By Perla Lara
During 2018, more than 40 countries will elect a new president, but Mexico’s presidential election has piqued a special interest around the world.
The Trump Administration has put Mexico in the spotlight as an unfriendly country for the States.
Meanwhile, in Mexico, according to several surveys, 8 out of every 10 Mexicans are worried about this government, and the relationship with Mexico and the bilateral issues, from North American Free Trade Agreement Nafta to migration, to security—and the same number are against their current president Enrique Peña Nieto.
Around the world other Trump-like characters have many supporters in the present day, several analysts have insisted that even Mexico has its versions of Trump—their nationalism and his extravagant personality. For example, there is Mr. Andrés Manuel López Obrador AMLO who is leader of his own new party, than is not yet five years old (MORENA -Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional -the Spanish-language acronym for the National Regeneration Movement) and who is currently leading in the polls, and the self-named “Bronco”, an independent presidential candidate who is at the bottom in the preference polls.
Here as in Mexico the advantage of Lopez Obrador is significant, as he has at least half of the polls in his favor.
AMLO , also known as AMLOVE, has sought the presidency three times.
In the first one his adversary Felipe Calderón won, under the suspicion of electoral fraud, which over time has been strengthened.
After the strong accusations of fraud with a minimum margin of difference between votes, after the elections for months there was an organized civil confrontation to defend what they claimed was the presidency, but it was only a depressurization valve.
The majority of immigrants reject the PRI
For the 2012 election AMLO was launched again but in addition to instilling fear, a strong campaign led Enrique Peña Nieto’s EPN, to victory, although there was talk of large vote buying.
In Mexico, an opposition student movement was launched against the EPN #YOSOY132 that grew very quickly and generated sympathy among Mexican immigrants in the United States, especially in NY City, Chicago and Los Angeles.
In 2014 after the international indignation with the kidnappings in Iguala, Guerrero, the Ayotzinapa movement organized the people to form #YOSOY132 catalysts that awakened the interest of migrants in the events in Mexico. This interest continues to grow.
Since then, through the American Union, the anti-systemic groups have been uniting, branching out, growing and generating a movement of Mexicans that have mobilized to support the candidacy of the coalition. AMLO has had support even from a new party of evangelical origin.
But he has a very smart organizing to put together the left and the right. “Frente PRD- Partido de la Revolución Democrática” that was the party of AMLO, this time is in coalition with PAN, Partido Acción Nacional because both the parties were broken after the elections when the PRI was back.
The desire to change the present of Mexico seems to put everything to the side and put the principle of revenge against the government in violent terms, even if AMLO speaks of peace and love, while most of his followers want a vendetta.
In the year 2000 the Mexican government approved that Mexicans could vote from the country where they resided, but for the first time the Mexican immigrant community, is very active.
The social media and the binational networks created across the USA, Canada and Mexico, and some countries in Europe, are active everyday trying to convince voters about the quality of the candidates competing to be the next president, and asking them to vote to be part of the decision.
In the beginning the majority of the votes came from consular members, and other business and professional people, but that has changed and the lower classes have been organized since the creation of MORENA.
The goal of MORENA committees is to register people to vote but, above all, they have to identify all the relatives and friends in Mexico and ask them to not sell their vote to the PRI.
The organization is not only on social networks, the strategy includes (PAKE BANK) and visits to the houses (Neighborhood Canvass) that make local organization consider than even if not Everyone can vote, the importance is to be sure that those who can vote, vote. It is "a phone binational bank."
In the front of the entire organization in the United States is the diplomat of Héctor Vasconcelos, whom AMLO has already designated as a chancellor in case of reaching the presidency.
In February and March 2017, AMLO came to the United States for the last time before the elections. The events were massive in California and that area, but In New York wasn’t very welcome because the activist there are very active supporting the movement against the all parties and politicians class.
The scarce vote from abroad
Despite the large number of Mexicans residing abroad, which could reach up to 8 million votes, for the presidential elections of July 1, 2018 very few obtained
the voter card so the number of votes from other countries it is anticipated that it will be very small.
The population of Mexican origin in the United States in 2016 stood at 36.3 million, according to the Census Bureau. Of that total of Mexican-Americans, 11.7 million are born in Mexico and the rest are descendants of immigrants, according to an analysis of data that same year presented the Migration Policy Institute (MPI).
