Mexico's PAN battling to retain presidency

By Olga R. Rodriguez

Associated Press

Published: Monday, April 2 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

The PAN, of course, enjoyed some successes.

Fox passed a historic freedom of information law allowing for a freedom of the press that hadn't been seen before in Mexico. The Mexican news media has used the newfound freedom to expose corruption scandals in every major party, airing videos of politicians stuffing a suitcase with cash, asking for bribes and gambling away public funds in casinos.

Both Fox and Calderon were also able to maintain a stable economy despite a global financial crisis.

The Mexican economy grew by more than 5 percent in 2010 after a sharp recession in 2009 during the global economic crisis. Inflation and public sector deficits are under control, and public debt is improved. However, a stable economy hasn't translated into better living conditions for the more than 62 million Mexicans living in poverty.

PAN president Gustavo Madero didn't respond to requests for an interview by The Associated Press. But late last month, Calderon defended his administration saying one of his biggest successes was capturing or killing 22 of the country's most wanted drug traffickers.

The main question for Mexicans now is which candidate in the July 1 presidential contest can end the drug violence that has left more than 47,000 people dead since 2006 despite a crackdown on drug traffickers by Calderon's government.

Although most of the bloodshed is among the cartels, Calderon detractors criticize him for stirring up a hornet's nest by going after all the cartels at once, precipitating more bloodshed.

"Throughout my life, we have had devaluations, capital flight, political assassinations, armed uprisings, but for the first time I'm seeing so much violence," Aridjis said. "We're at a crossroads and what no one seems to know is how Mexico will regain the peace we once had."

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