NEW PUBLICATION: Violence and Citizen Participation in Mexico: From the Polls to the Streets

January 13, 2015

By Sandra Ley

Resilient Communities Series15How do citizens cope politically with violence? In the face of rising insecurity, Mexican citizens, particularly victims, have poured into the streets to demand an end to violence and ask for peace and justice. However, as organized crime groups attempt to influence local elections and target political candidates and public officials, citizens have not felt equally encouraged to cast ballots on election day.

Elections in Mexico, as well as in other Latin American countries such as Brazil and Guatemala, have been marked by criminal violence. Voters, public officials, and candidates alike have been threatened or attacked by organized crime groups. It is, therefore, important to examine how violence shapes various forms of participation. This paper seeks to provide a broad view of political participation in the midst of Mexico’s current security crisis, with the goal of understanding the effects of violence on civic activism.

This paper is a continuation of the series Building Resilient Communities in Mexico: Civic Responses to Crime and Violence, a multiyear effort by the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego to analyze the obstacles to and opportunities for improving citizen security in Mexico.

Read the publication here…


Mexico Vigilante Leader Demands Community Rule

July 2, 2014

7/1/14 ABC News

protest -- stroke -- resistanceThe leader of one of the first vigilante movements to spring up in Mexico last year filed a petition Tuesday demanding that the government allow communities in the southern state of Guerrero to elect local officials with open assemblies and show-of-hand votes.

Vigilante leader Bruno Placido said the petition filed with the Federal Electoral Tribunal asks specifically that the collective-vote system be allowed in the town of San Luis Acatlan. But Placido said his People’s Union movement would push for the system to be adopted in all 27 townships where vigilante forces known as “community police” now operate.

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Op-ed: Reading Mexico’s Political Tea Leaves

August 7, 2013

IMG_5269By Dwight Dyer and Gavin Strong, Forbes, 8/6/2013

Though largely off the radar north of the Rio Grande, last month’s local elections in Mexico provide an opportunity to read the political tea leaves south of the border. As the first elections in President Enrique Peña Nieto’s term, the local polls in thirteen states and the gubernatorial contest in Baja California provide a partial picture of the electorate’s view of Peña Nieto’s first seven months in office.

The results were a mild rebuke of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which won approximately 55% of the posts contested, but suffered a net loss of 42 mayoralties—leaving a total of five million fewer citizens under PRI governments. However, the party is ahead in ten state assemblies, which will ease the eventual approval of constitutional changes considered in the upcoming energy reform. The results also highlighted the weakness of the major opposition parties following the 2012 presidential elections, given that they could only score important victories by running in coalition.

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Mexico Media Roundup: Politics, Economics And Drug War Violence

July 31, 2013

newspapers bwForbes, 7/30/2013

July has been an interesting month for Mexico watchers. The country started the month with local elections, captured a major cartel boss, faced a series of tough losses on the futbol pitch, and experienced a series of violent attacks by organized crime groups.

Here are some articles from this past month.

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Susana Martinez, Brian Sandoval thrive where party struggles

July 29, 2013

voting - ballot box 1Politico, 7/28/2013

Of all the obstacles standing between the Republican Party and the White House, preventing heavily Latino, trending-blue Western states from settling comfortably into the Democratic column is high on the list. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval are two Republican politicians winning in precisely those kinds of places — and GOP officials who’ve been watching them say the party would be wise to pay attention.

The first-term governors have managed to strike the balance that party brass say is critical to the party’s future: staying true to the core message of smaller government and lower taxes without alienating Latinos and women on social issues. Though Martinez and Sandoval have been mentioned as potential national candidates, they have largely shunned the national spotlight, zeroing in on home-state issues and building political profiles distinct from the tarnished GOP brand.

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Mexico arrest ‘dead’ mayor for allegedly faking death

July 25, 2013

OaxacaThe Washington Post, 7/25/2013

Prosecutors say they have arrested a man who faked his death to beat a rape charge, then later got elected mayor of a village in southern Mexico.

The Oaxaca state prosecutors’ office says Leninguer Carballido was arrested on charges of using fake documents and making false statements. Carballido was found late Tuesday hiding in a heavily fortified room at his family’s home on the outskirts of Oaxaca City. Carballido won July 7 elections for mayor of the village of San Agustin Amatengo.

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Mexico bishop tackles organized crime, corruption

July 15, 2013

churchUSA Today, 7/15/2013

Bishop Raúl Vera cast a vote in Sunday’s local elections, then told the faithful: don’t back candidates associated with organized crime. Such admonishments have been rare from Catholic leaders in Mexico, who have mostly stayed silent on security issues and preferred not to upset the authorities or drug cartels — even as organized crime violence claimed more than 60,000 lives over the past six years and church officials fended off allegations they accepted donations from drug cartels.

The admonishment was vintage Vera, spoken plainly by a prelate less concerned with offending politicians than promoting the protection of human rights and providing pastoral attention to those not always welcome in the church — including gays — or neglected by the authorities, such as the victims of organized crime violence.

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