Campaigning with… Ricardo Villarreal (PAN)
By Jesús Aguado
On May 8, Ricardo Villarreal woke up, prepared and drank coffee, read the news, had breakfast, and got ready for 14 hours of intense campaigning.
The first appointment on the agenda was to attend a forum organized at CASA, where he talked with some NGO members about the San Miguel that he wants to construct with their support. After this event, he headed to the community of Los Rodríguez, the most populated in town (3,000 residents). There, he visited the commercial area and talked with the inhabitants, who complained about insecurity issues as well as designation of the delegados (representatives of the community and a liaison with the local authorities). Villarreal proposed the construction of a police department substation, which would take care of people from Los Rodriguez and the communities nearby.
Later, Villarreal walked the streets of colonia Mexiquito and the neighborhood of Cuesta de San José, door by door, inviting people to vote for his projects. After almost one hour, he headed to Valle del Maíz.
Valle del Maíz is one of the oldest neighborhoods in town. There the residents have awaited the candidate since 7:30pm. A clown entertained the children while a banda de viento (a wind instrument band) waited for the candidate on the street leading to the soccer field. Suddenly, two motorcycles arrived bearing flags of the PAN party. The band began playing, and the candidate arrived, accompanied by Vero Agundis, candidate for federal legislator, and Juan José Álvarez, candidate for local legislator. They greeted everybody.
Several residents described the lack of paved streets and public lighting as well as the bad conditions of the soccer court. They also commented that, although they are in the urban zone, in some streets there is no drainage service and the rain threatens problems.
Álvarez spoke first, saying he is going to work for reforming labor, educational and state security laws from the state congress to improve quality of life for sanmiguelenses. Agundis proposed a reform to the federal tax law as well as an increase in the minimum wage, which she says is possible from the Congress.
Amid popular songs restructured to invite people to vote for the PAN candidate, Villarreal was welcomed. When he started his speech, it started raining. “Rain: that is an augury of prosperity and good times ahead. It prophesizes a victory of the PAN party on June 7,” he said. During the little time he had to give his speech, he told the people that he walked through the neighborhood the day before, and he is aware of the need for infrastructure. He proposed to do whatever is possible from the local administration with the support of the state and the federation to apply programs for improving the neighborhood. It started pouring, and people sought refuge under trees and roofs. But before leaving the candidates, Villarreal told the people that he would celebrate the Holy Cross with them on May 31.
I traveled in Villarreal’s vehicle from El Valle to our next stop, calle Ánimas. In the car, he granted an interview, and Atencion’s reporter asked, “If today were before midnight on June 7, what would you tell us?” He expressed happiness that he would have won the election with the votes of more than 35,000 sanmiguelenses who believed in his projects. He would take a week of vacation, and after that he would start working on his government projects.
Returning to today, he assured that he has visited more than 70 rural communities and 35 neighborhoods. This is tiring, but he still has full energy to keep traveling San Miguel and convincing people to vote for him and his team.
The interview ends on arrival at Ánimas, a street where the neighbors have gathered in a garage because of the rain. It is a more intimate place for conversation. People are closer to the candidate and can talk directly with him about their problems. One of them is that there is a cantina on the corner, and the clients are disrespectful to pedestrians—men, women, children. They want a solution. Villarreal told them that once he is mayor, the cantina would be regulated. He made the commitment to hire in his administration only sanmiguelenses who have a deep and true love for the city. “San Miguel for sanmiguelenses,” he said. This is because people complain that the current administration is made up of a majority of people from Michoacán. At the end of the meeting, the neighbors passed out snacks, tacos, and Coca-Cola to us.
Around 10pm, Ricardo Villarreal went home to rest, motivated for the next day by support and hope from people who want to build a better city.