Border city opti­mistic, cautious after pres­idential vote

Laredo, Texas, sits just across the border from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico

LAREDO, Texas - Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate Enrique Pena Nieto has won Mexico’s presidential election, according to figures released by the federal government.

With 93 percent of votes tallied, Pena Nieto had collected nearly 38 percent of the vote, more than six points ahead of his closest challenger, leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Pena Nieto, a former state governor, will undoubtedly be the new face of the government’s continuing war against the drug cartels that plague the country.

Most political analysts agreed the Pena Nieto’s policies will not vary greatly from current policies set in place by President Felipe Calderon in 2006.

Many on the U.S. side of the border in Laredo, Texas, are hoping the drug violence will abate with a new leader at the helm.

The two topics that seemed to dominate most conversation Monday were the drug war and it’s effect on the local economy.

“Hopefully they can come in and clean up this drug war we’ve been having all along the border,” said Lance Villarreal, who owns a shop right across from the international bridge.

He said that as violence has risen in recent years, his sales have dropped sharply.

“We have less Mexican shoppers coming over due to the violence, because they don’t want to drive over and take the chance of losing their car or their money or their life for that matter,” said Villarreal.

“When you talk to the drivers on the Mexican side of the border, they’re scared of stuff like that,” said Mark Brookins, a long-haul truck driver who frequently works with Mexican colleagues in Nuevo Laredo.

He said he hopes the Pena Nieto victory might curb some violence and increased truck traffic in the area.

“Well, it’s going to take for than just him, but he’s a good start,” said Brookins, when asked if he thought Pena Nieto was the best candidate for the job.

Conversations like those abounded in the border-city Monday, leading to an air of cautious optimism in the city.

Most were quick to point out, however, that the optimism was not centered on Pena Nieto himself, but what he represented; a fresh face in a fight that desperately needs a hero.


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