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Outgoing Baja California Sen. Alejandro González Alcocer, in delivering a sixth and final report on his activities to his Baja California constituents in Tijuana's Cultural Center on Thursday night, indicated that Mexicans need to have patience with their institutions.
He noted that Mexico only has had 15 years of a divided Congress that is still finding its way to get legislation passed, as opposed to the previous Congresses that long rubber-stamped the president's wishes. "That is a short time for a country that aspires and wants to be democratic," the former Baja California governor said.
The National Action Party senator said it is important that the public not focus on how many initiatives a legislator has brought forth, but instead on whether legislators have been able to work with members of different parties to form a consensus and produce laws that help the country. "This type of work is rarely seen," he said.
Speakers lauded González Alcocer for being named one of the country's most productive senators by the newspaper Excélsior. He also had a 100% attendance record.
Among those present for the speech was Senator-elect Víctor Hermosillo, a former PAN mayor of Mexicali. The other member of the PAN who was elected to the Senate on July 1, former Gov. Ernesto Ruffo, was on vacation and did not attend. The speaker preceding González Alococer was Oscar Arce, president of the Chamber of Deputies and a member of the PAN from Tijuana.
Sen.-elect Víctor Hermosillo (right) talks with Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán after González Alcocer's speech.
González Alcocer said that unfortunately, the reputation of legislators, like that of police, is not good.
He cited a speech that PAN founder Manuel Gómez Morín gave at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (where González Alcocer received his law degree), saying what was more important than modifying laws was getting into Mexicans' consciousness that the laws need to be followed and upheld.
González Alcocer said being senator had been a great experience, one in which he had tried to carry out his duties carrying "Baja California in my heart and Mexico in my head."
A 25-minute film highlighted some of González Alcocer's accomplishments in the Senate, many of which had to do with passing laws involving security and justice matters. He presided over the Senate's Justice Commission. Legislation he was proud of includes criminal justice reform, human rights reform, the anti-kidnapping law and the law against human trafficking.
During his speech, he said he was happy with his work in the body, but wished more could have been done during his six years there. He said the amparo law is still pending and the criminal code is unfinished. He said necessary structural reforms were half-done or pending.
He said the incoming government of Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party appears committed to structural reforms, "so we should not lose hope."
González Alcocer quoted Demosthenes as saying at a point when ancient Greece was in a bleak situation following an invasion: "If we are in the circumstances we are in after we did all we should, there would be no hope. But if we are in the circumstances we are in because we still have a lot more we can do, then there is hope."
The senator concluded by saying, "We have that hope."
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The event, scheduled for 6 p.m., was delayed until 6:55 p.m. so that Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán could arrive.
The 25-minute film was followed by:
• A nearly eight-minute speech by Oscar Arce (at right in photo, with González Alcocer), the president of the Chamber of Deputies.
• A 5 1/2 minute speech by Gonzalez Alcocer.
• A 13 1/2 minute speech by Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán.
During his speech, González Alcocer thanked his wife, Rosalba Magallón, the daughter of pioneering Baja California PAN leader Salvador Rosas Magallón. "Without her help, I could not be who I am," the senator said to great applause.
González himself is the son of PAN pioneer Manuel González Hinojosa, a former president of the national PAN. González Hinojosa was a diplomatic type, like his son, who helped the PAN heal over divisions in the 1970s. That attribute may have been a major factor in González Alcocer being named to fill out the last three years of Gov. Héctor Terán Terán's term after Terán suddenly died in 1998.
Among the several hundred in attendance Thursday were former Tijuana Mayor Kiko Vega, national security official Oscar Vega Marín and Manuel Gastelum, the only PANista who won a federal deputies' race in the state July 1. The PRI won the other seven races. The PRI had not won a deputies' race in the state since 1997, when it won one district. Likewise, the PAN had not lost a deputies' race in the state since that same year, when it lost the one district.
There were many empty seats in the theater; the PAN did not bus in supporters, as did PRI Sen. Fernando Castro Trenti for his report last fall.
Story about González Alcocer's event in Frontera (PDF).
Update, July 15: El Mexicano columnist Víctor Islas Parra writes about the event (PDF).