August 23, 2005
Carl Limbacher and NewsMax.com Staff
The leading contenders for the presidency of Mexico plan to launch their 2006 campaigns this fall in Los Angeles.
Last month Mexicans living in other countries were given the right to vote by mail, beginning with next year’s presidential election, and the candidates are seeking to woo support from Mexican immigrants in the U.S.
But they will have to begin their campaigning in the U.S. early because Mexican laws bar campaign appearances outside the country after candidates are selected this fall.
There are an estimated 10 million adult Mexicans living in the U.S., and about a third are eligible to vote in the Mexican election, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The leading contender for president is Andres Manual Lopez Obrador, the former mayor of Mexico City. His campaign lieutenant first spoke of a visit to Southern California in July during the inaugural of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
If Obrador visits on September 15, Mexico’s Independence Day, "we’ll have at least 100,000 people” lining the streets to see him, said Felipe Aguirre, former California chairman of Obrador’s Democratic Revolution Party (PRD).
Roberto Madrazo and Arturo Montiel, who are seeking the nomination of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), both plan to visit Los Angeles this fall.
The PRI held the presidency in Mexico for 71 years before losing in 2000 to Vicente Fox of the National Action Party (PAN). Mexico allows only one 6-year term, so Fox must step down next year.
He is supporting Santiago Creel, his former interior minister. Creel hasn’t said if he’ll come to California, but PAN’s president Manuel Espino will visit Los Angeles this month, the Times reports.
Long-time immigrant Jose Angel Gonzalez of Norwalk, Calif., supports the PRI. He said most of his friends in the U.S. back some form of amnesty for Mexicans living illegally in this country, and he would like Madrazo to discuss the issue with President Bush.
"People who are here aren’t going back, and employers need cheap labor,” said Gonzalez.
"Let’s have temporary work permits for three months, six months, a year. If they’re good citizens, then give them a chance to apply for a green card. That would take away the money in smuggling people across the border, and fewer people would die in the desert.”
Aguirre of the PRD said front-runner Obrador has "never been a champion of immigrant rights, but he may come around now because of the campaign. If he wins over the migrants, that popularity could pull a lot of votes in Mexico.”