My father called me last night at 1:30 a.m. "They killed Colosio tonight," he said. Luis Donaldo Colosio was the presidential candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that has been in power since the Mexican Revolution early this century. He was shot last night in the head and stomach as he addressed a crowd in Tijuana, and he died three hours later. I listened in a state of shocked disbelief.
Colosio came from a humble background and climbed his way up through hard work. He attended public school--uncommon among the present generation of leaders--and obtained excellent grades. He pursued graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Recently, he was nominated as the presidential candidate for the PRI.
Though he had a relatively low profile, his intelligence and preparation left no doubt as to his capability to handle the job. Last night, the lifetime of hard work that put him behind the podium in front of a crowd also exposed him to the bullets of a 23-year-old assassin.
Why this young man pulled the trigger remains a mystery. It is true that under the neoliberal program furthered by President Salinas, the poor--a very sizeable part of the population--have experienced increasing hardship, even as the overall economic climate in the nation has regained vigor. The recent rebellion in Chiapas has brought attention to the fact that social justice must be addressed.
I don't know where this assassin came from, but if he considers himself an advocate of social justice, he might want to consider that his form of 'cure' could be worse than the disease. Mexico has worked hard at attaining the stability necessary to attract and nurture foreign investment, perhaps, a harbinger of better living conditions for all Mexicans.
Mexico is undergoing important changes and bright, capable leaders are more necessary than ever. Many looked forward to Colosio's leadership. My brother, a sophomore in college eager to work with Colosio's team this summer, wrote him a letter and delivered it himself to his office.
Our political preferences aside, many of us are very saddened by the senseless loss of an important leader. I extend my condolences to Mr. Colosio's family, and express full confidence that Mexico will rise up--like on so many other occasions--to the challenges it faces. Alberto Simpser '95 member, Harvard University Mexican Association.
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