He is known as “El Bronco” – the man who cannot be tamed. And he says he is launching a new Mexican revolution.
Against all odds, Governor Jaime Rodriguez Calderon has challenged the establishment to become Mexico’s first independent governor – in a country where three parties have monopolised power for seven decades.
And he has done so by vowing to wipe out widespread corruption and impunity in his prosperous state of Nuevo Leon, a major economic hub that borders Texas.
As mayor of his district, the rags-to-riches farmer and politician survived two assassination attempts when he took on the feared Zeta drug cartel. Now as governor, he is warning the establishment and organised crime that the “party is over for the bandits”.
Jaime Rodriguez grew up on a farm, the fourth of 10 children raised by an illiterate mother and a father who toiled the land to give him an education. His heroes are the Lone Ranger and Zorro, the fictional masked rider who battled injustice in Mexico – “because he fought for justice to free people from evil.”
An eccentric with an oversized ego to some, a hero to others, Jaime Rodriguez is without a doubt one of a kind in Mexico, where corruption and rampant violence go largely unpunished.
But El Bronco was not always such a rebel. For 33 years he belonged to the nation’s most powerful political party, Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), a party Rodriguez now accuses of abuse of power and worse.
When he resigned last year to run for governor as an independent candidate, he was widely dubbed naive, even insane. But he captured the imagination of young and old Mexicans by going from town to down on horseback – literally passing the hat to finance his campaign and using social media networks to bypass the pro-establishment mass media that had shut him out.
So what drives El Bronco? And what is his vision for the future of Mexico?
On this episode of Talk to Al Jazeera, we talk to the man who claims to be on a mission to save his people from evil – Governor Jaime Rodriguez Calderon.