RETURN OF THE MAN WHO WOULD BE PRESIDENT

Just two years ago, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas Solorzano was considered a political goner. After he nearly unseated the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (P.R.I.) in 1988's apparently fraud-smeared presidential election, his star fell so fast that he finished a distant third in the 1994 contest for Los Pinos palace. Despite his illustrious pedigree--he lived at the palace in the 1930s, when his father Lazaro was one of Mexico's most popular Presidents--the more people saw of Cardenas the less they liked him. His ultraleft ideology was a turnoff, and his plodding campaign style made voters ready for a siesta.

But it's amazing what an...

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