Category Archives: Politics

Ruling party is routed in regional vote on graft, cartel violence

A woman casts her ballot in Mexico City. (Edgard Garrido/Reuters)
A woman casts her ballot in Mexico City. (Edgard Garrido/Reuters)

By Dave Graham / Reuters

Mexico’s ruling party lost several bastions in Sunday’s regional elections to the center-right opposition, dealing a heavy blow to President Enrique Pena Nieto for failing to crack down on corruption and gang violence.

The rout will help set the tone for the next presidential election in 2018, underscoring deep discontent over graft scandals and a sluggish economy, and throwing the contest open to contenders from both the left and right.

Early results from gubernatorial races in 12 of Mexico’s 31 states on Monday showed Pena Nieto’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, heading for defeat in seven of them, a result far worse than most polls had forecast.

Projected losses included two oil-rich strongholds in the Gulf of Mexico, Veracruz and neighboring Tamaulipas, both of which have been plagued by gang violence for years, as well as Quintana Roo, home to Mexico’s top tourist destination Cancun. All three have been run by the PRI for over eight decades.

The center-right National Action Party (PAN) was the big victor in the gubernatorial races, leading in seven states. In three of these contests, it fielded a candidate in alliance with the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).

“If we get results, we’re going to win the presidency in 2018,” PAN leader Ricardo Anaya told local radio.

Ruling PRI Party is vunerable in Mexico elections this Sunday

Voters will elect new governors in twelve states, of which the PRI currently controls nine.
Voters will elect new governors in twelve states, of which the PRI currently controls nine.

By Deborah Bonello / Insight Crime

The run-up to Mexico’s June 5 gubernatorial elections has been beset with reports linking candidates to organized crime, and voters could knock President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional – PRI) out of historical strongholds for the first time in states long infected by criminal gangs.

Ballots in 14 of Mexico’s 32 states and the capital will open on Sunday morning in a contest seen by many as a sign of who might win power in the 2018 presidential elections.

The popularity of Peña Nieto and his party is currently at an all-time low as Mexicans are unimpressed with how he has handled the country’s economy and tackled its corruption problems.

Voters will elect new governors in twelve states, of which the PRI currently controls nine. One study suggests that in a worst-case scenario, the party could lose half of those.

Of the states with high levels of organized crime that will be electing new governors, the PRI fortresses of Veracruz and Tamaulipas promise to be the closest races. The PRI has never lost a gubernatorial election in either of those states.

With disappointment in Pena Nieto, political risk is on the rise in Mexico

President Pena Nieto's popularity languishes as progress slows on reforms.
President Pena Nieto’s popularity languishes as progress slows on reforms.

By Dan Bogler / Financial Times

Sweeping, radical, audacious. Those are all good descriptions of the structural reforms enacted by the Mexican government over the past three years. Failure, unfortunately, is another.

Economic growth, rather than accelerating back to 4 per cent and more annually, has stumbled along at barely over 2 per cent. The stock market has flatlined, while the peso has steadily lost ground, and not only against the dollar.

All this has turned international investors from enthusiastic backers of President Enrique Peña Nieto and his program of energy, telecom, media and fiscal reforms into critics who are dumping their Mexican assets.

Yet fund managers are not nearly as negative as the president’s own compatriots.

Half think the government’s reforms are harming the country and 60 per cent say the peso’s depreciation is the administration’s fault, according to a recent opinion poll. Add in the failure to deal effectively with crime and corruption and it is little surprise that nine out of 10 Mexicans have little or no confidence in political parties, while six out of 10 say they are not living in a democracy.

In other words, Mexico looks ripe for the rise of a Donald Trump-style anti-establishment candidate. And this is the growing political risk identified by Medley Global Advisors, a macro research service owned by the FT, after a recent country visit.

The focus is the 2018 presidential election and while that is still two years away, MGA sees headline political risks — and the associated market volatility — starting to increase from this year and building steadily throughout 2017.

President’s approval lowest for last four leaders

AP – A new poll says approval for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has fallen to the lowest level for any of the country’s last four presidents. The poll released Wednesday by the national newspaper Reforma put Pena Nieto’s approval rating at 30 percent, down 9 percentage points from the last survey in December.

Hacker says he rigged Mexico’s 2012 election of Enrique Pena Nieto

Peña Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI paid him $600,000, the hacker said.
Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI paid him $600,000, the hacker said.

By Oscar Balderas and Nathaniel Janowitz / Vice News

An imprisoned Colombian hacker, Andrés Sepúlveda, claims he fraudulently helped Enrique Peña Nieto win Mexico’s 2012 presidential election, as well as manipulate elections in eight additional countries across Latin America.

Sepúlveda’s interview with Bloomberg Businessweek caused a stir throughout Latin America, as well as the United States, particularly for the alleged involvement of Juan Jose Rendón, a Miami-based political consultant who, Bloomberg wrote, has been called the Karl Rove of Latin America for his dark influence on right-wing politics.

And according to the campaign manager for the candidate whom Peña Nieto beat, cybercrimes of the sort Sepúlveda alleged are still happening in Mexican politics.

Stop Trump effort gets boost from Mexico’s efforts in U.S.

The government in Mexico City is holding off on engaging the Trump campaign directly until he becomes the nominee.
The government in Mexico City is holding off on engaging the Trump campaign directly until he becomes the nominee.

By Eric Martin and Nacha Cattan / Bloomberg

Mexico is mounting an unprecedented effort to turn its permanent residents in the U.S. into citizens, a status that would enable them to vote — presumably against Donald Trump.

Officially, Mexico says it respects U.S. sovereignty and has no strategy to influence the result of the presidential race. Yet Mexican diplomats are mobilizing for the first time to assist immigrants in gaining U.S. citizenship, hosting free workshops on naturalization.

“This is a historic moment where the Mexican consulate will open its doors to carry out these types of events in favor of the Mexican community,” Adrian Sosa, a spokesman for the consulate in Chicago, said before an event on March 19. In Dallas, about 250 permanent residents attended the consulate’s first “citizenship clinic” in February and another 150 in its second in March. In Las Vegas, the turnout topped 500.

Underscoring the fine line that separates participation from interfering in another country’s election, Sosa noted that the consulate only hosts the event but it’s community organizations who offer the advice.

Joe Biden slams Trump for “dangerous” rhetoric; 2 ex-presidents slam candidate

Ex-president Fox had some zingers for Trump.
Ex-president Fox had some zingers for Trump.

Agence France-Presse

Donald Trump’s rhetoric about Mexico got a tongue-lashing Thursday, with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden calling it “dangerous” and a Mexican ex-president dropping the F-bomb against his border wall plan.

Speaking during a visit to Mexico City, Biden told President Enrique Pena Nieto that there has been “a lot of damaging and incredibly inaccurate rhetoric” in the US election, but that most Americans do not share those views.

“I feel almost obliged to apologize for some of what my political colleagues have said about Mexico, about the Mexican people,” he said.

While Biden did not identify any candidates by name, Trump has used the strongest words against Mexico’s government and immigrants during the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Vicente Fox, Mexico’s president from 2000 to 2006, had harsher words, telling the US television network Fusion: “I am not going to pay for that fucking wall. He should pay for it. He’s got the money.”

The billionaire real estate mogul hit back on Twitter, writing: “Vicente Fox horribly used the F word when discussing the wall. He must apologize! If I did that there would be a uproar!”

Another former Mexican president, Felipe Calderon, also lashed out earlier this month, telling CNBC that the Mexican people “are not going to pay any single cent for such a stupid wall.”