This number of Mexican immigrants in the United States coincides with the registry of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico (SRE), which states that there are 11,913,989 Mexicans living outside the country, of whom almost 98% live in the US, that is, 11.7 million.
The National Electoral Institute (INE) indicates only 674,111 Mexicans abroad managed to process the document, but only 18% had been able to register on the Nominal List of Resident Voters Abroad (LNERE), an indispensable requirement to vote.
The question now is how many will send their ballot before the June 30 deadline.
Along with their children, citizens of voting age on this side of the border number more than 30 million. Emigrants were able to vote for the first time in 2006, and since then participation has been growing little by little, amidst accusations of excessive bureaucracy and practical difficulties that make the exercise of voting a very complicated one.
According to data from the Electoral National Institute, there are 181,256 Mexicans, registered to vote, 84% of them in the United States. The figure is triple the 59,000 of 2012.
About 40% of the immigrants surveyed that are registered to vote are for AMLO (Morena PES, PT) followed by Ricardo Anaya (PAN-PRD-MC) with 8%, and just 4%, supported José Antonio Meade (PRI-PVME- PANAL). The only poll so far, it was performed before Margarita Zavala the former first lady declined, and the INE granted records to the independent, "El Bronco”.
For Obed Arango professor of Cultural Anthropology at MONTCO and adjunct at UPenn School of social policy and practice, Lopez is the best option.
“I consider that AMLO, without being a perfect candidate, has been consistent in his 18-year journey throughout the Mexican Republic to know and understand that the Mexican system has established a “clientelista” system of corruption that affects especially marginalized groups who suffer extreme poverty…. In his analysis, he also knows that in this context of poverty, it is an ideal environment for drug trafficking and migration… Obrador proposes to strengthen the local economy, encourage young people, the countryside and small and medium enterprises, invest in education and seek energy independence. Contrary to the neoliberal policy in which the macro economy is expected to have a spill over into the micro economy, Obrador is committed to macroeconomic investment, but not at the expense of the micro economy. As soon as education proposes an effort so that new generations have universal access, without demerit private education. It responds to a third path of a democratic and modern left. Those who accuse him of a dogmatic leftist are wrong. On the contrary he represents a democratic left of a mixed system and where the poor are first”
But for Norberta Diaz 52, who has lived in the States for 33 years, it will be difficult to vote for Anaya because all the recent scandals of corruption-- for sure she
will never vote for the PRI, or for AMLO; even if she know of very good people around him. She doesn't believe in him because he open the door of many former members of the PRI party who have very bad public reputation.
She said, “He is so selfish, and he made pacts already with the PRI because of his obsession to be president” She also believes he made a pact with the government because if it wasn’t true he would have been murdered already. Norberta who born in Puebla, has several years working with the immigrant community helping specially the undocumented women to get basics services. She said “this is the first time the government of Puebla was helping the immigrants with several projects like the driver's licenses, and the reunification families… the actual governor from el PAN, Moreno Valle was who ask them about their needs. That’s why I wants to give them my trust for the first time I will vote".
The Mexican diaspora is consistently anti-PRI since many blame that party for conditions in Mexico that pushed them to migrate.
Ana Ronzel from New Jersey who is PRI affiliate, said she is confident that the PRI Candidate Jose Antonio Meade is going to win. “He is the most prepared and the polls do not reflect our forces”.
She recently was in Mexico City and she thinks most of the people who will vote for him aren’t publishing it in the social media etc. But they will vote for the PRI because the reforms EPN did in the beginning of his administration are so important for the development of the country and it is important to persevere.
She thinks most of the immigrants who will vote for AMLO is because they are very ignorant, and they are convinced the actual problems of Mexico are the fault of the current presidency, but she thinks everything is fault of the past 2 governments from the PAN, and they are doing everything to make the people think that the PRI governments is bad, because they are still angry for the loss of power.
In the last two presidential elections, voters abroad have favored the National Action Party, or PAN, which was Mexico's leading opposition party for years.
Whoever wins the elections these are very costly elections, not just because the government's electoral arm spent close to $200 facilitating each vote abroad in the last election, compared to $6 for each vote in Mexico. This election has already been one of Mexico’s most violent, with more than 125 candidates and politicians murdered since September.
On the other hand, most of the immigrants who already sent their ballots didn’t say who they voted for, or do not want to publish their names. But the majority who are not voting is because they don’t believe in the government because when PRI is back in power, the party has a lot of money and skill at doing election fraud.