Ernesto Zedillo caught a lot of flak from Mexicans while we were living there (among other things they thought his grito de independencia was “weak”), but Kevin and I always thought he was by far Mexico’s best president. After finishing the Opening Mexico book, I am more convinced than ever. Here is one of my favorite tidbits of the book:
“He (Zedillo) didn’t invite the political elite to Los Pinos to shoot the breeze with them and coddle them. Whereas it had been customary for el Señor Presidente to be courted and petitioned by supplicants of all stripes, Zedillo regarded such entreaty as undignified. In the sitting room of his office at Los Pinos he hung a lithograph by a Oaxacan artist, Francisco Toledo, of a large cricket. In Mexico the Spanish word for cricket, grillo, also denotes someone who is always engaged in cheap political maneuvering and gossip–a “third rate politician,” as Zedillo once defined the term. If he felt that a visitor had come to press some personal interest on him, he would sit the guest in an armchair under the painting, then point to the grillo on the wall behind. “Don’t try to lobby me!” Zedillo would say, shaking his finger.”
I wonder if he has a grillo print in his office at Yale for when students come in to lobby for better grades.
p.s. I don’t know which grillo painting he had in Los Pinos, but the one above is my favorite so I thought I’d choose it.