02 June 2006
Mexican presidential elections
The Exile has been having some interesting chats with senior Mexican police officers and military men. He likes drinking in bars does the Exile.
The presidential elections are due on the 2nd July. The security services are afraid that the leftist candidate of the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD), Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) will lose the damned election to the pro-business, Catholic, Felipe Calderon, the main rightwing challenger.
The problem is that AMLO is liable to sweep up almost everything in Mexico City where almost a quarter of the voters actually live. However, he is running behind in the polls because voters in the 31 states that make up the Mexican federation are leaning towards Calderon.
The fear is the Mexico City will explode if AMLO loses the election. The police are on standby and the army will be called in if they cannot handle the situation. A rumour is going the rounds that the Presidential Guard, and the Estado Mayor - the president's personal Pretorian Guard - will be sent into action if the army proves unwilling to act.
It is not that anyone is afraid of fraud at the ballot box - those days are pretty much over. It is that an awful lot of people are looking forward to getting their paws on an awful lot of federal loot if and when AMLO becomes President of Mexico. That will not happen if he loses and some other gang becomes entitled to pillage anything that isn't red hot or nailed down.
This is the way that life is in the Third World: elections are less about ideology and more about individuals getting their hands on the levers of power so that they can enrich themselves and hand out some jobs to their family and friends. The PRD have the support of tens of thousands of people in Mexico City and the leaders might turn them loose if the elections go the other way.
It could be an interesting summer.