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Dinosaurs, vampires, Nazis in the Presidential campaign

25 June 2006

Who ever said the Mexicans weren’t innovative?

By Ioan Grillo

Associated Press

MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s presidential candidates have moved into cyberspace, where the campaigns are bombarding voters with online games, cartoons and attack e-mails ahead of the July 2 vote.

With more than 20 million Mexicans now using the Web, this is the first election where the Internet could make a real difference in Mexico. Most Internet users are young, and so is the electorate: More than 40 percent of the 71 million registered voters are under age 30.

Both top contenders have flashy online appeals. Felipe Calderon, the conservative candidate, is a superhero fighting dinosaurs and sharp-toothed fish in an Internet video game satirizing his rivals.

“This is the first Mexican election in which the Internet is having a real impact,” said his spokesman, Arturo Sarukhan. “Our war room believes it is a crucial vote-winning tool.”

The leftist camp of Andrés Manuel López Obrador hit back with its own mass e-mail campaign, which it says is homegrown. One message, titled, “Lies,” includes a slide show portraying his opponents as attacking vampires and Nazi propagandists.

“They show the creativity of a social movement,” said his representative, Claudia Sheinbaum. “People are outraged at seeing the candidate attacked so viciously and want to do something.”

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