Troubling News For Spain and Mexico

Grind for May 2nd, 2019
“You don’t see too many atheists on the deathbed. They all start cramming then.”

– Dolly Parton

Global News

The Headline

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez re-elected in snap election

The Grind

Initial results from Spain’s snap election this Sunday suggest another victory for Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

According to exit polls, Sanchez and his Socialist Workers Party took home 28.1% of the vote and opposition party Partido Popular earned 17.8% of the vote (it’s worst showing ever).

The center-right party Citizens earned 14.4% and the liberal party Podemos won 16.1%. The far-right party Vox earned just over 12% of the vote and is set to enter parliament for the first time.

With five parties vying for control, Sanchez will have a tough time forming a coalition government.

To hold a majority in Spain’s parliament, a party or coalition must claim 176 of 350 seats. Exit polls predict the Socialists will win between 116 and 121 seats and the Podemos party will take between 42 and 45. Even with the best outcome, that leaves a potential coalition between those parties 10 seats short.

The Details

Sanchez called for a snap election in February following the crumbling of his alliance with parties supporting Catalonia and the Basque Country. The alliance had been necessary in order to defeat former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who was ousted by a no-confidence vote in June 2018.

Major campaign issues included gender equality, national identity, and the future of Catalonia (which declared its independence from Spain in October 2017).

The turmoil surrounding Catalonia led to increased support for Vox – which opposes granting any concessions to the region. Vox also opposes feminism, multiculturalism, and unrestricted migration.

To add to the drama, voters have been captivated by media coverage of 12 separatist Catalonian leaders on trial for rebellion.

“These are not normal elections,” says Albert Rivera, leader of the center-right party Ciudadanos. “At stake is whether we want to remain united if we want to continue being free and equal citizens, if we want a Spain that looks to the past or the future, a country of extremes or of moderation.”

A Rock And A Hard Place

The Headline

Migrants in Mexico ride freight train to evade authorities

The Grind

An estimated 1,300 Central American refugees broke out of an overcrowded detention center in southwest Mexico Thursday night.

Most of them returned to the facility, but nearly 400 boarded a freight train known as “The Beast” in an effort to get closer to the US border.

The group disembarked Friday in Ixtepec, Mexico.

“We hope our God above will keep helping us. We had to keep moving forward,” said a rider from Honduras. “They won’t let us walk, so we climbed on the train. It’s our only option.”

The Details

The Beast, which runs from Chiapas to Veracruz, is a dangerous option that allows migrants to evade police and immigration checkpoints. Most migrants riding The Beast sit on top of the train or cling precariously to its sides while it travels.

The Beast has seen increased ridership following Trump’s demands for the Mexican government to block the movement of migrants through Mexico.

“They’re riding the train again, that’s a fact,” said Rev. Alejandro Solalinde, a migrant rights activist. “It’s going back to the way it was, the [Mexican] government doesn’t want them to be seen. If the migrants move quietly like a stream of little ants, they’ll allow them to, but they are not going to allow them to move through Mexico publicly or massively.”

Thursday’s breakout occurred days after federal police encountered a 3,000-person caravan traveling on a highway east of Ixtepec. At least 371 people were detained.

Did you know… In 1700s, the deer skin was a common medium of exchange between the trading settlers and the native Red Indians in America. This is how a buck became a slang for a dollar.