Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mexico's presidential election

Diaspora apathy

No rush to the ballot box

THE 12m or so Mexicans who live in the United States are equal to a tenth of Mexico’s population, and the remittances they send home make up over 2% of the economy. But when it comes to politics, they are far less influential. At the latest presidential election in 2006, they had the right to vote for the first time, but only 57,000 applied to do so.

This year’s election, on July 1st, is no different. On February 17th the electoral authority announced that only 62,000 expatriates had registered before the deadline. Three-quarters were in the United States (mainly California, Texas and Illinois).

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Immigrants in Belize

A Spanish accent

How foreigners are transforming a small English-speaking country

BELIZE has long been a country of immigrants. British timber-cutters imported African slaves in the 18th century, and in the 1840s Mexican Mayans fled a civil war. More recently, North American sun-seekers and retired British soldiers have discovered its coast. Light- and dark-skinned men stand side by side on the country’s flag.

The latest migration is from elsewhere in Central America. Thousands of Salvadoran refugees arrived in the 1980s. More recently, Guatemalans have come seeking land. Of Belize’s 300,000 people, 15% are foreign-born. Thanks to higher birth rates, mestizos have overtaken creoles (of mixed African ancestry) to become the biggest group, making up half the population.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Women in Mexican politics

The XX factor

Can a woman candidate count on female voters’ support?

UNTIL this year, no woman had ever been the presidential candidate for any of Mexico’s main political parties. That changed on February 5th, when Josefina Vázquez Mota, a former secretary of education and of social development, won the primary of the conservative National Action Party (PAN). “I will be Mexico’s first presidenta” (female president), she said in her victory speech.

Ms Vázquez is a clear underdog in the July 1st election. Polls taken before the primary put the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) nearly 20 points ahead of the ruling PAN (see chart). Voters have tired of the PAN, which has presided over slow growth and rising violence during 11 years in power. Ms Vázquez could even finish third behind Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, a left-winger who narrowly lost the 2006 race.

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Carlos Slim

Let Mexico’s moguls battle

Mexico suffers from two near-monopolies. It should let them fight each other

IN A futuristic art gallery which Carlos Slim opened last year in Mexico City, visitors can enjoy, among other things, a hall of rare coins and share certificates. Sometimes art speaks louder than words.

Mr Slim is the richest man in the world. According to Forbes, he and his family have amassed a comfortable nest egg of $63 billion. (Bill Gates would be richer had he given away less of his stash, or Mr Slim more of his.) In Mexico Mr Slim is a giant: his companies account for more than a third of the stockmarket.

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