In Mexico, Hitler ad draws cries of protest

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Talk about an attack ad. Does it get worse than being compared to Hitler and Mussolini?

Supporters of Mexican leftist leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador are crying foul over a television spot that compares him to the infamous leaders, and to former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and Victoriano Huerta, an iron-fisted Mexican general who seized power through a coup during the country’s bloody revolution in the early 20th century.

The link? All those men shut down congresses, according to the Mexican TV spot, which aired Thursday night and today. Left-leaning lawmakers allied with López Obrador have effectively closed the Mexican Congress for more than a week to protest President Felipe Calderón’s proposal to revamp the state-owned oil monopoly, Pemex.

“Who closed the congresses?” begins the commercial, sponsored by a group calling itself “Better Society, Better Government.” The spot shows images of Hitler, Mussolini, Pinochet and Huerta, who it says was last to close Mexico’s Congress, in 1913.


It then shows López Obrador, the former Mexico City mayor, and his followers in Congress who barricaded the speaker’s podium in the lower Chamber of Deputies and covered it with a giant sign that read, “Closed.” You can view the ad on the website of the Mexican newspaper El Universal.

The 9-day-old blockade has forced remaining lawmakers to meet elsewhere and delayed the start of debate over Calderón’s proposal to reform Pemex by allowing alliances with private companies in oil exploration and refining.

López Obrador’s backers claim the TV ad was part of a “dirty war” by Calderón’s conservative National Action Party. They made similar charges after López Obrador lost the 2006 presidential race to Calderón by a paper-thin margin.

By Ken Ellingwood in Mexico City