For All Nails #131: November Election
by Noel Maurer
Immanuel Moctezuma was a very angry man.
In a piece of very bad -- or perhaps good -- luck the story broke just as the President happened to be in Henrytown. Jefferson was Delrista territory and the President usually relied on his Secretary of State to campaign there, but sometimes you needed to rally the troops personally. Besides which, you couldn't ignore the corporate donors, and not all the donors were in San Francisco or Chapultapec.
His armored Behemoth pulled up right outside the Mercury-Reporter offices. The Mercury-Reporter was in an old downtown rascacielo, a giant statue of Atlas holding up a globe out front. The sculptor had tried to make the statue more Mexican by giving Atlas's features an Olmec cast. By coincidence, the statue vaguely resembled a slightly-thinner version of the President of the United States.
The patrullas stopped on either side, and the plainclothed elite Constabulary agents got out, wearing their telltale black suits, shirts, and sunglasses. It had never bothered Moctezuma before, but he was beginning to hate any reference to the color black. Which wasn't why the President himself was wearing denim pants, a work shirt, and vaquero boots. That was because the visit to Henrytown and nearby Galveston had been a campaign visit, but it wasn't anymore, not since his youngest daughter called him up at the hotel crying.
Heads turned on the streets. Motorcades, even small ones, were not common in Mexico. And El Popo was one of the country's most recognizable sights, after ... well, after a huge multitude of film and vita stars. But he still was pretty damn recognizable, and right now more in the public eye than any other figure save possibly Jacqueline Bracamontes. Oh, and Vincent Mercator, right, that guey. FN1
The good thing was that there weren't all that many pedestrians. Henrytown's summers had to be experienced to be imagined, with none of Veracruz's or Acapulco's sea breezes to break up the heat. A network of skywalks between the downtown buildings had long ago sucked the life off downtown's streets, which existed solely to insure that the vast army of locomobiles that descended upon the central city every day could get in and out successfully. FN2
The big man barged out of the center Behemoth, his guarruas almost running to keep up. The skyscrapers loomed overhead. He had to slow down a moment to get through the revolving door into the building, but he was indeed a very Big Man: the door moved faster than its designers would have believed. Black-suited guarruas fanning out around him, the President of the United States strode past the giant globe that decorated the Mercury-Reporter's lobby and into the elevator bank. A secretary merely stared open-mouthed at him as he went by.
The elevator opened immediately when the President punched the button. One of the guarruas idly wondered if El Popo's exit would be as dramatic -- waiting for an elevator in the president's current mood could be hazardous to bystanders. The guarrua decided he would stay behind and hold the door for the patrón.
The elevator swiftly ascended up to the main newsroom. By the time the door opened, the President's arrival caused slightly less of a fuss than it would have three minutes before: the receptionist had gathered herself up sufficiently to call upstairs. But it still caused a fuss. All heads turned towards him.
"Where the fuck is Eduardo Noosh?" shouted the President. "I wanna talk to that little pinche fuck right the fuck now!!"
Nuche swiveled around from his desk in the center of the newsroom. He didn't stand up, but he leaned forward in his battered leather chair. "Uh, soy Ernesto Nuche, Mr. President," correcting both the first name and the president's mispronunciation of his apellido.
The President glared at him. Nuche's eyes widened to the width of a full moon. His face also turned the color of a full moon as El Popo started towards him. Nuche had once been in a bullfight, against a little baby bull with shaved horns, but a bullfight nonetheless. This was worse. FN3
"Nnnnnnnngghhhhh ..." Immanuel Moctezuma loomed over Nuche. And loomed. And loomed. Later, Nuche would swear that it was impossible for a human being that large to lean over at that steep an angle without toppling, but the President never did. "...bllliiiigghh. Nuche. Nuuuuuu-Chay. Let me explain something to you, Noo-chay."
He leaned closer. Then he actually snorted. Nuche's mind went back to that bullfight.
"You can write whatever the fuck you like about me, about my policies, about my sex life, about my complexion or my fashion sense. But ... you ... cannot ... bring ... my ... daughters ... into it. Me explico?" He stood back up. Nuche later swore the president just moved, no jerks, no knee-bending, an impossible motion for a humongous potbellied man in his late fifties, no matter how well muscled. "You little fuck. You didn't even have the decency to go after my grown daughters. No, you decided to ask my youngest how it feels to find out you're black. Then you went after her friends? Not ... fucking ... acceptable, pinche Noosh."
Pausing only to supress a snarl, the President of the United States continued. "You go near my daughters again, you get my Gabriela to call me up in tears again, and I will tear you limb from limb. I will follow you home and set fire to your dog. I will rip your head off your shoulders and stuff it so far down your throat it comes out your culo." Now he paused. "Don't worry, I won't do it as the president. I don't work that way, and you should count your blessings Nuche, since I've pretty much made it fucking impossible for me to get you officially even if I change my mind. I'm gonna do it as me, Noo-Chay. So say whatever the fuck you want about me, but stay far away from my daughters. Me fucking explico?"
"Uh, sí, señor. Sí."
