Published On: Tue, Jun 23rd, 2015

Mexican Astronaut considering presidential run in 2018

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The entry of independent candidates on Mexico’s political stage has caught the attention of many — and the imagination of some. Yesterday, one of those announced his possible candidacy for president in 2018.

Rodolfo Neri Vela, 63, was this country’s first astronaut, having flown aboard a NASA space shuttle mission in 1985. Now he thinks he might want to be its first independent president because Mexico’s political class “is the same old mafia.”

Traditional parties need to understand there is a great deal of discontent in society, he said in an interview with Grupo Imagen.

Neri Vela: first Mexican astronaut in space. (Photo: YAHIR CEBALLOS/AVC NOTICIAS)

Neri Vela: first Mexican astronaut in space. (Photo: YAHIR CEBALLOS/AVC NOTICIAS)

It was during another press event last week that running for president first came up. Neri Vela was presenting a new book, of which he was one of two coordinators, on space and satellite communications when a reporter asked him if he would enjoy going into politics.

It was “almost jokingly” that he replied he would consider a presidential run in 2018. Since that exchange was reported Neri Vela has received more than 100 emails offering support.

Running for the office appeals, he said, because he sees a need to strengthen nationalism, improve education and address corruption. The professor of engineering at the National Autonomous University has already come up with a few proposals: he would remove all poor people who had been jailed for stealing bread and replace them with corrupt politicians.

“I want to see a better Mexico . . . . we need justice and less corruption.”

Neri Vela was the first and only Mexican to travel into space.


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