The president of Mexico, Felipe Calderón, did indeed visit our little market town on Tuesday, as well as at least a couple of other towns and villages in our area. The site of his speech was actually not much more than a half mile from our house, so our whole neighborhood was crawling with security and overrun by the 10,000+ people who attended the speech.
One of several newspaper articles on the visit is here.
I attended the speech, along with four other GFM guys. It took us quite a while to get a hold of tickets (they were free, but everyone had to have one), but one of the guys finally found a man selling snowcones who had extra tickets. We got pretty close to the front and had a great view of the speech. Below are a few photos I took. They didn’t turn out great because they were just on my camera phone, but here they are anyway:
Hundreds of people lined up, waiting to get into the speech
One of five helicopters arriving carrying the president and a number of other government officials and security personnel
A large crowd and plenty of members of the media listen to the speeches
On the left is the governor of our state, and on the right is President Calderón
President Calderón at the podium speaking. Seated behind him are his wife, the governor of the state and the governor’s wife, and the president of our town, among others.
The crowd pouring out of the tent where the speech took place
What I liked about the event
- It was the first time since 17 years ago that a president of Mexico has visited our town, and I think it was an encouragement to the indigenous people, who often feel like the government doesn’t care about them (though I would argue that this perception is not necessarily based in reality).
- Calderón talked about all kinds of support, programs, and funding the federal government is giving our region, which is one of the poorer areas in Mexico. More importantly, though, he spoke out against the government corruption that has caused so many state and federal funds sent to the region over the years to disappear. In the first year and a half of his presidency, Calderón has taken a stand against government corruption, which has gained him plenty of enemies. Please pray for him and his efforts to combat corruption. Proverbs indicates that the entire country suffers when governors are corrupt.
- Mexico has a long history of problems in its government, but I have been encouraged the past year and a half by what I’ve seen in President Calderón, the governor of our state, and the new president of our town. It was neat to see all three of them on the same platform, committing themselves to working for the improvement of our region. Concerning our town president, he came into office in January, and it is very evident (unlike with many past town presidents) that he is working hard to make improvements. These past few months are the first time in my four years in Mexico that I’ve ever heard anyone speak well about those in government. When Calderón and the governor come this week and talk about the tens of millions of new pesos they’re putting into highway expansion and improvement, new hospitals, reforestation, and a number of other projects, I am much more inclined to believe them than I might have been in the past. Since January, we already see these things being done.
- I really like our new local president. One of the things I appreciate about him is his heart for the single women of Tlaxiaco, struggling to support families without the help of a husband. Both in his campaign platform and the two times I have heard him speak, he has had plenty to say about helping single women, which seems to me like one of the region’s greatest needs.