This Sunday Mexico will be electing a new president to serve a six year term. The campaign “season” of 90 days ended on June 27 at midnight. Many people in Mexico are talking about finally ending the 30 year neo-liberal nightmare but will it happen? Halfway through the “season” a movement of young people erupted onto the stage calling themselves “Yo Soy 132,” a reference to the media’s trivilization of a group of students who heckled one of the candidates as simply being 131 paid stooges. The movement is now national and is not endorsing any candidate but instead calling for an informed, fair and transparent election. This would be very different from past elections especially in 1988 and 2006 when election fraud was widespread.
The PRI party which held power for some 70 years has put forward a candidate who has the support of the media and has consistently been at least 10 points ahead of his opponents in surveys. The current president is from the right wing PAN party and their current candidate is a woman who says it is time for something different. The left wing party, PRD, once again has put forward the same candidate as six years ago when he staged a six month sit-in in the center of Mexico City protesting the perceived fraud. The Federal Election Commission has required that all candidates sign a statement that they will accept the election results without hesitation.
It is important to see the Mexican elections in the context of all of Latin America especially the South American countries which have been turning Left over the past few years (Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay—this last one just this week saw the impeachment of their president who was a Catholic bishop sympathetic to Liberation theology). Some say the US played a role in the impeachment as a warning to Mexico if the left wing candidates wins on Sunday. If he does win it could be a boost to the alternative economic model that has been born without US control. Also just today Ecuador said they would no longer send military officers to the School of the Americas.
I’ll be back with an update next week when we should know the results but please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Here are the names…Enrique Pena Nieto (PRI), Josefina Vazquez Mota (PAN), Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (PRD).