A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
By David Gaddis Smith
Josefina Vázquez Mota hasn't given up the ghost. Although she is a long shot to win Mexico's presidency July 1, the National Action Party politician delivered a rousing speech to thousands gathered on Avenida Constitución south of Second Street on Thursday in Tijuana.
"Sí se puede!" "It can be done!" she told the crowd, citing a recent poll that put her only six points behind front-runner Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Most polls put him much further ahead, and have her also trailing populist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador. She concluded her 38-minute speech by saying, "¡Viva Tijuana!... We will win the presidency July 1!"
Photo: Josefina Vázquez Mota speaks in Tijuana while Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán and Senate candidate and former Gov. Ernesto Ruffo look on.
She invoked the spirit of Sinaloa PANista Manuel "Maquío" Clouthier, who finished third in the 1988 presidential race and died in a vehicle accident the next year, and of former Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora, the Baja California PANista who died in a helicopter crash last year. She quoted Clouthier as saying, "Miracles do happen."
She also spoke earlier in Mexicali, where she reported the temperature to have been 45 C (113 F), at the state auditorium in Mexicali (while this may have been, TuTiempo.net reported the high at the Mexicali airport Thursday to be 39 C, or 102 F). Frontera reported that she drew a bigger crowd at the auditorium than López Obrador did last week, but a smaller one in downtown Tijuana than the Democratic Revolutionary Party politician had at the same location May 1. Peña Nieto had a much larger crowd on the grounds of the Playas de Tijuana bullring June 3, although that was on a Sunday.
Vázquez Mota repeated her vow to battle organized crime head on, and touted Thursday's reported capture in Jalisco state of the son of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, Jesús Alfredo "El Gordo" Guzmán Salazar. She said her administration would not rest until it had captured El Chapo. However, the captured man's lawyer said Friday that he was not related to El Chapo and that the suspect's name was Félix Beltrán León.
She said the election of Peña Nieto would mean the restoration of PRI authoritarianism in Mexico. She said López Obrador, a former member of the PRI, also would represent the restoration of the PRI. She ridiculed López Obrador for crying fraud before ballots have even been cast.
She said López Obrador, because his economic proposals are not grounded in reality, would send Mexico to the poorhouse again. She asked young people present to ask their parents what high inflation caused by the government spending money it did not have did to their household finances. She cited the stable, albeit not rapidly growing, economy under the current PAN administration of President Felipe Calderón.
While she did not make anywhere near the number of populist promises López Obrador and Peña Nieto did in their campaign speeches in Tijuana, she had her own spending proposals. She, like López Obrador and Peña Nieto, proposed a pension for the elderly; she said she would double scholarships from 8 million to 16 million; she said she would lower electricity prices; she said her government would give money to parents who stay home with handicapped children; she said primary schools would have full-day sessions, rather than the half-day most students currently attend; she said computers should be provided to students, who should have free Internet; and she promised more jobs.
Near the end of the speech, she repeated her proposal that women whose partners do not vote July 1 withhold "cuchi-cuchi" from the men for a month. Previous mention of cuchi-cuchi.
She also said she would push for a law whereby absent fathers would have to pay for the raising of their children to age 18.
She repeated the falsehood that Peña Nieto had hidden in the bathroom at the Universidad Iberoamericana after being confronted by student protesters there May 11; a video shows that he and his team regrouped in an area near the bathroom to figure out the best way to get off the campus. The Federal Electoral Institute on Thursday also fined the PAN 934,450 pesos ($67,500) for a gross distortion of a López Obrador statement in a campaign ad, making it sound like he advocated armed insurrection. Story, ADN Politico. Previous mention of the ad.
Although Vázquez Mota spoke about the PANistas gathered not being acarreados, people trucked in on a mass scale like the PRI, many in attendance Thursday in both Mexicali and Tijuana were bused in and given T-shirts and caps. One bus on Avenida Constitución in Tijuana carried the logo of the Marineros de Ensenada baseball team, which plays in the same Northern League of Mexico as the Tijuana Thunder managed by former Los Angeles Dodger star Pedro Guerrero. On Thursday, the league-leading Marineros, playing at home, defeated the Puerto Peñasco Sharks 4-0.
Update, June 23: Tijuana's Zeta newspaper reported that parking at the state auditorium in Mexicali was free for Vázquez Mota's event. It said that last week, motorists attending López Obrador's rally at the same auditorium were charged to park.
In left photo, a man watches the rally from the vantage point of the top of a telephone booth. The exchange rate listed was 13.3 buy, and 13.58 sell. In middle photo, the crowd cheers as fireworks go off at the end of the event. In right photo, a dog on Avenida Constitución appears to support the PAN candidate.