Mexico

The elections in Mexico on July 1 saw the return of the PRI to power. After twelve years in opposition, the victory of the party that ruled Mexico for more than 70 years and was widely accused of authoritarianism and corrupt practices has provoked much debate. Journalist Laura Carlsen analyses the election results (read more) and LAB’s Nick Caistor reflects on what the new president Enrique Pena Nieto represents (read more).  Meanwhile, Mexico City-based writer Matt Kennard muses regretfully that the losing candidate Manuel Lopez Obrador represented the best hope for the future of the country (read more).

Outgoing president Felipe Calderón made the war against the drug cartels his top priority. He brought 50,000 members of the armed forces onto the streets to tackle the gangs, but many Mexicans died in the ensuing violence. LAB interviews the author of a recent book on the problem, Peter Watt, about what he sees as the real causes of the drug-related violence (read more).

During the election campaign farmers were facing the most extreme weather ever – a severe drought in the north and violent floods in the south. Given this crisis, ANEC, a farmer organisation, is calling for a radical rethink of farming policies with much more government support, much greater appreciation of campesino culture and a new emphasis on agroecology (read more).  But few expect the incoming government to be sympathetic to their demands.

Not all the news from Mexico is negative. Environmental groups have been celebrating an important recent victory in stopping a huge new tourist complex on the Baja California coast (read more).

And, in a LAB special report we detail successful efforts to tackle one of Mexico’s most chronic problems: the massive migration to the United States. Migrant organisations in that country have got together with groups back in Mexico to provide jobs and a more secure future for some of those who would prefer to be able to live their dream at home in Mexico rather than in a foreign country (read more)