Monday, July 03, 2006

2000 Flashbacks

The Mexican presidential elections are shaping up to be an eerie flashback to the 2000 elections in the United States. You remember, hanging chad, pregnant chad, etc. The first returns are being released and both the PAN candidate, Calderon, and the PRD candidate, Obrador, are claiming to have won. 98% of the votes have been counted and right now the PAN candidate is leading by 1%! 1%! So besides being a close race what are the similarities with our own wacked out election of 2000?

  1. PAN is the right-of-center party (though Mexico's right is still pretty progressive compared to ours) and the PRD is the left-of-center party.
  2. The country is essentially divided in two (red states Vs. blue states anyone) with the northern half supporting the PAN and the southern states, which are in general much poorer, supporting the PRD. A division of classes, much like what the media painted our political divisions to be.
  3. Both candidates seem to think they have won and have proclaimed it on national television.
  4. The potential court battles might delay any decisiion until October or November!
  5. I think there are more but I'm drawing a blank....a bit tired...see below.

Other interesting things about this election, the PRI is basically done in Mexico. They received so few votes they are now considered sort of a third party whose importance is marginal. This is amazing not only because of their many years of control over Mexico but also because the campesinos who were traditionally very loyal supporters of the PRI (for reasons I have mentioned before) abandoned the party in droves. A sea change if you will.

So hand counting begins on Wednesday I think and official results will be known on Friday. My señora remarked that this was the first time Mexico didn't know who its next president would be and this in and of itself is quite remarkable. Exciting times for a political fiend like myself! I keep asking the señora questions about the results during our meals and the two other Americans staying with her seem a bit annoyed by this. Well, one seems annoyed the other just doesn't understand any Spanish and engages in her typical mealtime behavior of nodding and smiling at anything anyone says.

I mentioned creative electoral fraud techniques in my last post and I have a new one to add! Our instructor was visited by a family member on Sunday who works for the state government, which is currently controlled by the PRI. Apparently if you work for the state government you were strongly enouraged (you know, the "wanna keep your job?" type of encouragment) to vote and of course to vote for the PRI. If you followed these instructions there were of course brownie points earned. So how would your boss know if you voted PRI or not? They give you a cell phone to take into the voting booth, you take a picture of your ballot and then give the phone back! A similar tactic is utilized by the students at ASU for cheating on exams. Perhaps the apathetic ASU students and the PRI are in cahoots. Oh the wonders of modern technology....

Now I'm off to the gym since I have a new affliction, daily ice cream indulgences. Ice cream is everywhere and when I'm south of the border, when anyone is south of the border, normal dietary rules don't apply! Apparently I forgot to inform my butt about these rules as it appears to be abiding by U.S. dietary laws as well as the universal laws of gravity and some other crappy laws about getting older and wider.

One other note; big cockroach in the bathroom last night, the kind I'm quite afraid of because I have seen one or two of them fly. It is bad enough that they are already large and disgusting but for them to fly their nasty selves around increases their scary factor exponentially. This was the first big roach I had encountered on one of my many late night bathroom trips and due to this unfortunate crossing of paths I was unable to sleep very well for the rest of the night. I share this to back up my point about my fear of bugs and my need for frequent late night bathroom trips being incompatible. The week long field trip should be interesting.

No comments: