Mitt Romney's Mexican cousins lament US election loss

Mitt Romney

In a verdant oasis in the deserts of northern Mexico, Republican challenger Mitt Romney's Mormon cousins mourned his presidential election defeat on Tuesday as a lost opportunity to pull the US economy out of the doldrums.

Romney's relatives in Mexico, whom he has never visited, had high hopes their clan's most famous son would win the keys to the White House, create jobs and boost trade.

When the former private-equity executive and Massachusetts governor conceded defeat to President Barack Obama early on Wednesday, his Mexican brethren reacted with a mixture of dismay and stoic resignation, hailing his candidacy as a step forward for promoting understanding of the Mormon community.

I'm just feeling very, very sad, said Virginia Romney, who was born on the same day as Romney in 1947, and is married to his Mexican second cousin Kent.

Just to let him slip away from being president of the United States is a real tragedy for the US because he could have given the country so much, the 65-year-old added. He has been such a success in everything he has done.

The family's Mexican roots go back to Mitt Romney's great-grandfather Miles P. Romney, who crossed south of the border in the 1880s, like other early Mormon settlers in Mexico fleeing U.S. marshals who were seeking to arrest him for practicing polygamy.

His descendants still live in Mormon enclaves in the state of Chihuahua about 200 miles (320 km) from the U.S. border and near where Mitt's father, George Romney, was born. There are about 300 Mormons left in the area, and dozens called Romney.

Today, Colonia Juarez is a pocket of green fields, manicured lawns, well-pruned trees and American-style suburban life hemmed in by mile upon mile of desert waste and scrubland.

Driving down a hill into leafy, ordered surroundings, a gold statue glimmers atop a white Mormon temple. In the cemetery, the modest graves of Romneys have simple stone plaques, while flowers and crosses adorn elaborate Mexican tombs.

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