JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – Mexico won’t elect a new president until next year, but several leading political figures in Juarez have already made up their minds as to who that should be.

On Friday, several state lawmakers and members of the MORENA Party unveiled the #EsClaudia campaign in Juarez. Their goal is to educate border residents about the work and ideals of Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum.

The environmental scientist is the leading contender to replace Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in 2024, according to a poll cited by the Associated Press last month. She is a member of MORENA as is Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, who is second in the polls. A citizens’ committee promoting Ebrard’s work has also formed in Juarez and murals promoting #ConMarceloSi can be seen in the city.

“That we have a woman president in Mexico is a historical opportunity,” said Maria Antonieta Perez, a member of the Chihuahua legislature. “She has been active in social issues since she was in college. She has never been involved in any political scandal. To me, that’s 50% of the battle. The other 50% is that she is prepared. She has demonstrated that in the academic field and as a government official.”

Chihuahua state lawmakers and members of the MORENA Party talk about a new Juarez committee to educate people about the work of Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, a leading Mexican presidential candidate. (Border Report photo)

Committee members did emphasize they are happy with the direction Lopez Obrador has taken Mexico and believe Sheinbaum would continue his signature social programs, such as Bienestar, or welfare for the poor and the elderly.

“We want (Mexico’s) transformation to continue and to continue under Claudia,” said Oscar Avitia Arellanes, a member of the Chihuahua legislature and coordinator of the #EsClaudia citizens’ committee.  

MORENA Party leaders say they will hold an open nationwide survey to select their presidential candidate but have not said when or how the equivalent of a party primary would take place. Likewise, the committee promoting Sheinbaum was fuzzy about outlining her specific 2024-2030 plan to govern Mexico.

“It’s not that we don’t want to be clear about proposals; it’s that the law forbids us from doing so and we need to respect the law. We’re not on campaign, no. We are just calling on people to be informed when the moment comes,” said Benjamin Carrera Chavez, another state lawmaker and member of MORENA.

Asked by Border Report about Sheinbaum’s views on migration and drug trafficking, the lawmakers said she views migrants in a humane way and would rather address the root causes of crime and drug addiction that rely on police or military confrontation.

“Mexico historically has had a humanitarian policy of migration. It has always respected international law regarding free transit,” Perez said. “I think Mexico should continue to be respectful of migrants and open to free transit. What’s the alternative? A wall? If we do that to migrants coming to the south of Mexico, how can we stand up for Mexican migrants (in the United States)? We have to be consistent.”

Committee members said Sheinbaum will be in the border state of Chihuahua early next month to promote tourism to Mexico City.