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  • Mexico risks return to corrupt past with PRI presidential candidate The Mexican version of the old Soviet Politburo is poised to make a comeback, with potentially disastrous consequences for North America. In 2000, the world hailed the end of more ...
    Posted May 23, 2012, 4:36 PM by Elección 2012 México
  • PRI exchanges sacks of cement for votes Tlalnepantla, State of Mexico Residents of Tlalnepantla complain that the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) is distributing bags of cement to their homes in exchange for votes, using council vehicles.  Saul ...
    Posted May 11, 2012, 3:03 PM by Unknown user
  • Mexico’s Presidential Debate Leaves the Race Largely Unchanged On the evening of Sunday May 6, Mexico’s four presidential candidates faced off in a debate that was widely hailed as an acid test for the PRI’s Enrique ...
    Posted May 10, 2012, 9:53 AM by Unknown user
  • A Race Recast by YouTube and Twitter Mexico City  It sounds like the typical hardball, American-style campaign. The presidential candidate from the incumbent’s party calls the front-runner a “liar” in television and Internet advertisements ...
    Posted May 3, 2012, 5:48 PM by Unknown user
  • Television Row Ignites Campaign Controversy On April 31, Ricardo Salinas Pliego, the head of Mexico’s second largest TV station, TV Azteca, announced that, instead of broadcasting the debate between presidential candidates on the evening ...
    Posted May 3, 2012, 5:47 PM by Unknown user
  • Young Mexicans, Young Democracy This year Mexicans will elect the president who will represent them for the next six years. Approximately ten million people will vote for the first time on this occasion. In ...
    Posted May 3, 2012, 5:46 PM by Unknown user
  • Left in the lurch Mexico’s divided leftist party has chosen a veteran radical as its presidential candidate. Will he pull it out of its hole, or dig it in deeper? ON A quiet ...
    Posted May 3, 2012, 5:45 PM by Unknown user
  • Mexico presidential race leaves voters dismayed Mexico City Elections can be times of great promise and hope for the future. But as Mexican voters prepare to choose a new president in July, those sentiments are hard ...
    Posted May 3, 2012, 5:44 PM by Unknown user
  • Mexican election may shift drug war WashingtonMexico's U.S.-backed war against violent drug cartels could undergo a tactical shift, depending on which of the candidates vying to replace outgoing President Felipe Calderón wins ...
    Posted May 3, 2012, 5:40 PM by Unknown user
  • A Wary Mexico Sizes Up Contenders for the Presidency GUADALAJARA, Mexico — It is essentially a battle, cynical commentators joke, between the Pretty Boy, the Quinceañera Doll and the Tired Has-Been. Mexico’s presidential campaign has begun, and the ...
    Posted May 3, 2012, 5:22 PM by Unknown user
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Mexico risks return to corrupt past with PRI presidential candidate

posted May 23, 2012, 10:13 AM by Elección 2012 México   [ updated May 23, 2012, 4:36 PM ]


The Mexican version of the old Soviet Politburo is poised to make a comeback, with potentially disastrous consequences for North America. In 2000, the world hailed the end of more than 70 years of rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, as a sign of democratic transition. Today, the PRI's presidential candidate in the July 1 election, Enrique Peña Nieto, threatens to bring back the authoritarian ways of the past.

The PRI has not cleaned up its act or modernized over the last 12 years. To the contrary, it has deepened its networks of corruption and illegality in the territories it still controls. The 10 states where the PRI has never lost power are among the most violent, underdeveloped and corrupt in the country. In these states, democratic transition and accountability are exotic concepts and the local governors rule like despotic feudal lords.

For example, the state of Veracruz is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. Recently, four journalists were assassinated in a single week. In January, officials close to the governor were detained in an airport with a suitcase containing nearly $2 million in cash, supposedly for an advertising campaign.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is investigating alleged complicity between three former governors of Tamaulipas and some of the most violent drug cartels in Mexico. The former governor of Coahuila, Humberto Moreira, has been embroiled in an enormous corruption scandal that left his state $3 billion in debt, allegedly involving falsified government documents and complex front corporations in Texas.

The state of Mexico, where Peña Nieto just finished a six-year stint as governor, is no exception. Homicide and poverty rates have skyrocketed and "femicides" — targeted killing of women — are common. A recent study by scholar Guadalupe Hernandez found that millions in government "social spending" went unaccounted for while Peña Nieto was governor, most likely to illegally fund his presidential campaign. Independent civil society groups rank the state at the bottom in competitiveness and tops in corruption.

Peña Nieto is a wolf in sheep's clothing. He hides behind a telegenic smile and sharp attire, but he represents Mexico's old corrupt political class. Last week, for example, a high-ranking general apparently close to Peña Nieto and his group of politicians from Mexico state was arrested on organized-crime charges.

During his governorship, Peña Nieto allegedly spent tens of millions in public funds to illegally boost his image on national television. But he has few ideas of his own and questionable moral character. He fathered a son in an extramarital affair and has come under fire from the boy's mother for being an irresponsible parent.


When Peña Nieto was asked at a book fair to name three books he had read, he could only mention that he had gone over "parts" of the Bible. The late Carlos Fuentes, who died May 15, said that Peña Nieto's "ignorance" cast serious doubts on his ability to be a good president. No intellectual or independent journalist is willing to publicly endorse Peña Nieto's candidacy.

Peña Nieto would not stand a chance under typical democratic conditions in which candidates are forced to engage with citizens and frequently debate their adversaries. But in Mexico the powers that be have been working hard to protect him. For instance, not a single television station or major university has sponsored a debate between the candidates.

Those who support Peña Nieto behind the scenes do so not because they think he would be a good president but because the return of the PRI is seen to be their best insurance policy. "Who's going to move the people with the money?… Peña Nieto is," boasted a prominent Mexican businessman close to the PRI.

But Mexico doesn't need more privileges for the rich and powerful. It needs greater opportunities for the common people, who have seen their wages stagnate over the last three decades. Mexico is one of the most unequal societies on the planet. It is home to both the wealthiest man in the world, Carlos Slim, and the most powerful narco-trafficker in the hemisphere, Joaquin Guzman. Only 10 families control 10% of Mexico's gross domestic product. Meanwhile, more than 50 million people languish under the poverty line.

