Mexico Holds Elections

Reagan Gray, staff writer

Mexico’s presidential vote will be held July 1, 2012. Mexico will vote on a leader to replace current president Felipe Calderon. This upcoming election will test the Mexican democracy because of increased violence due to drug trafficking.

Calderon’s methods to defend against drug trafficking have been widely unpopular and very bloody. According to the “Washington Post,” more than 50,000 people have been killed since he took office back in 2006 and gang violence has spread to parts of the country that were previously considered safe.  Mexican citizens are eager to get Calderon out of office and hope for a leader that will protect them against the drug gangs.

Mexican officials fear that the drug cartels will interfere with the elections. It is possible that these organized crime gangs will try to finance campaigns in order to install a leader who would sabotage the war against Mexico’s powerful drug cartels.  Not only are they trying to finance campaigns, members of these gangs also threaten voters, saying that they will kill the voter’s family to stop ballots cast for a rival candidate.

The drug cartels do not only affect the presidential election, they affect the local elections as well. Local elections prove to be just as vulnerable, if not more vulnerable, to gang influences. It takes smaller acts of fraud for the drug cartels to corrupt the smaller local government elections. They can use less political violence to sway the outcome of a local election, which makes it easier to do.

America will also be affected by the Mexican elections. Texas is the main state that is affected by these elections and the drug cartels. The state of Texas has large business and trade ties to Mexico. In fact, the Texas districts of El Paso, Laredo and Houston are three of Mexico’s top trading partners.

Former president Calderon belonged to the National Action Party (PAN). Although this party’s policies were widely unpopular in Mexico, Texans believe that it is important to keep this party in place in the upcoming election. According to the “New York Times”, Gerardo Schwebel, the executive vice president of International Bank of Commerce’s international division in Laredo, believes it is important for Texas businesses that the new Mexican leader keep Calderon’s economic policies and his plan to fight against organized crime.

The 2012 Mexican elections have stirred up much controversy in both Mexico and the United States. The drug cartels just add to the chaos of the elections. Many Mexican citizens are just hoping for a leader who can make their country safer and put an end to the violence caused by drug trafficking.

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