Tuesday, February 05, 2008

We Have A New Mayor?

Sunday was election day here on the island. In fact, all of Quintana Roo state held elections on the same day. We were voting for a new Mayor and a new Deputy Mayor. I believe the Deputy is actually located in the State capitol of Chetumal. Sort of like a Senator. People have been a little upset about these elections. Not the elections so much as the interferance they have caused with two big events.

First we had Karneval moved back and celebrated early. We saw how much fun that was! Some people have said that it was done so that the politicians could use the Karneval crowds for further campaigning. Not sure about that but I do know that both Friday and Saturday night saw headliner acts performing in The Square. One night paid for by PAN and the next by PRI.

The second big deal is that the 36 hours before and during the actual voting, a "dry law" goes into effect. This means that nobody on the island can buy or sell beer, wine or alcohol in any form. Have to keep the populace sober so that they can vote the correct way. This applies to everybody, local and tourist alike. There is a 600 peso fine if you are caught violated this. So far I've heard of three places that tried it and got caught.

The only exception to this law is a hotel with a bar. They can sell alcohol. Of course, people can drink in their own homes, but no public drinking. Not even if you carry your own to the beach. I don't think the locals much care. If they want to drink, they know where and how to do it. The only Mexicans bothered about it, in my opinion, are the downtown bar owners who cater to tourists. Who can't vote anyway. Most of them were closed Saturday night and complained heavily about it. To no avail. A lot of the Gringo community and visiting tourists were upset because this happened on one of the most sacred Gringo days of the year. The SuperBowl! (which we did watch at home and I kept saying that I wished Roy from Guaymas was here to explain this stuff to me!)

A lot of bars and restaurants showed the game on big screen TV's but they can't serve alchohol. Thus I have heard of a lot of private parties happened this year. Big revenue loss for the bars. The Dry Law ended at 6 PM Sunday when the polls closed and things returned to normal. But on with the story of the elections.

We are lucky here that the campaigning publically only starts about 5 weeks prior to the election. We don't have to suffer through years of political ads, blaring headlines, debates and endless hours of politically analysis on CNN about our elections, like in the USA. Instead, we have this to contend with:

This is just one of the many, many golf carts, private cars and pick-ups that drive around the entire island blaring their candidates political message to the adoring masses. Except that you can't understand what they are garbling over the loud speaker. I even asked my Mexican friends what they are saying. I wanted to see if they were tauting promises or just same old rhetoric of politicos. All of my friends just shrugged their shoulders and said they couldn't understand it either. Effective then. They ran these things at all hours of the day and night. We would be downtown after midnight and they were still driving around, delivering there message to the accumulated drunken masses. One of them even started out the message by first playing a recording of an ambulance siren. Creepy.

Some of the advertising was different from what I have seen in previous years. I'll bet expensive too. Take this:

It's a huge parachute being pulled behind a large motorboat. The party doesn't matter. The point is that it would circle the island endlessly. Not making a sound though. No loud speakers coming from the boat. Somebody else, or maybe the same party, did the same thing but they used a crop dusting type airplane to do it. Now that you could hear! If was flying really low over the water. I never did get to my camera in time to catch a picture of it. It went by too fast.

And now for some of the candidates.

The guy on the top of the pole is running for Mayor, beneath him is the guy running for Deputy. I think their campaign budget was a little less than some of the other candidates. Their loud speaker was mounted on the front of one of those three wheel bicycles with the basket in front. The ones that are also called Yucatan Taxis and take your luggage from the ferry to your hotel. I never saw it away from downtown though. The interesting thing about this guys' campaign is how it has personally touched our lives. You see, the guy running for Deputy is also the only Optomitrist on the island. And he splits his time between here and Cancun. B got a new pair of glasses from him four weeks ago. They were two weeks in the coming so it has been six weeks since B stepped foot in the store/clinic. Turns out that the right lens was made wrong and we have not been able to find him in the office for the last four weeks. We go back when the receptionist tells us he will be there. Guess what? Not only is he not there, neither is she! B finally resorted to leaving a note for him asking him to please call about the eyeglass problem. Not a word and that was a little over three weeks ago. I wonder if he plans on treating his constituants that way if he gets elected? Just ignore them and hope they go away?

I'm slightly embarrassed about what I said about this woman the first time I saw this big banner. I said with that hairband she looks like a cancer victim survivor. (well, she does!) Come to find out, she really is! Boy, did I feel badly for a little while. I soon got over that, listening to her annoying loudspeakers over and over. Her party actually had a special election song written for her that we got to listen to ad nauseum. She is running on the PAN ticket, one of the two BIG parties here. She's the one who gave out the 500 peso notes I mentioned in an earlier post.

Here's one of her banners with the guy running for Deputy.

There are all sorts of lesser knowns running also. Most of them I have no idea of what party they are representing. Green? Peace? Alternative Energy? Who knows. Kidding aside, this woman is running from the Green Party. When I first saw this, I thought she was against a green environment due to the X through the logo. Turns out that just represents where people should put their X when they vote. Silly me.

Here's another one with her Deputy. This picture shows that the candidates are free to put their posters wherever they want. Public utitily poles, wherever. This one is located on the main road right in front of the Naval Base. I have actually witnessed party supporters removing one candidate's poster and putting up their own candidate.

And then we come to the candidates that are being sponsored by the current party in power, the PRI. They spent huge amounts of money campaigning. His name and image are everywhere you look. I would say his mug shot prevails over all others two to one. They have sponsored countless parties around the island and have given out hundreds, if not thousands, of t-shirts. I haven't heard very nice things about his experience, but I take everything I hear with a grain of salt. It is politics after all. And I am not supposed to care or get involved in any way. I know that but I wish they would change the law and at least let residents get involved in the campaign end of things. After all, whoever is elected will be affecting my life too.

And who was the lucky winner? Drumroll here......................................................................

Who knows for sure? This morning's paper says this woman won. Maybe.

It appears that we may have something similiar to the Gore/Bush vote going on here. It was a very close race. The candidates from the PRI party have not come forward yet to say whether or not they will contest the results. So for the time being, we may or may not have a winner. I'll let you know how it turns out.

1 comment:

Steve Cotton said...

With the primary election results trickling in up here, inquiring minds want to know -- who is the new mayor?