The Mexican Presidential Debate 2012

The Mexican Presidential Candidates 2012

Mexico, with its wealth of natural resources, its geographic position, and a young hard-working population should be among the wealthiest nations on the planet. However the population of 113,000,000 is mired in an endless circle of violence, corruption and inequality. Since 1810 when it fought for independence from Spain, Mexico has been bogged down by (to be charitable) ineffective leadership. The 2012presidential election is an extremely important one.

Last night, June 10th, we watched the second and final debate of the four candidates in the Mexican presidential race. The election will be held on Sunday July 1st. The candidates are:

  • Enrique Pena Nieto: PRI
  • Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador: PRD
  • Josefina Vazquez Mota: PAN
  • Gabriel Quadri of the New Alliance party.

Most polls show the New Alliance’s Gabriel Quadri is in fourth place; the PAN’s Vazquez Mota is in third place; Lopez    Obrador of the PRD is in second place; and the PRI’s Enrique Peña Nieto in first place.

All of the candidates have negative associations that the others play up.

Enrique Peña Nieto is the candidate for the party that held the presidency in Mexico for 70+ years. The PRI ruled the country with a combination of benevolence and iron fist tactics. The Mexican people are nervous of a return of the old regimen.

Nonetheless, they seem to prefer even this over another term with the PAN administration in the driver’s seat. This party ousted the PRI in 2000 and both their presidents have ended their 6 year terms with low approval ratings. Josefina Vazquez Mota the PAN candidate touts herself as “different” which many see as a weak position for the incumbent party to take.

Meanwhile the PRD’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador carries the stigma of being a hot-headed rabble rouser following his behavior after the last presidential election in 2006. At that time he maintained that the election had been stolen from him by means of the electoral fraud. Many believe the accusation to be true.

Finally Gabriel Quadri of the New Alliance presents an interesting platform but his party is simply not well known enough to be a serious contender.

The “debate” was more of an opportunity for each candidate to present their opinions and in some cases, dish the others:

  • The PAN candidate spent a good part of her allotted time accusing the other candidates of evil deeds. They pretty much defended their positions with solid counter opinions.
  • The PRI candidates tried to underscore the negative effect that the student movement (#Yo Soy 132) is having   on his campaign.
  • The PRD candidate stressed the social responsibility that is characteristic of his party and downplayed the notion that he would be the next Hugo Chavez.
  • The New Alliance urged the Mexican voters to rid their country of past policies that did not work and vote in a new option.

How will the Mexican electorate vote? Traditionally, they show amazing courage and conviction when they are under stress. Whatever the results determine on July 1st, the entire population needs to stand squarely behind the elected candidate. Pulling together is paramount if the country is to shake itself out of the negativity of the past.

* All photos are from Google Images. The top one shows the four candidates. The single shots  (in order of appearance) are of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (PRD), Josefina Vasquez Mota (PAN), Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI) and Gabriel Quadri (New Alliance)

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La Vulcanizadora

This is a Spanish quiz: A vulcanizadora is:

  1. A bar frequented by Vulcans in the Star Trek series
  2. A place where vultures congregate
  3. A place to get your tire repaired

If you chose “3” you are correct and you get the Spanish vocabulary prize of the week.                                                              

Maggie and I had a flat yesterday. Fortunately we discovered this when we were right outside the Vulcanizadora – modest as the workshop looked, we could see it was exactly what we needed.

The shop is run by José who is mute. Those who do not speak Spanish and have felt the frustration of being unable to communicate need to meet this guy. He made himself perfectly understood by means of sign language, jumping up and down, and drawing in the air.

He had the tire off the car in no time. He plunged it into a tank of water (to see where air bubbles would show) because where there are bubbles, there is also a problem. José got a pair of pliers and pulled out the culprit – a skinny little nail.

He turned to salute the Virgin of Guadalupe image on the wall. I interpreted this as a little prayer of thanks to her for helping him locate the problem…

He then pried, turned, hauled on and spun the tire to get it off the rim. He patched the little hole … plunged the tire back in the water to be sure there were no more bubbles (problems) Satisfied that the tire was now in excellent shape, he put it back on the car.

Time elapsed: 20 minutes                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Price: 70 pesos

Number of smiles exchanged: muchos

Client satisfaction: 100%

People like José are who you meet when you patronize Mérida’s local establishments.

Also…

Have a look at today’s post on my son’s blog:

http://carlosrosado.blogspot.mx/2012/06/yosoy132-paris.html

Carlos, who lives in Norway, went with a fellow Mexican student  to the Mexican

students’ in Paris rally in support of the #yo soy 132 movement. His opinion is

interesting and common to most of the young people I’ve had the opportunity to speak

with.

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The Young People

I am honored that Elena Poniatowska has given me permission to translate and print an article she wrote for the Mexico City newspaper “La Jornada.”

You may or may not know that Elena Poniatowska is Mexico’s premier writer and journalist. She has won countless national and international awards but she claims her greatest joy is her family. On her 80th birthday she was asked if she would keep writing, “Oh yes, I have to…” she said,” I want to dedicate a book to each of my grandchildren!”

 Elena is the author of “Massacre in Mexico”, the chronicle that gave voice to the victims of the 1968 tragedy at Tlatelolco. She loves Mexico and says that the spontaneous student movement, begun on May 11,th  has filled her with new hope and energy.

 She wrote this article: “The Young People” for all the #Yo soy 132 supporters – those who are young and those who are young at heart.

 ¡Viva México!

THE YOUNG PEOPLE

 BY:   ELENA PONIATOWSKA

One Sunday, fifty years ago, I went to Los Remedios with my son Mane and the engraver Alberto Beltran. We had to climb over a small hill and I could see that for 5 year old Mane, this required a great effort. I stretched out my hand. “Leave him alone, he has to learn to do it on his own,” said Alberto Beltran. At the time I worried that my son would fall. I didn’t get it then, but now I understand and I am thankful.

I am telling this little story because of the student movement that began on May 11th with  jeering, whistling and yelling aimed at the PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto.

This movement has released the spirit of Mexican people, and for this very reason, it is important that we not take advantage of the young people. They must not be used, and what they had the ability to start – all on their own, without help from any political party or figurehead, must not be taken away from them.

The #Yo soy 132 movement has already won some victories:

  • They have been heard throughout the country and no one has shut them down.
  • They have forced the national television stations to comply with Article 62 of the Federal Radio & Television laws and commit to broadcasting the second presidential debate.
  • The students have obliged the Secretariat of State and Immigration to remove the barricades that impeded public access.
  • They have demanded that Televisa and TV Azteca answer their questions.
  • Their actions caused Enrique Peña Nieto to declare that he will not speak at any more universities.
  • The students have asked for political charges to be leveled against Calderon, Peña Nieto and Elba Ester Gordillo.
  • But perhaps in the long run, their greatest achievement will have been to unite the private and public university students.

Working class guys from the public high schools and stylish girls from exclusive Ibero are all # 132.

The young people have put our election in the world’s eyes. Now we are seen as more than news about the drug wars. The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, etc. are all watching Mexico’s youth.

The letter written by the Rector of the Ibero, José Morales Orozco, stipulates that he will protect his students because they are free, intelligent beings.

At conferences I am commonly asked about the differences between the young people of 1968 and those of today. I perpetually answer that youth is always the same. Now they have shown that this is true.

Today’s students, like those of ’68 are willing to stand up for Mexico, and they don’t need anyone to tell them how to do so.

PS: I am doubly pleased to print this article today because it is my 400th post. I did not plan it this way, it just happened… one of México’s lovely serendipitous surprises.

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