If the next president does not attack inequality and stimulate economic growth, the violence and discontent will only deepen. This could lead to expanding social protest and political instability as well as significant new outflows of migration to the United States.

There is some evidence that Mexicans may be opening their eyes. Peña Nieto has fallen from first to third place among college-educated voters. His support in northern Mexico, normally a PRI stronghold, and among independents is also in free fall. Earlier this month, students booed and literally ran Peña Nieto off campus after his speech at one of Mexico City's elite private schools. This weekend, tens of thousands of students took to the streets to protest against a possible return of the PRI on July 1. "It would be like a horror movie," said one of the marchers.

The upcoming elections, which include the Senate and the federal Chamber of Deputies and six governorships, are very much up in the air. There is still an opportunity for Mexico to move forward instead of backward in its struggle to consolidate democracy, institutionalize accountability and expand economic opportunity.

John M. Ackerman is a professor at the Institute for Legal Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, editor in chief of the Mexican Law Review and a columnist for Proceso magazine and La Jornada newspaper.
By John M. Ackerman, Los Angeles Times, May 22, 2012

PRI exchanges sacks of cement for votes

posted May 11, 2012, 3:01 PM by Unknown user   [ updated May 11, 2012, 3:03 PM ]

Tlalnepantla, State of Mexico

Residents of Tlalnepantla complain that the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) is distributing bags of cement to their


homes in exchange for votes, using council vehicles. 

Saul Lopez, PRD alderman licensed by the Municipality, was the one who found that the material was being loaded, when passing by the street number 91 Galeana, in Colonia La Loma. 

The property allegedly belonging to Alfonso Malpica, current director of the College Cudec and who in 2006 ran for mayor of Tlalnepantla. 

At the property there were two City trucks, one located in the parking lot, which was filled to the brim with bags of cement and the other one out of place, seeming as though its drivers had abandoned it. 

"There are two faults here: the first one is buying votes and making campaigning in the midst of the electoral ban, and secondly, what are City trucks doing on a private property?" said Ana Guarneros, candidate for deputy in District 15 by the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). 

The sacks were to be delivered door to door presumably, each in exchange for of 10 voting credentials or IFE. 

On the spot were also ,candidate for Congress for District 19 of this same party, Raciel Perez, the president of the Municipal Committee, Emiliano Gonzalez, and about 20 militants.

Perez pointed out Ivette Franco as one of the persons responsible for this act. Ivette is an official of the Mexican Institute of the Entrepreneur. 

On site was a red car with license plate number MFL9340, which is distinctive because it belonged to the Mexican Institute of Entrepreneurship and Management's former governor, Enrique Peña Nieto. 

Inside the car was scanned voters ID of IFE, plus a list of colonies of Atizapán and bags promoting Atizapán’s PRI. 

The PRD members are presenting the case to the Special Prosecutor for Electoral Crimes Care (Fepade) to account for the irregularity. 

By Miguel Trancoso, Reforma Newspaper, May 4, 2012

Mexico’s Presidential Debate Leaves the Race Largely Unchanged

posted May 10, 2012, 9:49 AM by Unknown user   [ updated May 10, 2012, 9:53 AM ]

On the evening of Sunday May 6, Mexico’s four presidential candidates faced off in a debate that was widely hailed as an acid test for the PRI’s Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN). Leading by a formidable margin in the polls, EPN is generally seen as an intellectual lightweight compared to his opponents, so the debate was seen as an opportunity for Josefina Vázquez Mota (JVM), the candidate for the ruling PAN party, and Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) of the leftist PRD, to chip away at his lead. JVM and AMLO were each expected to launch a vehement attack on the PRIista, raising accusations of corruption and mismanagement during Peña Nieto’s tenure as governor of the State of Mexico. 

In the end, the expected fireworks proved to be more damp squibs than electrifying pyrotechnics. AMLO’s performance, in particular, was disappointing in the extreme, as he appeared slow, out of touch and repetitive. Despite his reputation as a firebrand representative of Mexico’s disadvantaged classes, AMLO seemed unable to muster his famous blood and thunder, instead speaking so slowly that he was cut off by the timekeeper over and over again. He made a number of rookie television errors, such as holding up supposedly damning photographs, but upside down or off- camera. His attacks on EPN focused on the elite groups backing him, the same groups that AMLO claims have held back Mexican development. He also made reference to the misappropriation of funds during Peña Nieto’s mandate as governor; the PRIista simply brushed away the accusation. 

Ms. Vázquez Mota was not much better. Her performance was variously described as “robotic”, “mechanical” and most damningly, “dull”. She launched attack after attack on Peña Nieto, but he rebutted by claiming that she had been misinformed by her advisors. Faced with EPN’s stonewalling, the PANista had few other weapons in her arsenal. 

EPN countered with accusations concerning JVM’s attendance in the Congress (which she denied), and was able to make a number of statements regarding his own policy proposals. In response to AMLO’s accusation that he would privatize Pemex, the national oil company, Peña Nieto emphatically stated that his government would not pursue such a strategy. Neither of his main opponents could penetrate his famed “Teflon” coating, and he finished the debate undamaged. The PRI’s man even managed to appear presidential at certain moments of the debate. 

The fourth candidate, Gabriel Quadri de la Torre (GQT), proved to be the surprise of the debate, as he escaped attacks by the others and managed to distinguish himself as the “non-politician”. His policy proposals made sense, and he came across as statesman-like. Of course, Quadri de la Torre had little or nothing to lose, commanding only 1 percent of popular support in recent polls. His performance, however, was widely recognized as the most competent of the four. 

Press coverage of the debate has been fascinating, with different newspapers nominating different candidates as the victor. Reforma newspaper, of course, declared Ms. Vázquez Mota the winner, while La Jornada, a leftist paper, went with AMLO. Social media coverage of the debate was frantic and wildly popular, with Twitter feeds and Facebook posts on the event dominating web content in Mexico on Sunday night and Monday. On political website Animal Politico, analyst José Antonio Crespo argued that the big winner was Quadri de la Torre, and therefore Elba Esther Gordillo (known as La Maestra) who heads the teachers’ union and is behind GQT’s PANAL party. 

