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On a Violent Day, Politics as Usual

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“Sol Prendido” for Borderland Beat

“Without novel proposals, ignoring the insecurity and violence in the country, with the usual tactics, the pre-campaigns began.”

On November 20 two violent events marked the public agenda. In the first hours of the holiday in the country, an intense shootout in the downtown area of Cuernavaca that took over residential areas, avenues, and streets in a homicide that turned into a chase between police and criminals with a death toll of 10 people killed in different parts of the city of Morelos; two policemen killed, two agents wounded, two civilians killed and six criminals fallen.

A few hours later, late in the morning of the day commemorating the Mexican Revolution, in Tamaulipas, in the city of Reynosa, armed criminals detained fuel transporters, took away the tankers with which they barricaded, and forced them to dump the contents. According to local investigations, the theft and spillage of fuel was because those who provide this service refused to pay the criminals.

Mexico has become a land of bullets, blood, threats, and extortion by organized crime groups and drug trafficking cartels that operate cells that commit crimes such as extortion, human trafficking, car theft, and other crimes.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador arrived at his fifth and formal government report with 168,787 violent executions, according to a count by Semanario ZETA published on November 3, 2023.

The issue of security, however, is not a priority in the presidential discourse, nor was it, on November 20, 2023, at the start of the “pre-campaigns” of the three virtual candidates for the presidency of the Republic in 2024.

Indeed, neither Claudia Sheinbaum, nor Xóchitl Gálvez, nor Samuel García, gave relevance to the issue of insecurity and violence at the start of their campaign events.

In the “party” of the virtual candidates, which included life walks, massive acts and traditional speeches, the issue that most damages the country, violence, was not the issue.

What was seen from November 20 until January 18, 2024, with the three aspirants, Sheinbaum for the Morena political party and allies, Gálvez for PRI, PAN, PRD, and Samuel García for Movimiento Ciudadano, is a live preview of what will be the 2024 presidential campaign.

The three of them started a pre-campaign despite the fact that in their respective political institutes, they are the only pre-candidates, that is, they have no opponent to beat, therefore, there is no militancy to convince, each one of them represents the only option to formally win the candidacy for the elections of Sunday, June 2, 2024.

Under these conditions, with no internal opponents to defeat, the discourse of the three is focused on pointing out the weaknesses of their adversaries, as if the campaign were already underway. The pre-campaigns used to be carried out in the internal campaigns of the parties among several aspirants to the same position, but having only one pre-candidate, these were not cancelled, in fact, they are sponsored and supervised by the electoral authority, which gives the participants the opportunity to start touring the country and have massive acts, and not necessarily among party co-religionists to convince.

In her first public statements as sole pre-candidate of the Morena political party and allies for the presidency of the Republic, Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo did not vary the discourse used by the now President López Obrador, in fact, it is the same basis of 2012 and 2018: the mistakes and abuses of the neoliberals.

The former head of the Mexico City government referred, as the president did constantly, to the governments of Carlos Salinas, “who privatized public companies”, Ernesto Zedillo, that of the “December mistake” and of the “fobaproa”, Vicente Fox, that of the “desafuero”, Felipe Calderón, that of the “war against drugs”, and Enrique Peña Nieto, that of “more corruption”. And of course, the Morenista is committed to continue governing “the López Obrador way”. Nothing new to what she did in the pre-campaign when she toured the country to seek to be the coordinator of the “fourth transformation”.

Xóchitl Gálvez, without the presence of the three leaders of the parties proposing her as the only candidate for the Presidency of the Republic, bets on the life anecdote she has already shared in the last months when she also, in the so-called Broad Front, carried out a pre-campaign in which she was raised by external declinations as the coordinator of the FAM. A video in which she shows the geographical path of her life, from the place where she was born, to the place where she did her basic studies, her first job, her first company, to the door of the National Palace that was not opened to her to exercise her right of reply, an action that would give her enough visibility to become the only pre-candidate.

Perhaps the most seasoned pre-campaign was that of Samuel Garcia, sole pre-candidate of Movimiento Ciudadano for the presidency of the Republic, who, together with his wife, the influencer and now former first lady of Nuevo Leon, dusted off the orange “fosfo fosfo” tennis shoes, to start again the proselytizing strategy with which they won the government of Nuevo Leon. A massive act marked by the color orange and the embrace of Dante Delgado, in downtown Monterrey. As in 2021, Samuel Garcia started campaigning with his wife, Mariana Rodriguez in a position of equals and shared proselytism.

Without new proposals, ignoring the insecurity and violence in the country, with the usual tactics, the pre-campaigns began, the prelude to what will be in 2024: a discursive war where the only thing at stake is electoral popularity.


* The following video gives insight behind the words ‘fosfo fosfo’. In short the actual name behind those made up words would be ‘phosphorescent’ also known as neon. The first seven letters of the word phosphorescent are repeated twice. Which in turn gives us the ‘fosfo fosfo’ phrase. 

Video translation is as follows:

Governor Samuel Alejandro García Sepúlveda: I’m hoping to win votes in the towns of Santiago, Allende, and Montemorelos. We should complete our tour with this. What do you think Mariana?

Mariana Rodríguez Cantú: Do you guys wants to see my tennis shoes? What do you guys think? They’re so ‘fosfo fosfo’. 


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