President Calderón decided on visiting Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua this week as a symbolic show of support show for the beleaguered city and to announce new measures against criminal organizations. He was not the only one planning a major symbolic action. The state’s Governor, José Reyes Baeza Terrazas, had announced his intention to move the state’s three branches of government from Chihuahua City to Ciudad Juárez, a move akin to moving California’s state capital from Sacramento to San Francisco. Officially, the move would facilitate coordination by government and therefore provide assistance to the important border city more efficiently. In any case, doing so requires the approval by a two-thirds majority in the state legislature.
Though the Governor belongs to the PRI party and his party has at least a plurality in the legislature, opposition by PAN legislators have blocked the measure. The PAN party’s national leader, César Nava Vázquez, held a press conference stating that the Governor had decided on the move unilaterally and had not consulted with the opposition parties in the legislature. He insisted that this was not a time for political maneuvering, but inter-governmental cooperation and dialogue. The state legislature did unanimously approve the Governor’s efforts to send a representative delegation from all the three branches to Ciudad Juárez, however. As local and state authorities prepare for the arrival of the President (who belongs to the right-leaning PAN party), his entourage has grown.
Recently, Gómez Mont, the current Secretary of Government (secretario de gobernación), announced he would join the group of cabinet members accompanying President Calderón. Mr. Mont created quite a stir in political circles when he resigned from the PAN party earlier this month. He has also chosen not to participate in certain party activities recently. As the Secretary of Government, his functions include presenting the President’s legislative agenda to Congress and managing his/her relations with other political entities like states and municipalities. Some members of the PAN have said the party should reject Mr. Mont’s official resignation, but even as this conflict within the party plays out, it pales in comparison to the violence playing out in Ciudad Juárez.