The Bat Signal has gone up over Mexico, and Valentin Gonzalez is answering the call.
Last week the little-known candidate running for municipal president of Nezahualcoyotl, a crime-ridden area on the outskirts of Mexico City, rolled up to a campaign event in an old school Batmobile looking probably as cool as he ever has.
“Ciudad Neza,” a municipality named after an ancient Aztec emperor, is home to one of Mexico’s roughest neighborhoods and has a long history of local corrupt officials and ruling mafias. So the Gotham comparison isn't much of a stretch.
Gonzalez, who represents a minority left-wing party called MORENA, wants to be the town's dark knight. Although thankfully, he's not dressing the part. Yet.
“The Batmobile is a resource that my campaign team considered was very important to attract the attention of citizens, youngsters and children alike who face record levels of insecurity and delinquency in Neza,” he said.
“Mexicans are the true heroes and we are the ones who will fix our country's problems,” Gonzalez added.
He said the Batmobile is a replica built by Mexican artist Tomas Ibarra based on the one used in the original 1960s TV series.
Gonzalez isn’t the only candidate using a flashy vehicle to attract media attention and — hopefully— voters. National Action Party (PAN) conservative candidate Hector Insua Garcia launched his campaign in the northern city of Colima using a bus modeled after an airplane and a limousine.
These campaign stunts, bizarre political ads and the roster of colorful characters running for office — everyone from clowns to soccer players — have given Mexico’s upcoming midterm elections a cartoony atmosphere in a country that's looking for serious answers to major problems.