Mexico To Follow Leftist Latin Trend?

The second most important election this year undoubtedly takes place one week from today. Meixco, which is among the top ten nations in the world in terms of population, gross national income, and land area, would be the piece de resistance (pun intended) on the general Latin American trend to the left already witnessed in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru and Venezuela. The election looks close:A week before they go to the polls to pick a new president, Mexican voters are sharply divided between a firebrand populist who promises to lift up the poor and an establishment conservative who embraces free markets and U.S.-style capitalism.

For the first time in modern history, the once dominant PRI, or Institutional Revolutionary Party, is running a distant third and appears to have little chance of recapturing the presidency.

Opinion surveys released Friday -- the last day political polls legally could be published here ahead of next Sunday's balloting -- showed a statistical dead heat between leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador and conservative Felipe Calderón.

The Reforma and Universal newspapers, perhaps the capital's most influential, each gave López Obrador 36 percent to Calderón's 34 percent, with the PRI's Roberto Madrazo getting just a quarter of the vote.

Averaging 14 major polls conducted in June, political analyst Rafael Gimenez Valdés calculated that just a half percentage point separates the top two candidates. ``I think the election is absolutely up in the air,'' Gimenez Valdés said.

Other analysts, including María de Las Heras, who projected President Vicente Fox's upset victory in 2000, give the edge to López Obrador. At a gathering of pollsters Friday at the Colegio de Mexico here, de las Heras predicted López Obrador would win by five points, in part because he has racked up a significant surplus of independent voters.

Only a few more big rallies are planned: By law, all campaigning and advertising must cease after Wednesday. Calderon's final rally is scheduled for today at Mexico City's Azteca Stadium. López Obrador's final event is Wednesday in Mexico City's main square, the Zócalo. In Latin America, a wholesale rejection of both neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism appears to be under way (again, pun intended). As more and more governments in Latin America turn to the left, it is becoming possible to envision an entirely different direction for the region, one where, among other things, the United States has significantly less economic influence. That this has taken place under the watch of an administration filled with people determined to create "a new American century," goes to show exactly what the Bush administration has really done to the reputation of America in other counties. That voters are rejecting neo-liberal trade policies that we were all told would lift Latin America out of poverty I think goes to show that those policies did not benefit the majority of people in Latin America after all.

For more information on this election, check out Technorati and Google News.

Tags: Foreign Elections, Ideology, Latin America, Mexico, public opinion (all tags)

Comments

32 Comments

Re: Mexico To Follow Leftist Latin Trend?

Holding a rally in the Zócalo is a very intelligent move.  Located next to the Templo Mayor, it is a charged space for indigenous people and for those who subscribe to the discourse of mestizaje.  I lived two blocks from the Zócalo when I studied at UNAM.  If Republicans were concerned about immigration, they would rally on behalf of López Obrador.

by illinois062006 2006-06-25 05:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Mexico To Follow Leftist Latin Trend?

What is the discourse of the mestizaje?

by adamterando 2006-06-25 08:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Mexico To Follow Leftist Latin Trend?

Mestizaje is the state of being part of a melting pot of European and indigenous cultures.  It's deeply in Méxican identity.

The right wing Panistas are taken to be eager to be more like gringos.

by ChetEdModerate 2006-06-25 08:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Mexico To Follow Leftist Latin Trend?

It's also pretty presidential with the palace right there.  And there's lots of space.  

Isn't the Estadio Azteca way the heck out toward Xochimilco?  The blanquiazules are always setting up silly showboat stuff like that but I don't think it works better than traditional rallies.  Vicente Fox went around campaigning with some kind of jazz band for months.  (They weren't half bad.)

Did you attend the UNAM before they moved all those facultades down to Cuidad Universiteria?  Or did you transfer on the Metro?

by ChetEdModerate 2006-06-25 08:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Mexico To Follow Leftist Latin Trend?

Metro, metro, metro and more metro.  

by illinois062006 2006-06-25 09:01PM | 0 recs
Will PRI voters vote strategically?

And which way will they jump?

That's the question.

by Nazgul35 2006-06-25 05:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Will PRI voters vote strategically?

I guess you will have to wait for the Chiapas returns in order to have your questioned answered.

by illinois062006 2006-06-25 05:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Will PRI voters vote strategically?

