(MEXICO CITY) — On the eve of a presidential election, Mexicans awoke to headlines and gruesome photos of a car bomb blast that injured seven people.
The images from Friday’s bombing in Nuevo Laredo, just a few miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border, are just the latest example of the bloodshed that has rocked this country.
More than 50,000 people have been killed in Mexico’s drug wars. With corruption and crime running rampant, it’s not just Mexicans looking to a new president to curb the violence in this troubled nation. The United States is also keeping a watchful eye.
In addition to a nearly 2,000 mile-long border connecting the two countries, Mexico and the United States share billions of dollars in trade.
The United States offered $1.6 billion in aid to fight Mexico’s drug war — a plan that included sending troops into the streets and a crackdown on cartel bosses.
But that strategy could shift under a new president.
On the campaign trail, frontrunner candidate Enrique Pena Nieto has promised to lessen the focus on catching narco-leaders and blocking the drug flow into the United States and instead concentrate on curbing violence that affects Mexicans.
Nearly all polls point to a victory by Pena Nieto, a young, telegenic heartthrob who is married to a soap opera star.
Early returns are expected Monday evening.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Joe Sterling and Darran Simon, CNN
Eliza Mackintosh, CNN
Samantha Beech, CNN
Ray Sanchez, Zayn Nabbi, Euan McKirdy and Angela Dewan, CNN