There's much happening in Mexico in the aftermath of the nation's most
contentious election ever, but it began many months before the first vote was
cast. The popularity of leftist opposition candidate Andres Manuel
Lopez Obrador of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) scared the ruling
National Action Party (PAN) enough to get them to try to deny him the right
to run for president in the election just concluded. In April, 2005, a commission
of four members of the Chamber of Deputies (Mexico's Congress) held there was
sufficient cause to suspect Obrador committed a crime when he ordered the construction
of a service road to a hospital ignoring a judge's order against doing it. Obrador
said he was just widening the road and stopped when he learned of the court
order. The full Chamber ignored his explanation and then voted to strip him
of his government immunity from prosecution so he could be indicted, have to
stand trial and be constitutionally barred from holding or running for high
office. The transparent scheme didn't work because the people of Mexico wouldn't
tolerate it and turned out in mass street protests to support him.
That mass support succeeded in getting the ruling PAN to back down from its
attempt to keep Obrador off the ballot but not in the shoddy campaign tactics
they decided to use against him. Because of his popularity, Obrador was a serious
candidate who would likely win easily in a fair election. But there's nothing
fair about Mexican politics where the notions of dirty tricks and hardball tactics
could have been invented. From early on in the campaign, the Mexican corporate
media and ruling business-friendly right wing parties attacked Obrador viciously
as an evil twin of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, falsely accusing him of receiving
campaign funds from the Venezuelan President and being guilty of corruption
during his time as mayor of Mexico City. The ads also accused him of being a
"danger" for Mexico. In addition, government instigated street violence
in an attempt to break a teachers strike in Oaxaca and to disrupt events in
San Salvador Atenco created tension, stoked fear and were effectively used as
political and PR tools to turn enough of the public against Lopez Obrador to
erase his once insurmountable lead in the polls to a slim one on election day
- an advantage easily overcome with the shenanigans the ruling party had in
mind to use to assure its candidate won.
But Lopez Obrador was lucky PAN officials and their conspiratorial Institutional
Revolutionary Party (PRI) allies didn't intend for him what state officials
plotted and pulled off against two other noted state adversaries in the past
who paid dearly. General Emiliano Zapata, the Mexican peasant rebel leader who
supported agrarian reform and land redistribution in the battles of the Mexican
Revolution (a Mexican Simon Bolivar), was assassinated by government troops
in 1919. Then in March, 1994, leading opposition candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio
met the same fate on the campaign trail in Tijuana. Obrador survived the shabby
scheme to keep him off the ballot, was able to run as the opposition candidate,
and only paid the price of a defeat at the polls (so far) in an election clearly
stolen from him.
At this point Lopez Obrador is not going gentley "into that good night."
Given the clear election irregularities, he's demanded the ballot boxes be opened
and all votes be recounted manually. He has every right to ask for that and
more with what already is known about the fraud committed against him. The preliminary
vote totals were manipulated to show PAN candidate Felipe Calderon would be
the winner, initially 3 million votes were never counted and only in hindsight
2.5 million of them were added to the totals, 900,000 supposedly void, blank
and annulled ballots were declared null, discarded and never included in the
official totals, 700,000 additional votes disappeared from missing precincts,
thousands of voters were denied their franchise in strong Obrador precincts
and much more.
In addition, it was learned that Felipe Calderon's brother-in-law Diego Hildebrando
Zavala wrote the vote-counting software, and it's already been hacked. This
new discovery is especially disturbing as whoever controls the Federal Electoral
Institute (IFE) computer systems can manipulate the vote process, control which
votes get counted, which ones don't, and what the final vote tally will be.
The opportunity and temptation for fraud was therefore in the hands of the declared
winner's close family member and ally with every reason to believe he'd take
full advantage. Why wouldn't he and the ruling party as well given the history
of Mexican elections and the underhanded and hardball tactics the country's
entrenched power interests are known to use. They'd never be willing to give
up what they've always had an iron grip on and won't if they can get away with
their scheme. But the way to stop them is with a full, vote-by-vote independently
supervised manual recount and do it before any cast, counted or discared votes
are manipulated or destroyed. That's the only antidote for computer fraud as
well as to be able to salvage and include in the total as many of the known
uncounted and valid discarded votes as possible. It all sounds like Florida,
2000 deja vu all over again, but we know how that one turned out.
Still, Lopez Obrador said he'll contest the election and demand a full recount.
If he follows through on his challenge, he'll have to await a ruling by the
Electoral Tribunal, known as Trife, which has until September 6 to consider
his case. The new president takes office on December 1 so it's possible the
electoral challenge will succeed. In the past, Trife has reversed some local
elections including one in Obrador's home district of Tabasco in 2000, but it's
very unlikely to reverse this one given the overwhelming pressure against it
which in Mexico may include real and intimidating physical threats officials
take very seriously.
The people of Mexico may have other ideas though. As many as 500,000 Obrador
supporters (the corporate media lied and reported 100,000) held a mass protest
demonstration against the announced election outcome in Mexico City's huge Zocalo
plaza on July 8 to demand a full recount. The huge crowd chanted "No to
fraud," and "You're not alone," as Lopez Obrador announced plans
for a "national march for democracy" to begin on July 12 in each of
Mexico's 300 election districts, converging in Mexico City on July 16, again
in the Zocalo. He also accused President Fox of violating Mexican law that stipulates
a president can't endorse or campaign for a candidate which the PAN did by running
government sponsored advertisements touting its achievements. He went on to
call President Fox a "traitor to democracy" and said the "stability
of the nation" is at risk if a full vote recount isn't taken. Mr. Obrador
also told an assembled news conference "I am going to defend our victory.
This isn't over." The people of Mexico who support him certainly hope so.
The July 2 elections were also to elect members of Mexico's Chamber of Deputies.
According to the official IFE count on July 7, the PAN won 206 of the 500 seats,
followed by For the Good of All coalition consisting of the PRD and smaller
Workers Party (PT) and Convergence Party with 160 seats. The Alliance for Mexico
comprised of the PRI and small Green Ecological Party of Mexico (PVEM) won 121
seats. An incomplete final count in the Senate projected the PAN with 53 seats,
38 for the PRI coalition, 36 for the PRD coalition and 1 for PANAL.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Read from Looking Glass News
Mexican Style - Part I
2006: Florida all over again?
its Mexico's turn to face neo-con inspired mass voter fraud
IT IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES
struggles intensify on eve of Mexican elections
the worst of them all