The July 1 Mexican presidential election is around the corner, and as one of the candidates is embroiled in a scandal back home, his opponent is rallying supporters here in Los Angeles.
For the past week, university students in Mexico City and Monterrey have been protesting the latest scandal to engulf the leading presidential candidate.
Enrique Peña Nieto, of the conservative PRI — the Institutional Revolutionary Party — was found to be paying media outlets for coverage, particularly Televisa, the largest TV network.
This spawned an opportunity for supporters of Peña Nieto’s opponent, the leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. They’re planning rallies around the world on Sunday, including in L.A. But they say they’re careful not to frame it as an anti-PRI protest.
“People were saying that Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was the one behind the student protests last week, and was responsible for Enrique Peña Nieto’s decreasing popularity — but that’s not true," said Felipe Sanchez, a supporter and absentee voter organizer for Lopez Obrador in L.A. "That’s why we’re making a point to not make this rally a smearing campaign.”
Despite the latest scandal, Peña Nieto holds a double-digit lead in the polls. He does not seem, however, to have much traction among the majority of working-class Mexican voters residing in the United States.
There are almost 4 million Mexicans in the U.S. who are eligible to vote, but only about 45,000 are registered.