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Business Executives In Mexico Fear ´Populist Vote´

Grupo Herdez

MEXICO CITY- Mexico will elect a new president in a month, and some business people in the neighboring country want their employees to vote against a populist candidate. This is causing concerns about interference in the elections.

The executives come from at least four major Mexican exporters — many of them with a strong presence in the U.S. market. They are in the spotlight after suggesting their employees how they should vote.

José Ramón Elizondo, president of the aluminum and kitchenware company Vasconia, invited his employees on a video to stay away from a populist path and revise what populism has done in other regions and eras. Elizondo said his company will put new investments and expansion plans on hold to be cautious.

Other CEO’s of multinationals, such as the food and drink giants Herdez (one of the top exporters of Mexican canned food) and FEMSA (which holds one of the largest Coca-Cola bottling divisions in the world), have also invited their personnel to avoid voting for protectionist politicians using corporate videos, speeches or open letters.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador is the left-leaning presidential candidate leading the polls. The executives don’t mention him directly, but López Obrador claims they want voters to fear him while supporting number two in the polls, Ricardo Anaya. 

The president of the Mexican Business Coordinating Council stated that business people are allowed to express their concerns to their companies, but not to force their employees to vote for a specific candidate.

Rodrigo Cervantes is KJZZ’s bureau chief in Mexico City, where he was born and raised. He has served as opinion writer, contributor and commentator for several media outlets and organizations in Mexico and the United States, including CNN, Georgia Public Broadcasting and Univisión. Cervantes previously worked as the business editor and editorial coordinator for El Norte, the leading newspaper in Monterrey and a publication of Grupo Reforma, Mexico’s premier news group. In Mexico City, Cervantes served in Reforma as a reporter, special correspondent, editor and special sections coordinator. Cervantes also held the editor position at MundoHispánico, a division of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia’s oldest and largest Latino newspaper. He also participated as one of the first members of the Diversity Advisory Group for Cox Media. In 2012, Cervantes was appointed as fellow for the Leadership Program of The New York Times/Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, as well as for the "Líderes Digitales" program from the International Center for Journalists. In 2010, he was awarded with the Poynter-McCormick Leadership Fellowship. Cervantes graduated with honors in communication sciences and journalism from the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM), Mexico City Campus. Later, he was granted the Fundación Carolina Scholarship from the Spanish government to obtain an MBA degree at San Pablo-CEU School of Business (Madrid). Other awards include: the Power 30 Under 30 Award for Professional and Community Excellence in Atlanta, the Outstanding Alumni Medal from ITESM, and several José Martí Awards for Journalism Excellence from the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP). Cervantes enjoys music, books, travel, friendship, good mezcal and the occasional company of his guitar.