The President swiveled around and stormed into the elevator one of his guarruas was holding open, despite the incessant beeping from the mechanism. Once the guarrua let go, the doors slid shut behind him and the president disappeared. Nuche blinked, then blinked again.
The newsroom was silent.
Nuche blinked again and looked around. Everyone was looking at him.
The fear drained from him. Within two seconds, he realized what had just happened. The corner of his mouth twitched. Then it twitched again. Then he broke into a wide wide grin.
"Are we on a roll, or what?" he asked.
The reporters broke into wild cheers. Best three months of their careers.
Andy Gendrop was an exasperated man. "Oh, Christ, patrón," said Andy Gendrop, "you didn't. Did you."
El Popo nodded. "Yeah, yes I did. He fucked with my family, Andy."
Andy nodded. "Right. Yeah. Joe, can we spin this?"
Joe Osterman nodded. "Sure we can spin this. The public will be sympathetic to his daughter. The President was just being a good loyal father." He rubbed his chin. "Yeah, definitely, this could actually be a good thing."
El Popo looked at his advisor. "That's a really sick attitude."
Joe shrugged. "Hey, patrón, I woulda just slugged him, but we gotta think how it's gonna play in Puebla."
The President sighed. "Okay. Sure. As long as we keep my daughters out of the spotlight, spin it however you'd like. Sometimes I really hate this job."
Gendrop and Osterman looked at each other. The President had mentioned this before. "You're not serious about refusing to run for re-election, are you?" asked Andy.
El Popo looked at his two most trusted political advisors. "We can talk about this after the Assembly vote. Right now we don't know if I'm still going to be President in two months."
Andy and Joe had both seen the polls. It was highly improbable that the President would lose the vote. Given that, El Popo's reluctance to talk about the issue implied that he was serious about refusing to run again. They both knew that the President had been grooming Chewy Enciso to be his successor practically since taking office, but Chewy had never held an elected position before, and they were both counting on him having six years in the Senate before running in 1983. Now it would all depend on Del Rey, unless the President could be persuaded to change his mind.
They had three years to do that, and three years was an infinite number of eternities in politics.
- Mexico City, C.D., USM
- 10 November 1974
María del Rey was a happy woman. She looked at the vita with great satisfaction. Her candidates had almost all beaten their Mercatorista opponents -- although most of her candidates had been former Mercatoristas that she persuaded to come out against the impeachement.
"This is very good," she said.
The grey men around her nodded, paid professional consultants all. "We could have won more had we confronted Moctezuma."
She shook her head. "No. Better he gets a majority. Right now the impeachment bill will be lucky to get twenty votes, and El Popo has enough New Nationalists in the Assembly to get most of his agenda through. We won't play obstructionist, at least not during the '75 session."
Another grey man spoke up. "We have the reporter incident. There are others. These will be potent weapons in the future, should the President's popularity decline. There are many subtle ways to play the race issue."
"The polls indicate that as many people were voting against Mercator as for the President," said a third grey man. "His approval ratings are sky-high, but fragile."
Del Rey nodded. "Barring war or natural disaster, then, we're in a good position for '77?"
They all nodded.
She smiled, a satisfied smile.
- From the New York Herald, page A1
- 15 November 1974
Analysis: Assembly Landslide for Moctezuma Not What it Seems
By Roland Burton
For Immanuel Moctezuma, the next election campaign starts now. That might seem an odd assessment of the Mexican president's election victory. He has, after all, managed to secure a landslide for candidates who have publicly condemned the impeachment bill, whose defeat in January is almost certain, if it even comes up for a vote.
The President has accomplished much during his first three years in office, cleaning up the air, expanding the national parks, protecting tropical agriculture, reforming the tax system, and liberalizing the election law. The economy is booming since the sharp, but short, 1971-72 depression. Many parts of his reform agenda, however, remain unenacted. In order to get them passed, he will require the cooperation of the legislative faction controlled by Secretary of State María del Rey ...
... meanwhile, President Moctezuma faces another challenge in cleaning up the War Department. The whereabouts of many of the War Department's highest officials are currently unknown, although Times reporters believe they have evidence that many are currently in New Granada. (See story on page W2.) President Moctezuma may have effectively won the impeachment battle, but Secretary Mercator will continue as the titular head of the department until the Assembly actually votes in January, when the Mexico Tribunal's amparo, or injunction, against the dismissal will expire. It is not clear that the President will burn his political capital in getting the injunction lifted early, or risk another Guantánamo Incident by forcibly taking control of the War Department buildings ...
... most commentators here believe that most, if not all, of Mexico's soldiers are loyal to the President. The possibility of a countercoup is almost universally dismissed. Times interviews with commanders inside Mexico and the Caribbean confirm this impression. (See story on page W3.) Nevertheless, the chain of command remains confused. The status of the Atlantic fleet is unclear, anchored in Neogranadian waters with most of the sailors on "indefinite leave," as is the status of the significant air units stationed in that country ...
Forward to FAN #132: Confido in Fabulositate.
Forward to 28 November 1974: Cold As Ice.
Forward to USM politics: Puputan.
Return to For All Nails.