[Marxism] Electoral Fraud and Rebellion in Mexico

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Jul 10 04:49:20 MDT 2006

(Here in Cuba this struggle is being followed very, very closely.)

Electoral Fraud and Rebellion in Mexico 
By Roger Burbach
July 10, 2006

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.
Millions of jobs will also be created, particularly by undertaking
large construction projects to modernize Mexico's dilapidated
transportation system. 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.

More importantly Lopez Obrador pledged to break up the corrupt
economic relationship that exists between the business class and
government bureaucrats. Everyone in Mexico knows that bribes and kick
backs are common place throughout Mexico as much of the country's
wealth is skimmed off at the expense of the workers and the poor.
This system existed under the previous governments of the
Institutional Revolutionary Party, the PRI. What has made the system
particularly insidious under the PAN is that it, more than the PRI,
is the party of an entrenched business elite. Before becoming
president, Vincente Fox himself built up a huge personal fortune,
even serving as the head of Coca Cola in Mexico. Not only is Lopez
Obrador threatening to break up the system of inside favors and
corruption, he is also proclaiming that the rich will have to pay the
income and business taxes that they routinely avoid.

This evidence of fraud in the election is overwhelming. Thanks to the
Internet the most revealing details of what happened are being
produced by the on-line, dissident press. As Luis Hernandez Navarro,
a senior editor of the Mexican daily, La Jornada, told me, "the
electoral process was rigged before, during and after the election on
July 2." (See his editorial
http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2006/07/04/021a1pol.php ) In addition to
Navarro's coverage, the excellent source that explains the electoral
fraud with detailed statistics, documents and charts is written by Al
Giordano in The Narco-News Bulletin. In his latest article he
demonstrates that Lopez Obrador actually won the presidential
election by a million votes. (See
http://www.narconews.com/Issue42/article1967.html )

The proposed changes to the corrupt political system by Lopez Obrador
are reformist, not revolutionary. They are being demanded by an
increasingly restive populace that is shaking up much of Mexico. The
unrest started in 1994 with the rebellion of the Zapatista National
Liberation Army in Chiapas, Mexico. Since then there have been
periodic outbursts around the country. In 2002 militant residents of
San Salvador Atenco in the state of Mexico blocked the building of an
international airport. Earlier this year they used machetes, clubs
and Molotov cocktails to disperse police who were trying to stop 60
flower vendors from setting up their stands in the neighboring
community of Texcoco. Then just weeks before the presidential
election teachers in Oaxaca went on strike and were joined by the
entire population as they shut down the city and demanded the
resignation of the PRI governor of the state.

The sin of Lopez Obrador in the eyes of the ruling classes is not
that he fomented any of these revolts, but rather that he responds to
popular demands from below. The official candidate of the PAN, Felipe
Calderon, has painted Lopez Obrador as a demonic and messianic figure
who will stop at nothing to take power into his hands. Lopez Obrador
has indeed called for mass demonstrations in the past, but only when
the system has violated the democratic process or overtly trampled on
the poor. In 1995 when fraud occurred in elections in the state of
Tabasco, Lopez Obrador led numerous road caravans and marches over a
period of several months, culminating in a rally in Mexico City. In
1996 he helped lead a militant coalition of farmers and fisherman who
demanded compensation from state owned oil wells for damages they
suffered from a petroleum spill. Last year, a million people turned
out in the capital when the Mexican congress tried to knock Lopez
Obrador off the presidential ballot because, as mayor of Mexico City,
he violated an obscure law by building a road to a hospital.

Even some international policy analysts and editorialists in the
foreign press see that there are real dangers of a social explosion
if there is not a recounting of all the votes as Lopez Obrador is
demanding. The national security team of the Bush administration
surely must know that fraud was committed in Mexico's election, but
this did not stop Bush from calling Felipe Calderon to congratulate
him when Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute announced its rigged
results on Thursday. The ruling class in Mexico, along with its
international cohorts, now find themselves between a rock and a hard
place. If the vote recount is allowed, the fraud and corruption of
the Mexican system will be exposed for the whole world to see. If it
does not permit a fair recount, Mexico could become ungovernable.

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.

Roger Burbach is director of the Center for the Study of the
Americas, based in Berkeley, California. One of his most recent books
is The Pinochet Affair: State Terrorism and Global Justice. He has
written extensively on Latin America and is presently working on a
book on the social movements and the new left in the Americas.

More information about the Marxism mailing list