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Campaigning with… J. Isabel Ramírez

Campaigning with…

How do the mayoral candidates travel the city? Who accompanies them? What gifts do they give out to people? What do they get in return? To answer these sorts of questions, our reporter, Jesus Aguado, rode along with the candidates as they made their campaign stops to talk to people in dozens of rural communities around the San Miguel municipality.

Political candidates in Mexico know that it does not matter where they hold a rally, there will always be certain archetypes in attendance—children, the abuelitas (elderly women), the drunken man. There will likely be street dogs fighting somewhere. This is all part of the expected folklore of the campaign.

In this issue, we present snippets of one campaign, that of Professor J. Isabel Ramírez (PANAL). Cuca González from PVE as well as María Eugenia Chávez were scheduled to appear on this edition. Cuca González apologized but after a “tragedy in the family,” he stopped campaigning for a few days; Chávez never returned our call.

 

Campaigning with… J. Isabel Ramírez

“I am 60 years old. I survived black widow spider bite as well as a car crash. Twice I overcame the flu virus. After all that, I thought, it is time for me to do something, and here I am running for mayor,” Professor J. Isabel Ramírez of the New Alliance Party (PANAL) told me on our way to Centro after campaigning.

On Sunday, June 23 at 9:30am, I met the Ramírez’s campaign team. Most were teachers. Agustina Morales, candidate for local legislator, was along for the ride, as was Ramírez´s wife, Ángeles Gutiérrez.

“Sunday is better for my campaign,” Professor Ramírez said, because it is the day that most teachers have time to join him and visit people in the rural communities in order to invite them to vote for him. The candidate was driving his own vehicle, and I hitched a ride with him and headed to the community of Banda. There, a meeting was happening where people complained mainly of the theft of sand from the Laja River.

After this first stop, an unpaved road took us to Los Torres—an unplanned community stop not on the itinerary. Professor Ramírez talked with some men watching a soccer match and invited them to vote for him. We then continued on our way to Cruz del Palmar. There, people requested better education and more school days for students. On the road to the next community, the road conditions got the vehicle stuck on some rocks. I ended up helping getting it unstuck. The candidate and his caravan of teachers headed to Tierra Blanca, a community where years ago scientists said there was a mineral there—erionite—that might have been causing lung cancer. There, people just requested some balls for the soccer team. In the community of Juan González, the candidate and his companions went door to door, visiting dozens of neighbors. Ramírez’s message was clear: more education and culture as well as programs to protect the environment and the heritage of San Miguel de Allende.

After traveling in five different vehicles, we got to the community of La Vivienda; there the team had to wait until the end of Mass to give their message in the community’s small main plaza. At the rally, Felipe Ramírez’s family invited everybody to eat gorditas with carrots and potatoes with them.

At 8pm, after gorditas, tacos and some litters of water were consumed and the campaign crossed the Laja River three times to visit seven communities, we headed back to Centro at 8pm, proving that Sunday is not a day of rest when you’re campaigning for mayor.

 

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