Reporters on the Job
• Dinner Party Chatter in Mexico : Staff writer Danna Harman says that she's been struck by how quickly impressions of Mexico City's embattled mayor have turned. "A few weeks ago, before his legal woes and the huge street demonstrations (page 1), the dinner party chatter among diplomats and journalists was on how 'dictatorial' [Andres Manual] López Obrador was supposed to be. People said they were worried that he might become president. There was almost no mention of López Obrador without someone immediately comparing him to Venezuela's leftist president, Hugo Chávez," says Danna.
Now, she says, the perceptions of López Obrador have changed. "He's the martyr. And the focus is on Mexican President Vicente Fox. People talk about his 'dictatorial tendencies,' and folks wonder what will happen if López Obrador is not allowed to run for president in 2006," she says.
Danna adds that nowhere in her reporting career, with the possible exception of Egypt, has she heard more political conspiracy theories. "People wonder if Fox really intended this as a way to get López Obrador quietly out of the race. If that was the plan, then he has failed in the biggest way. So now I keep hearing the theory that Fox is in cahoots with López Obrador. People reason, 'Why else would he do something so political inept as to try to remove Obrador from the race like this?'"
David Clark Scott