Elections Are Coming

Of course you know that, there’s election hoopla all over. We will explain it to you

This Sunday June 7th, Mexico holds midterm elections in 17 out of its 32 states to choose a total of 2,159 politicians from 10 different parties and, for the first time in the country’s history, some independent candidates that have no party affiliation.. A total of 17 governors, 641 state lawmakers, 993 city mayors, 16 government delegates in Mexico City and 500 legislators at the lower chamber of congress will be replaced by the voters. Mexico is big on term limits and these offices all have a variety of limits, which causes lots of churn.

The new governor will take office Thursday, September 10, and the mayors take office between December 24 to 28. These are staggered, as the new governor has to attend each inauguration.

In Southern Baja, our state, The governor, five city mayors, and 21 federal legislators will be elected by 465,372 registered voters (239,032 males and 226,340 females). There are about 3,000 foreigners in this state who have become citizens and are eligible to vote. Until 1997, our state was among the most participative states, with low abstention, and in the latest presidential elections, 63% of voters showed up at the polls, up from 59% in 2006. This was despite a report by the International Transparency organization (Transparency.org) that 91% of Mexicans believe that political parties are corrupt and politicians are all a bunch of corrupt pendejos. (We can use bad words if they’re in Spanish).

The competition for the governor’s seat will be among: Carlos Mendoza, PAN (right), Ricardo Barroso, PRI-PVEM-PANAL (center-right), Jesus Druk, PRD-PT-MC (left), Victor Castro, MORENA (left) and Benjamin de la Rosa, Independent. With the exception of de la Rosa, all other candidates have been in politics for several years. They also change parties like they’re changing their clothes. Parties merge, people bail, people forge new alliances, it’s a moving picture.

As for mayor of Los Cabos, the candidates are: Narciso Agundez, PRD-PT-MC (left), Alberto Treviño, PRI-PVEM-PANAL (center-right), Arturo de la Rosa, PAN (right), Tamara Montalvo, MORENA (left), Joaquin Tello (Encuentro Social), Julian Hernandez (Humanista) and Dr. Gilberto Insunza (Independent).

Narciso Agundez (born 1958) has already served as mayor of Los Cabos, from 1999 to 2002, has been a federal legislator, and has served as our state governor from 2005 to 2011. He was sent to prison in May 2012 on charges of selling a state property way under market price to obtain a personal benefit. After serving seven months, he beat the charges.

Alberto Treviño (born 1966) has a degree in business administration and went to the United States for post-graduate studies in hotel management from Cornell University. He has been president of the Los Cabos chamber of commerce, secretary of tourism for the state from 2005 to 2010 and a state lawmaker since 2011, where he chaired the commission of commerce and tourism.

Arturo de la Rosa (born 1971) is an attorney, and has been a member of the city council, was a government delegate in Cabo San Lucas in 2005, and state legislator.

Tamara Montalvo (born 1972) was the Dean at the Cabo San Lucas campus of the University of Tijuana until she was drafted to run for the mayoral position by MORENA, the leftist party of twice former presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. (The well known Amlo).

Joaquin Tello (born 1967) is an attorney born in the state of Mexico (next to Mexico City) whose grandfather lived for many years in La Ribera, on the East Cape. Before being a candidate he was part of the executive team of Grupo Questro, the largest developer in Los Cabos.

Julian Hernandez (born 1972), is an ejido land owner who defines himself as a social activist for the past 25 years, working to improve the lives of the poorest. His philosophy is that of the Mexican revolution hero Emiliano Zapata.

Dr. Gilberto Insunza is a young surgeon who has lived in Los Cabos for the past 15 years. He is the current surgical director of the Cabo San Lucas social security (IMSS) hospital.

The hoopla surrounding elections is intense. Remember, obtaining a decent education in this country is a challenge, so to get the votes of the masses, games are played that most of our readers would laugh at. Like rallies that look more like fun fiestas, people paid to come in buses to plump up the appearance of momentum, and “volunteers” paid to stand on street corners to shout at passing motorists. Every party has a color, and those supporters deck themselves and their campaign literature in an intensity of that color.

Newspapers are at a fever pitch to tout their favorite candidate, which would be the one who owns the paper or, failing that, the candidate who pays to plant ads that look like articles.

Most of our foreign readers are surprised to hear it’s legal for candidates to give out debit cards with about $20 of credit on them, usually for grocery stores. Of course that’s no guarantee the recipient of the card will vote for that candidate, but people here generally vote for whoever will give them something for nothing, believing that’s a good habit to get into if they’re going to hold office. I have a neighbor, a baker by trade, who voted for the socialist candidate for president in the last election because he promised to give a piece of land to every citizen. When asked where he thought this land would come from, he said, “I don’t know and don’t care, I just want my land.” When it was pointed out that he didn’t need any land because he lived with his son for free, he said, “I don’t care, I just want my piece of land”.  Can we say it one more time? Here we go, all together now: People generally get the government they deserve.

The larger question here is, do they deserve such a crappy education that they can’t vote more intelligently?  Over and over on the street you hear people say they will vote for a candidate who has already been caught stealing because that candidate also brought such goodies as paved streets and new parks to their barrio. 

The bad news about election day is the country will go dry for the weekend, with no alcohol sales starting from Saturday morning. Tourists bars are exempt, so thirsty foreigners can migrate to those places, and do try to look pasty white and Gringo as even there only foreigners will be served. It is an urban legend that officials are trying to dry out the citizens so they can vote intelligently: the real reason for the moratorium is concern about alcohol infused political demonstrations.