Monday, July 05, 2010

Mexican Elections

I can tell you from having been in Gudalajara, Mexico, for the past three weeks, that the perception about the omnipresence of violence throughout the country is very exaggerated in the United States. Yes, there is an increase in violence along the border states; but any signs of violence or instability where I am are simply non-existent. Local and regional elections over this past weekend really varied both in terms of levels of participation and violence, as well as in outcomes. The result, in brief, is that no one political party is ascendent; and Mexico remains an unconsolidated democracy.


andrew said...

Excellent. If one party were to take power they could be bought whole-hog by the cartels.

Although I still believe they're fighting the war backwards. Attack the drugs in production and entry into Mexico from parts due south. Torching marijuana fields will take more foot soldiers out of the game due to lost paychecks than engaging them head on would kill.

The source of the Cartel soldier's loyalty is their paycheck. The source of the guns in Mexico are the profits from the trade, destroy the crop enough times to run them out of money and watch them disintegrate during their bankruptcy.

eric said...

Excepting the popular Yucatan tourist areas, I'm not so sure the US media have been reporting increased drug violence anywhere else except at the borders. I certainly didn't associate it with Gudalajara or most of the interior, but those also aren't places I would usually have cause to visit. Weekend trips to Mexican border towns used to be sort of a rite of passage for high school seniors around here, but vigilant parents have put a firm stop to that practice over the last decade or so, and I know quite a few people who used to go Cancun each year who (right or wrong) are now planning trips to beach houses in Florida and the Carolinas instead.

Being a bit of an urbanophobe, Mexico City and Guadalajara would never ben on my list of places to vacation, but I also don't think of them as places where I'd be overly concerned about drug violence.

Huck said...

eric - Perhaps that's just because you probably pay a bit closer attention. Let me give you just one example. Here in Guadalajara, there was not a single peep this past weekend concerning the elections, nor any out of the ordinary political activity in the streets. In fact, no one even really talked about it. And yet, one of the students on the program here that I'm directing told me that she got a call from her dad who told her that he would actually pay her a bribe to stay inside her house on election day. The media may be reporting the violence as only on the border, but many folks in the US pick up this reporting and extend it to the entire country. What goes on in the border is thought of as what goes on anywhere and everywhere in the country. That, I think, is the real problem. Many US citizens cannot, or refuse to, differentiate the border are from country as a whole,

eric said...

"The media may be reporting the violence as only on the border, but many folks in the US pick up this reporting and extend it to the entire country."

I concede that's probably a fair statement.