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Presidential Plagiarism

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Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, a man who makes George W. Bush seem like a complete genius by comparison, plagiarized at least 28 percent of his legal thesis on Alvaro Obregon from at least ten authors, including my old professor of Mexican history, Linda Hall, who wrote the first important North American biography of the revolutionary leader.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto plagiarized nearly a third of his 1991 undergraduate law thesis, according to a report published Sunday by one of Mexico’s leading investigative journalists, Carmen Aristegui.

Published on the website Aristegui Noticias, the report titled, “From Plagiarist to President,” details how 197 of the 682 paragraphs in the dissertation were found to be plagiarized—an overall 28.9 percent of the 200-page thesis.

The president’s thesis titled, “Mexican Presidentialism and Alvaro Obregon,” was analyzed by a team of academics and specialists.

Eduardo Sanchez, a government spokesperson, sought to downplay the accusation of plagiarism by calling the omissions “style errors.” He added that Peña Nieto met all the requirements needed to graduate as a lawyer from the Panamerican University in 1989 when he was 25 years old.

First, I worry about Aristegui’s safety. Although maybe this is too big of a target to get killed over. Second, maybe this should matter but it won’t. The PRI stopped caring about the citizenry or anything like honesty by the 1950s. Whoever gets touched is going to be the next leader and that’s how it is going to be. After a couple of elections where the PRI committed outright fraud to win over the leftist party or even (probably) had their own candidate assassinated when he moved to the left, there finally was enough of a movement to buck the PRI on the presidential level because Mexican corporate leaders had enough. But surprise! surprise!, a party committed to neoliberalism and finding ways to get thousands of Mexicans killed by drug cartels did not exactly stay popular. With the PRD having very little traction in rural Mexico, still a real stronghold for the PRI, the old party is back on top and as incapable as ever. Maybe Peña Nieto is the perfect representation of modern Mexico.

This also seems a good place to embed the first part of Mexico: The Frozen Revolution, the powerful 1971 documentary on how the PRI had betrayed the Mexican Revolution. The rest of it is available in chunks on YouTube.

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