Fact or fiction: the second presidential debate

The four presidential candidates met in Tijuana; this is what Verificado 2018 found about what they discussed during the second presidential debate

Fact or fiction: the second presidential debate
Presidential candidates - Photo: CUARTOSCURO
English 22/05/2018 12:17 Mexico City Veridicado 2018 Actualizada 10:15
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Mexico in the World” was the theme of the second debate between the presidential candidates. The four candidates talked, mainly, about the U.S.-Mexico border and migration.

What was fact or fiction about what they said? Verificado 2018 fact-checked some of the claims of the candidates and these are the results:

Here you can check our methodology (in Spanish).

José Antonio Meade

“Nestora Salgado is going to be a plurinominal senator for MORENA. A kidnapper is free because of a failure of the police.”
Verdict: False

José Antonio Meade accused left National Regeneration Party (MORENA) of nominating a “kidnapper” as a plurinominal candidate for the Senate. Yet Nestora Salgado, the individual in question, was released in 2016 after the three judges overseeing the cases against her concluded she was innocent and ruled in her favor.

The story of Salgado begins in 2012, when inhabitants of the community of Olinalá Guerrero, expelled from their community local authorities over an alleged cover-up case and created the “Community Police”, naming Salgado their “commander.”

The Community Police is regulated by Act 701 of Acknowledgement, Rights, and Culture of Indigenous Peoples and Communities of the State of Guerrero.

The following year, Salgado was arrested by the Mexican Army – without an arrest warrant – and processed for the charges of organized crime and kidnapping. The case was grounded on the testimony of 50 people – four who mere underage – who claimed they had been arrested by the Community Police commanded by Salgado.

The irregularities in the processing of Nestora Salgado by Mexican authorities were documented by the UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

The case was also reviewed by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH). Nevertheless, the CNDH also criticized the Community Police. They confirmed they had confirmed abuses committed by the police against arrested citizens and documented cases of torture, abuses, and human rights violations.

Jaime Rodríguez Calderón

In the mountain range of Guerrero, you can't grow corn.
Verdict: False

This was the reply of Jaime Rodríguez Calderón to the crop substitution proposal of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). Yet according to the Food and Fisheries Information Service and their Report on the Evaluation of the Impact of the Strategic Project for Corn Production, corn is grown in the 81 municipalities of Guerrero and specifies that the most productive regions are those of Costa Chica and Tierra Caliente.

Moreover, Verificado 2018 reviewed the Crops Progress, a national summary per state dated on April 30, 2018, and found that, at a national level, Guerrero ranks fourth in corn production.

“Nuevo León is the only state in the country which has launched undercover operations to tackle human trafficking.”
Verditc: False

According to a hemerographic review, in the last five years, at least eight states have launched operations with undercover agents. The more recent one took place in Morelos, in November 2017.

Yet similar operations have also been carried out in Mexico City, Campeche, Aguascalientes, Yucatán, Chiapas, the State of Mexico, and Tlaxcala.

“In the United States, close to 30 million people are of Mexican descent.”
Verdict: True

According to the latest data of the Pew Research center, there are 30 million people of Mexican descent in the United States. Until 2015, it was estimated that close to 56 million were of Latino origins, of which 63.3% – that is, 35.7 million – were of Mexican descent. Moreover, 32% of this population was born in Mexico.

Ricardo Anaya

“Deportations have increased 40% so far this year.
Verdict: Deceitful

Indeed, during the first quarter of 2018 deportations rose by 39.9%, in comparison to the same period of 2017, according to the Ministry of the Interior. However, these data include both deportations and voluntary repatriations, without differentiating the cases per category.

On the other hand, the increase in repatriations during the first quarter isn't still a constant. If we compare the figures of the last two years, we find that in 2016 a total of 219, 905 Mexican citizens were repatriated and in 2017, 166,986 that is 24% less, pursuant to the statistics bulletins of the Migration Policy Unit of the Ministry of the Interior.

Crossing from here, Tijuana, the border to California, [marijuana] is legal and the same is in all states so far as Washington State and in the entirety of Canada; that is, from here to virtually the North Pole [marijuana] is legal.
Verdict: A half-truth

According to the information of the National Conference of State Legislatures on Marijuana Legalization, only the states of California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska have legalized the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana.

In the case of Canada, “cannabis” is legal for medical purposes but it's still illegal for recreational purposes. Presently, the Canadian Senate is set to vote on the bill to regulate marijuana cultivation, distribution, and sale (Cannabis Act ).

Andrés Manuel López Obrador

"Our northern neighbors, the U.S. Government, wish we continued doing their dirty work and that we detained Central American migrants who want to make a living in the North, fleeing violence and misery.”
Verdict: True

According to official figures, migrant detentions, mainly those of Central American citizens, have broken records during the Peña Nieto administration.

The number of detentions rocketed since President Peña Nieto launched the South Border Program on July 7, 2014, which promised to protect – on paper – the human rights of undocumented migrants which cross Mexico in their attempt to reach the United States. However, in practice, the program sparked a boom in detentions.

According to numbers of the Migration Policy Unit, during the first year of the Peña Nieto administration, the National Immigration Institute (INM) detained 86, 298 migrants. A year later, after the South Border Plan was set in motion and the so-called “crisis of migrant children,” the number rose to 127, 149; that is, by 47%.

In 2015, Mexico detained 198, 141 migrants. In fact, this year Mexico detained more Central American migrants than the U.S. border patrol, according to official data of both countries.

In 2017, with Donald Trump as U.S. President, detentions decreased to 95, 497. Nevertheless, during the first quarter of 2018, numbers show an increase of 35.7% when compared to last year's data for the same period.

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