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Opinion
Liébano Sáenz
Liébano Sáenz Different Times, New Realities Societies have become more fearful and this never helps one to see the big picture
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In memory of Fernando Solana Morales

The discrete and veiled route taken by change prevents its transcendency and profoundness from being seen. Today, society is clearly different from the one we knew a few years ago. All of the communities and nations have vastly transformed. Because of the firmness and gradualness observed in the last two decades, the process couldn’t be plainly seen. Far from unrecognizing the old and new problems, I am one of those who believes that circumstances are considerably better now. However, with respect to the state of things, I also warn against increasing indignation, a loss of expectations, and in some cases, a loss of hope. There is a crisis of ideals, steps and mysticism. My generation suffered much more, but the wish to improve favored many positive things in the transition.

The year of 1994 was a breaking point in historic events: the Zapatista uprise, the assassination of Luis Donaldo, the execution of Francisco Ruiz Massieu, the severe financial crisis and its consequences and the assassination of Cardinal Posadas in the previous year. In this sense, the year 2000 gave testimony to a drowned regime, while it had the virtue of creating a basis for a transition without trauma or ruptures. The expectation of change inspired the rotation in the presidency but the complex political balance expressed by the resistance by those who lost and the inexperience by those who won, did not allow for a virtuous course for change to open up. In fact, the institutional reforms that marked the previous decade stopped. In 2006, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) presented the traditional option and was sent to third place, while López Obrador stayed very close to triumph. Fear conspired against a second alternation.

It is unique that today’s changes, despite occurring in this presidential term, do not have a stamp. The reforms, transcendent for their content and effects, do not silence the people. They were given with the consensus by those who dominated the political process. Perhaps the inclusion and the agreement complicated their approval. At the same time, the social change derived in the technological revolution took place. Fortunately, one of the reforms took on this role in opening up the possibilities for the socialization in mark of the competition.

Reoccurring violence is the sign of our times. Societies have become more fearful and this never helps one to see the big picture. The obsession with security and the fear of terrorism in developed countries has altered internal and external political coordination. The war on drugs in these regions has stopped being a priority, even though the historical prohibition premises have not been modified, which has cause painful and dramatic consequences in Mexico. The most violent criminal activity is associated with drug trafficking. The world should revise and thoroughly discuss the restrictive model for this issue.

Terrorism is a genuine and valid concern. In Mexico some view it as a far-away and exotic problem, and in some senses it is, but the reality is that in many forms the phenomenon includes us because of our proximity to a country which, in addition to being the most powerful, is the aim of Islamic fundamentalism. As much in North American society as in their politics, the fear of the outside exists, but with evident modifications. The Cold War ended, but fear increased. The attitudes and reactions by the Republican Party and the primary elections show this. It is not just the case of Donald Trump, but the feelings of an important sector of U.S. society who advises for the necessity of an offense toward everything that seems foreign to them. Their disposition to make incursions in the changes in intolerance and prejudice is what is worrisome. But the same North American elites are worried about the nationalist and xenophobic insults in the Republican Party presidential debates.

The Islamic terrorist attack on Brussels couldn’t have occurred at a worse time. Belgium authorities affirm that they cannot apprehend those thought to be responsible because they do not have enough evidence to detain them. A civil argument that clashes with authoritative willfulness, who assume that everything is important in the war on terrorism, includes the sacrifice of basic premises of contemporary society, like fundamental rights. Something similar has occurred in the national debate against insecurity. There are some who believe that one can fight crime ignoring the law and due process. These are different times from those in which fear was associated with justice institutions’ inefficiency to bring down the shame of impunity.

More than two decades have passed since the tragic year of 1994, the period of irrecuperable loss aggravated by unsatisfactory or insufficient explanations. It is not the mistake of December, but of March 23rd which should be cleared up and disclosed. It is time to publicly open the record and show that everyone took part in the investigation. We can move on with this wound, but there will always be a limitation for understanding the circumstances and our time, as well as putting the characters in balance in an attempt to dignify the memory of those who died.

Today the country is on a path in a new direction with a transformed society. The change has been contradictory. Yes, it is necessary to plant our evolution with generosity, optimism and high-mindedness. Fear only works on those who venture into populism, reject everything and are willing to give their moral guarantee to radical sectors, like the small group that kidnapped the educational project in Oaxaca. It is debatable whether it is the best route to win votes, but it is clear that it works to polarize a society.

New times for new realities. The upcoming year of 2018 announces a crucial moment for the country and its democracy.

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