Thursday, July 09, 2009

Mazamitla´s square is busy on election day

The voting booth toward the right is a simple, fragile affair that accommodates one person on each side. The sign on it says, “Your vote is free and secret”.

We drove up to the provincial town of Mazamitla, which is famous for its pine forests and alpine flavor, on July 5, election day. It´s about 3 hours from here, 7,200 feet above see level and on the cool side despite the summer sun.

The town square was packed with churchgoers and voters. This mid-term election of congress, and state and local officials had been much anticipated. Mexico has been suffering one of its worst political crises since the peso collapsed in 1994.

Voters focused on broken promises, the economy and violence

Some of the campaign issues weren´t new -- corruption, impunity and inefficiency. In 2000, voters ended 70 years of domination by the PRI party and elected a PAN party president, Vicente Fox, to change all that. He had promised major reforms but didn´t deliver.

What was new was that Fox´s successor, Felipe Calderon, has plunged the country into terrifying violence with his attempt to uproot organized crime and its challenge to the rule of law. Mexico is also suffering from the worldwide economic crisis. The impact of the flu epidemic hasn´t helped.

So on Sunday, nine years after pinning their hopes on the PAN, voters threw them out and brought back the PRI to the national congress, many state legislatures and local mayorships and councils. Here´s the Associated Press report.

Frustrated voters wanted change
Voter frustration showed itself in a grass-roots movement to vote for no one, which captured 5 percent of the vote, more than some of the minor parties. Despite widespread predictions of voter apathy, the turnout of 44 percent was better than expected. Considering that the president and most governorships weren´t in play, that figure is not bad. Voter turnout in the U.S. for the hotly contested Obama-McCain election was only 56.8 percent (that is, voting age people who voted, which is comparable to the Mexican figures).

The Mazamitla church is only 50 years old, but the town was an important settlement even before the arrival of the Spanish.

The architecture has an alpine flavor, but as near as I can tell, its resemblance to Swiss chalets is coincidental. The style was developed locally.

This waterfall is about a 2-hour hike from the center of Mazamitla and is one of the local tourist attractions. Cindy loves waterfalls.

This is a tourist cabaña where city folks from Guadalajara and Morelia come on the weekends. There are also lots of expensive looking vacation homes. Morelia has lots of drug money. For that matter, so does Guadalajara.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, thanks for visit Mazamitla. More info about this mountain town (in spanish):