But the reality is that this was a missed opportunity for JVM and AMLO. Their failure to significantly damage EPN’s image, to land knock-out punches, or to expose his supposed intellectual fragility, means that Peña Nieto will continue his march towards July 1 with little change in his polling numbers. Indeed, Milenio newspaper has been publishing a daily poll and the latest results show that EPN was unaffected by the debate, whereas Quadri de la Torre is up to around 4.7 percent. This means that, if the party can hold this support, the PANAL will likely retain its status as an official party.

By Duncan Wood, CSIS, May 9, 2012

A Race Recast by YouTube and Twitter

posted May 3, 2012, 5:34 PM by Unknown user   [ updated May 3, 2012, 5:48 PM ]

Mexico City 

It sounds like the typical hardball, American-style campaign. The presidential candidate from the incumbent’s party calls the front-runner a “liar” in television and Internet advertisements. Supporters of the front-runner retaliate with a Web site and Twitter posts that say his top opponent “lies.” And the third-place candidate wraps the gaffes of both of them into a YouTube video cheekily titled “Excuses Not to Debate.” 

The PAN candidate, Josefina Vázquez Mota, at a rally in Monterrey, Mexico. The election is July 1.

State-of-the-art, no-holds-barred political warfare, perhaps, except that after President Felipe Calderón narrowly won a divisive race here six years ago that featured ads calling his opponent a danger to the country, Mexico’s political establishment had vowed that it would tolerate no more of that. 

But a law passed in 2007 that was intended to keep campaigning orderly and clean — it bans the Mexican equivalent of political action committees, limits spending, regulates language in advertisements and tightens the official campaign period to just 89 days — has been undercut by the unpredictable and uncontrollable Web. 

On Web sites and in the online social media, a parallel battlefield has emerged as candidates vie for the support of voters, more than a quarter of whom, polls say, have not made a choice as the July 1 election nears. Many of the undecided are part of the fast-growing bloc of young middle-class Mexicans who tend to be more politically independent and may prove pivotal in determining the country’s next president. 

“If you want to win a campaign you need to win every space of the terrain,” said Agustín Torres Ibarrola, a 34-year-old lawmaker who coordinates the digital strategy for Josefina Vázquez Mota, the candidate of Mr. Calderón’s National Action Party, or PAN, who trails by double digits in the polls.

Mr. Torres was sitting beside a large screen displaying his TweetDeck page, which manages Twitter and Facebook accounts, as a handful of young campaign workers hunched over laptops monitoring social media sites and posting material related to a dispute with the campaign of the front-runner, Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. 

Recently, Mr. Torres used his Twitter account to take a veiled swipe at Mr. Peña Nieto, alluding to suspicions that his party, which governed Mexico for seven decades until 2000, would make deals with drug gangs. The election, Mr. Torres wrote, was “about choosing between politicians who fight drug trafficking or politicians who tolerate it.”

“Which country do you want?” he asked. 

Just under a third of Mexico’s population regularly uses the Internet (compared with 80 percent in the United States). But the campaigns have seen how social media sites can help shape public opinion — newspapers here closely track and publish the number of each candidate’s Twitter and Facebook followers — and they skirt the heavily regulated airwaves.

Often using automated programs or armies of volunteers, the campaigns battle to land trending topics on Twitter and celebrate them as important discussion points. Last Wednesday, “Josefina gets confused,” a reference to a verbal gaffe by Ms. Vázquez Mota, was a popular topic for much of the day. 

So far, the weighty problems facing Mexico — the drug war, feeble job growth, persistent poverty and the failings of the police and judicial system — have received little attention and generated only vague pronouncements.

Instead, the campaigns expand and refine their digital attacks, often using hard-to-trace and easily disavowed volunteers and supporters to do the dirty work. 

Aurelio Nuño Mayer, the media director of the Peña Nieto campaign, said his operation relied on about 20,000 volunteers to post Twitter messages and drive up the popularity of favored topics. While the volunteers are ordered not to undercut Mr. Peña Nieto’s positive message of efficiency — he is broadcasting new ads this week equating the divisiveness in the race this year to that of the 2006 campaign — Mr. Nuño Mayer acknowledged that the campaign could not always control them.

“Twitter is like a jungle,” he said. “With the anonymity, it is like a free-for-all.”

A dizzy spell by Ms. Vázquez Mota during a speech and her failure to directly answer a student’s question on education policy ricocheted across YouTube and Twitter, though none of it carried the signature of her opponents’ official campaign or party.

Mexico has taken one of the more aggressive approaches toward regulating campaign speech, with the result that parties are repeatedly complaining to the election commission about opponents’ ads and remarks, and then calling the decision biased when it goes against them.

Some on the sidelines have said the effort to rein in negative advertisements is misguided; such ads serve a purpose when based on fact and “give more information about a candidate and their record,” said Jeffrey Weldon, chairman of the political science department at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico.

As the campaigns test the limits of the law, the election commission has publicly wrestled with the rules, with some members acknowledging that the Internet is impossible to regulate and that the agency is loath to infringe on freedom of expression. 

Commission members, in a split decision, decided to allow a television commercial by Ms. Vázquez Mota’s party attacking Mr. Peña Nieto for failing to fulfill promises he made as governor of Mexico State.

“We believe for the benefit of having a more informed citizenry, our role as an authority should not inhibit and silence the discussion of relevant issues so voters can make a decision,” Benito Nacif, an election commissioner, told the newspaper Excelsior in an effort to explain why the agency permitted that ad, which called Mr. Peña Nieto a “liar.”

The Internet and social media, with their immediacy and the opportunities to communicate directly with voters, have also made it easier for candidates to buff their images. 

Mr. Peña Nieto, facing off against the first woman to represent a major party, has deployed his wife, a soap opera star, in the technology fight. He has posted videos shot with her iPhone showing him “behind the scenes,” enjoying cupcakes with his children and in seemingly spontaneous chats with voters at events. 

The third candidate in the race, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, narrowly lost the 2006 election. His battering by advertisements calling him a “danger” to Mexico prompted the changes to the election law. In this race, he has used social networks to give himself a political makeover. 

Mr. López Obrador, running third and moving away from his rabble-rouser persona, uses his own Web site, AMLO.si, to show down-to-earth images of him taking the subway, cuddling babies and chatting with peasants.

“The idea is to get the information on the Internet and then to get it out onto the streets,” said Jesús Ramírez, who is charge of the campaign’s Web strategy.

