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Mazatlán, do we have a problem?

25 July 2012

The  selling point for tourism here is that Mazatlán, for various reasons, is well insulated from many of the more dramatic events in Mexico, being pretty much sheltered from hurricanes, much less prone to tsunamis and earthquakes than most places on the Pacific and obviously not having blizzards.  Nor, are there any nearby volcanoes to erupt.

Nor, does it appear that we have much in the way of human eruptions  Yeah, gangsters rub-outs make the news from time to time, but you expect that in a seaport and embarcation point for the United States’ favorite unregulated agricultural exports.  What we don’t have much of, and what I find strange, is that the usual political street theater, that is practically a national sport in Mexico, is missing.

I heard someone say the other day that it is because this is a tourist town, and the tourists don’t like demonstrations.  That seems unlikely, given that over 2000 marched in Cancún, and 900 to a thousand people turned out for demonstrations in Puerto Vallarta last Sunday for the national “yosoy#132” actions.  Even in the tiny beach resort of Puerto Escondido there were organized protests.

Cancún has a population of about 750,000;  PV about 300,000; and Mazatlán in the middle, about 500,000.  The latter has a much more mixed economy than the other two, and is less dependent on tourism, so tourism can’t be the reason that only about 200 people — nearly all students — turned out.  Admittedly, there were better attended, and better publicized protests in the state capital, Culiacán, but it should be pointed out that neither Cancún nor Puerto Vallarta are state capitals, although Cancún is the largest city in its state.

While both the Mazatlán municipal government and the state government are in the hands of a PAN-PRD coalition, one wonders if the answer isn’t that the PRI isn’t still the only party that counts in Sinaloa.  Certainly PAN  is by far the stronger of the two in the present ruling coalition, and there has been a concerted effort to paint the  protests as associated only with the PRD (and their allies, which have almost no presence in the Sinaloa) but given that PAN and the Peña Nieto wing of PRI are basically the same on economic (and many social) issues, the parties are just not willing to put their organizational skills behind the national protests… or that they are just too disorganized here to do much of anything.

It is possible that being a mixed economy seaport/tourism center has something to do with it.  Acapulco (population ca. 630,000) had a very small turnout. 

As it is, about the only local media coverage was a one and a half minute video from the on-line edition of Noroeste.

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