"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Drug Gangs Active in Mexico Elections

Former Senator Luisa Maria Calderon responds to supporters at a rally this summer in Morelia, the state capital of Michoacan, where she was the conservative National Action Party (PAN) candidate for governor.

Drug Gangs told voters to support the PRI in Governor's race
  • A PAN mayor was assassinated a week before the election.
  • "This is very dangerous, and if we permit it, narco-politics will have begun in Michoacan."

After centuries of dictatorship Mexico was well on its way to building a multi-party democracy . . . until the insane Drug War came along.  Now the drug gangs are undermining the new democracy.  Only the decriminalization or legalization of drugs will end the violence and the power of the gangs.

President Felipe Calderon's sister appears to have lost her bid for governor of Michoacan during violent state elections, and she alleged Monday that drug traffickers helped tip the race in favor of one of her opponents.

Preliminary results gave the lead in the race for governor of the western state to Fausto Vallejo of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

"The intervention by organized crime during the entire election process and especially yesterday is alarming, not just for Michoacan but for the entire country," Luisa Maria Calderon said in a radio interview a day after Sunday's vote. "They threatened our candidates, our poll workers.... They seized ballot boxes, set up roadblocks … and ordered people to vote" for the PRI, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The PRI ruled Mexico for seven decades until losing the presidency in 2000.

The PRI itself was long the giant of Mexican politics, a system more than a party imposed by a Mexican president in 1929 to exercise his power at every level of authority throughout the nation. For the next 71 years, the PRI literally beat off some challengers while buying off voters with benefits that often depended on support for the party.

The PRI is staging a comeback, and victory in Michoacan is an important step in that effort. The PRI is hoping to win the presidential election in July.

The PRI's Fausto Vallejo Figueroa won a 35- to 33-point victory over his closest competitor, Luisa Maria Calderon, who is the sister of President Felipe Calderon. Finishing a distant third with 29 percent was the party that has dominated the state in recent years, the Democratic Revolution Party, or the PRD.

The head of the PRD, Jesus Zambrano, echoed Calderon, saying: "Organized crime worked yesterday on behalf of the PRI candidate.... This is very dangerous, and if we permit it, narco-politics will have begun in Michoacan, and next we will see it in 2012."

"It was a referendum on the PRD during the last 10 to 12 years. Violence has increased and economic issues that have led to migration have not changed," Shannon O'Neil, an expert on Mexican politics at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Michoacan has long been dominated by drug cartels specializing in marijuana, heroin and methamphetamines. It is President Calderon's home state, and he chose Michoacan to launch a military-led offensive against traffickers in December 2006. Yet violence has persisted.

A PAN mayor was assassinated a week before the election as he campaigned for Luisa Maria Calderon, and numerous candidates quit local races out of fear.

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