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Monday, May 29, 2006

WILL U.S. SENATE, SOCCER CUP, BE ENOUGH TO HELP MEXICO'S CALDERON GET ELECTED?

The U.S. Senate's passage of a bill to legalize about eight million undocumented workers in the United States-- and the World Soccer Cup -- will give an extra push to Mexico's government-backed candidate, Felipe Calderón, in his bid to win the July 2 presidential elections. Read my column on this in The Miami Herald.

31 Comments:

Blogger A.M. Mora y Leon said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:04 PM  
Blogger A.M. Mora y Leon said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:05 PM  
Blogger A.M. Mora y Leon said...

Everyone I talk to in Mexico says World Cup's gonna be big. I suppose the impact of it will depend to some extent on how well the Mexican team does and how long they last in the rounds.

Of course, it being World Cup, if Mexico is knocked out early, the fans will just pick another team to cheer and watch all the way through, but it might diminish the power of the event to mesmerize.

I think World Cup will just suspend interest in politics, effectively ending the campaigns early as campaigning moratoriums do by decree.

But I am starting to wonder about the Senate vote. My political source in Mexico City tells me there's little impact on the race from the immigration happenings, because there's a strong consensus about it across the board.

Also, the polls I see show that AMLO is gaining in these last days of the campaign. And, an interesting new blogger called Noblesse Oblige said his anecdotal evidence, based on a trip to the Yucatan, suggested that AMLO's support is pretty strong in the Indian areas. Maybe, like Peru, there is a hidden AMLO vote in Mexico.

Still, I have more thoughts on this - the broad trend in Mexican politics is for every new president to be better than his predecessor. We've seen this since crummy Luis Echeverria was followed by barely better Lopez Portillo, then slightly better Miguel de La Madrid, then better still Carlos Salinas de Gortari, then still-better Ernesto Zedillo, and now best of all, Vicente Fox. We haven't seen a regression in Mexico in a long time. Progress is real slow but it's in one direction. If current laws of politics continue in Mexico, surely Calderon will win. I know it's not scientific, but it seems like this might be what happens.

(link corrected)

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Immigration debate impacts Mexican race

By IOAN GRILLO
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER


Two men stand in front of a large poster of Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador prior to the start of a rally next to the United States border in the city of Matamoros, Mexico on Saturday May 27, 2006. The immigration debate in the United States could determine more than the future of illegal immigrants. It may help pick Mexico's next president on July 2.(AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
MEXICO CITY -- The U.S. immigration debate could determine more than the future of illegal immigrants. It may help pick Mexico's next president July 2.

A reform that legalizes undocumented Mexicans in the U.S. could boost conservative candidate Felipe Calderon and keep the ruling National Action Party in power.

More walls and troops at the border could tip the balance in favor of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, sweeping Mexico into Latin America's shift to the left.

With an estimated 12 million Mexicans living in the United States, about half undocumented, any change in U.S. immigration policy provokes powerful reactions south of the border.

"It's the hot topic right now," said Mexican pollster Manuel Barberena. "The candidates all want to show they won't bend to the United States, while promising migrants they will get them a better deal north of the border."

U.S. immigration reform has been a cornerstone of the presidency of Vicente Fox. For nearly six years he has lobbied the U.S. government to allow more legal migration, meeting regularly with President Bush and traveling to California, Utah and Washington.

Lopez Obrador, a fiery leftist, has accused Fox of being weak when dealing with Washington. When Bush announced plans to send 6,000 National Guard soldiers to the border, Lopez Obrador called Fox a U.S. "puppet" and "lackey" for not vigorously opposing the measure.

While Fox can't seek re-election, his approval ratings could affect support for Calderon, his party's candidate, who has a slight lead in the polls over the once front-running Lopez Obrador.



"Lopez Obrador is using Fox as a patsy for Calderon. He has found it easier to run against Fox than Calderon because Calderon is slippery and difficult to get to," political analyst Federico Estevez said.

Calderon, a career politician and son of a National Action Party founder, staked out his own nationalist credentials on the immigration issue, attacking the U.S. Senate for approving 370 miles of triple-layer border fencing.

"These measures increase the social and human costs for migrants and only benefit criminal groups," he said.

Migration is most important to voters from poor villages that send much of their population north.

Lopez Obrador has been stumping in these villages and is gaining substantial support there, pollsters say. He kicked off his campaign in the impoverished hamlet of Metlatonoc on the day it held a funeral for a former resident hit by a car in Alabama.

