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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Leftist Baja California Senate candidate Marco Antonio Blásquez profiled in Frontera

Radio personality has known López Obrador since 1988 post-election conflict

Radio personality Marco Antonio Blásquez, the leftist coalition's top Senate candidate for Baja marco antonio blasquezCalifornia, is profiled by Frontera newspaper. Blásquez said he has been in journalism since age 17, and worked nine years at El Universal newspaper, including four as a sports reporter and four covering politics. He covered the presidential campaign of Heberto Castillo, the Mexican Socialist Party candidate who later withdrew in favor of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, who wound up running as the candidate of various leftist parties in 1988. Blásquez said that covering the post-election conflict that year, he got to know Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Blásquez said López Obrador, now the leftist coalition's presidential candidate, asked him to run in this year's Senate race. He said that López Obrador last fall showed him a survey indicating the National Action Party had 37% support in the state, the Institutional Revolutionary Party 35% and the leftist coalition 9%, but that 65% recognized Blásquez and 90% had a good opinion of him. Blásquez wound up registering through the Citizens Movement, which along with the Democratic Revolution Party and the Workers Party form the Progressive Movement coalition in this election. He said that when it appeared that Carlos Bustamante might drop out of the race for mayor in 2010, some in the PRI asked him to run instead, but that he declined. He said he was no opposed to the PRI, however, because it has a progressive wing. During the mayoral campaign, Blásquez on his talk show encouraged Tijuana residents to vote for the eventual winner, Bustamante, because as a wealthy man Bustamante would have no reason to rob the city treasury.

Blázquez's top opponents are the PAN's Ernesto Ruffo, the first opposition governor in modern Mexican history, and the PRI's Eligio Valencia, a labor leader who runs El Mexicano newspaper. Polls have been all over the place on who is ahead. The ticket that gets the most votes sends two senators to Mexico City to represent Baja California, while the second-place tickets sends one. The left has never elected a senator for the state. While the PAN has not lost a direct Baja California congressional race since 1997, in 2010 the PRI won the state's five mayoral posts. Some PANistas have complained that Ruffo has not campaigned much outside Ensenada and that the No. 2 person on the PAN ticket, former Mexicali Mayor Víctor Hermosillo, has not campaigned much outside of the state capital.

Blásquez said he would push for a minimum salary for journalists; he said many trained professionals sometimes are earning only two or three times the minimum wage, which in the border region is 62.33 pesos a day for a laborer ($4.54) and 186.73 pesos ($13.60) for a reporter. Minimum wage table (PDF). He said he would have all journalists working in the field covered by an ample insurance policy and would seek the creation of an ombudsman's post independent of the National Human Rights Commission that would work full time to protect journalists.

He said the PRD, despite not being able to elect a state leader, has been supporting his candidacy, as has the Workers Party, the Citizens Movement and the nationwide Morena (national regeneration) movement López Obrador created to back his 2012 presidential run.

Blásquez said voters tell him they want work, food, social services, education and housing.

Blásquez said he was a student leader since his early days at school and also assumed leadership positions in journalistic organizations.

Story, Frontera (PDF). Second page.

Meanwhile, El Mexicano put on its front page a story that Blásquez has had the money to buy homes in Chula Vista. The original story was first reported in Agencia Fronteriza de Noticias. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.