Last night at the trendy cocktail bar Limantour this chick who works for L’Oreal’s hair dye division told me I have “cara de política” meaning I look like I am into politics. She was cool. I am going to post on the Mexican elections in honor of her, and in honor of the fact that my FM2 immigration document was approved; also, in acknowledgement of the fact that I don’t have that much to say about the US elections.
Background on the Mexican elections– Presidential elections are in July. Four candidates are running. Here is my somewhat simplistic take on each of them:
Josefina Vázquez Mota, of the PAN. PAN is the incumbant president’s party. Widely viewed (by me) as a weak candidate strategically offered up by the party because she is a woman and because due to widespread violence in the country the PAN does not expect to be reelected. Her campaign also seemed really amateurish at first, which supports the theory that PAN doesn’t take her seriously.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, of the PRD. Former mayor of Mexico City who ran in the last elections, and according to many won the count. In protest of the “official result” against his favor, he shut down one of the main thoroughfares of the city for three months. He is a badass which normally I respect, but I also think he is kind of crazy and might pull some kind of Hugo Chavez steez if elected.
Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI. Former governor of Estado de México, a PRI stronghold and the largest economy in the country after Mexico City. PRI governed the country for 70 years in the 20th century and were corrupt. There isn’t really any reason to believe that they aren’t still corrupt, but they still govern most of the states in Mexico. They have the most support, I guess in “las provincias,” but everyone I know says they don’t know anyone who will vote for him. He is also a pretty boy and seems to have a low IQ.
Gabriel Quadri de la Torre, of the Nueva Alianza. “Academic” candidate from unestablished party, whom no one was talking about until he won the debates. Probably most people who were listening to him agreed with the things he said, but increasingly I hear, and believe, that he is a hologram candidate put up to distract votes from Vázquez Mota and López Obrador. Also, it is hard to trust a guy whose party was founded by the teacher’s union boss. Although to a foreigner the teacher’s union might sound harmless enough, from what I understand they actually allow some quite appalling practices to go on. I won’t go into it here.
And here is my official analysis:
I am disgusted to realize that based on PRI support which seems to visible “in the interior of the republic” (outside major cities), it is likely that Peña Nieto will win. Aside from the fact that he is an idiotic prettyboy who just does what he is told, corrupt government is socially demoralizing.
Upon further reflection, I am also disgusted by the PRD and PAN’s failure to put forward competitive candidates. PRD could have run Marcel Ebrard, the current, very popular mayor of Mexico City. My roommate suggested that they didn’t because of López Obrador’s ego. I think it could also be related to Ebrard and/or Mexico’s unreadiness that he come out of the closet. At any rate, I would vote for Ebrard. A lot of people would. He would have had a great shot at winning.
Meanwhile Vázquez Mota, while probably not crazy like López Obrador, kind of just seems not ready yet. She did alright in the debates, and she seems to have some strong opinions. But she just doesn’t seem very leaderly or commanding. And I find it hard to believe that she is the best the PAN could do.
So this leaves me trying to decide whether I feel dejected at the apparent defeatism of Mexico’s educated class (I also feel this way about Mexican soccer, by the way) or conspiracy-theoristy about maybe the PRI has something up its sleeve in terms of stemming the narcoviolence, which the PAN at least in its desparation is willing to accept. Or something. That would be kind of nice, but I generally discount conspiracy theories because of skepticism that governments are capable of organizing well enough to pull them off.
YouTube clip of Peña Nieto getting jeered off campus yesterday at one of Mexico City’s large public universities.
I really don’t know whom I would vote for in Mexico. The best I can do to influence policy here is vote for people in the U.S. who want to pursue a good relationship with Mexico and Chicanos.