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Assassination of Colosio

* The death of Luis Donaldo Colosio (March 24) has left many people bereft. Many will miss him. Many questions will remain forever unanswered: Why was he murdered, could he have won this year’s presidential elections, what direction would Mexico’s political turmoil have taken?

Colosio, an active member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) since a teen-ager, was to head Mexico into the 21st Century, continuing the party’s six-decade rule over Mexico (a party which has been described by intellectuals as the longest dictatorship of modern times--an authoritarian reign involved in political scandals, fraudulent elections, student and Indian assassinations). However, as of Jan. 1, the chance of Colosio trailing the footsteps of President Salinas’ rule over Mexico was seriously jeopardized by two powerful reasons: the loss of control over some sectors of the population brought about by the uprising of the Zapatistas, who demanded, among other things, reformation of the electoral code; and the surge of Manuel Camacho Solis as a possible presidential contender.

The PRI has now picked a new candidate behind which it can stand as a single force (March 30). The media, mostly controlled by the government, will surely back its new presidential candidate and take advantage of the people’s mourning to vote for the PRI “in the memory of Colosio.” At stake is the PRI’s survivability and control over government. A vote against the system would signify an important setback for the impressive economic transformations that Mexico has achieved during Salinas’ term in office. It would signify a blow for the Mexican economy and to NAFTA.

Let us not be misled by party propaganda that takes advantage of a sad situation to manipulate public opinion for its own interest. Let us just remember Luis Donaldo Colosio as a dedicated person who worked long and hard for what he believed in, and who will be missed by his family and friends, but not as a martyr or a hero.

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ALFREDO OVALLE CASTILLO

Long Beach

* I am a Filipino and extremely sad and irate over the assassination of Colosio. Having the grass-roots’ concerns at heart, he perilously campaigned within Tijuana’s environs his future plans for the common man. Colosio should have been afforded tight security in the midst of that unpredictable throng. One man’s brain snapped, and the irreparable consequence: the untimely loss of a man, regardless of party affiliation, who could have made a difference in the political arena of Mexico.

GERRY M. EDEJER

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Los Angeles

* In “Gunman Claims He Only Tried to Wound Colosio” (March 26), there is a peculiar statement about the alleged assassin, Mexican citizen Mario Aburto Martinez: “Strangely, he was also registered to vote in California--even though non-citizens are barred from voting.”

The peculiarity of the statement is that The Times should find it strange that the man was registered to vote in California. Who doesn’t know that our politicians have long wooed votes, no matter how illegitimate, with such gimmicks as “motor voter” laws, which have been added to other ploys to make registration even easier for non-eligible people.

RICHARD P. COTE

Fullerton


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