La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Friday, June 23, 2006

3rd party political ads in the Mexican elections

La Jornada is stirring up debate over (television?) ads of the CCE (Employers' Coordination Board) that urge voters to vote for economic stability.

Two of the ads are posted on the CCE website. The first ad [watch online] shows a young boy with a $20 peso bill (roughly $2 US). The announcer asks him how he would feel if those 20 pesos were only worth 10. The boy looks frightened and asks, incredulously, if that could really happen? Then, the announcer (off screen) says (not to the boy, but to the viewer), that indeed it is possible and that Mexico must protect the economic stability it has created.

The second ad [watch online] shows a number of small shopkeepers opening for the day. The voiceover remarks that in the last 10 years, Mexico has attained the economic institutions necessary for growth, and that when the economy grows, everyone benefits. It then says Mexicans should defend what they have accomplished.

I think there are at least two interesting points raised by the La Jornada coverage. First, the newspaper quotes some people that defend the CCE ad campaign by arguing that the social security union's website clearly supports Lopez Obrador. Here's my initial reaction to that comparison:
1. Anyone's whose visited the SNTSS website will see that it's so overrun with flash as to be barely tolerable;
2. I'm not convinced many voters who were considering voting for Calderon would visit the SNTSS site;
3. And how many people have internet access anyway (or at least that they're not using to instant message or fiddle with their myspace?);
4. Is a photo of AMLO and some ugly PRD flash really the same as a very slick ad campaign?; and
5. I'm not really sure that a photo of AMLO with Vega is really going to help AMLO, it might actually hurt him (Vega is Secretary General of the union and is finishing a term as a PRI Deputy. More importantly, Vega's not very popular with the rank-and-file, many of whom were unhappy with his handling of the last 2 contract negotiations).

Second, another article discusses dissent within the CCE over the ads. This is instructive because it highlights some important (and historical) divisions among the business elite. You can read books by Shadlen or Schneider for the details, but my short version is this:
The CCE was created in the 70s to serve as an umbrella for several existing industrial/commercial organizations regulated by the state. It has been dominated by the stronger industrial interests of the north (that is, Northern Mexico, not necessarily the U.S.). One of the (smaller) members of the CCE is the Canacintra, which represents small and medium industrial firms. Members of the Canacintra benefited from Mexico's old state-led development model and have suffered from neoliberal reforms. I once read somewhere that they are the Marxists of Mexican business, but I think that's a little strong. They just benefited from the rents provided by the state for so many decades and were understandably disappointed to see them go.
Apparently, the Canacintra is also unhappy with the CCE ad campaign because presumably they'd rather not see Calderon elected.

posted by Michelle @ 11:32 AM,


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