Third-place candidate Roberto Madrazo of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled Mexico for 71 years until Fox's historic victory in 2000, is also hitting the immigration issue hard with peasant farmers, a key base of the party.

Madrazo began his campaign with a rally in the central Mexico farming town of Izucar de Matamoros, flanked by a migrant activist from New York and a young Indian woman whose brothers work in the United States.

Madrazo claims migration has increased under Fox because the president has abandoned the countryside.

"The solution to the migration problem is in Mexico, not the United States," he told The Associated Press in a recent interview. "We are the ones who have to create more jobs in the countryside."

Whoever wins, the migration policy of Mexico's next administration will probably vary more in style than substance.

With migrants sending home nearly $20 billion a year and reducing the pressure for job-creation in Mexico, it is likely that any president will go on pushing for Mexicans to work legally in the United States. But their tactics may differ.

The Harvard-educated Calderon would continue Fox's strategy of lobbying U.S. senators and holding get-togethers with the U.S. president, said George Grayson, a Mexico expert at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor who has headed demonstrations against state and federal governments, would likely work more closely with migrant protesters, Grayson said.

"I could see Lopez Obrador flying into the United States and joining demonstrations to put the pressure on," he said. "He believes in direct action. Look at his past. He has always mobilized people to achieve his political aims."

11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very insightful post of the Associated Press story. More insightful than anything the blog author has posted recently.

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Ada Blanco said...

The story outlines how these Mexican candidates are running national campaigns by attacking a USA policy they have ZERO say over. That's interesting and shows we should truly be wary of Mexico's national interests because they certainly are not in line with America's national interests -- at least not on the issue of ILLEGAL immigration.

12:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, i know i had to smuggle it in secret, under a mysterious identity. As my nickname raises immediate red flags, and causes said right wing "immigrant" to delete my hard hitting "neo-liberal" posts.

8:18 AM  
Anonymous The Illegal A Educator System said...

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5:59 PM  
Anonymous ProudCubanAmerican said...

Mr. Oppenheimer,

I am greatly disappointed in your response to the language issue, despite the fact I am fluent in both languages.

You alienate a portion of your readership that doesn't speak, write or otherwise function in Spanish. And, bottom line, it is RUDE to speak a language not everyone is fluent in when everyone on here is very capable of speaking and writing English.

But hey, it is your blog and you are free to make the rules. Meanwhile, I am free to refrain from visiting this blog any more, I am free to cancel my Herald subscription, and I am free to email Tom Fiedler and Jesus Diaz with the reasons they have lost this reader and engaged blog commentator.

I also call on every other English speaking visitor to this blog to similarly boycott it and write similar complaints to TFIEDLER@MIAMIHERALD.COM unless or until everyone is engaged in English.

12:14 AM  
Anonymous Eduardo-Edward-Eddie-Ed said...

I think Mr Oppenheimer is enough well Known in all over North America, Central and South America to depend on the opinion of 10 english speaker readers in this weblog.
All you are doing is sending a boomerang. Try to bend your knees when it came to you.

3:44 AM  
Anonymous Eduardo or Ed said...

Mini-Me

Well, your speech is now making sense anyhow.

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1:22 AM  
Anonymous h a s s a n said...

Andres

Good day.

Please write a little about Alcalde Obrador and his chances.

In fact, I would love to see an objective breakdown of what each of the three major candidates bring to the table (good, bad, and feo).

In particular I am curious about what, if anything, any of the candidates have expressed with regards to relations with Mexico's neighbors in Latin America (including the West Indies).

Thank you.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Mousqueton said...

hassan:
That is a hell of a smart request. The Mexico election will have a major impact both in Latin America and the Caribbean. I sure would also like to know what Mr. Oppenheimer thinks about that.

6:14 PM  
Anonymous mini-me said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous mini-me said...

Hassan,


Is the smartest and the most thoughtful blogger i have ever seen. I have learned so much from him, as i read each and every word he posts. Hey Hassan do you know my other nickname on another Miami blog? Even though our politics our very similiar, i know you despise me. As you have never ever bothered to ask how my day has been. Nevertheless, if you do know me, dont say it outloud, as i dont want to get harassed in here, as there are many illegal immigrants here that i recognize. And most of them erupt at the mere sight of my face. But if you do, just say yes.

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Arians Rule said...

Mini-me,

I know who you are and that should worry you.

1:27 AM  
Anonymous mini-me said...

arians,

Excuse me, but have we ever had the pleasure of meeting? And if so then when?

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