The 2006 Mexican Presidential Campaign Kicks Off After Labor Day — In Los Angeles

This story is one of the most alarming and enraging things I have read (this week).

The leading contenders are planning appearances in L.A. this fall, campaign aides confirm, in a bid to capture the attention and support of their country’s newest constituency.

Last month, Mexicans living abroad were granted the right to vote by mail, beginning with the presidential election in July 2006.

“This is finally the chance to ask them what we want them to do for us in the United States, and for our families back home,” said Primitivo Rodriguez, a voting rights advocate in Mexico. “As Mexican Americans [illegal aliens] have dramatically decreased their dialogue with the Mexican government, this shows the growing presence of a new Mexican voice in the U.S.”

The U.S. [illegal] immigrants come largely from poor villages in half a dozen Mexican states. But they learn trades and earn American salaries, extending a strong influence over family and friends back home. Their success inspires more and more Mexicans to seek a better life up north. And their growing numbers trigger unease among many Americans.

Before the mail-in balloting was approved, Mexicans living abroad had to return to their homeland if they wanted to vote.

Madrazo, the PRI president, is also L.A.-bound. Norwalk die-maker Jose Angel Gonzalez, reached by telephone, said he and other PRI supporters were already preparing their questions.

For starters, he said: How about federal legislation allowing migrants living in the United States to hold office throughout Mexico? Right now, it is allowed only in the state of Zacatecas, where Gonzalez travels once a month to serve as a councilman in his hometown, Fresnillo.

“We want a proposal from him,” said Gonzalez, 55, who has lived in Norwalk for more than 30 years. “People from Jalisco, Guerrero, they want the same opportunity.”

He backs Madrazo but wants a chance to explain first-hand the difficulties facing Mexicans abroad.

“We see our people suffering,” Gonzalez said. “Police tow away their cars because they cannot get driver’s licenses. People are dying in the desert trying to get here. People in Mexico don’t know what it’s really like here.”

Most of his friends support some form of amnesty for the millions of Mexicans living illegally in the United States, Gonzalez said. He would like Madrazo to negotiate the idea with President Bush.

Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute is working on plans to reach Mexicans living outside the country through consulates, the Internet and hometown civic organizations. Those immigrants with voter cards can request ballots by mail from Oct. 1 to Jan. 15. They must be mailed back to Mexico between April 2 and June 30.

As a practical matter, voting rights advocate Rodriguez said, “I don’t expect Antonio Villaraigosa or Bill Richardson to vote in this election.”

Illegals in the US holding public office in Mexico! People in the US better wake up because we are loosing our countrys independence.

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