News / Americas

Amid Violent Drug War, Mexicans to Choose New President

Greg Flakus
MEXICO CITY - Mexican voters go to the polls Sunday to choose a new president in the midst of a drug war that has cost more than 50,000 lives in the past six years. Opinion polls indicate voters hope to reduce crime and give the economy a boost by electing the candidate of the party that dominated the country for more than 70 years, often with a heavy hand. Critics say that would lead to more corruption and authoritarianism. 

Campaigning around Mexico came to a close with lots of noise..

Ruling party candidate Josefina Vasquez Mota is upbeat, even though she trails in the polls.

Leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is also behind in the polls, but claims they are wrong.

The polls favor Enrique Pena Nieto, the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, known here as the PRI, which ruled Mexico for decades.

Pena Nieto says the PRI has changed since losing power in 2000 and presents himself as the old party's new face.

But some young people do not buy that.

Members of the movement Yo Soy 132 or “I am 132,” which refers to 131 students at a private university posted a video on YouTube several weeks ago that has rallied support from students all over Mexico.

Their movement portrays the PRI as a criminal organization.

 “The PRI is using everything it has: narcotics trafficking, organized crime, all the money it has gained from corruption, to win the elections,” said Sergio Sanchez Navarro, one of the leaders.

But widespread violent crime is one reason many voters favor Pena Nieto.

Just this week gunmen killed three federal police officers in a busy terminal of Mexico City's International airport.

Pena Nieto promises in a campaign add that appears on his web site to reduce the violence. “As president of Mexico, I will commit myself to restoring tranquility,” he said.

But security analyst Alejandro Hope, of the Mexican Competitiveness Institute, says a new president is likely to follow the current anti-crime strategy. “No candidate yet has offered a radically different vision of how to deal with the security situation in Mexico,” she said.

Although some Mexicans believe the PRI will be able to work a deal with drug cartels to reduce violence, Hope says that is not likely.

“There has been a multiplication of gangs, so it is a more unstable environment," he said. "It is not like you can strike a deal with one big kingpin somewhere, and that is it.”

Many Mexican voters have already scaled down their expectations.

 “It is important to change the government because jobs are scarce,” stated laborer Roman, explaining why it is time for a change.

Business owner Maria says she favors the leftist Democratic Revolution Party. “I think we need a change, something different. We already tried the other two parties, let's try the third,” she said.

But surveys show as many as 20 percent of voters are undecided, and that includes  Pedro, 18. “I am thinking of not voting because there is no party that has convinced me,” he said.

Many Mexican voters say that no matter who wins the election, they believe it will take a long time to resolve the nation's problems, especially that of violent crime.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

US Is 'Not Center of World' for Pope Francis, Author Says

But some key themes of his papacy do touch on America’s place in the world, and they're likely to be reflected in his upcoming US visit
More

Guatemalan President Resigns Over Corruption Scandal

Spokesman says Perez Molina submitted his resignation after a judge issued an order to detain him in a customs fraud case
More

Video US Men's Soccer Team Eyeing Matches Against Peru, Brazil

The team is hoping to bounce back from a disappointing result in the Gold Cup, when Jamaica upset the US 2-1 in the semifinals
More

Video Scientists Predict Wet Winter in Drought-stricken US West

Strong El Nino could bring relief to dry areas, but punishing droughts to other regions around the globe
More

Guatemala Congress Opens Door for Prosecution of President

With 132 of 158 lawmakers approving a measure to strip immunity, prosecutors now can file criminal charges against Perez Molina just like any other citizen
More

Rio Olympics Official: Water Will Be Clean for Games

Recent report says waters so contaminated with bacteria and viruses from human sewage that athletes could become ill
More