Mexico: The Indigenous Vote in the 2918 Election

Marcos Matías Alonso

In Mexico, on Sunday, July 1, 2018, the most important federal elections in the country’s recent history will be held. Not only the new President of the Republic will be elected, there will also be a vote for 500 Federal Deputies, 128 Senators, several governorships, hundreds of municipal presidencies and regidurias.  More than 3,500 popular posts will be elected in the country.

The National Electoral Institute will make titanic efforts to avoid the outbreak of post-electoral conflicts that put at risk the governability in the country. We Mexicans are called to go to the polls and overcome the growing abstention. It will be a test of fire for our fragile democracy, for the political parties, for the diminished credibility of the INE and for the participation of the independent candidates in the electoral political scenario.

Mexico has a population of 120 million citizens and is close to 86 million citizens who are of voting age. Taking into account the trend of the last four electoral processes, by 2018 a citizen participation is foreseen that will approach the 51 million citizens who will vote (R. Aguilar, 2018). It will be a competitive electoral political process and the margin of victory of the winner will not exceed five points.

Three are the main party coalitions that will seek victory for the Presidency of the Republic. The PRI and its allies postulate José Antonio Meade as their presidential candidate. MORENA and allies promote Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Ricardo Anaya, is promoted by the PAN, PRD and MC coalition. The pre-campaign phase is about to conclude and the real electoral political battle is about to begin. In short, the polls will show new electoral tendencies. In any case, the real survey will be the one that Mexicans will pay on July 1, 2018.

In the following notes, I hypothetically comment on the voting behavior of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. Based on the Intrecensal Survey of 2015 (INEGI), there is a population of 25 and a half million indigenous citizens. On average, there are 15 million indigenous citizens of voting age, registered in the electoral roll. Taking into account that approximately 60% of indigenous citizens abstain from voting, on average, 7 and a half million indigenous people will go to the polls for the following party options:

Indigenous peoples will turn their backs on the PRI

Historically, the reservation of the PRI’s vote of salvation has been the vote that comes from the peasant and indigenous peoples. Many governors and several positions of popular election of the PRI, have been victorious by the vote bought and / or manipulated of the indigenous towns. In the next elections, in general, the PRI will significantly lose the vote of the majority of Mexicans and specifically, it will lose its “green vote” sheltered in the indigenous peoples. The PRI will be the big loser of the next elections.

The growth of poverty among indigenous peoples is alarming. In the last ten years, the Chamber of Deputies authorized a cross-sectional budget of $ 691 billion pesos, which nobody knows where or how they were applied. In the period of Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI) as President of the Republic and José Antonio Meade, as head of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, is the stage of the largest budget cut for the development of indigenous peoples.

The brutal cut to the indigenous budget reached up to 70% in items such as indigenous infrastructure and the CDI, up to 52%.

Until now, José A. Meade, on the indigenous issue, has only disguised himself as Chamula. With what Meade face and with what moral authority can the indigenous peoples vote? The most serious infamy suffered by indigenous peoples is to suffer the economic discrimination imposed by the presidential party. The dispossession of the budget of the indigenous peoples is one of many economic crimes perpetrated by José Antonio Meade. This is a powerful reason that will make the indigenous peoples of Mexico do not choose to vote for the PRI candidate.

The indigenous vote in MORENA

On December 19 in the Sierra Mazateca of Oaxaca, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, informed that to conquer the Presidency of the Republic, preference will be given to the humble and the poor of Mexico. “For the good of all, first the poor, first the indigenous people of Mexico.” From Huautla, he criticized the public policy on indigenous issues, of the government of E. Peña Nieto.

He announced the creation of a new institution, at least as the disappeared National Indigenous Institute, where programs of health, education, production and indigenous infrastructure are attended. He informed that the new INI will be ascribed to the SEDESOL and will be based in the state of Oaxaca. Before the hundreds of Mazatecs assembled in Huautla, he informed them: “I have made the decision so that Adelfo Regino is the owner of the new institution that we will create, similar to the INI … In this new institution will preferably work indigenous professionals …”.

AMLO’s intervention in Huautla is just a sketch of what could become an indigenous policy with the genuine participation of indigenous peoples. Criticism and distancing with the indigenous policy of the CDI is positive, but it is a mistake to want to return to the old INI. A regressive indigenous policy or an institutional involution is unacceptable. The indigenous peoples of the 21st century demand the creation of a Secretariat of State for the indigenous peoples of Mexico. The subordination and administrative assignment of the INI to the SEDESOL, corresponds to a past stage.

It is a success the nomination of Adelfo Regino, who is one of the best indigenous intellectuals in the country. As José Reyes Doria says. AMLO: “proposed the appointment of a character that had a great impact in the first years of the CDI during the presidency of Vicente Fox and Xóchitl Gálvez …”. Certainly, this does not detract from Adelfo Regino’s professional merits; because in AMLO’s Noah’s Ark, all fit. Today, A. Regino is one of the best indigenous lawyers in the country.

