Monday, July 5, 2010


Yesterday was election day for nearly half of the states of Mexico where the citizens voted for over 2000 representatives, including 1533 new mayors and 12 state governors. These elections resonate with US readers because the media has reported the various attacks, kidnappings and killings of public officials in recent months (the latest being Torre Cantú on June 29, who was running for governor of Tamaulipas and was assassinated by a well coordinated ambush on a public highway while the other notable killing was the Assistant Attorney General for Internal Affairs for Chihuahua, Sandra Ivonne Salas Garcia, on July 2, who was assisting in the investigation of crooked cops for the State Internal Affairs Office of Chihuahua).

This was, more or less, a referendum on Calderón's drug war. The people of Mexico have sent a very clear message to Calderón that they are tired of his strategy, that they want change. How loud was this call? Of the 12 states, 9 voted for the PRI, the party that had ruled the country for over 70 years, before Vicente Fox came to be elected as the first PAN president. And, of the 3 states that had voted PAN instead of PRI, the former PRI governors were so corrupt, so reviled that PAN could have fielded a stuffed eagle in each state and still win.

The people want change. Calderón's strategy of using the brute force of the army to solve the innumerable social issues which plague Mexico (drugs is just one) has clearly failed, and worse, has only empowered the criminal organizations that he is battling. The killings continue, at an ever-accelerating pace (it looks like it might surpass 11,000 deaths by year’s end), despite ever-increasing numbers of police and soldiers deployed.

What is missing, in a very complete sense, is the Rule of Law in Mexico... today, it is a rule of the elite, the rich, the powerful and the connected who control the levers of government, but tomorrow it is very possible that it will be the rule of the narcos.

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