• Short Summary


    Mexico went to the polls on July 4 to elect a new president.

  • Description

    MEXICO:Mexico City:1982

    GV Election poster PULL BACK TO Central Square
    GV Portillo arrives to cast vote with child on his shoulders.
    GV De la Madrid arrives with wife to cast vote.
    GV INTERIOR Votes and leaves.
    GV people lining up to vote. (6 SHOTS) 1.08

    USA, 1969:

    AERIAL VIEW Aircraft searching hills.
    GV searcher finds illegal immigrant.
    GV cars at checkpoint in Sandiego, California. (4 SHOTS) 1.27

    Mexico City, 1980:
    GV Reagan wearing sombrero watched by Portillo in background. 1.35

    Mexico, 1977:

    GV Workers laying gas pipeline.
    GV welding pipe.
    GV Oil Derrick and men working on it.
    AERIAL VIEW flags on Derrick at sea. (10 SHOTS) 2.40

    Mexico City, 1982:
    CV Traffic moving down crowded street.
    GV traffic in streets. (3 SHOTS)


    Mexico went to the polls on July 4 to elect a new president. Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was elected with a reported 70 per cent of a higher than usual poll, as Mexico's 21st President. The PRI, a broad-based grouping of peasants, unions and middle-classes has ruled Mexico since its formation in 1929. De la Madrid, who takes office on December 1 faces problems both economic and social. He has pledged a period of economic austerity coupled with an anti-corruption drive.

    SYNOPSIS: Election fever in Mexico City. The seven candidates were officially banned from media or street campaigning three days before voting but the ban did not apply to the National Electoral Commission's multi-million dollar promotional campaign encouraging Mexico's 31.6 million registered voters to go to the polls. Outgoing President Jose Lopez Portillo cast his vote early. Mr. de la Madrid and his wife also voted - watched by press and cameramen. A lawyer and banker by training. Mr. de la Madrid is expected to introduce a tough budget to combat the country's 60 per cent inflation. But his main problems is the need for oil-rich Mexico to bridge the gap between the poor and the wealthy. In a country of 70 million people an estimated 20 million are undernourished.

    A visible symbol of this poverty is the growing problem of illegal immigrants from Mexico to the United States. A million infiltrate across the border a year. These US patrol aircraft spot just a few but the border stretches for some 2,000 miles across desert and desolate open country. The high wages in the United States and the inflation and economic problems at home mean the number of immigrants has increased.

    In January 1981 the then President-elect Ronald Reagan had talks with President Portillo. The border question was among the subjects discussed. But since then Mexico has reportedly discomforted the US with its perspective on Third World problems. Lopez Portillo recognised the insurgents of El Salvador and has frequently offered to act as an intermediary between the US and Cuba over the crisis in Central America. Observers say relations between Washington will probably be easier with de la Madrid at the helm.

    By at the heart of Mexico's problems is the sudden economic slump since the world oil glut depressed dollar revenues. Total foreign debt has soared to around 70 billion dollars and the peso has been allowed to devalue by more than 40 per cent. It's all in sharp contrast to when Lopez Portillo took over in 1976. At that time the country's national oil company Pemex had began turning up one oil and natural gas discovery after another. With an output of some 2.7 million barrels a day Mexico became the world's fourth largest oil producer. With the oil revenues the country launched upon a huge development plan which included reforms of agriculture and the proposed building of 20 nuclear reactors. These plans have now been postponed. And zero economic growth has been forecast for the next 12 months.

    One of the toughest challenges facing the new President will be the problem of Mexico City itself. Environment experts predict an urban catastrophe by the end of the century unless something is done about overpopulation, public transport and atmospheric pollution. A United Nations study shows that Greater Mexico City's present population of 15 million will grow to 31 million by the year two thousand and make it the most populated city on earth. Mexico's population will have grown by nearly 50 per cent to about 100 million and the country needs to create 800,000 jobs a year just to maintain its present position. The new president, according to observers, is the ideal man to solve these formidable problems. He has six years to prove himself.


    3.15 InitialsJRS Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

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