THE first of Mexico’s six elections for state governor in 2011 fell to the left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) yesterday. Guerrero, the state on the Pacific coast that is home to Acapulco, voted the party back for another term with a handsome 14% lead on their rivals, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
Can anyone stop Enrique Peña Nieto (pictured, second from left) restoring the PRI to power next year?
Jan 27th 2011 | MEXICO CITY
THE election is not until July of next year, but the beating of a party activist into a coma on January 12th, apparently by a rival party’s mob, signalled the start of what will be a long, rough campaign for the presidency of Mexico. Candidates are jostling for party nominations, and lieutenants are preparing for the election of six governors this year, the first of them in Guerrero state on January 30th. Already the main question is whether anyone can prevent the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico as a one-party state for seven decades until 2000, from returning to Los Pinos, the presidential residence.
Drug-trafficking gangs find a promising new home in some of the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the Americas
Jan 20th 2011 | SAN SALVADOR
BATTLEFIELDS aside, the countries known as “the northern triangle” of the Central American isthmus form what is now the most violent region on earth. El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, along with Jamaica and Venezuela, suffer the world’s highest murder rates (see map). The first two are bloodier now than they were during their civil wars in the 1980s.
TOURISTS who visit Bolivia’s capital, La Paz, or Cusco, Peru’s former Inca seat, are routinely given welcome cups of coca tea to mitigate soroche (altitude sickness). For centuries, people who live in the high Andes have chewed coca leaves, whose alkaloids act as a mild stimulant and help to ward off cold and hunger. The Spanish conquistadors declared coca a tool of the devil, until they saw how it improved the work rate of the Indians they sent down the mines.
A PRESIDENTIAL election is due next summer in Mexico, and Enrique Peña Nieto, the early front-runner, has to get his message out to 100m Mexicans. So why announce his latest campaign proposals in a newspaper 5,000 miles away?
AS WE noted a few weeks back, Mexico’s success in capturing or killing drug-trafficking kingpins has not stopped the rise in violence in the country. Although ten of the 24 most-wanted villains have been jailed or slain, last year’s drug-war body count topped 12,000, a 30% increase on 2009’s total.
GALLONS of blood were spilled by the Aztecs to appease Centéotl, the god of maize. Now someone must have upset him: rising maize prices could force the price of tortillas up by 50%, the makers of the corn pancakes warned last month. That matters: maize remains central to Mexicans’ diet and culture. Each of them gets through 90 kilos of tortillas a year, in tacos, enchiladas or on their own. The price of tortillas worries economists as well, since they make up 1.2% of the consumer-price index.