A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
Institutional Revolutionary Party presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, in a visit to Mexicali on Tuesday, promised better electricity rates. Because it gets so hot in Mexicali, residents with air conditioning often wind up with large electricity bills. He said, "Those who suppose that the PRI thinks its enemy is the opposition, such as the PAN or PRD, are mistaken; the PRI's main enemies are the enemies of all Mexico: violence, unemployment, and the frustration of youths who finish their studies and can't find work."
Frontera reported that more than 10,000 attended his main public event in the Bosque park, with many of them bused in. People had to go through two metal detectors at a checkpoint, creating a tremendous bottleneck, the paper reported. At the checkpoint, free lunches people had been given before getting on the buses were taken away, Frontera said. Water bottles and fruit were not allowed in. The paper said there also was a lot of pushing and shoving, causing some families to be temporarily separated. The paper said some people, after the event was over, retrieved some of the food that had been tossed at the checkpoint and ate it.
In 1994, PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio was assassinated by a gunman during a campaign stop in the Lomas Taurinas neighborhood in Tijuana. (Peña Nieto was to appear on Wednesday in Magdalena de Kino, Sonora, Colosio's hometown.)
Mexicali Mayor Francisco Pérez Tejada did not attend the event, as he was asked not to by Peña Nieto. Under Mexican campaign law, public officials are not supposed to participate in the election process, particularly during their working hours. City treasurer Francisco Fimbres Gallego did attend, however, Frontera said. Stories, Frontera, Page 20 (PDF). Stories, Frontera, Page 23 (PDF). Peña Nieto did meet with all of Baja California's mayors, all from the PRI, at a separate event. Picture, Frontera, Page 22 (PDF).
Frontera also wrote about the logistics involved in moving Peña Nieto from his hotel to the park. He apparently stayed at the Hotel Araiza on Monday night, even though his schedule said he was not arriving until Tuesday morning. The paper said that after 7:47 a.m., although three vehicles sped off from the hotel along with two police vehicles and a private ambulance, Peña Nieto was still in the hotel, meeting with Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante. At 8:05 a.m., the ambulance returned. Bustamante then comes out and gets in a vehicle, escorted by a Tijuana police vehicle. Frontera said that after two more decoy departures, Peña Nieto left in a Lincoln Navigator for the home of a businessman, where he met up with former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon.
Peña Nieto also made an unscheduled appearance in Tijuana, meeting in Villamarina restaurant in the Río zone with Bustamante, police chief Alberto Capella Ibarra and top city official Alcide Roberto Beltrones, the brother of Sen. Manlio Fabio Beltrones, who dropped out of the PRI presidential race in favor of Peña Nieto. Story, Frontera (PDF). The senator is to give a speech on Thursday at a binational meeting of mayors in Tijuana. (Mention, political page, El Mexicano). Stories, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Update, Feb. 9: Tijuana PAN President Enrique Méndez seeks to have Mayor Bustamante sanctioned for meeting with Peña Nieto during work hours. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Feb. 10: State PRI leader Rene Mendívil defends Bustamante, and says he met with Peña Nieto privately, not in Peña Nieto's public event. Story, Frontera (PDF).
PAN officials say Peña Nieto's public event was a campaign act in violation of electoral law (one wonders what they will say about Josefina Vázquez Mota's appearance at Tijuana's Municipal Auditorium on Monday).