[Marxism] Wall Street Journal's Mary Anastasia O'Grady: "AMLO's Last Stand"

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Jul 15 00:28:34 MDT 2006

(The Wall Street Journal's "Americas" columnist, who campaigned
stridely for Calderon before the election, and which gave him
the bums-rush the moment the polls closed, personally certifying
Calderon's democratic credentials, even before federal election
apparatus in Mexico did that, now complains about AMLO's weird
notion that a recount actually means recounting each and every
one of the votes. After all, the presidency of the country is 
at stake, so an honest count really matters. Yesterdy's Granma
(Friday) featured an entire page interview, taken from Mexico's
LA JORNADA, with AMLO on his campaign for a recount. Its head-
line is "I will fight to the end." The Wall Street Journal is
even dredging up supposed "leftist intellectuals", for whom it
is expressing solidarity, to try to creat a bandwagon against
the call for a full recount in the Mexican election. And if 
all this weren't enough, O'Grady here once again personally
re-certifies Calderon's triumph in the election. Could anyone
with a particle of rationality disagree with Ms. O'Grady?)

July 14, 2006
AMLO's Last Stand
July 14, 2006; Page A13

Now is the summer of Andres Manuel López Obrador's discontent.

The Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) candidate lost the July 2
Mexican presidential election -- in both the initial count and a
recount -- by a razor-thin margin to National Action Party (PAN)
candidate Felipe Calderón. And judging by the string of bitter
denunciations he has unleashed against the Mexican government, the
independent electoral institute, civil society, foreign heads of
state who have congratulated the winner and even members of his own
party, Mr. López Obrador, like Shakespeare's Richard III, sees
himself the victim of a world out to get him.

Now he's out to get even. His chief spokesman, Gerardo Fernández
Noroña, said this week that if the judicial tribunal of the Federal
Electoral Institute does not approve a full recount, this time
opening every one of the sealed packages of votes totaling 41
million, "we are not going to let him [Calderón] govern." Legal
channels are only one path, he suggested. "The other road is

That threat isn't even veiled. But even if Mexico wanted to go the
dangerous route of appeasing a bully, it would be impossible, unless
it decides to break the law. Mexico's electoral law makes it illegal
to open sealed packets of ballots that have been witnessed by party
reps present at the scene, unless there is cause and then only on a
case-by-case basis. Even if parties consent to a nationwide recount
that would rip open every sealed ballot, it is still not allowed.

A violation of the electoral law at this moment in Mexico's history
would take the struggle for democracy back more than a decade. That's
how long Mexico has been working to establish a rule of law to
replace the rule of men in smoky back rooms, which dominated the
country under the long-reigning Institutional Revolutionary Party
(PRI). President Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000) took a huge step toward
that goal when he made the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE)
independent. Mexico now has a clearly written legal code that
dictates how an election should be run and an independent electoral

Mr. López Obrador certainly knew the rules when he told a Mexico City
journalist on May 12 that he would accept the election results under
IFE "because in democracy one wins or loses and there has to be
respect for the will of the people." His right-hand man Manuel
Camacho knew it too when on the night of the election he penned an
op-ed to run the next day in Mexico's El Universal, pronouncing that
"the citizens have triumphed" in a fair election.

Now Messrs. López Obrador and Camacho want to reverse the agreed-upon
rules on the grounds that the 244,000-vote margin is a close call.
But does anyone seriously believe that if AMLO -- Mr. López Obrador's
nickname -- had won the election by even a lesser number of votes, we
would be having a debate about breaking the law and opening sealed
ballots without cause?

So far the IFE has been heroically true to the legal code, despite
the vitriol coming from AMLO. This week it said that it would not
unseal any more ballots without directions from the tribunal judges,
as the law requires.

The 355 claims of district irregularities from three parties (225
PRD, 129 PAN and one PRI) that were filed this week will now be
handled by these seven judges. The PRD's claims cover 50,000 polling
stations and according to sources who have read the legal brief, they
challenge the outcome in these locations on the grounds that the vote
in favor of the PAN was coerced. The PAN claims cover 600 polling
stations and include specific allegations, the majority of which
challenge illegal changes in agreed-upon polling station locations.

It is highly unlikely that these challenges will change the outcome
of the election or that the tribunal will grant a full recount,
something it has consistently ruled against in state elections. This
is why the PRD has also petitioned the court separately to annul the
vote. This is a fact that Mr. López Obrador was loathe to admit when
interviewed on television by Joaquín López Dóriga on Tuesday. The
candidate denied the fact until the journalist read aloud directly
from the petition: that the court "not issue the declaration that
validates the election." "What you are asking is the nullification of
the election through that clause," stated Mr. López Dóriga. The
loquacious AMLO was temporarily tongue-tied.

It was another hit to his credibility, and damage is mounting. It
started on the night of the election when the IFE announced that the
vote was too close to call and AMLO immediately grabbed a microphone
and declared that the PRD had "information" that he was 500,000 votes
in the lead. That turned out to be a bogus claim as independent polls
showed Mr. Calderón to be the winner. Then came the video tape
released by the AMLO campaign on Monday, which purported to show an
election official in Guanajato -- where Mr. Calderón won handily --
stuffing a ballot box. It turned out that the ballots had been placed
in the wrong box and a PRD worker in that polling station says she
approved moving them. AMLO responded by casting doubt on her honesty
and suggesting she had been bribed.

Now comes the revelation that while he has publicly denied it, AMLO
wants to annul the whole electoral exercise, which more than one
million Mexicans witnessed and which the European Union, the United
Nations and the Organization of American States judged one of the
cleanest they had seen.

No wonder the Mexican left is starting to turn on this guy. This week
Roberto Blancarte, a professor at El Colegio de Mexico and a solid
leftist intellectual who has been consistently critical of the PAN,
wrote a commentary in the Mexican daily Milenio titled "I Voted for
López Obrador and Already I'm Sorry."

As the headline suggests, AMLO is turning out to be an embarrassment
for Mexico's progressives. Under his leadership and that of former
PRI chieftains like Mr. Camacho -- who was secretary general of the
PRI in 1988 when the election was famously stolen by his party --
Mexico's left-of-center looks more like El Jurassic Park than FDR's
Hyde Park. The modern wing of the Mexican left knows that if it ever
wants to get back in power it has to unload the dinosaurs and
recognize that the rule of law matters. That's what makes this a test
case not only for the IFE tribunal but for all of Mexico. 	

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