Politics

View from Mexico: A welcome win for Obama, loss for drug cartels

mexico_election_view_2012_06_29.jpg

Taking a closer look, Mexico's July 1 election will not strain American ties as much as some are claiming. Even the leftist candidate, whose June 27 campaign rally is seen here, refrains from attacking Mexico's trade and counternarcotics partner to the north.

Credit:

John Moore

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Many here breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday night as the result of the US presidential election was broadcast across the country.

“There is some hope for North Americans and the rest of the world,” Mexico City-based journalist Adriana Ferreira told GlobalPost after President Barack Obama was declared the winner.

Raul Correa, a Spanish language teacher in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city, relished the moment. “I’m happy. Thank God,” Correa said in a text message to GlobalPost.

His comments were echoed by Manfred Meiners, a photographer in Guadalajara. “It’s a relief to know that Obama won!” Meiners told GlobalPost via Facebook.

Mexican President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto also sent his congratulations to Obama.

“Congratulations President Barack Obama for your re-election,” Pena Nieto tweeted. “The citizens have shown renewed confidence in you.”

At least two voter surveys in recent weeks showed about 60 percent of Mexicans would have supported Obama if they had been allowed to vote.

That is not to say Mexicans think he has been an outstanding president. Quite the opposite.

A BGC-Excelsior poll this week found that a majority of those questioned thought Obama had done little or nothing to improve the situation of undocumented Mexican immigrants in the United States, combat drug cartels and improve trade relations with Mexico.

Still, Obama is widely viewed as a much better option than his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Ferreira summed up the feeling among many Mexicans.

“Obama is OK, but he is not the best. But Romney is the worst,” she said.

Despite his family’s Mexican origins, Romney is deeply unpopular here, in part because he has distanced himself from his ancestral connections to the country — a disconnect that’s viewed suspiciously by the Mexican media and public.

The election result dominated local news websites.

Mexican newspaper El Universal carried the simple headline “Obama won,” while Milenio’s front page said, “Obama achieves historic re-election.”

About the loser, Milenio tweeted: “Mitt Romney a successful career culminated in a painful defeat.”

Other results Tuesday likely to draw strong support from many Mexicans — except the drug cartels — are groundbreaking moves in Colorado and Washington, where voters passed referendums legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

Supporters of the amendments here argue the changes could put a dent in the profits of drug cartels, which have been responsible for the escalation in mass-murders, kidnappings and extortions across the country.

More from GlobalPost: What if Mexicans could vote in the US election? We asked them