President reshuffles cabinet; Gómez Mont out

President Felipe Calderón announced three changes in his cabinet tonight, including the appointment of his fourth Secretary of Government.

Secretary of Government: Fernando Gómez Mont resigned, and will be replaced by José Francisco Blake Mora.  Gómez Mont quit the PAN last February in protest of the decision to form electoral alliances with the PRD; his open insubordination to the President ensured his departure sooner or later. He is returning to private law practice. Blake Mora is currently Secretary of Government in Baja California. He is said to be a close friend of Calderón from the days when they were both members of the federal Chamber of Deputies (2000-2003). Blake Mora is largely unknown at the national level. He is being given credit for reducing crime in Baja California through coordinating federal, state, and local police and security initiatives. However, he is also being blamed for the poor PAN performance in the July 4 elections, when the party lost mayoral races in 13 of 16 towns. (One clear loser in the change is Labor Secretary Javier Lozano. He had publicly lobbied for the position in the past few days.)

Head of the Office of the President: Patricia Flores Elizondo, sometimes called Mexico’s unofficial vice president, was ousted. Viewed as fiercely polemical and partisan, she has attracted her share of enemies, both within and without the Government. She recent(ly became vulnerable because of the disclosure that her four sisters and  mother were on the government payroll. (Although there are rumors that she will be made an ambassador, the President made no announcement.) She is being replaced by Gerardo Ruiz Mateos, Secretary of Economy, who previously held the same job and has been one of Calderón’s closest advisers during the campaign and over the first three years of his Government.

Secretary of Economy: Bruno Ferrari, the head of ProMéxico, the government’s foreign investment promotion arm, takes over from Ruiz Mateos. Ferrari was previously a senior executive with Seminis Vegetable Seeds and Grupo Pulsar.

(Reforma 7/14, Universal 7/14, Excelsior 7/14)

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