Sunday, July 01, 2018

Mexico is going through a very messy election

Maybe I have been looking in the wrong direction - Donald Trump tends to suck up most of the media oxygen, as well as most of our limited stocks of outrage - but I seem to have completely missed much of the bad stuff that has been happening in Mexico in the run-up to today's general election there.
It seems that this election campaign has seen some of the worst political violence in Mexico in decades. Over 130 candidates and political workers have been killed in the 9 months or so since campaigning started in September of last year. Another two died just today during the actual polling.
If such a body count had occurred in Canada or the USA or in any European country, there would have been a huge international outcry. But it occurred in Mexico, and so I have only just found about about it, and that almost by accident.
Mexico in general has become a very dangerous place in the last few years. There were an estimated 25,000 murders last year, a good proportion of them drug-related, and over 200,000 have been killed or disappeared since the Mexican government declared war on the drug cartels and gangs back in 2006. More journalists die in Mexico than in any other country at "peace".There is much that has to change in the country, and this election is probably where that process must start. It's a pretty big deal.
The charismatic and controversial left-wing populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador ("Amlo") has handily won the election, with almost double the votes of his nearest challenger, although quite what that means for the healing that has to happen in Mexico is far from clear. Amlo has vowed to respect civil liberties and to wipe out the corruption that has hamstrung Mexico for years, but some worry that he will turn the country into "another Venezuela". And how he will deal with Donald Trump (of whom Amlo has been quite outspoken and critical) and NAFTA is anyone's guess at this point. Watch this space...

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