Started in Ensenada, Baja California
Decentralize government for more local control, expand privatization and globalization, insure citizen’s civil rights, eliminate government interference in the media and curb governmental and judicial corruption: These are new criteria for governing Mexico that president elect Vicente Fox has presented to the nation.
Ensenadenses (sp. Ensenadans) have a particular reason to be proud of the victory, celebrated by the PAN party, in electing Vicente Fox. The first significant victory for the PAN was in the mid 1980’s when Ernesto Ruffo Apel won the presidency for the County of Ensenada.
Ruffo became a problem for Mexico’s centrist federation, at that time absolutely controlled by the PRI party. The valiant new mayor (presidente) refused to split tax revenues in the portions the feds demanded. He insisted that the funding split would leave his municipality without infrastructure improvement and jeopardize necessary public services.
The citizens of Ensenada formed a human chain around city hall when officials from Mexico City came to threaten Ruffo with expulsion from office and potential prosecution. Public sentiment forced the centrist government to negotiate with Ruffo. A tremendous political surge resulted, a new hope that real change might be possible in modern Mexico. Ruffomania, as it was dubbed, led to the PAN party winning the first opposition party governorship in the history of the republic.
In 1989, Ruffo’s determination for reform, gained him the gubernatorial mandate that changed Baja and Mexico’s history. Fox’s election, broke a 71 year PRI party stranglehold on the nation. The political fruit of what Ruffo planted in Ensenada, just 15 years prior.
Ernesto Ruffo is a very special politician whose ambition is not personal or ego driven. That was demonstrated when he turned down his party’s candidacy for President. His ambition is to make transparent and open to public scrutiny the process of governmental decision making. His reforms in Baja jealously protected citizens from government’s encroachment on civil liberties. His economic policy is devoted to free market principals providing the path to Mexico’s economic betterment.
Vicente Fox used good judgement in appointing Ruffo to the job of border czar, whose charge is: Resolving border issues with the U.S., protect the border environment, improve the infrastructure and stimulate more economic growth. Ernesto Ruffo has always been a good friend. I wish him congratulations and will follow with interest his assured successes in improving U.S. – Mexico border relations.