The PRI is an authoritarian leftist party, and perhaps one of the most corrupt political parties in the western hemisphere for the last century. During the 80s, when the two main parties were PRI, many leftists, although (rightly) disgusted with the PRI, still voted for them due to general dislike of the PAN's neo-liberal platforms. Similarly, many independent, moderates/centrists, and leftists went to vote for the conservative PAN out of disgust for the PRI (the PRI had a habbit of mobilizing the police force in southern mexico and bribing poor mexicans to vote for them). However, thanks to PRD, which is a genuinely populist and a leftist movement, and thanks to the great popularity of Obrador Lopez (even despite his shortcomings) as mayor of Mexico City, many of the leftists formely supporting the the PRI and moderates/centrists/leftists that have supported the PAN have flocked to him. So he's creating quite the coalition for change in Mexico.

So to answer your question: If a PRI voter voted strategically based on his IDEOLOGY, he would vote for Obrador Lopez. If he voted based on the future success of the PRI, more likely it would be PAN, seeing as how if Obrador Lopez, the PRD's most popular person, loses and fades away, the PRI would have a better chance at winning future elections.

by KainIIIC 2006-06-25 05:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Mexico To Follow Leftist Latin Trend?

  "Institutional Revolutionary Party" -- talk about an oxymoronic name.

  As well-intentioned as Obrador might be, I think there are limits to how far to the left he can go if he wins the election, given his country's proximity to the US. I just don't see the Bushies standing up for any too-overt populism south of the border.

  Question: Is Obrador prone to personality-cult excesses like Chavez in Venezuela?

by Master Jack 2006-06-25 06:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Mexico To Follow Leftist Latin Trend?

Lopez will be a solid leftist, not the Chavez mold or anything, but moreso of the Chile mold, a populist but not quite the way Chavez is.

by KainIIIC 2006-06-25 07:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Mexico To Follow Leftist Latin Trend?

Yeah, Chile and Uruguay should be on the "left-wing" list, Peru should not be. In Peru they just elected a right-winger who messed the country up when he was president the last time, but now says "he learned his lesson". And they fell for it?

by William Domingo 2006-06-25 06:40PM | 0 recs
Interesting NPR report

I heard a few weeks ago was that the rightist had hired American consultants and they were going hard with negative adds. The report said something like this was new to Mexican politics and anecdotal evidence showed that it was rather effective.

It'll be interseting to see what effect the American sleeze has on the Mexican election.

by MNPundit 2006-06-25 06:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting NPR report

A few months ago I saw a movie, "Our Brand is Crisis," on James Carville and his consulting firm went to Bolivia in the 2002 election to do the same sort of negative campaigning deal for Goni, one of the centrist candidates, who ended up winning, but his presidency was a mess and there were massive Native American riots and such and he had to resign.  It was very depressing but absolutely fascinating, especially to see what happens when attack politics are brought into countries with such strong underlying ethnic (and other) tensions.  I'd definitely recommend it if you want to see a bad example of what can happen with American-style politics.

by DanM 2006-06-25 09:49PM | 0 recs
Yes

I was around for all the blogging discussion on that particular doc. a few months (6 weeks?) ago. I really should see it even if I know it'll revolt me.

by MNPundit 2006-06-26 04:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Mexico To Follow Leftist Latin Trend?

"Peron-style short sighted populism"

What is this statement based on exactly? I've noticed that a lot of people in this country are reluctant/unwilling/(possibly afraid) to support Chavez because it he is supposed to be an anti-democratic anti-capitalist demogogue. This narrative has been fostered by the Bush administration and perpetuated in the media. Take some time to see exactly what Chavez proposes and has done in Venezuela, you might agree with him.

www.venezuelaanalysis.com

by adamterando 2006-06-25 07:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Mexico To Follow Leftist Latin Trend?

What's all this talk about "reputation".  "Reputation" is an element of soft power and, as Cheney and others have proven beyond any doubt, soft power is not only unnecessary, but counterproductive, to the expansion of the American sphere of influence.  

So, no more soft power code words or we'll ship you off to Gitmo.

by Matthew13 2006-06-25 07:53PM | 0 recs
Wrong wrong wrong wrong

And wrong again. This is the same crap that turns up in every liberal, conservative, neo-liberal, and inbetween publication. Did you notice what years they used for the infant mortality data? It's the exact same years as the oil strike and failed coup that crippled the economy (and was supported by our democracy loving administration).

And they used the same years (98 through 04) to calculate the $2 a day statistic. It's completely misleading because the country's economy has shown double digit yearly growth since the end of the oil strike.

