A few months ago, Mexico’s Presidential hopefuls began their long campaigns that would eventually, hopefully, land them in ‘Los Pinos’: the presidential residence. However, this election is different from previous ones.
Usually, there are two main candidates, one from the PRI party and another from the PAN party. These two align in the center, leaning towards the right, of the political spectrum. There are no primaries, just the final election that decides the president by popular vote. The only leftist party is called Morena; however, it is not true left, and their candidate, Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador has been running for the last three elections with no success. This candidate goes by AMLO and is just as corrupt as the candidates from PRI and PAN, named José Antonio Meade and Ricardo Anaya respectively.
Even though Morena is technically a third party, they have maintained a steady percentage of votes during previews elections. What sets apart the upcoming election, however, is the rise of independent candidates. In Mexico, if you don’t have a party, but want your name to appear on the ballot, you have to campaign for signatures.
There were three main independent candidates for this election: Margarita Zavala, a reasonably well prepared woman who left the PAN party in order to become and independent candidate, who also happens to be the wife of former mexican president Felipe Calderon; Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, who has almost no preparation aside from experience and for some reason decides to go by ‘El Bronco’ (which may or may not indicate ties with narcos); and finally, María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, or Marichuy. She is an indigenous woman who is campaigning with the flagship issue of improving indigenous rights, something that is very needed in Mexico. Sadly, now it is too late for Marichuy. The deadline for the signatures is up and, partly because she was involved in a serious car crash, she could not get the minimum amount required.
Here is where things get notably more corrupt. As of now (and I don’t mean to sound bitter), the candidates and overall political system in Mexico literally take us all for idiots. Again, not to sound bitter.
El Bronco, the candidate with dubious legal and moral standard, has become a candidate after the INE (National Electoral Institute by its Spanish version) has allowed him to do so, even though he, like Marichuy, did not have the necessary amount of signatures. However, it must be noted that Marichy had far more signatures that Bronco did, and his signatures are irregular and, overall, just sketchy.
Racism is clearly a key component, as well as corruption, because and indigenous woman, who couldn’t finish collecting signatures because of her car accident (which is directly related to her socioeconomic situation and race, because she was travelling abandoned, dangerous roads that have been neglected by the Mexican government in a van, and hasn’t been afforded the same opportunities non-native Mexicans have) isn’t allowed by the INE to be on the ballot, but the white (passing, at least) man who has repeatedly said sexist and racist things is.
Translation: Mexico, the country where an indigenous woman with 90% of her signatures and suffering from a highway car accident to be a candidate for presidency doesn’t manage to be one and where the sexist ranch guy with 500 thousand irregular signatures does manage to become a candidate. We are tired of watching a circus.
(Note: the amount of signatures required to become an independent candidate is over 800 thousand).
Clearly, corruption is becoming something that is defining the election, and politicians are becoming more and more reckless because they still get away with it. AMLO has been involved in shady deals for millions of pesos (mexican currency). And not to mention PRI. First of all, it is important to note that until the early 2000’s PRI had been in power and stealing from Mexico´s population for around 70 years. If that, which is practically a dictatorship, isn’t terrifying enough, PRI was responsible for giving fake chemotherapy treatment to children, replacing their medicine with what was basically water. And Meade still expects us to vote for him, and even worse, people undoubtedly will.
When INE announces the results for the election in July, no matter who wins, they win with the shadow of corruption on them. Every single candidate or their party has been involved in one shady deal or claim after the other. At this point, most mexicans are voting for the ‘lesser of two evils’, and I, personally, am tired of it.
Photo: Margarito Pérez / Cuartoscuro