why there are no good PAN candidates

I have been wondering why the PAN ran such a weak candidate. Really, I had actually been kind of indignant about it. Until I found out why this weekend: all the good candidates were assassinated in helicopter crashes or shot, apparently.

I feel really gringo here in this situation. The more interest I develop in the Mexican elections, the more ignorant/naive I realize I have been on Mexican politics. As much as I would like to blame the Associate Press, I know I can’t. I vaguely understood that the country never really had problems with narcoviolence before Calderon because, before Calderon, the government had cooperated with the cartels. I also had formed the opinion that no matter how good your intentions are in cooperating with cartels, or in getting them to cooperate with you, the fact that your cooperation, for various reasons, has to be extra- or illegal, eventually leads to unaccountable governance. But I haven’t really been well-informed enough to substantiate these ideas, nor to see how true they actually are.

So today, I have signed in to update that, this weekend with my Mexican boyfriend’s family in Cuernavaca, we were discussing the presidential candidates, and two things emerged. The first is that my suegro, who was active in the foundation of the PAN, says he is going to vote PRD, just because he doesn’t think PAN has a chance and he doesn’t want PRI to get in. Others said they were pretty wary of the PRD candidate’s ego, for example my cuñada mentioned that she could see him turning into a Hugo Chavez. (Incidentally, someone else chimed in that the gringos wouldn’t let that happen. I pretended to be proud and Merican, but I am not so sure, actually. Rather than voice my doubt, I joked that perhaps Mexican emigrants in the U.S. would withold remissions transfers in protest.)

But anyway, then this second thing emerged. I, previously being kind of quiet because everyone else knows more about Mexican politics than me, finally blurted out, “¿Does the PAN really not have a better candidate than Vazquez Mota?” Everyone looked at me sadly and confirmed that, no, in fact she is the best they’ve got, bless her heart. I was kind of incredulous, so then an aunt softly explained to me that…

The PAN had actually had 3 promising candidates, but each of them had been killed, specifically shot or shot down in helicopters, over the last 4 years.


I had of course heard about those killings, but, not really understanding the background of any of the victims, other than that they were powerful, I had left the events classified in my mind as “generally murky dealings, probably narco-related.”

Those killings I’m sure were narco-related, but for me, realizing that all of the strongest, most credible presidential candidates were knocked off, it clicked that yes, of course the cartels are working with the PRI, dummy, and in probably quite definite terms.

I don’t actually assume that everyone calling themselves PRI is horrible, still. In some places, ie the border, people may not really have any choice. At the same time, I am kind of disheartened that Mexico isn’t raising more hell about this, if only because I think maybe the people who are most outraged feel like they have to hide it. Or even worse, maybe they don’t feel that way; maybe they are raising hell, and just not enough people are listening to them.


2 responses to “why there are no good PAN candidates

  1. Glad you posted this! I’ve been doing research into Mexican politics and history up here in NYC, but I have very little idea what’s going on in the current election. In the books I’m reading it’s almost as though history ended when PRI was voted out.

    Anyway hope you’ll keep posting about this, confusion and all.

    • Hey, Phil! Actually if you want to know what is going on try to track stories with George Grayson. He has also written a few books, including a bio of AMLO. He supports PAN, but he is an academic and seems to weigh his arguments pretty carefully. Mr. Grayson was my Latin American politics professor in college! (I got a C.)

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