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Speculation: Salinas at Harvard?

Rumors Swirl Around Embattled Former Mexican President

By Todd F. Braunstein

Former Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari had reportedly moved to the United States and is rumored to be heading towards Boston and Harvard.

All Harvard officials interviewed by The Crimson yesterday denied any knowledge of whether Salinas was Harvard-bound.

But several national media outlets are reporting speculation that Mexico's embattled former head of state may return to the university where he earned a Ph.D. in government in 1978.

Salinas, whose term as president expired last November, had hopes of leading the new World Trade Organization.

But the former Mexican president withdrew his candidacy earlier this month when his brother was arrested in connection with the assassination of the secretary-general of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu.

Last Saturday, according to national reports, Salinas, his wife and their three children left Mexico for either New York or Miami, and the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, citing sources close to the family, reported that Salinas may ultimately settle in Boston.

The reasons for Salinas's departure were unclear. But the Mexican weekly magazine Proceso reported yesterday that Salinas left Mexico as part of an agreement with Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo to devote himself to academic work.

Still, if Harvard officials had any knowledge of Salinas's arrival, they weren't talking about it yesterday.

Provost Albert Carnesale, who is also servingas dean of the Kennedy School, said he'd beenfielding calls from the media about Salinas'spossible arrival all day.

But Carnesale reiterated that he did not knowif the former Mexican president was coming toHarvard.

"I have no knowledge of any connection withHarvard," the provost said in an interviewyesterday." I've heard from people that say he'sin Boston, but I haven't heard anything."

Steven R. Singer, spokesperson for the KennedySchool, also claimed ignorance.

"I don't have anything on it," Singer said. "Ihaven't heard anything.

One student representative of the Institute ofPolitics' (IOP) Student Advisory Committee (SAC)said that she'd heard Salinas's name mentionedrecently in connection with a possible invitationto Harvard.

But other members of the SAC said in interviewsyesterday that they had no knowledge of aninvitation, as did the IOP's deputy directors.

"I haven't heard anything," said IOP DeputyDirector Catherine A. McLaughlin. "There's not anoutstanding invitation from the [IOP]."

Latin American specialists in the Faculty ofArts and Sciences--some of whom maintaincorrespondences with Salinas--yesterday claimedthat they knew nothing about the plans of theformer Mexican leader.

Gutman Professor of Latin American Affairs JohnH. Coatsworth said that he'd heard rumors ofSalinas's arrival, but denied knowing of anyformal plans.

The past several months have been particularlyrough for the former Mexican president.

Salinas himself has not been implicated in RuizMassieu's murder. But he reportedlypleaded--unsuccessfully--with Zedillo not toarrest his brother Raul.

And Salinas staged a hunger strike this monthuntil the government cleared him of any wrongdoingin the 1994 assassination of former presidentialcandidate Luis Donaldo Colosio.

Finally, Salinas has been blamed for thecurrent economic crisis in Mexico, prompted by thedramatic devaluation of the Mexican peso late lastyear.

This story was complied with wiredispatches.

Provost Albert Carnesale, who is also servingas dean of the Kennedy School, said he'd beenfielding calls from the media about Salinas'spossible arrival all day.

But Carnesale reiterated that he did not knowif the former Mexican president was coming toHarvard.

"I have no knowledge of any connection withHarvard," the provost said in an interviewyesterday." I've heard from people that say he'sin Boston, but I haven't heard anything."

Steven R. Singer, spokesperson for the KennedySchool, also claimed ignorance.

"I don't have anything on it," Singer said. "Ihaven't heard anything.

One student representative of the Institute ofPolitics' (IOP) Student Advisory Committee (SAC)said that she'd heard Salinas's name mentionedrecently in connection with a possible invitationto Harvard.

But other members of the SAC said in interviewsyesterday that they had no knowledge of aninvitation, as did the IOP's deputy directors.

"I haven't heard anything," said IOP DeputyDirector Catherine A. McLaughlin. "There's not anoutstanding invitation from the [IOP]."

Latin American specialists in the Faculty ofArts and Sciences--some of whom maintaincorrespondences with Salinas--yesterday claimedthat they knew nothing about the plans of theformer Mexican leader.

Gutman Professor of Latin American Affairs JohnH. Coatsworth said that he'd heard rumors ofSalinas's arrival, but denied knowing of anyformal plans.

The past several months have been particularlyrough for the former Mexican president.

Salinas himself has not been implicated in RuizMassieu's murder. But he reportedlypleaded--unsuccessfully--with Zedillo not toarrest his brother Raul.

And Salinas staged a hunger strike this monthuntil the government cleared him of any wrongdoingin the 1994 assassination of former presidentialcandidate Luis Donaldo Colosio.

Finally, Salinas has been blamed for thecurrent economic crisis in Mexico, prompted by thedramatic devaluation of the Mexican peso late lastyear.

This story was complied with wiredispatches.

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