Provoisin’s deposition notes that his checks were routed through Citibank in New York \(with the assistance of special acous Swiss investment fund apparently controlled by the PRI. Elliot once handled Mexico-New York-Swiss transactions for another PRI honcho, Rain Salinas, the expresident’s still-imprisoned brother \(himself accused of funneling $132 million of what Swiss authorities say is drug-tinged moneys Divino, De Provoisin was helped out by Fobaproa, although he turns up only indirectly on the PRD lists Cintra, the holding company that now controls Aeromexico, is into Fobaproa for about $60 million. Crony capitalism flourished during the Salinas era as one heavy campaign contributor after another walked off with ex-state enterprises. Carlos Slim, who sat on the Salinas campaign finance committee in 1988, and once pledged $25 million to Zedillo’ s bid for the presidency, overnight became the richest man in Latin America with the acquisition of Telmex, the most profitable telephone company on the continent. Slim made a magnanimous pledge, during a February 1993 dinner party, to raise at least $750 million for the presidential race the next year. The dinner, at the home of banker Antonio Ortiz Mena, a Salinas relative, was attended by twenty-five members of the business elite, who had each reaped the dividends of privatization. Among those who were present at what has become known in political lore here as La Charola on the PRD Fobaproa lists, with a collective debt of $308 million that Zedillo now wants the Mexican people to pay. This pattern of privatization boom-tobust-and-bailout is the consistent story of SEPTEMBER 11, 1998 the PRI’ s big business backers. Two other guests at La Charola were construction magRhon \(son of the leader of the PRI’ s old mum contribution to the 1994 presidential campaign, and each has been rescued by another Zedillo administration bailout fund, to the tune of $1.9 billion. Both had helped Salinas privatize the nation’s highway system in the early nineties, but they couldn’t make their money back fast enough, despite charging exorbitant tolls. The PRD alleges that Fobaproa has been used to cover as much as $70 million in PRI campaign contributions. The parry’s highprofile campaign culminated August 30, in a national referendum on the transfer of the disputed funds to public debt. Prior to the vote, Lopez Obrador barnstormed the country, handing out 15 million anti-Fobaproa leaflets and thousands of videos; the PRD also pushed the non-binding referendum through radio, comic strips, and circus parades. There was a huge turnout the largest for any referendum in Mexico’s history. More than three million people voted, and more than 96 percent voted against the government proposal, and in favor of an investigation into those who benefited from the Fobaproa funds. The vote is widely seen as a measure of the PRD’s potential strength in the next presidential election. The leftists’ release of names of individuals and enterprises who hold the lion’s share of Fobaproa debt \(many of them tion from the ruling party. The PRD is guilty of violating the banking secret law by publishing the names and is stirring up a “McCarthy-like witchhunt,” charges spokesperson Marco Bucio, who also insists that the PRI has “nothing to hide.” The PRD’s violation of the secreto bancario was decried by the Mexican Bankers los Gomez y Gomez, virtually accused the left-wingers of fomenting class warfare. Business associations said they were weighing defamation suits because the revelations had caused “moral damage” \(presumably losses on the sinking stock marthe PRD bombshell with its own leaflets, videos, and primetime television spots, explaining how Fobaproa protects all Mexicans and not just a handful of the super rich who happen to write checks to the PRI. Release of the PRD lists “writes a new page in our financial history,” rejoices economic historian Carlos Marishal. “For the first time, the ties between the business class and the ruling party are being made clear.” Were Zedillo fundraisers out selling Fobaproa protection in exchange for million-dollar campaign contributions? The answer, like so many others that touch upon the shadowy links , between Mexico’s business elite and the ruling party, may well be found buried inside the locked vaults of the secreto bancario. John Ross’s first work of fiction, Tonatiuh’ s People: A Novel of the Mexican Cataclysm, will be published this October by Cinco Puntos Press in El Paso. Participants include members of these labor organizations: AFT/AEW, ATU, IBEW, IWW, UA, TSEU, and USA THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19 Phone: 374-4436 Email: [email protected] Address: 4209 Burnet Rd. #204 Austin, TX 78756 Working Stiff Journal News, views, and more on working class issues in Austin Monthly Mailed Subscriptions: $25/year First Issue will be released Labor Day, September 7, 1998 For more information, subscriptions, or to participate: ,or