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Mexico trip replaces preconceptions.



* Real life in Mexico bears little resemblance to its view as the laid-back land of manana ma·ña·na  
adv.
1. Tomorrow.

2. At an unspecified future time.

n.
An indefinite time in the future.



[Spanish, from Vulgar Latin
.

Commerce and commentary thrive amid the beeping madness of Mexico City Mexico City
 Spanish Ciudad de México

City (pop., 2000: city, 8,605,239; 2003 metro. area est., 18,660,000), capital of Mexico. Located at an elevation of 7,350 ft (2,240 m), it is officially coterminous with the Federal District, which occupies 571 sq mi
 traffic.

You can buy anything from gum to garden rakes from the swift merchants who walk among the cars and hawk their wares during red lights. You can also find children dressed as devils with red capes and plastic masks of former Mexican president Carlos Salinas Salinas, city, United States
Salinas (səlē`nəs), city (1990 pop. 108,777), seat of Monterey co., W Calif.; inc. 1874. It is the shipping and processing center of a fertile valley famous for its grain and lettuce.
. They do tricks on their fathers' shoulders, then beg for money from a captive audience stopped at the intersection.

Meanwhile, government officials who would just as soon disown dis·own  
tr.v. dis·owned, dis·own·ing, dis·owns
To refuse to acknowledge or accept as one's own; repudiate.


disown
Verb

to deny any connection with (someone)

Verb
 the former head of their party toil late in gleaming marble-and-glass buildings. In Mexico, say the journalists who work there, getting a return call from a source still at work at 10:30 p.m. is not unusual.

So much for the laid-back image of life in the land of manana.

Those who took NCEW's Mexico City trip June 11-15 probably replaced a few other preconceptions about Mexico with stranger-than-fiction facts. The trip was put together by Jim Boyd, deputy editorial page editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and chair of NCEW's International Affairs Committee. He had logistical help from Michael Zamba, Mexico City correspondent for The Dallas Morning News, who gets credit for lining up some high-level meetings. The trip gave 12 journalists and assorted spouses and relatives a chance to learn:

* Mexico's president Ernesto Zedillo has enough charm, looks, and wit to dispel those rumors about what a politically inexperienced nerd he is.

* Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, the man from whom Carlos Salinas allegedly stole the 1988 presidential election, doesn't ooze OOZE - Object oriented extension of Z. "Object Orientation in Z", S. Stepney et al eds, Springer 1992.  the kind of charisma his reputation suggests. The man who was expected to walk away with the governorship of Mexico City is more severe than scintillating scin·til·late  
v. scin·til·lat·ed, scin·til·lat·ing, scin·til·lates

v.intr.
1. To throw off sparks; flash.

2. To sparkle or shine. See Synonyms at flash.

3.
 - despite expectations to the contrary.

* Members of Mexico's conservative opposition party are weaving conspiracy theories about the 1994 assassination Assassination
See also Murder.

assassins

Fanatical Moslem sect that smoked hashish and murdered Crusaders (11th—12th centuries). [Islamic Hist.: Brewer Note-Book, 52]

Brutus

conspirator and assassin of Julius Caesar. [Br.
 of presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta (February 10 1950 – March 23 1994) was a Mexican politician, and PRI presidential candidate, who was assassinated during a meeting on his presidential campaign in Tijuana.  that are eerily reminiscent of debates over whether John Kennedy was killed by one assassin or two.

The trip was designed to be shorter, less expensive, and more accessible than traditional NCEW NCEW National Conference of Editorial Writers  excursions. The idea was to attract members from papers with smaller travel budgets, says Boyd. My presence as a first-time NCEW traveler is evidence that the plan worked.

The trip was quick, but long on content. In addition to President Zedillo and Governor Cardenas, we had interviews with pollster poll·ster  
n.
One that takes public-opinion surveys. Also called polltaker.

Word History: The suffix -ster is nowadays most familiar in words like pollster, jokester, huckster,
 Daniel Lurid, who explained the demographics and political mood; Secretary of Foreign Affairs Jose Angel Gurria, who told us in his Leeds University English about the challenges of dealing with U.S. politicians; and Roberto Rock, editorial director of El Universal, Mexico City's largest daily. He told us how most of his reporters quit and the government sent 50 federal police with machine guns when his paper decided to try ethics in journalism, U.S.-style.

We also met with economist Roberto Salinas Leon, and took a trip to the U.S. Embassy where nobody wanted to be quoted by name.

The trip came just before one of the most important elections in Mexican history. It gave us an insight into how a political party that has held absolute power for years can manage to give it up while deftly positioning itself to regain it.

It provided a taste of the complexities of a country whose nearness has led to stereotypes far less interesting than reality. It should be the first of many trips to a neighbor that is of increasing importance to the U.S.

NCEW member Linda Valdez is an editorial writer for The Arizona Republic.
COPYRIGHT 1997 National Conference of Editorial Writers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:News Councils: Watching the Watchdogs
Author:Valdez, Linda
Publication:The Masthead
Date:Sep 22, 1997
Words:602
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