Mexico state elections marred by floods, army operations

July 3 elections in Mexico’s key central state of México returned to power the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the former ruling machine of the entire country, in what commentators are calling a signal that the once-discredited party could regain the presidency next year. The state’s current PRI governor, Enrique Peña Nieto, is considered the party’s early presidential front-runner. He is to be succeeded as México’s governor by PRI candidate Eruviel Avila. The PRI also took the two other states where gubernatorial races were held, Nayarit and Coahuila, further tilting the national balance of power to the party.

But turn-out was low in México due to heavy rains and devastating floods, as the Rio de los Remedios canal burst its banks, inundating working-class colonias (neighborhoods) in Ecatepec municipality and destroying several homes. In the days following the elections, the federal army sent troops into the municipalities of Ecatepec and Nezahualcóyotl in an operation dubbed Plan DN-III, clearing rubble, distributing potable water, and relocating some 180 displaced people. Similar operations are underway in flood-stricken areas of Veracruz, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Chiapas, San Luis Potosí and Tamaulipas. (La Jornada, LAT, AP, July 7; Americas Quarterly, July 5)

In southern Chiapas state, a joint state-municipal police operation is also underway at the town of Tapachula on the Guatemalan border to crack down on crime and arms trafficking. In the crackdown, dubbed Operation Cleansing (Operativo Limpieza), six have been arrested and numerous fire-arms confiscated. The crackdown follows a similar operation in the state capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez last week, in which 73 were detained. (El Universal, July 7)

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