Sunday was election day in Mexico's most populous state, and as widely expected, voters gave a resounding victory to the gubernatorial candidate with the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
But in Colonia Franja del Valle de Mexico, one neighborhood in the state of Mexico, residents did not have the time or the energy to go the polls. They spent most of Sunday piling up the debris of the homes, ruined after a canal overflowed in heavy rains late last week.
With feelings of anger and helplessness, residents of this working-class colonia in the municipality of Ecatepec described a harrowing scene Thursday night when the Rio de los Remedios canal, which runs alongside the area, burst into their houses. There has been no help yet from the government, they said.
"From one moment to the next, we looked out the window, and the water was upon us," said Ignacio Ramirez, 59, a security guard.
"What did I do? I went over the wall to the neighbor's, but the water was already up to my neck. We tried opening the door but the pressure wouldn't let us," Ramirez went on. "The current took us and slammed us against the walls."
Ramirez stood with his family inside their cement-brick home, where the line marking the reach of the flood waters — a brown smudge about the height of an average-sized man — was still visible on the kitchen wallpaper. Their refrigerator, stove, television set, couches, and nearly every other piece of furniture touched by the "black waters" of the Rio de los Remedios were stacked on the muddy street outside.
Food, clothes, personal belongings, all ruined and gone. Cars and trucks in driveways out back were also useless now.
By Sunday the waters had receded, but it was more of the same all over the street. Residents said they felt abandoned by the government, even during a time of year — an election — when officials usually make sure to be extra-attentive to constituent needs.
"This is a no-man's-land," Ramirez said.