April 28, 2006:
In the United States, immigration and border security are hot topics when it comes to Mexico. One might also include worries about narco-trafficantes and border town violence. In Mexico the biggest looming issue is the presidential race. Mexico matters to US security so it's worth taking a quick and dirty look at the Mexican presidential race. There are the three major candidates in the Mexican race for president. Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador is the candidate of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). He is a "leftist" populist but also an "anti-corruption" candidate. He is a former mayor of Mexico City and wants to revise the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Association) agreement. His opponents accuse him of being a friend of Venezuela's rogue president Hugo Chavez. There is no indication that Lopez Obrador is as erratic as Chavez, or as anti-American. Until this week Lopez Obrador was considered the frontrunner in the race. New polls suggest that may be changing. Felipe Calderon may now be the frontrunner. Calderon is the candidate of the National Action Party (PAN). The PAN is a "right wing" party -- the equivalent of pro-business moderate Republicans in the US. (The current president Fox, is a member of the PAN party.) Calderon is a free marketer who supports lower taxes and encourages private investment in Mexico. Roberto Madrazo is the third candidate. He belongs to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The PRI held the Mexican presidency from 1929 to 2000. The PRI control of Mexico was called (by some) the "most successful dictatorship in the world." When it comes to corruption -- as in promoting corruption-- the PRI has few peers. In a recent debate Calerdon (the PAN candidate) is quoted as telling Mr Madrazo that "The problem of drug trafficking is the fruit of the corruption that your party (the PRI) established in Mexico as an institution during 70 years." PRI also established economic policies that led to a lower growth rate in Mexico, compared to the U.S., and created the labor shortage up north that drew the unemployed Mexicans to illegally cross the border by the millions.
April 12, 2006: A grenade attack in the town of Petatlan killed two people and injured 16. Petatlan is located 100 miles northwest of Acapulco. A subsequent report said 30 people were wounded (many of them slightly wounded, so this report could be consistent with the 16 injured).
April 10, 2006: Five people were wounded in a grenade attack in Acapulco. The attack was on a private home. However, this year there have been four grenade attacks on police stations in the Acapulco region. The Mexican federal police reportedly believe the attacks are part of gang war over "control of smuggling routes" to northern Mexico.