There’s A Good Chap

We’re approaching election time in Mexico. I don’t follow it too closely. I’m guessing governors, congress or senators, or maybe a combination of the three, are all looking to keep their jobs. Many won’t, I’m sure. Whilst I don’t follow it terribly enthusiastically, Mexicans get thoroughly into the electoral process. They care a great deal about the democratic process, and more particularly, their chosen candidate.

Which I find a little amusing. Because there’s not so much recent historical evidence to suggest the politicians care much about the voters. Rallies are held, the masses turn up, balloons are blown up, banners unfurled, posters stuck to walls by the gazillion and the politicos whisper sweet nothings into the microphone. Everyone goes home happy, and before you know it, their man or woman has jumped into a metaphorical bed with the enemy, banked the donations in a secret account or otherwise swindled their supporters. And everyone else.

I took the photo below in Huichapan recently. Pacho Olvera is the man of the hour there. What’s he like? I’ve no idea. Maybe he’s one of the few decent, honest politicians. Maybe he won’t screw his constituents. But as far as I can see, an honest politician in Mexico would whisper honest sweet nothings into a microphone. Drop your trousers, bend over and take what’s coming gracefully. There’s a good chap!


8 thoughts on “There’s A Good Chap

  1. Shasta says:

    I was in the Puerta Vallarta area for a couple elections, it was really fun actually looking back. The Mexicans in general take their participation in the democratic process very seriously.


  2. “I’m guessing governors, congress or senators, or maybe a combination of the three, are all looking to keep their jobs. Many won’t, I’m sure.”

    The governors won’t – I know that for sure 🙂

    “Sufragio Efectivo, No Reelección”


  3. I’m guessing governors, congress or senators, or maybe a combination of the three, are all looking to keep their jobs.

    — Lesson One in Mexican politics. There is no re-election in Mexico and hasn’t been since 1917. Francisco Madero’s book arguing for a presidential term limit was one of the most important intellectual factors in the 1910 Revolution.

    Also, a sitting federal official cannot run for another federal office, which is why the ballot includes a “supliente” candidate (the “B” team) who fills in if the elected official resigns (which a lot of them do, six months to the day before the next election).

    Whether for good or ill, this makes the parties much more important than the candidates themselves. While this creates some problems with “institutional memory” within bodies like the Chamber of Deputies, party leaders generally remain in office throughout their career, just not in the same position. A Senator may be a deputy, then a state legislator, then a governor, then a senator again, then…

    Various proposals to allow for re-election at municipal and congressional level have been floated, but this isn’t expected to change in the near future.


    • And anyone thinking I was simply being modest when I said I don’t follow it too closely and know little about what’s what has that belief quickly dispelled….!

      Thanks for the info Rich. I was aware that Presidents get one term. So it’s expanded throughout the system…..that could be a good idea, but from the rest of your comment I suspect a lot of fine tuning would be needed to make it work that way.


  4. Kim G says:

    This year’s assassination of Rodolfo Torre Cantu, the PRI’s leading candidate for the governorship of Tamaulipas has certainly changed things for the worse. Looks like the narco-gangs are upping the stakes in a big way. According to the press reports I read, Torre Cantu was polling at around 60% support, and had vowed to crack down on both corruption and the narco traffic. Well, I guess the narco gangs have put a stop to that.

    Whilst in Mexico City recently, F and I had a lively discussion over whether Mexico was going the way of Colombia in the 80’s and 90’s. I fear it is, but he thought not.

    Torre Cantu’s assassination tips the balance more to my side.

    I hope I’m wrong.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we have a single-party system. You can vote for unopposed democrats for many positions, or you can abstain.


    • It’s a tough comparison to make. There are lots of different factors – for starters Colombia already had issues with FARC. Subcomandante Marcos just doesn’t compare. Mexico is also probably easier terrain for a government combating narcos. It’s also closer to the US border – more ‘help’ and a quicker response.

      But at the same time, the tactics of the drug gangs do have some similarities. I’ve thought for quite a while that the biggest help to the government is that there are so many cartels, and they’re fighting amongst each so much that they don’t have the time or resources to take on the government full on, as happened in colombia.

      The danger, I think, is if one cartel becomes totally dominant.

      My first trip to Mexico in 2003 saw me take a small plane for a connecting flight from Merida to DF, where I had the pleasure of sitting next to a Pablo Escobar doppelgänger.


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