CIUDAD JUAREZ -- As Election Day nears in Mexico, some unusual alternative candidates are winning public support.
Some voters in the border city Juarez are backing a burro for mayor. In other cities a cat, dog and chicken are running for mayor.
“Maybe the animals will do something to help,” said Edgar Fortuna Salas, a young father in Ciudad Juarez who carried his three month son in his arms as he walked with his wife in front of the city’s Cathedral.
Five Candidates are running for mayor of Ciudad Juarez including two women.
Maria Antonieta Perez Reyes of the PAN or National Action party is a top contender. She’s challenging Enrique Serrano Escobar of the PRI or Ruling Institutional Party. The incumbent mayor is a member of the PRI.
Three other candidates nominated by smaller political parties are also running in the July 7Th election.
“Who can believe in any of them,” asked Efrain Garcia, a street vendor selling ice cold bottled water and soft drinks on a day when temperature soared above 100 degrees.
That deep distrust of politicians has helped boost the campaign of “Burro Chon.” He has a growing following on facebook where an animated burro offers a bilingual introduction: “my name is Chon, El Burro Chon.”
In a recent post the burro says “Don’t believe the political parties. It’s time to create authentic alternatives” A fan responded in English “Long live the donkey.”
Last Sunday the “candidate” made a rare public appearance in Ciudad Juarez when campaign organizers paraded a live burro in a public plaza in front of the cathedral urging voters to reject the status quo.
And it seems voters in many cities are ready to do just that. The burro is among several furry and feathered animal candidates.
Tina the chicken is running for mayor of Tepic. Her supporters say the hen has what many candidates lack: eggs or “huevos, ” a way in Spanish reference to their lack of bravery in confronting issues.
In the city Xelapa Morris the cat is the “candigato” for mayor. His campaign slogan: “You’ve voted for rats. Now, choose a cat.”
Dog lovers disillusioned with politics are supporting a Saint Bernard for mayor of Oaxaca. His campaign spot on facebook promises Titan will always give you a hand as the Saint Bernard offers his paw.
His facebook campaign commercial ends with “Together, yes we can.”
“Laughing is a way to protest,” said Jesus Gamez Arriola, Juarez voter. He understands the appeal of animal candidates but plans to vote for a human candidate for mayor.
But the protest of politics as usual on social media may have an impact at the ballot box when voters in 14 cities elect new mayors. There is concern turnout will be low in many of the cities where animal candidates are a reflection of deep dissatisfaction with the people running for office.
“In the end, all it is bunch of promises that mean nothing,” said Mari Romo, a Juarez resident walking with her mother downtown. Neither of the women planned to vote July 7Th.
Others could choose an animal as write in candidate on election day.
Salas, the young Juarez father, said he may vote for the donkey out of desperation.
“Maybe something will change.”