Monday, July 03, 2006

Mexico will know soon.

Mexico had an election yesterday and the tension has been building as they continue to count the votes in the close race between Andre Manuel Lopez Obrador and Philipe Calderon. People are pretty nervous on both sides of the coin as each candidate has fairly different ideas on how to solve Mexico's problems and which direction to steer the country in for the next 6 years. Obrador is seen as a left-leaning guy, an ex-activist and, being reared in a poor neighborhood in Tabasco, in touch with Mexico's large poor population. He pledges he will take "big money" to task while spending lots of cash on government projects. Philipe Calderon seems to echo the feelings of much of Mexico's Business community and rich and middle classes. He's pledged to "crack down" on crime and violence all the time increasing jobs and economy through more NAFTA, free enterprise and incentives to Business. I think both will have a hard time living up to these promises, but Calderon has the advantage of running under the banner of the current Government, PAN. Many who work outside of big multinational companies are not happy with the results from the last 6 years of the Fox Government, but even those who wouldn't side with him seem happier seeing a government tried and tested in office than a left-wing hothead who may muddle up the already hot-potato issue of US-Mexico relations. Obrador is considered by many to be a man of the people. He's often shown shaking hands with farmers in jeans and casual attire and has promised an end to violence mainly through fighting against poverty. He's apparently promised hefty wage and Tax reform both of which will have a hard time implementing, but are sorely needed. His party is very popular in Mexico City. Mainly people are worried that his kind of policies will scare away foreign investment, which it just may do to some degree. Mainly the ideologies at play here seem to me to be the people who feel business as usual is good business against those who are tired of seeing vast quantities of money in an apparently well-performing economy passing, uncontested to those who need it the least ie: the rich.

I've read that as a foreigner in Mexico it's actually illegal for me to become too involved in Mexican politics. I'm not sure about the trueness of this as it seems there's no end to the foreign interests vying for a slice of the Mexican pie and pundits who scramble down on expense accounts to cover, study, analyze, and even coerce it. Lets just say my meager 2 cent's is about all it's worth. I'm practically paraphrasing and anyone who wants the real goods can go to their website of choice and read paid-for articles about the same and more... As for me? I hope Obrador wins. I hope foreign interests won't pack up and take all their money with them and I hope Mexico will find itself a better off place because of it. If Calderon wins? Well I for one don't expect things will change too much. He seems to feel his government is doing a great job right now. He'd do well though to keep his eye on that huge crowd in the Zocalo and pay attention to how big and angry it grows.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was gonna email you and get the skinny on what's going on with the elections down there. Then you post this. Thanks!

d a v

bill reynolds said...

Clay,

I have been watching with some interest the elections in Mexico. I was going back and forth to Mexico DF much of the time running up to the election of V. Fox. It was interesting that my immediate somewhat left point of view of the 'koca kola king' was not particularly positive but as I spoke to many of my associates, middleclass hard working presidents of miniscule but successful companies I realized that the stakes were not what they seemed.

Many believed that Fox would be assassinated before elections and, if elected then he would be assassinated once in office.

The remarkable thing is that occassionally democracy works in a mysterious way and the fact of the matter is that Vincente Fox has transformed Mexico forever from the autocratic rulers who had controled virtually all aspects of Mexico's political (and of course economic) structure.

Such an election as has happened could not have occured prior to Vincente Fox and yet now, we have the unfortunate spectre of another rightist government in North America and I think this is what they call a 'hat trick'

This guy we have here in Canada is as spooky as either Bush or whoever ends up running Mexico for the next little while...suffice it to say that none of those guys have much in common with the people you and I hang with.

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