The López Obrador campaign has also asked its supporters to take photos of Mr. Peña Nieto’s political posters, which seem to be everywhere, and send them in to provide evidence for a complaint that Mr. Peña Nieto is exceeding spending limits. 

For her part, Ms. Vázquez Mota, a former education secretary, has made no apologies for her tactics and seems unconcerned about the divisiveness of the race. “It is,” she told reporters the other day, “a campaign of contrasts.”


By Randal C. Archibold, The New York Times, April 19, 2012

Television Row Ignites Campaign Controversy

posted May 3, 2012, 5:13 PM by Unknown user   [ updated May 3, 2012, 5:47 PM ]

On April 31, Ricardo Salinas Pliego, the head of Mexico’s second largest TV station, TV Azteca, announced that, instead of broadcasting the debate between presidential candidates on the evening of May 6, his station would instead broadcast a soccer game. Salinas Pliego tweeted that if viewers wanted to watch the debate, then they should switch to another channel. Since then, Televisa, the nation’s leading television station, has announced that it will not broadcast the debate on any of its main channels.

The decision not to broadcast the presidential debate on any of the nation’s leading channels has caused an uproar on social networking sites, and has generated an active and highly heated debate on the political website, AnimalPolitico.com. The reason is clear: given the public concern over Televisa and TVAzteca’s open support for PRI candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN), it appears that both networks are trying to minimize public exposure to a debate in which the former governor of the State of Mexico will come under direct attack from his opponents.

The general consensus in Mexico is that, despite his overwhelming lead in the polls, the debate on May 6 is an opportunity for the PAN and PRD candidates to expose Peña Nieto’s weaknesses, in particular his poor debating skills and his perceived lack of “depth”. The debate itself has been difficult to arrange, and now that television exposure will be limited, critics of the PRI candidate are keen to suggest that a conspiracy is at work.  For his part, EPN has responded that he is not responsible for the television networks’ scheduling, whereas Josefina Vázquez Mota of the PAN and Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the PRD have both expressed their disappointment in the networks’ decision. The Federal Elections Institute, meanwhile, has published a list of radio and TV networks that will be carrying the debate. 




By Duncan Wood, CSIS, May 2, 2012

Young Mexicans, Young Democracy

posted Apr 26, 2012, 4:24 PM by Unknown user   [ updated May 3, 2012, 5:46 PM ]

This year Mexicans will elect the president who will represent them for the next six years. Approximately ten million people will vote for the first time on this occasion. In addition, almost 30 percent of the voting roll is comprised by those 18-29 years of age. In other words, if anything close to the scenario that occurred in 2006 repeats itself, when the difference between Felipe Calderón and Andrés Manuel López Obrador was less than one percent, this means that young people will play a major role in defining who the next president of Mexico will be.

However, the 2005 National Youth Survey (data for the 2010 survey has not been disaggregated yet) shows that this age group is disenchanted with politics. Forty-four percent declared to be “completely uninterested” in politics; forty percent are reportedly “somewhat interested” in politics. Overall, this means that more than 80 percent of young Mexicans, within the ages of 18-29 are generally indifferent to politics, and if they vote (abstention overall in 2006 was 40 percent), will determine Mexico’s next president.

Why do young Mexicans feel so distanced from politics? The most recent National Youth Survey (2010) reveals that seven out of ten young Mexicans have never participated in organizations or associations. The latter supports the thesis that Mexico has generally low indices of citizen participation; the few that do so fall in sports or religiously oriented organizations.

This apathy is due, in part, to decades of presidentialism in Mexico, which have led to a general belief in Mexico that politics and policy are tasks exclusively of the government. In addition, a severe lack of accountability between Mexican politicians and their constituencies have entrenched this gap. Neither presidents nor members of Congress are up for reelection in Mexico; they are not required to be accountable to their constituencies for a following period. Denise Dresser, one of Mexico’s most renowned political scientists, asked her students to write a letter to their congresswomen/men. In her op-ed “Answer the letter” she doesn’t specify for how many years she has carried out this exercise, but the result speaks for itself: “only seven have written back. ” Furthermore, there is very little information freely available on who members of Congress are, their legislative path, which district they represent, and other relevant information in a friendly fashion.

The public policy process leaves very little room for citizen participation. It is not yet clear if there is a true involvement of civil society, or if it is just a formality, a consultation process with no real dialogue, especially when it comes to youth policies. The use of social networks is a perfect example. This will be the first presidential election in Mexico where Twitter comes into play. All of the main presidential candidates have a twitter account. At the time of writing up this piece (March 12) these were their number of twitter accounts they followed:

Candidate

Following

Followers

Josefina Vázquez Mota

721

348,818

Andrés Manuel López Obrador

860

299,517

Enrique Peña Nieto

75

438,818

Gabriel Quadri

113

10,805

 

President Calderón has over 1.5 million followers and follows only 234, in contrast to the 12 million followers of President Obama, who in turn follows more than 680,000. A tool which can and should be used as a means to decrease the gap between politicians and citizens and promote dialogue is reduced to a one-way communication street. Between President Calderón and the four main presidential candidates only 2,003 people or institutions are followed; less than .3 percent of the amount President Obama follows.

Promoting citizen participation allows for an incorporation of different views and resources, ideas and information. Additionally, as the OECD points out, “Equally important, it contributes to building public trust in government, raising the quality of democracy and strengthening civic capacity. ”

Public policies addressing a young population are virtually non-existent in Mexico. As with other categories, young people are collapsed into one, gigantic group, which does not address the nuances between young women, men, rural, urban, indigenous, ethnically diverse, straight, gay, transgender, married, divorced, single, working, studying or unemployed. The paternalistic form of governing which has existed for decades translates into policies which consider young people beneficiaries rather than active members of Mexican society. Campaigns begin officially on March 30; we shall see if the candidates actually propose policies that grant young people a voice, promote their participation, and create an honest dialogue.

By Alfonsina Peñaloza, CSIS, March 13, 2012

Left in the lurch

posted Apr 26, 2012, 3:47 PM by Unknown user   [ updated May 3, 2012, 5:45 PM ]

Mexico’s divided leftist party has chosen a veteran radical as its presidential candidate. Will he pull it out of its hole, or dig it in deeper?

