Mexico: demand grows for recount

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.

See our last posts on Mexico and the electoral crisis.

  1. Mexico and the election news??
    ?Where is the cover story for Mexico and the clearly political nightmare this has become. It is not mentioned on ANY news station on T.V…On line Cnn has one article stuffed in an international story which makes Obrador out to be crazy. Where are our US reporters???? This is outragous and very scarry.

  2. Videos show ballot tampering?
    The New York Times account, with its usual antipathy to Mexican geography, fails to say where the vidoes of alleged ballot-tampering were shot, but does note that one appears to show stuffing of a ballot box (an old Mexican trick), while the IFE insists it just shows “a poll worker putting misplaced ballots where they belonged”. But it is instructive that one was shot in Tabasco—Lopez Obrador’s home state, where the PRI is in power, not the PAN, but where the notoriously corrupt political establishment sufficiently hates him that they might act on behalf of the PAN’s Calderon in order to keep their populist native son from the presidency. From the less geography-phobic Xinhua, July 12:

    Left-wing Mexican presidential candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, showed reporters on Tuesday new videos of alleged fraud in the July 2 general elections.

    Obrador, who lost by 0.58 percentage points in the recount, also announced a planned protest march for Wednesday.

    In one video, three people appeared to be opening packets of votes, allegedly in a basement in Comalcalco, in the southeastern state of Tabasco. Such an action is illegal in Mexico, unless the packets are opened at the request of an electoral judge.

    Another video, recorded in Zacapoaxtla, in the central Mexico state of Puebla, showed an apparent attempt to obstruct the vote count.

    Obrador said his campaign had organized a march of millions of his followers, due to start on Wednesday from their home states, in order to protest the alleged July 2 election fraud. The marchers will converge in Mexico City.

    Some 100,000 protestors met on Saturday in Mexico City’s central square, the Zocalo, for what Obrador called an “informative meeting.”

    Obrador said that electoral authorities had counted many votes for him as null.

    He added that there had been vote-buying and that diplomats had lobbied foreign governments to recognize Calderon before the Federal Electoral Tribunal gave its final verdict.

    Obrador has submitted the case to the Federal Electoral Tribunal, the ultimate arbiter in electoral disputes, which has until Sept. 6 to officially declare who will replace outgoing President Vicente Fox.

    European Union observers told media separately they had not seen the widespread and organized fraud that Obrador’s campaign team had been describing.