Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What if people are too scared to vote?

The drug wars in Mexico could de-legitimize government.

Mexican Candidate for Governor Is Assassinated
A popular candidate for governor who had made increased security his prime campaign pledge was killed along with at least four others Monday morning… rattling a nation already alarmed by surging drug violence…

“This was an act not only against a candidate of a political party but against democratic institutions, and it requires a united and firm response from all those who work for democracy,” a stern-faced President Felipe Calderón, who has found his presidency repeatedly bogged down by drug violence, said in a nationally televised address…

Immediate suspicion in the Torre case also fell on drug traffickers. Mr. Torre’s state, Tamaulipas, which borders Texas on the gulf coast, has been the site of fierce fighting in recent months between rival drug organizations, the Zetas and their former allies, the Gulf Cartel…

In Tamaulipas, rival candidates suspended their campaigns on Monday to honor Mr. Torre. The Associated Press reported Monday that elections in the state will proceed on July 4, as scheduled.

The state has been one of the country’s most troubled regions recently. On June 3, in Ciudad Madero, a mayoral candidate and a candidate for the local congress were pinned down during an armed battle between rival drug gangs. A month before that, a mayoral candidate in Valle Hermoso was killed.

Some areas of the state are so dangerous that the president’s party announced last month that it would not campaign in three small border towns because of the risk to its candidates. An opposition party candidate announced in April that he was pulling out of his race, one day after his house was burned down...

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At 7:40 PM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

Daniel Wilson, writing in the blog, Under the Volcano, quotes an article from El Pais of Madrid which raises the specter of Mexico as a failed state.

El Pais of Madrid resurrects the ‘failed state’ label in talking about recent events in Mexico.  From their editorial entitled ‘The Mexican Cockpit‘ today:

"The war against the narcos in Mexico is not only tremendously bloody–more than 25,000 killed in three years — but also a savage spectacle that, because of its nature, sorrowfully wounds the image of the country.  … The worst, however, is that this war in which the State has immersed itself is not being won. The intervention of the Army to substitute for a corrupted police force has done nothing except sharpen the violence without producing demonstrable results. If there is no course correction, we will find ourselves facing a tragedy not just for Mexico, but by extension all Latin America.  The haunting spectacle of a failed State is something that cannot be allowed in the Spanish-speaking world."


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