ON A quiet street in central Mexico City is a bright-yellow building claiming to be the headquarters of the “Legitimate Government of Mexico”. This curious outfit is run by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a charismatic leftist who narrowly lost the presidential election of 2006, which he believes was fraudulent. In the weeks after the election his followers brought the capital to a standstill with a protest that inspired millions of Mexicans and infuriated millions more. Mr López Obrador, known to friends and foes alike as AMLO, is still a polarising figure. His party’s decision on November 15th to select him again as its candidate in next year’s presidential race added uncertainty to the contest and to the party’s own future.

Mr López Obrador began the 2006 campaign as the favourite. This time, the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), under whose banner he will run again, languishes a distant third. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico for 71 years until 2000, leads the pack and looks set to return under the slick candidacy of Enrique Peña Nieto, a former governor of Mexico’s most populous state. The ruling centre-right National Action Party (PAN) of Felipe Calderón is clinging on to second place, buffeted by soaring crime and a subdued economy.

The outlook for the left under Mr López Obrador is grim. Granted, he is one of Mexico’s most famous faces: some 96% of the population knows his name, according to Mitofsky, a pollster. He still fills a plaza as few others can. But half his fame is infamy: he is the only major presidential candidate with a negative approval rating. Though he has moderated his economic views and is as conservative as most Mexicans on social issues like abortion and gay marriage, his radical history and the 2006 debacle mean that “he has a terrible image problem” among moderates, says Joy Langston of CIDE, a Mexico City university. “There are voters who would consider the left as an option, but not with AMLO.”

For that reason, many PRD leaders preferred Marcelo Ebrard, the moderate mayor of Mexico City. But the party’s polls suggested that Mr López Obrador had slightly more support from voters, and so Mr Ebrard—who at 52 is young enough to bide his time—stood aside. Rival parties are privately relieved. The big question now, says Marco Cancino of CIDAC, a Mexico City think-tank, is which party will attract liberals put off by Mr López Obrador’s “noisy left”. The ideologically amorphous PRI will swoop on the centre-left territory that Mr Ebrard would have occupied, Mr Cancino predicts. The same party may prove popular among the over 10m young Mexicans able to vote for the first time, who are too young to remember the corruption and stagnation of the PRI era and have borne the brunt of the violence and unemployment that have dogged the PAN.

All parties face some obstacles. Mr Peña Nieto has so far seemed impervious to attack. But the president of the PRI, Humberto Moreira, is embroiled in an accounting scandal in Coahuila, where he was governor until January. With a federal investigation under way into millions of dollars in unexplained debts, it is surprising that Mr Moreira still has his job.

The PAN still lacks a firm candidate, though Josefina Vázquez Mota, a former education secretary, is emerging as the favourite. The drug war, Mr Calderón’s signature policy, continues to be costly. On November 11th the government suffered another setback when Francisco Blake Mora, the interior minister, died in a helicopter crash along with four other officials and three crew members. Early tests found nothing suspicious in the wreckage.

Whatever happens in the presidential race, the PRD has deeper concerns. The number of states it controls is dwindling: last year it lost Zacatecas, and on November 13th it lost Michoacán, coming third behind the PRI and the PAN (which fielded the president’s sister as its candidate). Not including a handful of states where it has a hand in a coalition, it now controls only two of Mexico’s 31 states, plus the Federal District, which makes up the centre of Mexico City. Polls show that it could lose its grip on the capital next year, when Mr Ebrard’s term expires. Whereas the PRI is planning to field Beatriz Paredes, a well-known figure with close ties to her party’s machine in the capital, the PRD has struggled to unite behind a strong candidate. It is likely that, in return for bowing out of the presidential race, Mr Ebrard has secured a promise from Mr López Obrador to back his choice of successor in the capital. But it will be an uncomfortably close race.

Mexico’s electoral rules mean that losing territory hurts parties’ capacity to compete in future, because party funding and television airtime in presidential campaigns are allocated mainly according to votes in recent general elections. Doing well in legislative contests requires recruiting and campaigning for hundreds of candidates. Losing governors means parties lose coat-tail effects and the opportunity to exploit state resources for congressional campaigns, which in turn makes it harder to gain financing and airtime. “If you don’t have many governors, you’re in trouble. The PRD is in serious trouble, and will be in even worse shape if it loses the Federal District,” says Ms Langston. For Mexico’s left, there is far more at stake next year than just the presidency.

By The Economist, November 19, 2011

Mexico presidential race leaves voters dismayed

posted Apr 19, 2012, 6:22 PM by Unknown user   [ updated May 3, 2012, 5:44 PM ]

Mexico City 


Elections can be times of great promise and hope for the future. But as Mexican voters prepare to choose a new president in July, those sentiments are hard to come by.

In a country struggling with a vicious drug war and attempts to solidify democracy, many Mexicans are utterly disillusioned with the candidates and dismayed at the choices before them.

At the heart of the matter is a sense that the three main candidates offer no solutions, no real hope for change.

"With all the problems and demands facing Mexico, many people were hoping for a candidate who could make real change," said pollster Jorge Buendia. "But now voters don't have much expectation of that occurring. And so the electorate is a lot less excited."


The election campaign officially began March 30, although it's been clear for months who the candidates would be. Mexicans are being bombarded with TV spots and other propaganda for the candidates representing Mexico's three largest and oldest political parties. (A fourth aspirant from a tiny party has also qualified for the July 1 ballot.)

More than 50,000 people have been killed in the 51/2 years since President Felipe Calderon took office and launched a military-led offensive against powerful drug cartels. The violence and soaring crime rates connected to the crackdown, including extortion and kidnapping, have terrified Mexicans.


The next government will have to decide whether to continue the increasingly unpopular, U.S.-backed drug war effort, or retreat.Yet no candidate is emphasizing the need to fight the cartels, which has been the cornerstone of Calderon's government. Instead, the main proposal is to reduce violence, but with few concrete steps offered on how to achieve that.

"For the first time in a quarter-century, the moral character of the election is being blurred by the mediocrity, or the cynicism, of the candidates," said Mexican essayist Jorge Volpi. "Only a surprise can save us from this malaise."


Under Mexican law, Calderon, of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), cannot run for reelection.