Hopefully MORENA will soon present the indigenous peoples of Mexico, its public policy proposal to abate the situation of poverty, exclusion and economic discrimination in which there are more than 25 million indigenous citizens.

The challenges of the “Por México al Frente” coalition

Ricardo Anaya is the candidate for the Presidency of the Republic of PAN, PRD and MC. From the Coalition that the three parties created “Por México al Frente”, what is most known about Ricardo Anaya is his image with Yuawi López, a 9-year-old Wixarica boy who opened the door to address the indigenous issue in the coalition “Por Mexico to the Front “. Yuawi is originally from the Sierra Alta de Jalisco and his hit “Movimiento Naranja” has had an impressive impact.

From the serious situation in which Sierra Alta de Jalisco is located, an emerging indigenous agenda can be elaborated. In one of many interviews Yuawi said: “We gathered vegetables to eat because sometimes we ate only beans and there was nothing else, pure beans, sometimes we hunted squirrels and they tasted good”. From the innocence of his words, he states the challenge of launching a program of support for the indigenous children of Jalisco and Mexico. Evidence of insufficient food, health and education. From its traditional dress, it forces to reflect on the art, culture and music of indigenous peoples and communities.

Also from Jalisco, the land of Yuawi, is present the issue of mining, community infrastructure, ceremonial centers, agrarian conflicts, and so on. The mention of the previous topics only outlines some relevant aspects that the candidate for the Presidency of the Coalition “Por México al Frente” should consider as part of their priorities.

On January 17, Ricardo Anaya and Xochitl Gálvez gave a press conference and announced the importance of promoting various regional dialogues to elaborate the “National Indigenous Agenda”. Both delineated the following topics.

Promote a new Constitutional Reform in the area of ​​”Indigenous Law and Culture”, to include fundamental rights that were not included in the Indigenous Law of 2001.

It is imperative to recognize the indigenous peoples and communities as subjects of public law with their own personality and assets. By the way, the Political Constitution of the CDMX recognizes this right and it is highly recommended that the federal law harmonize its legislation on the matter.

It is imperative to launch an “Initiative Law” to guarantee the right of indigenous peoples and communities to be consulted in all legislative and / or administrative measures that affect their interests. It is a legitimate right that the consultation must be carried out, with free, prior and informed consent.

It is essential to create a new autonomous institutionality with its own personality configured in a Secretariat of State, which addresses the issue of the indigenous peoples of Mexico.

It is urgent to protect the electoral political rights of indigenous peoples and communities.

It is urgent to reduce the growing indigenous poverty. The social lags, the indicators of social development, indicate the urgency to elaborate an emergent attention program to reduce the indigenous poverty indexes.

In the press conference, Ricardo Anaya announced the incorporation of Xochitl Gálvez, to contribute his experience in the elaboration of the National Indigenous Agenda of the “Por México al Frente” coalition. Without a doubt, the impetus of X. Gálvez will strengthen the previous ones and other initiatives that will be added in this process.

After this press conference, several indigenous representatives linked to the PAN, PRD and MC, constituted the “Indigenous Front for Mexico”. On January 27, they held the first Indigenous State Meeting in Morelia, Michoacán, and indigenous delegates from ten states of the Republic participated. In addition to the topics of the press conference of R. Anaya and X. Gálvez, they began to configure the Indigenous Agenda of the XXI Century, which they hope will be retaken by the presidential candidate of the Coalition: “Por México al Frente.”

It is foreseeable that before the start of the electoral political campaign, Ricardo Anaya will assume the agenda commitments made by the representatives of the “Indigenous Front for Mexico” and become the electoral platform to attract the indigenous vote of the country.

I predict that the seven and a half million indigenous votes will be distributed as follows: the PRI will obtain an average of two million votes, MORENA will reach three million indigenous votes, and PAN-PRD and MC will achieve approximately two and a half million votes. votes of the indigenous communities. In 2018, the PRI will not monopolize the indigenous vote, on the contrary, it will gradually lose that vote. Two million indigenous votes can mark the orientation of the triumph or the failure of the next electoral contest.

It is important to design the National Indigenous Agenda that responds to the centennial demand of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. The coin is in the air and it is premature to anticipate triumphalism that can change in the last hours, minutes and seconds. These are crucial times and periods of definition.

The emergence of independent candidates for the Presidency of the Republic is a separate chapter and deserves a separate analysis. How much we would like María de Jesús Patricio to arrive on the presidential ballot. If this happens, the electoral political situation will be modified substantially. Including “Marichuy”, Armando R. Piter, Margarita Zavala and “El Bronco”; they will be “allied hinges” for any of the three presidential candidates. The decision of alliance that they determine, will outline the triumph of the next President of the Republic of Mexico. At the time.