Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Miedo en Mexico

Check out this piece in the LA Times about growing support for Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador; maybe fear can unite the United States and Mexico? We're awfully good at it, and it sounds like Mexicans (OK, wealthy Mexicans) are honing their fear-skills, too:
The 10-foot walls and the electrified fences that are de rigueur for most homes can't keep the force out, nor can the neighborhood's ubiquitous private security guards. It seeps in, like a noxious vapor: the possibility that a certain leftist politician with a tropical accent might be elected the next president of Mexico in July.
And fear of Venezuela:
As mayor of Mexico City from 2000 until last year, Lopez Obrador instituted a variety of public works programs and subsidies for the poor. Most residents saw him as a competent and compassionate administrator of an overpopulated megalopolis beset by social ills: He left office with an 84% approval rating in the city, according to one poll.

But Calderon, once significantly behind, has had considerable success playing on the fears of the wealthy — and the anxieties of many in the middle class. He has used a series of ads attacking Lopez Obrador to propel himself forward in several recent polls.

"Lopez Obrador is a danger to Mexico," intoned one of the ads, comparing him to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a self-styled populist and the bete noire of Latin American conservatives. Another ad argues, with considerable exaggeration, that Lopez Obrador bankrupted Mexico City with expensive public works projects.
A poll (this appears in the Reuters "Stock Market News" category) released today shows AMLO regaining some of that lost ground, now just four points behind Calderon.

1 comment:

helmut said...

Mexico City has vast miserable slums surrounding it (some of the worst I've seen anywhere, including Venezuela). If I were Mexican, I'd be pretty concerned, as well as ashamed. Wealthier Latin Americans like to treat it as natural, and then go into self-defense mode. Just like us nortenos.