Campaigning with… Santiago González

By Jesús Aguado

The orange movement has arrived in the community of San Antonio de La Joya.

It is the 18th day of the campaign and the appointment for campaigning with the candidate of the Movimiento Ciudadano (Citizens’ Movement) party is at 6pm.

I arrive at the campaign office based in a modest building on  Avenida la Luz 71 in fraccionamiento Insurgentes. There I meet Maru Chávez, who is running for federal legislator. She offers me a glass of Sprite. Beto, who is González’s personal assistant, arrives at the office. I know that it is time to leave for the rural community. Once in the car, I see a familiar face, a man who ran for federal legislator 17 years ago. “I lost the election by just 217 votes,” he said.

On the road to Guanajuato there is a car accident and because of the slow transit, we reach the vehicle in front in which González is traveling. Mary Chávez is traveling in a different vehicle. Three vehicles are in movement on the road. When we arrive at the entrance to the community, the Movimiento Ciudadano song starts playing—I am traveling in the vehicle that announces the arrival of the candidate. There on the path, some children playing soccer listen to the music and the sound is catchy, so they start dancing. They reach the unit and are invited by the campaigners to come to the ruins of the old hacienda to meet the candidate. “Bring your parents,” say the people from Movimiento Ciudadano. We stroll through the community, and people come out of their houses to find out what is going on. The candidate has just arrived at the old hacienda.

When I arrive at the meeting point, the old hacienda, there he is. In an austere campaign, Santiago González is talking with the attendees, giving them bracelets with the party identification and shirts and flags, also with the logo of Movimiento Ciudadano. Without a sound amplifier or a microphone, he talks with the people and presents them with his proposals. He invites them to vote. “You can vote for whomever you want, but go and vote this June 7,” he says. He also invites the audience to get organized for recovering, cleaning, and maintaining the ruins of the old hacienda that belongs to them. He hands out flyers with his contact information and offers them his support for locating missing migrants.

He does not promise anything because people are tired of political promises, he comments. He prefers to invite them to have a closer conversation, and it happens. At the end, he tells Atención that he has visited 40 percent of the Sanmiguelense territory, and he has listened the security, employment, housing, and education needs from the people; hence he is working on the second phase of his campaign, that of real proposals.

In the end, he invites me to go back to El Centro in his vehicle, where another reporter and a friend are waiting. The children run behind the white vehicle, waving their hands and flags and happily screaming “adios!”

On the way back to el Centro, we talk about the electoral process, and he reaffirms his dedication to a clean, honest, and austere campaign. He still has plenty of energy that will last even after June 7, when the electoral process ends.

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