US credit calms markets in an uncertain Mexico: Party militants jeer presidential rival at Colosio wake, writes Phil Davison in Mexico City

AN emergency credit line of dollars 6bn ( pounds 4bn) from the US, and the news that Mexico would become the first Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, helped to calm the nation yesterday in the wake of the assassination of the ruling party's presidential candidate.

Life returned to normal after a day of mourning on Thursday, but there was an air of uncertainty five months before the scheduled presidential elections.

While the assassination of 44- year-old Luis Donaldo Colosio came as a shock, most Mexicans took it in their stride. The killing plunged Mexico into its worst political crisis since the 1920s. Colosio, though amiable and considered honest by his party's standards, could hardly have been described as popular outside his party's supporters, but among militants of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) emotions were running high.

Colosio's rival for the PRI's presidential candidacy, Manuel Camacho Solis, was booed, and called 'hypocrite' and even 'assassin' when he attended a wake for Colosio on Thursday evening. Mr Camacho had expressed disappointment when his old friend, President Salinas de Gortari, chose Colosio as PRI candidate last November.

Mr Camacho was appointed government negotiator with the Zapatista guerrillas in the southern state of Chiapas after an armed uprising there in January. That task gave him a much higher profile and led many to believe Mr Camacho hoped to oust Colosio as candidate. Mr Camacho reiterated yesterday that he did not want the presidency. The assassination, in the light of his rivalry with Colosio, appeared to have reduced his chances of being named as the substitute candidate.

Colosio's body was taken in a cortege to Mexico City airport for burial in his home village of Magdalena de Kino, near the US border.

His confessed killer, Mario Aburto Martinez, 23, who shot Colosio in the head and stomach on Wednesday evening in the border city of Tijuana, was being held in a maximum security jail outside Toluca, near here. Television film footage showed Mr Martinez, his shirt ripped off, being battered by the crowd as police tried to rush him from the scene.

Justice officials who interrogated him said he had confessed. They described him as 'very sure of himself, confident'. US officials revealed that the Brazilian-made Taurus .38-calibre pistol he allegedly used to fire two bullets at Colosio had first been bought in San Francisco in 1977. Investigators were looking into reports by neighbours that Mr Martinez had recently been visited by a group of young men from the US.

Mexico's trade union confederation chief, Fidel Velazquez, yesterday voiced widespread suspicion that the New Year Zapatista rebellion and Colosio's assassination may have been linked, even though the two events took place at opposite ends of the country.

The Zapatistas timed their uprising to coincide with the day the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) with the US and Canada came into effect. In Chiapas, many believed US opponents of Nafta had armed or supported the Indian peasant guerrillas.

Mexico's Senate approved constitutional amendments that will end the PRI's long grip on electoral institutions. The move was a direct result of the Zapatistas' demands for greater democracy in a country where the PRI has ruled supreme for 65 years, only in recent years allowing opposition parties to make inroads to satisfy the outside world.

The stockmarket reopened 79 points, or around 3 per cent, down yesterday after Thursday's day of mourning.

President Bill Clinton's announcement of a dollars 6bn 'swap facility' to ensure Mexico has enough dollars to avert a possible run on the peso, was seen as preventing a worse market crash. So, too, was Mr Salinas' announcement that Mexico would be the first new member of the OECD for more than 20 years - since New Zealand was admitted in 1973.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea