“El Bronco” Upsets Bipartisan Rule in Mexico’s Industrial Center
Rodriguez built his political career on building a grassroots base. As mayor of Garcia (2009-2012), El Bronco gave out his cell phone number to people in the municipality. Residents interviewed reported that he would personally answer calls informing him of points of illegal drug sales and movements of criminal groups. He later began to use social networks and establish systems of direct and conversational communications. This network-building networks was applied and extended when he collected signatures to get on the ballot and then during the independent campaign.According to a reading of the results and voter interviews, the message of the elections in Nuevo Leon is that citizens are sick of political parties and what they consider the poor choices offered to voters.
The other lesson is that even in the so-called “media-cracy”, money no longer controls all spaces of communication and information. Commercial mass media and Televisa could be at risk of losing advertisers as grassroots word-of-mouth campaigns on Facebook and others show results that rival the hyper-expensive television ads.
A Breath of Fresh Air to a Stagnant Political System
Lawyer and human rights activist, Talia Vazquez, traveled to monterrey to observe the elections. A Michoacan native and leader of the national self-defense movement of which Rodriguez was a part, she stated:
“This election gives a breath of fresh air to the whole country. It is a hope. I come from Michoacan, a state that is so injured, so tainted, and other states are the same like Oaxaca, Guerrero, Tamaulipas, Morelos, Veracruz, and even Nuevo Leon had a very violently time, and I think Jaime Rodriguez’s victory means that the polls can be a way out. If Jaime couldn’t compete and win, we’d have cut off hope because we’d only have bullets against a repressive government.”
“The fact that an independent candidate won against all odds-the laws, the media, an unscupulously dirty smear campaign–has accomplished this is a triumph of citizenship. Nuevo Leon is setting an example of courage and opens the way to the polls.”
Vazquez says that given personal characteristics of Jaime Rodriguez and the team around him, which includes Fernando Elizondo, renowned businessman, former interim governor and Citizens Movement Party candidate who withdrew his candidacy to support El Bronco, “people are going to notice a different way of governing in Nuevo Leon.”
At the campaign closing event, in response to direct query, Rodriguez promised to jail every public official found guilty of theft of public resources. He stated that he will order an investigation into the handling of public funds, potentially up to outgoing governor Medina.
The governor-elect also he said he will fulfill all of his campaign promises, including one regarding government spending on media by deaithorizing all expenses on advertising to promote public officials. The promise drew a huge round of applause from the crowd.
Later El Bronco repeated the vow before seven thousand supporters gathered to celebrate in the Macroplaza in front of the state Palace of Government to celebrate, who broke out with cries of “No Multimedios” (the main media consortium in the state).
Traffic police patrolled the area with, a measure considered by some participants as an unnecessary sign of government harassmen. They set up roadblocks and detours on the access roads, which prevented the arrival of more people at an unusually dark central square.
Alfredo Acedo is a journalist and contributor to the Americas Program www.americas.org/es