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No more violence in campaigns

Violent incidents during campaigns speak of our political culture, our level of tolerance, and the debates we have as a society
Mexican Police Force supervising protest march in Mexico City – Photo: Juan Carlos Reyes García / El Universal
15/04/2018
08:48
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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The incident which took place yesterday in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, in which alleged members of the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE) clashed against sympathizers of the candidate of the coalition “All For Mexico,” José Antonio Meade, who was in that community as part of his campaign tour – and incident in which reporters of several news outlets were also injured – is a warning of the heated mood of society and of the lurking risk of having more violent incidents taking place during campaign events.

Something that would be a detriment to us all, as it doesn't help the candidates, who still employ smear tactics against their competitors instead of focusing on explaining their proposals to resolve the countless urgent matters that need to be addressed in Mexico.

The troublesome part is this isn't the first incident within the 2018 General Election. Let's remember the assault which took place in the Coyoacán borough last January 3rd under similar circumstances, during a campaign event of the candidate of the left National Regeneration Party (MORENA) to Mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum. That time, the alleged perpetrators were sympathizers or members of the left Democratic Revolution Party (PRD).

Luckily, only few were injured during both incidents, yet this doesn't mean we shouldn't wait around until a future event takes human lives. Something like this would be fatal for our fragile democracy. And it's not about laying the blame on a candidate or a party, it's only about making a call to all political forces and citizens, to behave in a civil manner. At the end of the day, these incidents speak – badly, in this case – of our political culture, of our level of tolerance, and the debate we have as a society.

It's natural for political campaigns to stir emotions but nothing justifies the use of violence. It would be helpful if all candidates became aware that campaigns should work as the showcase for them to display their government proposals, to debate, to exchange ideas with civility, and, overall, to present their true image to citizens, instead of what they are transforming into as days go by, which is something more a king to a boxing ring in which the objective seems, quite literally, to knock-out the other competitors.

We Mexicans are currently living the most fascinating and important electoral process in our history. Let's demand a true debate of ideas and let's remove violence from campaigns.

am

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