Leading the race by seemingly insurmountable margins is Enrique Peña Nieto, the long-groomed candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The PRI governed Mexico for most of the 20th century, dominating Mexican political life through a wily combination of co-option, corruption and intimidation until losing the presidency in 2000. It is now determined to make an emphatic comeback.


Peña Nieto and the PRI are capitalizing on Mexican fears and appealing to nostalgia for a past that these days seems simpler and safer. PRI officials deny critics' charges that this would be a return to negotiating with drug cartels rather than confronting them. Peña Nieto's TV ads portray him almost as a sitting president, touring the country in beautiful locales, reassuring voters, "You know me.... We know how to lead." Yet for voters, there are nagging concerns about the PRI, including the question of whether the party has modernized and reformed and will continue Mexico's slow process of building democratic institutions. Some fear it will return to its past habits of heavy-handed shenanigans aimed at maintaining power.


For decades, the PRI won every election (by official count, at least). Then, in 2000, voters turned out the party and brought in the PAN. In the last presidential election, in 2006, voters were on the brink of electing the country's first leftist leader, who lost to another PAN candidate, Calderon, by less than 1 percentage point. The PRI's comeback owes much to a young electorate with little memory of the party's past; a handsome, telegenic candidate; and a formidable political machinery that can court support through favor and gift.


Peña Nieto's closest opponent is Josefina Vazquez Mota of the PAN. As the first female candidate for a major political party, she generated initial buzz and came within striking distance of Peña Nieto in some polls. But the campaign has not gone well for Vazquez Mota. At her campaign-opening event, she arrived four hours late, leaving news cameras to shoot pictures of empty stadium seats when she finally spoke. Last week, she suffered a dizzy spell during a meeting on crime and security. She blamed heat exhaustion and low blood pressure and took to a treadmill the next day for cameras to prove her fortitude, while the more nasty (and somewhat sexist) bloggers and tweeters wondered whether she was pregnant or bulimic.


Her greater difficulty, however, is attempting to distance herself from Calderon's administration, one in which she held several Cabinet posts. "Josefina: Different" is her campaign slogan, but few voters see a real difference between her proposals and the policies enacted by Calderon.


The left, divided and poorly organized, put forward Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the veteran politician who nearly won the 2006 contest. This time around, he has recast himself as a more conservative contender in a bid for broader appeal. He has toned down his once-confrontational rhetoric, made nice with the gigantic television network that once campaigned against him and attended Mass with the pope. Lopez Obrador has been rallying a bit from his last-place position in the polls but appears unlikely to expand his support beyond a core following. Many Mexicans frown on his refusal to accept defeat in 2006, which led to disruptive demonstrations that closed Mexico City's principal Paseo de la Reforma and spawned havoc.

He denies that he has changed for political expediency. "The country needs reconciliation," he told a radio interviewer. "The country is being destroyed. The situation is grave, grave, grave."


Surveying this bleak political landscape, some experts predict a low turnout. And among young first-time voters, abstention could soar.


Said Mexican political analyst Denise Dresser: "We feel like political orphans."


By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times, April 12, 2012

Mexican election may shift drug war

posted Apr 19, 2012, 5:10 PM by Unknown user   [ updated May 3, 2012, 5:40 PM ]

Washington


Mexico's U.S.-backed war against violent drug cartels could undergo a tactical shift, depending on which of the candidates vying to replace outgoing President Felipe Calderón wins this summer's Mexican presidential election.

The importance of the July 1 election to the United States was underscored this week when Vice President Joe Biden flew to Mexico City to meet with the three candidates and assess their attitudes toward U.S.-Mexican relations and the drug war.

Analysts said they expect the next Mexican president to remain committed to the fight, but the strategy may shift from Calderón's heavy reliance on the Mexican military to greater use of the civilian police force and more emphasis on creating jobs and social programs to keep young Mexicans from joining the cartels.

Calderón has long argued that the military is better equipped, better trained and more professional than civilian police agencies, which have traditionally been vulnerable to bribery and corruption. But with U.S. support, there has been better vetting and training of police officers in recent years. And critics of the military say the Mexican army has engaged in human-rights abuses and executions of suspected cartel members.


The next Mexican president also is likely to continue Calderón's pressure on the United States to consider legalizing drugs, especially marijuana, to try to reduce the demand that fuels the illicit- drug trade.

The election and its implications are especially important for border states such as Arizona, where law-enforcement officials are increasingly worried that drug-cartel violence may spread north into the United States. But the entire United States has a stake in what happens, analysts said.

Mexico is the United States' third- largest trading partner, representing nearly 11 percent of all U.S. trade and more than $435 billion in exports and imports. Its stability is crucial to the health of the U.S. economy and U.S. security, foreign-policy experts say.


Sen. John McCain and some other U.S. lawmakers have expressed concern that not all the Mexican candidates seem as committed as Calderón has been to fighting the cartels with all the resources at their disposal. But Biden, after meeting with the three candidates, was asked whether he sensed any significant differences among them on the issue of cooperation with the United States to fight the cartels. He replied, "No."

What may change, experts say, is the strategy that the new Mexican president adopts to reduce cartel violence, which has killed about 50,000 Mexicans during the past five years.

"Calderón has been very focused on breaking up and attacking the cartels and using military force, which in some ways has not been very effective," said Mark Jones, chairman of the political- science department at Rice University in Houston.

"A new president," Jones said, "may favor less of a militarized approach, relying more on civilian police forces and focusing more on economic growth and social-welfare programs to try to keep people from joining the cartels."

The current front-runner, Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolution Party, known as PRI in Mexico, told reporters after his meeting with Biden: "The discussion is not whether we should or shouldn't fight against it (organized crime) but what we can do to achieve better results."

Peña Nieto has talked about gradually withdrawing the Mexican military from the fight against the cartels, although he has been vague about a specific timeline.


Josefina Vazquez Mota of the ruling National Action Party, who has been gaining support in recent polls, said she plans to continue Calderón's war on the cartels, including his use of the military, at least until local police forces are ready to assume primary responsibility for the fight, which experts said could take years. Vazquez Mota also wants to increase college scholarships and enact labor reform aimed at increasing job opportunities.

The third candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the left-leaning Democratic Revolution Party, said he hopes Mexico and the United States can work together to address some of the root causes of crime -- and of illegal immigration -- by increasing economic-development and anti-poverty programs.


