Election 2008 The World is Watching


Mexican view of the U.S. election

BY Lorne MatalonOctober 23, 2008


Lorne Matalon is a reporter for The World. His television documentary on a well-intended but flawed attempt to liberate slaves in Sudan was nominated for an Emmy, and he's reported and produced television documentaries both domestically and in Africa, and Brazil.

Mexicans are watching the U.S. presidential race, with polls showing a split along socio-economic lines that mirrors that of Mexican society itself. But the vast majority of Mexicans surveyed recently say they support the Democratic Party, with many saying initially preferred Hillary Clinton as the nominee. But the same polls say Barack Obama now enjoys tremendous support in Mexico. The World's Lorne Matalon reports from Mexico City. Read More.

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I believe Matalon has misinterpreted the phrase "Vaya Con Dios" in reference to the McCain flier. It does mean "Go With God," which in Spanish is used as a form of "Goodbye." It is generally reserved for someone who is going on a trip, leaving perhaps for a long time or on a perilous journey. Because this flier accompanied the the "Viva Obama" posting, I'm willing to bet the intention of the McCain well wisher was more tongue-in-cheek, as in "See Ya Sucker."

michael cook - puerto viejo de limon, costa rica
I'm a part time American ex-pat who's lived on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica for six, eight, even fourteen months at a pop, for almost a decade.
Lorne Matalon's piece about how Mexico is viewing the race intrigued me because I have been watching, with amazement, at just how interested many Costa Ricans are about the coming US election.This is the third presidential election I've watched wind down from here. But never, never, was there the interest in either the 2000 or 2004 election that there is in this year's race.People are excited, and it all has to do with the fact the US may elect a "moreno" as its president.The community I live in is a little town at the end of a long, bumpy, and often dusty road that is best known for a surf break called Salsa Brava.It is not exactly a place where one would expect to find people paying close attention to a political race being waged in another country.But they are.Puerto Viejo is a racially and ethnically diverse community. Old time locals are either Latino, indigenous Bri Bri,or Afro-Jamaican descendants of slaves emancipated by the British in the mid 19th century.There is a small but thriving long time Chinese expat community, many of whom have lived here for multiple generations.Through the years, there has been a lot of inter-marriage and the result is a community that both diverse and cohesive.The young people here, because of their mixed racial heritages, are the most excited by Barack Obama's candidacy.I was surfing this morning and four guys, all of them in their very early twenties, were wearing tank tops while surfing that had a photo of Barack Obama on them with the slogan, "Si, A 'Rasta-Bama'" underneath.Some American ex-pats who own businesses have traditional Obama campaign signs in their establishments.But even in Tico establishments, hand made signs that read "Vaya Obama" and "Hay Esperanza" are surprisingly common.As I said, I've watched three US elections from here, but I've never seen anything like this.It makes me think Colin Powell was right; this young, charismatic, articulate "moreno" is, indeed, some kind of "transformational figure".I just hope the good Lord is watching over him in a big, big way.