Joining the estimated 500,000 who took to the streets of Mexico City July 8 to demand a recount in the contested presidential elections is, of all places, the Financial Times. The upper-crust British daily supported the officially victorious conservative candidate Felip Calderon, but in an editorial noting populist challenger Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s demands for a total recount, opined: “That is exactly what Mexico’s electoral authorities should do.” (La Jornada, July 11; FT, July 10)
This indicates that even conservatives fear a crisis of legitimacy in the Mexican system, and sense thte potential for a social explosion. Another strong critic of Lopez Obrador who is now accusing the government of fraud is Subcommander Marcos of the Zapatista rebels, who said in an interview with the daily La Jornada: “It is a question of a fraud orchestrated from Los Pinos [the presidential residence] and the central command of the PAN [Calderon’s National Action Party], placing in crisis the democracy, legality, and supposed neutrality of the IFE [Federal Electoral Institute].” (AP, July 7)
Writes Roger Burbach in a commentary online at (among other places) Niburu July 10:
Over half a million people took to the streets of Mexico City on Saturday to protest the fraudulent election of Felipe Calderon. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the real winner of the presidential election, told the huge crowd, “the elections were fraudulent from the start,” adding the incumbent president, Vincente Fox “has betrayed democracy.”
The reason Fox and his National Action Party (PAN) pulled out all the stops to steal the election is quite simple-they are desperately afraid of the growing class rebellion by Mexico’s poor and oppressed. The campaign slogan of Lopez Obrador was straight forward: “For the good of all, the poor first.” In a country where almost half the population lives below the poverty line Lopez Obrador pledged to provide a stipend to the elderly and health care for the poor… He also promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States, particularly the clauses that allow the importation of cheap subsidized grains that undermine Mexico’s peasant producers.
Mexico has had two major social upheavals in its history. One came with the independence movement in 1810, and the other with the revolution that began in 1910. The current fraudulent election results could spark Mexico’s next social rebellion, four years before the exact century mark.