Lopez Obrador has said he would pull the Mexican military out of the fight against the cartels within six months of his election. He would rely instead on state and local police forces, which Calderón has long argued are too vulnerable to being bribed by the cartels.


At a Senate hearing last month, McCain told U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that he didn't believe one of the Mexican candidates was committed to winning the drug war. McCain did not single anyone out by name, and experts say he could have been talking about either Lopez Obrador or Peña Nieto because of their statements about removing the Mexican military from the drug war. But Obama administration officials say they believe they can work well with whomever the Mexican people elect. And experts say they doubt any Mexican president would really be able to give up the fight.

"There will be variations in approaches among the candidates, but I think they all know that there is no appetite in Mexico for the government to turn its back on the war against organized crime," said Eric Olson, a senior associate at the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. "I think that's the reassuring message for the United States."

Less reliance on the Mexican military doesn't worry U.S. officials as long as the new Mexican president remains committed to battling the cartels, Olson said.

"All three of the candidates came out and said they were committed to continuing the war, and that's what Biden wanted," Olson said.


The U.S. government, through the Merida Initiative, already has been working with the Mexican government to reform its judicial system and strengthen its civilian police force to take over from the military. Begun in 2008, the $1.6 billion Merida Initiative has provided Mexico with U.S. helicopters, surveillance aircraft, and communications technology to battle the cartels.

It also has provided training and technology to police and prosecutors and funded programs to strengthen the Mexican judiciary system. And it has funded programs to treat and prevent drug addiction and improve inspections of vehicles crossing the U.S.-Mexican border.

"For the last few years, a lot of our joint efforts have been more about strengthening the rule of law in Mexico," said Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, director of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California-San Diego. "The federal police have grown tremendously and are very well-trained and well-paid and vetted. Many of them have college degrees. They can take over what is currently being done by the army in places like (the border city of) Ciudad Juarez."

But one strategy that the U.S. government will strongly oppose is any effort by Mexican and Central American leaders to push for the U.S. to legalize drugs.

Because the U.S. is the top consumer of illegal drugs from the cartels, Calderón has urged the U.S. government to consider legalizing drugs to strip the criminals of their enormous profits.

Other Latin American leaders have echoed that sentiment, saying the U.S. must consider legalization since it has been unable to decrease demand for drugs.

Biden, who met with the leaders in Honduras this week, told reporters that the United States continues to oppose that approach as unworkable and unpalatable.

"There is no possibility the Obama/Biden administration will change its policy on legalization," Biden said.


By Erin Kelly, USAToday, March 9, 2012

A Wary Mexico Sizes Up Contenders for the Presidency

posted Apr 17, 2012, 5:33 PM by Unknown user   [ updated May 3, 2012, 5:22 PM ]

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — It is essentially a battle, cynical commentators joke, between the Pretty Boy, the Quinceañera Doll and the Tired Has-Been.


Mexico’s presidential campaign has begun, and the disdain seeping from these common descriptions of the three main candidates reflects what experts say are low expectations. Mexican voters, polls show, have been losing faith in democracy as their nation teeters between modern success and violent failure.

This is a country of conflicting messages, of economic growth and decapitated heads. It is the United States’ third-largest trading partner and a majority middle-class country, but one held back by corruption, impunity, poverty, red tape, monopolies and a culture of discomfort with confrontation.

Whoever wins on July 1 will inherit a Mexico disillusioned and stuck, caught between forces of the past that resist change and the frustration of those who have begun to expect more from their leaders.

Crime in particular requires immediate attention. More than 50,000 people have died in drug-related killings since late 2006, and the justice system is a farce: more than 98 percent of crimes go unpunished, according to studies of government data.

“Mexico is at a crossroads in terms of dealing with organized crime,” said Pamela K. Starr, an expert on Mexican politics at the University of Southern California. Referring to the current president, Felipe Calderón, she said: “It’s quite clear that the government absolutely must confront organized crime, and it’s absolutely clear that the Calderón strategy hasn’t worked.”

The country’s oil sector also needs an overhaul to turn around the money-losing, state-owned monopoly, Pemex, and bring in private investment to develop new reserves. Meanwhile, declining illegal immigration to the United States has the potential to alter the dynamics of American-Mexican relations.

Most voters, accustomed to unresponsive government after decades of single-party rule, do not expect even most of these challenges to be addressed.

And yet, the candidates’ first official campaign events on Friday revealed more than might have been expected — about their sales pitches and personalities, at least. Policy proposals were less forthcoming. But this year’s race is shorter because of new laws (which even ban negative campaign ads), so for all three contenders the past few days were the start of a three-month sprint to Election Day, during which they must answer the core questions of their candidacies.

Enrique Peña Nieto, the telegenic front-runner sometimes called the Pretty Boy (or Gel Boy because of his styled hair), needs to persuade voters that he represents a new, corruption-free Institutional Revolutionary Party, or P.R.I., the party that ruled Mexico from 1929 to 2000. But can he prove he is not just a handsome meringue atop an old authoritarian party?

Josefina Vázquez Mota, a former education secretary under the current president, has perhaps a greater challenge. She has been called the Quinceañera Doll because she is always smiling, but her party — the P.A.N., or National Action Party — has been in charge for 12 years, a time of rising violence and continued corruption. Can she convince Mexicans that she represents a break from her party and become the country’s first female president?

And even for Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a liberal former mayor of Mexico City who lost the last election in 2006 by 0.6 percentage points, the past and future compete. The oldest of the candidates, sometimes called the Tired Has-Been, he must answer the question of whether he has put aside the radical populism of his last campaign to govern as a moderate.

Much Hope, Few Details

Green neon glow sticks and oversize beach balls flew through the air — along with some young supporters who crowd-surfed on the outstretched arms of their friends and fellow fans, who all wore white in well-organized solidarity.

“It’s the color of hope,” said Ricardo Sánchez, 21, smiling with a bunch of friends just steps from a mariachi band. “We’ve got a lot of hope in this guy.”

Even before Mr. Peña Nieto, 45, appeared at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, the first moment he could legally begin campaigning, the rally in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city, felt more like a victory party than a campaign kick-off. Thousands of supporters filled one of the city’s main squares to hear a speech that was heavy on promises and light on details about how those goals would be achieved.


