Jun 15 2012

Violence On the Rise As Mexican Elections Draw Nearer

The election for Mexico’s president is just two weeks away and a new poll puts Enrique Pena Nieto ahead of Manuel Lopez Obrador four days after Sunday’s presidential debate. A voter survey published yesterday shows front runner Nieto’s popularity has risen slightly, with nearly 38% of voters backing him, while Lopez Obrador’s support fell 1 point to 24%. The results come after the Guardian newspaper substantiated claims by activists that Nieto and the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, are benefiting from biased coverage by Televisa, the Spanish speaking world’s largest communications company. The Guardian also found State department cables released by Wikileaks that reveal the US was aware of Nieto benefiting from favorable and disproportionate airtime when he was a governor in 2009. Also revealed was evidence that Televisa sold Nieto positive coverage.

A Mexican journalist in Veracruz was found dead early yesterday morning just hours after he was accosted by armed men. According to the LA Times, “[j]ournalists in Veracruz have said they think they are being targeted before the July 1 vote because the long-dominant …PRI, fears electoral losses in the region and doesn’t want coverage of campaign shenanigans.”

Before Sunday’s debate 90,000 people gathered in Mexico City to protest against front-runner Nieto and the PRI. The large demonstration was called for by the Yo Soy 132 movement – I am the 132nd movement – sparked by a group of 131 students at a private university who confronted the Presidential frontrunner Enrique Pena Nieto. Nieto dismissed them as a small group of shills for Obrador. Turnout on Sunday included Mexicans from all walks of life who are opposed to a return of a PRI candidate to the Presidency, an office the party held from 1929 to 1982.

GUEST: Manuel Perez Rocha, Associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies

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