The 53% poverty number is from the first half of 2004. Right after the oil strike. What the Atlantic (and every other American publication) fails to mention, is that the most recent poverty rate (at the end of 2005) is 38% and dropping at the rate of about 5% every 6 months! Which means Chavez has not only grown the ecnonomy at rates not seen since the 70s, he's also channeled that growth to the poorest citizen's in the country. Something that those in the Washington consensus have failed to do through their awful policies in the World Bank and IMF.

Take a look at this article.

And this graphic to see what I mean.

We in the blogosphere are very good at looking with critical eyes at the MSM when they criticize Democrats (or fail to criticize Republicans), but I find it troubling that it is so hard for many people to apply that same critical eye to MSM mischaracterizations of anything that is close to "socialism". It is automatically assumed that the socialist leader is a crackpot, autocratic, populist, bad for the economy, etc. It's silly. We live in a capitalist world that seeks to promote capitalist interests. And those capitalist interests will not hesitate to play with facts (the Atlantic article) or to overthrow governments (U.S. support of coup in Venezuela or British overthrow of socialist nationalist government in Iran in '53) to further their interests.

by adamterando 2006-06-25 08:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Wrong wrong wrong wrong

Thank you for disabusing Lucas and anyone else who has a warped perspective of Venezuela.

by illinois062006 2006-06-25 08:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Wrong wrong wrong wrong
You should be very, very careful in mkaing any defense of Chavez. In much the same way that you describe the assault against anything resembling "socialist" governments by "captialist" ones, your defense of Chavez strikes me as being based on a rabid desire to see any remotely approaching "socialism" succeed.

It doesn't help that your user name is named after a left-wing terrorist organization.
by Chris Bowers 2006-06-25 09:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Wrong wrong wrong wrong

I agree. Notice that I do not support Castro, or the new president of Peru, nor Ghadafi in Libya. And my user name is a play on my personal occupation (note, not a left-wing terrorist organization). And my defense of Chavez is based on the exact same reasons as we blast the MSM for going after Democrats day in and day out, it belies the facts on the ground. And why should I be very very very careful in defending Chavez? Is it because we're afraid of being labeled communists? Sounds like we're caving into a MSM narrative (and a Bush administration narrative) of who the world's boogeymen are. I was defending Chavez because Lucas O'Connor used a flawed story with cherry-picked facts to make his case that Chavez does not have a long-term strategy for growth in Venezuela. It was a flawed argument and I called attention to it. How is that any different from what we try to do to defend Democrats (and the Ned Lamont's of the world) when they are falsely attacked?

Chavez isn't perfect, and we can have a debate on the merits of his administration, but if we're going to do that, then we need to have an honest debate based on ALL the facts, not just the ones that prove our point.

by adamterando 2006-06-26 07:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Wrong wrong wrong wrong

And as for the "rabid desire to see any[sic] remotely approaching "socialism" succeed." Not so much. I would like to see social democracy succeed. It pretty much already has in Scandanavia. And a good chunk of western Europe. What I really hope is that Chavez lives up to his promises and Venezuela can become a strong Democracy with a dominant middle class along the lines of Western Europe. What is wrong with hoping for that? And yes I wish that the coup in Iran in '53 had not succeeded. I think the world would have been better off with a moderately socialist president like Mosadeqq than with the Shah and then the Ayatollah and the terrorism that has been spread since then, don't you? Your warning to be very very careful troubles me a little bit, and sounds a little McCarthyesque to be frank.

by adamterando 2006-06-26 07:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Wrong wrong wrong wrong

Correction, I wish the coup in Iran HAD succeeded.

by adamterando 2006-06-26 08:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Wrong wrong wrong wrong

My knowledge of Latin American history extends to at least 2000BC.  

by illinois062006 2006-06-25 09:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Wrong wrong wrong wrong

I hope this is not in reference to my defense of the other poster's comment.  But if it is, I will simply say that I do support Chavez, and I am very reluctant to coutenance analyses of other political systems that are predicated on neoliberal categories of analysis.  Call me a relativist, but I do believe such views are epistemologically challenged, as the terms valorize the priorities of one system at the expense of another.

by illinois062006 2006-06-25 09:13PM | 0 recs
Populist or Leftist?

Chavez has the oil revenue to buy up support, but I'm not sure he has a well-thought out economic philosophy, nor does he represent a strong political movement. This makes him more of a populist than a leftist.