Criticizing blights like poverty, insecurity and corruption, offering change and “light and hope” (the cue for supporters to point their flashlights in the air), Mr. Peña Nieto played to the crowd’s emotions. “Many people’s lives are afflicted by worry,” he said. “And what’s worse, they’re living in fear.”


He pledged to make Mexico safe and prosperous. And with a big smile, he praised Mexican women for their strength, then publicly signed a poster listing his major promises.

It was part of an expansive, orchestrated show of confidence. Rallies for P.R.I. candidates were also held at midnight in other major cities. And over the Easter holiday, the party plans to set up dozens of sports kiosks nationwide giving out inflatable soccer goals, soccer balls, hats and other party paraphernalia.

Some analysts described the campaign as a throwback to the classic giveaway politics of what the novelist Mario Vargas Llosa once called “the perfect dictatorship” because the P.R.I. maintained control with mass mobilizations, not ideology, through the cover of democratic elections. Others, however, said that over the last 12 years when it was out of power, the P.R.I. has come to recognize that with Mexico more democratic, the party can fulfill its promise of effective government only with a landslide victory, not just for president but also in the legislature.

“The modern P.R.I. understands that it needs legislative leaders in congress who actually know how to deal with legislation

and know how to persuade members and bargain with others,” said Jorge I. Domínguez, a Latin American studies professor at Harvard.

Indeed at least for now, Mr. Peña Nieto seems to be benefiting from the fact that to many people he looks nothing like the P.R.I. of old — even though he is a wealthy former governor of Mexico State, with P.R.I. leaders for relatives.

“He is good-looking,” said María Alonzo Barragán, 52, as the candidate moved through the crowd. “But he is also honest, responsible and hard-working.”

Promising a Difference

Ms. Vázquez Mota also started her campaign early Friday, with a smaller rally at her party headquarters in Mexico City, where she immediately argued that the P.R.I.’s years of control “are still holding us back.” Her campaign slogan — “Josefina Diferente, Presidenta 2012” — also signaled to voters, perhaps with a wink, that she was not like those other guys in her party, Mr. Calderón and his predecessor, Vicente Fox.

She is not just a woman, her campaign suggests. She is a woman who understands struggle, having grown up in a shabby one-story home that she visited for breakfast on Friday morning. And, her first day on the trail aimed to show she is a woman ready to listen.

“What would you like to see different?” she asked again and again on Friday, in a classroom of second graders at the school she attended as a child. “If we work hard, all dreams are possible.”


Speaking to the adults, mostly women, she also made clear that while Mr. Peña Nieto was most comfortable speaking in platitudes, she preferred to address issues that hit closer to home. Her promises were those that she, as a working mother of three, knew they wanted to hear: a full school day with afternoon activities so that children could play sports, learn an instrument, read more books and do their homework; a little more help so that overtaxed families could “share time together.”

That message sounded fresh and appealing to some.

“If you know how to run a house, why can’t you run a country?” said Laura Rodríguez, 35, a single mother of three, who said she had been persuaded on the spot to vote for Ms. Vázquez Mota. “Men are always first; where is the space for women, who are always left behind?”

And yet, if Ms. Vázquez Mota, 51, can win only by proving how different she really is, are after-school programs enough? Luis de la Calle, an economist and a former under secretary of international trade, said Ms. Vázquez Mota and Mr. López Obrador could overcome Mr. Peña Nieto’s strong lead only by making bold proposals. “The average Mexican is a lot more modern than our politicians,” he said. “The average Mexican is willing to hear more about Mexican taboos like reforming the energy sector or really changing the tax system.”


The four points in Ms. Vázquez Mota’s platform sounded a lot like the five promises of Mr. Peña Nieto. Both candidates emphasized the need for a more transparent, functioning justice system, for jobs, for improving Mexico’s image abroad.


The difference, some of Ms. Vázquez Mota’s supporters said, was that she could be trusted to follow through. “How many years of the P.R.I. did we have?” Ms. Rodríguez asked. “I trust that Josefina will change the direction of things.”

Measured Populism

Workers. Love. And change.

Mr. López Obrador, 59, wearing no tie or sport coat, pounded the podium while sweating profusely under a scorching sun in his hometown of Macuspana, in Tabasco State, on Friday, as if he were determined to disprove his recent admission that he has “less vigor” now, during his second run for president.

The other candidates, he said, “represent the same thing.” Only his campaign represented the alternative of “honesty, justice and love, lots of love.”

Tabasco and other southern states gave Mr. López Obrador lots of love in 2006. Poverty is worse in the region than in other places, and voters are more open to the leftist ideas of Mr. López Obrador and his Party of the Democratic Revolution. But even in friendly territory, he seemed to sway between his brand of populism and the more moderate approach that analysts say he must adopt to climb from third place, where he has stagnated for months in opinion polls.

He has toned down his campaign slogan, from “For the good of everyone, the poor come first,” to the less confrontational

“Real change is in your hands.” He also pledged to revitalize the economy by focusing on the working class, suggesting that he saw work, perhaps even more than government aid, as a vital tool for lifting Mexicans from poverty.

But he still refuses to acknowledge his loss in 2006, insisting it was fraud. He told voters that one of the country’s biggest challenges was to make sure that the election results can be trusted.

The families of crime victims may have other priorities, but the crowd of thousands in Tabasco said they would stand with him, even if it meant a repeat of the street protests that nearly shut down Mexico City after he disputed the 2006 results. “The whole country is willing to unite in defending the ballot boxes,” said Francisca Policroniades, 72.

That message may not be the most persuasive. “Andrés Manuel still carries a lot of negatives from dragging on the last campaign,” said María Elena Morera, of the nonpartisan civic group Citizens for a Common Cause. “He kept campaigning for a long time after that, and that generated a lot of wear and tear that’s not a problem for the other candidates.”

The real test for all three candidates will come with undecided voters, who make up nearly a third of the electorate, polls say. Whether they vote may say more about the state of Mexican democracy than whoever wins.

“A great leap forward,” Ms. Starr said, “demands that Mexican society suddenly comes to accept the reality that in a democracy you have a right and a responsibility to hold your leaders responsible.”


By Elisabeth Malkin and Karla Zabludovsky, NYTimes, March 31, 2012

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