[Marxism] 100, 000 Obrador Supporters Protest Loss

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Jul 8 20:05:52 MDT 2006

(While some foreign leftists have been complaining that AMLO's
not putting on the fight they feel he ought to, the reports we
are getting in recent hourse suggest that he IS starting to
put on a substantial fight. Time will tell how much more of a
fight and how successful, but this certainly augurs well for a
sustained campaign. Let's hope so and pay close attention since
a great deal is at stake in this struggle and, as the stragegist
Yogi Berra astutely observed, "It ain't over 'til it's over.")

July 8, 2006
100, 000 Obrador Supporters Protest Loss 
Filed at 7:22 p.m. ET

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- More than 100,000 defiant supporters of leftist
presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador massed Saturday in
a bid to overturn his narrow election defeat with protests that
threatened to widen Mexico's regional and class divisions.

Lopez Obrador told the huge crowd he would present allegations of
fraud to the nation's electoral court Monday and request that every
one of more than 41 million votes be recounted, to expose what he
called wrongdoing that cost him the election.

''We are going to ask that they clean up the elections. We are going
to ask that they count all the votes -- vote-by-vote, poll-by-poll,''
Lopez Obrador said to wide applause.

The show of defiance suggested just how difficult it will be for
apparent victor Felipe Calderon to unify Mexicans, many of whom
believe the nation has yet to overcome decades of institutional
corruption and fraud.

European Union election observers have said they had found no major

But the ruling party's Calderon can't be declared president-elect
until the electoral court weighs allegations of fraud or unfair
campaign practices. It has until Sept. 6 to declare a winner.

Election officials say Calderon beat Lopez Obrador by less than
244,000 votes out of a total of 41 million ballots -- or a margin of
about 0.6 percent.

Most of Lopez Obrador's supporters come from poor southern states
while conservative Felipe Calderon's strength is in Mexico's
industrialized north.

''We are never going to recognize this man (Calderon),'' said
Apolinario Fernandez, 37, a teacher from Lopez Obrador's home state
of Tabasco in the southeast. ''If he wants, let him govern in the
north for the rich, but not in the south.''

Fernandez traveled all night to the demonstration in Mexico City's
famed Zocalo plaza, where more than 100,000 people in the square
waved banners with slogans denouncing the alleged fraud.

Calderon, who says the vote was clean, has already declared himself
the winner and has received congratulatory phone calls from President
Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Spanish Prime Minister
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

But Lopez Obrador's supporters remained unconvinced.

''We are ready to do whatever is necessary,'' said Belasario Cruz,
32, a farmer from Tabasco. ''We are tired of the rich having
everything and the poor having nothing.''

There were smaller demonstrations planned in cities including Tijuana
on the U.S. border and San Cristobal de las Casas in the south.

Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor, has asked protesters to be
peaceful and law-abiding, but also said the government would be
responsible for any flare-up of anger because officials had rejected
his demand for a manual recount.

There were no immediate reports of arrests or violence.

But the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City urged U.S. citizens ''to avoid
downtown Mexico City and surrounding areas'' during the protest,
noting that ''even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn
confrontational and escalate into violence.''

In a meeting with foreign correspondents, Lopez Obrador said there
were more irregularities in the balloting than under the
Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which ruled Mexico until
it was ousted by President Vicente Fox in 2000.

Calderon belongs to Fox's conservative National Action Party

''The National Action Party learned from the fraudulent practices of
the PRI and it exceeded them,'' Lopez Obrador said.

Lopez Obrador's millions of extremely devoted followers religiously
follow his message of helping the poor and downtrodden.

He has in the past headed protests that turned disruptive or violent.

In 1996, he led farmers and fishermen in sometimes-violent takeovers
of state-owned oil wells to demand compensation for damages from an
oil spill.

Last year, as Mexico City mayor, he led huge street protests that
forced Fox to fire his attorney general and drop a legal case that
would have kept Lopez Obrador out of the presidential race.

These days, Lopez Obrador must walk a tightrope. If he appears too
radical, he risks hurting his party and its chances in the next
presidential elections in 2012. If he appears too moderate, he risks
disappointing his core supporters.

''His political stock would increase greatly for 2012'' if he finds a
way to concede defeat gracefully, political analyst Oscar Aguilar

Lopez Obrador says he will challenge the result in electoral
tribunals and in the Supreme Court. He claims hundreds of thousands
of votes for him remain uncounted, miscounted or voided.

Electoral authorities say the law allows such a recount only where
credible evidence of irregularities exist for a specific polling

Aguilar predicted that Lopez Obrador would never recognize Calderon's
narrow electoral victory.

''He will never concede defeat,'' Aguilar said. ''Once the election
results are certified, he will open a permanent campaign of
criticizing the government.''

More information about the Marxism mailing list