Two women vie for Mexico's presidency amid polarization, spiralling violence

Mexico goes into Sunday’s election deeply divided: friends and relatives no longer talk politics for fear of worsening unbridgeable divides, while drug cartels have split the country into a patchwork quilt of warring fiefdoms. The atmosphere is literally heating up, amid a wave of unusual heat, drought, pollution and political violence.

It's unclear whether Mexico's next president will be able to rein in the underlying violence and polarization.

Soledad Echagoyen, a Mexico City doctor who supports President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's Morena party, says she can no longer talk about politics with her colleagues.

“In order to not lose friendships, we decided not to bring up politics starting six years ago, because we were arguing, and the attacks started to get personal,” said Dr. Echagoyen.

Being a critic of the current administration does not appear to be easier.

“There’s too much hate," said Mexico City student Luis Ávalos, 21. He said some of his friends accuse him of “betraying the country” for not supporting López Obrador.

Opposition presidential candidate Xóchitl Gálvez has focused her ire on López Obrador’s “hugs not bullets” policy of not confronting the drug cartels.

She faces former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, who is running for López Obrador's Morena party. Sheinbaum, who leads in the race, has promised to continue all of López Obrador’s policies.

Sunday's elections — which will also decide congressional seats and thousands of local posts — are different from those of the past in other ways.


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