GlobalAzucena Uresti and current circumstances

Azucena Uresti and current circumstances

For my cousin Ricardo, with the confidence that on his trip he will find the tranquility and perfection that others enjoyed in those he organized.

Part of the Mexican intellectual community is intoxicated with the polarization that it has denied or denounced so much. The departure of Azucena Uresti from Millennium demonstrates, with extraordinary clarity, the characteristics of this phenomenon. And it also warns of its possible consequences.

To understand these characteristics and their implications, it is necessary to begin by recognizing a notable fact: by wording her farewell ambiguously and basing it on “the current circumstances,” Azucena Uresti divided the arena into two well-demarcated, although not necessarily symmetrical, sections.

Those who have interpreted the language chosen by this journalist as a means to convey, implicitly but undoubtedly, that she was the victim of an authoritarian outburst that emerged directly from the Presidency were left in a split. This group shouts “censorship”, while presenting the host as a reference for critical and independent journalism.

Epigmenio Ibarra. Photo: Germán Canseco.

In the other division are those who have seen in the vagueness of the statement a strategy to strengthen their position against the sector of the population that disapproves of AMLO or, more directly, to hurt the president’s image. Those who make up this group assure that positions of this type are consistent with the trajectory of Azucena Uresti.

Of course, the existence of partitions in the Mexican intellectual community is neither new nor necessarily harmful. There are many ways to group the same collection of individuals, including their ideological positions, their interests, or their motives. This is where three closely interconnected characteristics become relevant, which in my opinion distinguish our current circumstances.

The first consists of a balance adjustment. For a long time, most of the megaphones were controlled by a few media outlets, which distributed them among intellectuals generally favorable to the free market and opposed to the leading role of the State. Without this context it would be difficult to explain the success of the war dirty of which AMLO was a victim in 2006 or of the media campaigns against Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas.

Azucena Uresti and current circumstances
Lorenzo Meyer. Photo: Alejandro Saldívar.

This symphony was never completely alone: ​​although some may have forgotten, brave and notable exceptions could be found in a handful of spaces such as ProcessCarmen Aristegui’s program or Foreground. However, the asymmetry was evident and incontestable. In contrast, the current scenario offers a more balanced distribution in ideological terms. The situation has balanced due to the greater penetration of the internet, the prominence assumed by AMLO and the support for some media, from the current Presidency, in the form of official advertising or veiled sponsorships.

The second characteristic is the increasingly shared idea that all of us who give opinions in public are obliged to choose one of the two previous partitions.

The president and many of his supporters have been explicit in this regard. Under the mantra of “in reality, objectivity and independence do not exist,” the government has supported militant journalism or academia. For practical purposes, we are facing the gradual constitution of a large group of media, journalists and intellectuals that considers it an integral part of their mission to serve as a containment dam for the attacks of AMLO’s critics.

In this ecosystem there is room for a first level made up of the most intelligent and critical people identified with the left – such as Viridiana Ríos or Jorge Zepeda Patterson. A second level is populated by intellectuals who have become clerics of Cuatrotheism – for example, Fabrizio Mejía or Lorenzo Meyer. And at a third level are the most intransigent or combative defenders – such as The Snooper or Epigmenio Ibarra–. What is important for this analysis is that, given that any serious criticism would crack the dam, the most rustic parts of this ecosystem tend to support the idea that anyone who does not demonstrate total loyalty to the president is a traitor.

Although late, those who oppose Q4 have reacted through their own ecosystem. Its first level includes eloquent defenders of the values ​​of liberalism who have assumed, implicitly or explicitly, that “it is time for definitions” – such as León Krauze or Alfredo Figueroa. At its second level are those who, for a long time, have chosen to assume themselves as faithful cheerleaders of everything that opposes AMLO – for example, Héctor Aguilar Camín, María Amparo Casar or Leo Zuckerman. Finally, its third level is made up of those who dedicate themselves full time to inflaming anti-AMLO passions – such as Joaquín López-Dóriga or Carlos Loret de Mola.

Azucena Uresti and current circumstances
Joaquín López-Dóriga. Photo: https://lopezdoriga.com.

The third and final characteristic of the current circumstances that I am interested in putting on the table is the fact that, for a good part of those who are below the first level in the ecosystems mentioned above, the truth seems to have taken a backseat. To put it in other terms, at these levels what is relevant is no longer whether an expression corresponds to a fact, but rather who said it and whether or not it favors the project.

A clear example is the way in which the Azucena Uresti case mainly generated, and without evidence, a dispute centered on the alleged censorship or lack thereof. In the midst of this crossfire, little space was left for issues as relevant as why the journalist resorted to ambiguity to convey such an obvious message, instead of making a direct complaint (like the one bravely made by Carmen Aristegui when she was fired due to pressure , well documented, from the government of Felipe Calderón). Nor was there much reflection on the reason why this communicator decided to let the growing ball of speculation roll that led her to attract all the spotlights. Even less was considered the possibility that neither the president nor the opposition were behind the decision to unleash this storm. What happened is that each group processed Uresti’s statement according to its own agenda.

It is important to note that we are not dealing with an isolated event. It doesn’t matter if it is the inauguration of the Mayan Train or results in health matters or political-electoral alliances; each event is digested by each ecosystem and regurgitated to the public in the form of incompatible or contradictory expressions.

Azucena Uresti and current circumstances
Leon Krauze. Photo: @LeonKrauze.

This logic exponentially reinforces polarization, nullifying the possibility of knowing the nuances, qualities or explanations necessary to understand relevant facts. And it throws overboard the idea of ​​public reason that, at least since the Enlightenment, justifies the existence of intellectuals.

The perverse incentives that arise from the above are clear. When ossified positions, panicked militancy or loyalty to people or projects over ideas or reasons dominate, independence and criticism can be isolating. And when what is said is rewarded based on its agreement with the sounds that bounce around within an echo chamber, the safest thing will always be to play for one of the tribunes. These are the current circumstances.

*Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

X (Twitter): @asalgadoborge

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