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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Venezuela Blocks Former LatAm Presidents From Seeing Detained Leaders

Andres Pastrana of Colombia, Jorge Quiroga of Bolivia, both political conservatives, not allowed to meet opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and former Mayor Daniel Ceballos
More

Haiti Struggles to Stem Cholera as Rains Come Early

From January to April this year, 14,226 Haitians infected with cholera - triple the number of cases from the same period last year, with Port-au-Prince hardest hit
More

Cuba Not Off the Hook, Despite Removal From State Sponsor of Terrorism List

Though it's off the blacklist, Havana is not clear of all US embargoes and statutory restrictions - including Helms-Burton Act, which includes stringent financial restrictions
More

Nazi War Crimes Suspect Dies in Canada

Vladimir Katriuk, 93, had denied allegations that he took part in killings of civilians in Soviet village of Khatyn, now part of Belarus
More

Allies, Ex-players, Fans Abroad Cheer US Move Against FIFA

Soccer devotees flood Twitter with praise, ask why countries with richer traditions in the sport had ignored suspicions of corruption for so long
More

Soccer Great Pele to Join New York Cosmos on Cuban Trip

Goodwill mission will include exhibition match between Cosmos, Cuban national team
More