Skip to comments.Mexican conservative could buck trend
Posted on 07/01/2006 12:03:36 PM PDT by Heartofsong83
Mexican conservative could buck trend By Alistair Scrutton 1 hour, 17 minutes ago
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - For all the talk of the rise of Latin America's left, Mexican presidential hopeful Felipe Calderon could show on Sunday that, while unfashionable, U.S.-style conservatives can still win hearts and minds.
Years of stuttering market reforms under outgoing President Vicente Fox from free trade to a credit card bonanza have taken root among many voters who fear leftists so popular in countries like Venezuela and Bolivia could bring ruin.
Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is a slight favorite in Sunday's elections but polls are so close that a win for the Harvard-educated Calderon, promising more foreign investment and pro-business reforms, is a real possibility.
The core of Calderon's support lies with an emerging middle class in Mexico enjoying years of relative financial stability following the currency devaluations and debt crises that plagued the country in the 1980s and 1990s.
Under Fox, who ended 71 years of Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, rule six years ago, many Mexicans have enjoyed greater access to consumer credit despite tepid growth. The number of credit cards in Mexico has nearly tripled during his term and a stable peso has spawned more savings accounts and mortgages.
The NAFTA free trade deal has sparked an explosion in U.S. goods. Consumers flock to Wal-Mart and Home Depot. Shopping malls that would not be out of place in U.S. suburbia litter many wealthier Mexican cities near the U.S. border.
Many middle-class Mexicans now have something to lose.
"(With Calderon) we'll have stability," said 36-year-old aerobics teacher Maripi Ablanedo Vargas, who bought a house with a mortgage thanks to lower interest rates.
"(Lopez Obrador) only speaks about raising wages, but where's the money going to come from? He'll increase debts, everything will rise, inflation," Vargas added.
BENEFITING THE RICH?
For Vargas, these benefits under Fox are in danger from Lopez Obrador's populist anti-poverty crusade, which she fears will mean a return to wasteful high spending.
Calderon is hoping to follow the electoral successes of pro-U.S. conservatives like Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
But many other Latin Americans are rebelling against decades of market reforms and millions of poor Mexicans distrust conservatives. They feel governments like Fox's benefit the rich and do little to create jobs.
Much of Calderon's support comes from northern Mexico, where factories catering to U.S. consumers have led to rising wages, auto and housing booms. Lopez Obrador's support is strongest in southern states, where poverty is endemic.
Calderon, a stiffish 43-year-old lawyer, was for months an underdog in the race. His message of continuity from Fox was uninspiring for many Mexicans who packed rallies to hear the more charismatic Lopez Obrador promise better pensions and health care.
But Calderon gathered support midway through the campaign by playing on fears of radicalism, portraying Lopez Obrador as "danger for Mexico."
"Calderon has the more coherent economic policies. He is not going to make us suffer as small businessmen," said cantina owner Mundo Tavera, a lifelong PRI supporter.
"With Lopez Obrador, all I can think about is shielding myself from devaluations."
While Calderon's enemies paint him as elitist, he has tried to swing independent voters by selling himself as the image of modernity against the out-of-date economic nationalism of his rival.
"Calderon represents the consolidation of Mexico's modernization project. This is a project that has been taking root in Mexico," said Carlos Sirvent, a political science professor at Mexico's UNAM university.
"People talk about a leftist backlash in Latin America but it's not so simple. Much of the impact of free trade is here to stay, no matter who wins," he added.
(Additional reporting by Lorraine Orlandi and Chris Aspin)
Hopefully it'll mean that a booming Mexican economy would reverse the flow of illegals.
Could lead to refugees from Mexico (although many of the aliens are already refugees of some sort).
An Obrador win.
"Hopefully it'll mean that a booming Mexican economy would reverse the flow of illegals."
I'm hopeful for conservative win. That would help things to some extent, but expecting a major reduction in the flow of illegals would be unrealistic.
Hoping and expecting are two different things.
Mexico will take a miracle to turn around in time for it to make a difference in our country.
There could be another problem compounded: illegal immigrants who use Mexico as a stopover en route to the US (after illegally entering Mexico)...
Scrutton's a commie. All the themes are not only slanted but out-dated. A lot of the electoral swing is anti-Chavez, and that's well-known, but this guy's politics don't let him mention it.
IMHO, if the Communists take over the Mexican government tomorrow, we must not only build a wall/fence along our southern border, we must also put in mine fields.
And if the Communists do not win, those mine fields need to be built on the Mexico-Guatemala border, where illegal immigration would likely skyrocket (with many of them going all the way to the US as well).
Paragraphs are our friend. :-)
we're talking Rooters here
I admit, I havn't followed this race closely at all but I thought Obrador was more outspoken in his opposition to illegal immigration. Calderon sounds like he'll just be another Fox and continue to export Mexico's poverty across the border.
Obrador, the Communist, wants all Mexican peasants currently living happily, but illegally, in the U.S. to return to their miserable existence in Mexico, as miserable peasants make up most of the communist voting block in Mexico. If Obrador loses the election tomorrow, it will only be because there were not enough disgruntled Mexican peasants going to the polls.
I will always believe that President Bush's recent talk of amnesty and citizenship for Mexican illegals was done to cause Mexican illegals to think they will have a better future under a non Communist government in Mexico than they would have under the Communists. It is currently a very tight race between the Communist, Obrador, and the Conservative, Calderon. If the Communists lose tomorrow, it will be, in no small part, due to the efforts of our President.
After the election, if the Communists lose, the President can drop his talk of amnesty and work with Mexican President Calderon to build a better future for all Mexican citizens. The key to solving our current Mexican illegal alien problem is not to build a wall between us (that would really please the communists), but to help the Mexicans build a better Mexico.
If the Communists win, we better build a wall and build it fast.
I know. I was lazy this time.
I know. I was lazy this time.
Hard on the eyes.
All those millions aren't crawling on their hands and knees to get here because Mexico is a worker's paradise.
Annex now or be overwhelmed later.
Their southern border is only a third the length of ours.
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