Mex­ico goes to the polls amid vi­o­lence

Austin American-Statesman - - WORLD & NATION -

MEX­ICO CITY — As Mex­i­can vot­ers went to the polls to pick new state and lo­cal lead­ers, pre­sumed en­forcers for drug gangs hung four bod­ies from over­passes be­fore dawn Sun­day in the city of Chi­huahua, the cap­i­tal of its name­sake state, which in­cludes vi­o­lence-wracked Juarez.

The In­sti­tu­tional Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Party, or PRI, which ruled Mex­ico for seven decades be­fore vot­ers threw it out a decade ago, ap­peared poised to gain new mo­men­tum in elec­tions in which the coun­try’s on­go­ing drug car­tel vi­o­lence has been the ma­jor is­sue.

The re­sults are likely to be a gauge of the frus­tra­tion Mex­i­cans feel over the unchecked vi­o­lence, in which thou­sands of peo­ple have died, and give an idea of whether that frus­tra­tion will in­flu­ence the pres­i­den­tial vote in 2012.

More than a dozen Mex­i­can states held elec­tions Sun­day, af­ter cam­paign­ing be­sieged by as­sas­si­na­tions and scan­dals that dis­played drug car­tels’ power.

The PRI held up the as­sas­si­na­tion of its gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date in Ta­mauli­pas state as ev­i­dence that Pres­i­dent Felipe Calderón has failed A woman in Puerto Aven­turas, Quin­tana Roo, casts her vote Sun­day, a day of scan­dal and vi­o­lence else­where in Mex­ico. to bring se­cu­rity de­spite the pres­ence of tens of thou­sands of troops in drug traf­fick­ing hot spots.

Lead­ers of Calderón’s con­ser­va­tive Na­tional Ac­tion Party, in turn, in­sin­u­ated that the PRI pro­tects drug traf­fick­ers in Ta­mauli­pas, the birthplace of the Gulf car­tel, and Si­naloa state, the cra­dle of the car­tel by the same name.

A new scan­dal en­veloped out­go­ing Ta­mauli­pas Gov. Eu­ge­nio Her­nan­dez: On Sun­day, fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors said they were ques­tion­ing one of his body­guards, Is­mael Ortega Gali­cia, af­ter the news­pa­per Re­forma re­ported that the U.S. Trea­sury Depart­ment has listed him as a key mem­ber of the Gulf or Zeta drug gangs.

Vot­ing lines were short in Juarez, across the border from El Paso. For­mer Mayor Hector Mur­guia of the PRI was ex­pected to win a new term de­spite fac­ing al­le­ga­tions of drug ties since the di­rec­tor of po­lice op­er­a­tions in his first ad­min­is­tra­tion was sen­tenced in 2008 to prison in Texas for aid­ing mar­i­juana smug­gling.

Is­rael Leal

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