Scaremongering in Mexico

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From Mr Andres Rozental Sir: Your newspaper's coverage of the situation in Mexico has been, on the whole both plentiful and accurate. However, I must take exception to the article by Phil Davison, "Mexico waits in fear under the volcano"(31 January). First, the international community that observed the Mexican federal elections last August was almost unanimous in reporting that they were by and large, fair and clean. Therefore, to single out "Alianza Civica and the leftist opposition" as having "uncovered widespread fraud" is both inaccurate and unfair.

Second, to characterise the situation of political tension in the state of Tabasco as "violent civil unrest" gives a false impression of the reality in that state, which together with Chiapas has seen political and social troubles over the past months, but certainly nothing that could be labelled in this manner.

Third, as events of yesterday and today have shown, President Zedillo is hardly a "lame duck" whose "survival" is in doubt. Any political leader who is able to mobilise the quantity and quality of international financial support that Mexico's president and government have done, can hardly be described in these terms.

Fourth, Mr Davison fails to say - and the omission obviously changes the point - that the decisions by some Mexican-based car producers to close production lines is of a temporary nature, in order to reduce inventories. There has been no question of any vehicle manufacturer closing down Mexican operations permanently.

Your correspondent's mention of "six suicides" [in Mexico City] last week would only make sense if he could compare the figure with a similar week at any other time in Mexico. I trust he would discover that in a city of 15 million inhabitants, six such deaths might not be unusual.

Finally, I would like to categorically refute Mr Davidson's reference to foreign ministry officials offering cash payments to reporters after a press conference held by the Foreign Minister, Jose Angel Gurria.

Yours faithfully, Andres Rozental Ambassador Mexican Embassy London, W1

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