He has the money to buy up support. He has the political backing to force political changes. Anti-US rhetoric plays to the peanut gallery, but, the big question is whether he is creating real changes to the economic structure.

In my opinion, Chavez would do better to stop lambasting the US, keep his head down, and build for the long-term.

Why the F does he think the US is funding Columbia's military? They're now the third largest recipient after Israel and Egypt, and it ain't going to fight the drug war.

(Shameless diary self-promotion: I started a previous comment, but it morphed into a diary on this very topic)

by MetaData 2006-06-25 09:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, well, still...

What does Jerome Armstrong have to do with the impending Mexican election?

by illinois062006 2006-06-25 09:18PM | 0 recs
I dislike "neo-liberal"

because it gets to close to the label "liberal" which I sometimes like to use about myself, but obviously it's a bad thing to be a "neo-liberal" (whatever that is).

I think what's it's pointing at is the basket of economic policies that include: unrestricted trade, pro-business, colonialism is good for the colonized, the WTO, and that sort of thing. Is there a better label for all that?

If neo-cons are militarist imperialists, would this be the non-militarist economic imperialists? Can we just call them that? "economic imperialist" instead of "neo-liberal" ?

by bolson 2006-06-25 10:40PM | 0 recs
Were you here a while ago

...when Jerome basically said: "You know I like Mark Warner. Now I am working for Mark Warner. I quit blogging here until I am done working for Mark Warner."

And I think he has except for 1 post. As far as I know, he has handled any potential conflict of interest properly because 1: he quit blogging at MyDD, and 2: full disclosure.

And now anything he writes/does online we can filter through the idea that he is a paid campaign worker for Mark Warner.

by MNPundit 2006-06-26 05:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Wrong wrong wrong wrong

He's doing good things, but I'd recommend you compare Chavez's economic surge with Argentina under Peron.

Or DC under Marion Barry.

by KevStar 2006-06-26 06:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Wrong wrong wrong wrong

I know that there's context and spin, and I bristle at both contentions here that I don't know anything about Chavez.  I've spent a ton of time here, at dailykos and in person defending Chavez. And plan to continue.

That's fine. I don't mean to spout off at you, I was more upset at the Atlantic article. Sooo many publications have done that statistical trick of showing how f-d up the country was right after the strike to show that Chavez is failing. It's lying with statistics.

I don't know if I agree with the characterization that he's providing handouts. If that were so, I doubt the poverty rate would be dropping so precipitously.

I'm not arguing that he's executing flawless policy (did I say that?). Who the hell does execute flawless policy? It would be bullshit to argue such a thing.

When you say that Chavez has said essentially that he's in the business of creating power, could you direct me to where he said that.

Yep, my response was from a pro-Chavez website. But you know what? I showed you the SAME set of statistics that the Atlantic used. They just decided to lie with them, while the pro-chavez website didn't. So if you point out something flawed in the New York Times or on CNN and then I use data from TPMuckraker to show that you're wrong, does that mean that I don't have any credibility to point out the flaws in your argument?

Also, please show me how you came to the conclusion that he's been giving men fish, not teaching them to fish. I'm not necessarily arguing with you, I just would like to know what you're basing your conclusion on.

I'm glad you'll continue to defend Chavez when people use flawed arguments. I'll do the same. When people have valid points of criticism, then there will be agreement. I am not blindly defending his government. It's just frustrating that so many in this country are falling for the lies of the administration in claiming that Chavez is a threat to the U.S. and to democracy.  

by adamterando 2006-06-26 07:43AM | 0 recs
A very good movie

I saw Our Brand Is Crisis, I highly recommend it.  If someone wanted to learn more about politics in Latin and South America what books would people recommend?

by ditka 2006-06-26 11:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Wrong wrong wrong wrong

Nevertheless, he is NOT laying groundwork.  He's providing handouts.  It's a shortterm solution.  It's better than the likely alternative, but Chavez is not interested in long-term society building.  He just isn't.

Chavez is putting in water, sewer, electricity, roads, and schools in the shanty towns that have been neglected for so long. I would call that "laying groundwork". I wouldn't call it, "providing handouts". A society needs infrastrucsure to work best, plus public works provide jobs. I think he's using his country's oil money for good purpose. It beats wasting it all on war.

by William Domingo 2006-06-26 03:27PM | 0 recs

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