The thing about PRI “buying votes” in Mexico … well, it’s a bit complicated. PRI is an old style political party – that doles out favors (depending on class, it can be bags of rice, cement, a job, or party position) to its members and workers. PAN and PRD do some of this, but not much – they are “modern” political parties modeled on US political parties Demo/Repub. basically as a member, and/or volunteer, you get nothin’ – ok maybe a handshake, or something on your resume… The return of PRI – albeit by a slim margin – is only partly ’cause of outright vote rigging – the other part is this bit ’bout membership has privileges (more like benefits). This kind of “vote buying” is now illegal in Mexico – but it appeared to be still taking place, and I’m sure especially in smaller towns and villages – in the urban centers things are a bit different:
But in the latest contest, the PAN accused the PRI candidate Enrique Pena Nieto’s campaign of acquiring about 9,500 prepaid gift cards worth nearly $5.2 million (71 million pesos) to give away for votes.
Maria Dolores Flores Sandoval, 66, works the unpaved roads of her Mexico state slum neighborhood in Tultitlan looking to sign up voters for Pena Nieto, saying she has been promised she’ll get paid for her work “once they get into office.”
“I work at bringing the people out to vote,” she said. “I hope it happens soon,” she said of her payment, “if not, I’m going to die of hunger.”
Cesar Solaris hands out discounted, $7.50-per pair eyeglasses worth three or four times that much at a Pena Nieto campaign office in Mexico City in what he calls “part campaign work, part social work.”
A video posted on social networks shows a huge warehouse stuffed with election give-away groceries in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz. The PRD held a press conference Wednesday to display 3,000 gift cards from the Soriana department store that it said were worth about $75 (1,000 pesos) each and had been distributed to voters in the State of Mexico by the PRI in exchange for promises of support in Sunday’s election.
Yo Soy 132 (as it appeared to me, I might be wrong) is basically a middle/upper middle-class student movement… who do not need, or were never dependent on the benefits that PRI gave to its members and workers… They see the “benefits” as corruption… fair enough. But, see, the old style communist and socialist parties, and labor unions – also operated on this basis – that the party and/or union would take care of it’s members. And political groups such as Hizb. and Hamaas and the MB in Egypt all have wings that are dedicated to social service.. this is what then led to political power.
This is not to say that PRI is not corrupt, and not a neo-liberal right wing outfit – it obviously is… And for them the benefits that they dole out are upper class oligarchies throwing “charity” pennies at “poor people” – not the kind of solidarity that labor union/left/Islamic groups engage in… But one thing the left needs to understand is that working class/”poor” people are not stupid – and if they have some idea that short term gain is better than quite possibly no long term gain whatsoever… well, a good many (not all) will take the short term gain… And what is wrong with actually taking care of one’s members and workers?
Having said all this… I’ll need to have a look at voting patterns in Mexico more in depth to see if any of my conjectures have any basis in reality …