Friday, July 07, 2006


Americans, even the most conscientious of us, sleep while our neighbor's home burns

Only a handful of blogs such as Sideshow and Allspinzone are even carrying the story of the meltdown of Mexico's political system. Kos should be interested, right? He knows just how scary it is when the government loses credibility. I don't think there's been a thread since election night. Atrios? No interest. A post on DeLong's board pleading for a thread was met with a shrug. What people do not seem to understand is that Mexico entered this election in a state of civil disorder, with parts of the country resembling Baghdad. A stolen election is very likely a prelude to violence. In 1988, there was a wave of murders by the right of supporters of Cuahtemoc Cardenas to suppress resistance to a stolen election. This time, it could drift into civil war. Despite Americans's dismissive attitudes, Mexico is an essential part of our economy. It is the fourteenth largest exporter, supplying over $200B in goods, including agricultural products, assembled appliances, vehicles, and electronics, and natural gas and other petroleum products. And they are one of our best customers. I urge our readers to reflect on the following and how it will almost certainly impact their lives. We cannot sleep while ourneighbor's home burns. John Ross., July 2nd 2006: Despite outgoing president Vicente Fox's avowal that Mexico is "at` peace", it doesn't really look that way. As the tightest presidential election in its 196-year history comes down to the wire, the nation is wracked by a spasm of violent social confrontation. Item--On April 21st, a thousand elite state and federal police descended upon a striking steel plant in Lazaro Cardenas Michoacan, firing tear gas and live ammunition wildly. But 600 strikers fought back with slingshots and iron ore pellets and drove the police off with heavy machinery. Two young workers were killed in the melee.... Item--On June 15th, thousands of striking school teachers in the southern state of Oaxaca encamped in the central plaza of the state capitol were dislodged by a coordinated police attack that left 100 teachers injured, two of them wounded by gun fire--there are unconfirmed reports of two deaths.... Item--It is now seven weeks since the brutal assault by state and federal police on machete-wielding farmers in San Salvador Atenco just outside Mexico City in which two young men were killed, hundreds beaten and jailed, and at least 23 women either raped or sexually abused by the invading security forces. Although protests of the atrocities have now spread to 34 countries and Atenco has become a world-wide symbol of Mexico's flagrant disregard for human rights, impunity reigns.... Blas Atempa on the Oaxaca isthmus is a potential Atenco as state authorities threaten to crush a local autonomous council that has the support of the Zapatistas' Other Campaign. On the fringes of Mexico City, gangs of "ruteros" or freelance bus drivers battle savagely for hours over turf and police are powerless to intervene. The narco wars rage in Mexican cities with five beheadings in Tijuana last week rivaling Baghdad on a bad day... But the biggest trouble could come not on Election Day but the day after if a closely fought vote is not resolved quickly and cleanly to the satisfaction of the participants. With Lopez Obrador and Felipe Calderon still nose to nose and the PAN's attack ads flying, emotions on both sides are peaking. The consensus of the pundits is that although Lopez Obrador has pulled ahead by three points in late polling... John Ross, July 2, 2006 Poll results are brazenly for sale in the run up to Mexican elections and all are equally untrustworthy. For almost 30 months, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), the former Mexico City mayor and candidate of the leftish Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) led the preferences, sometimes by as much as 18 points. But by April, under an unanswered barrage of attack commercials labeling him a danger to the nation in big block letters across the television screen, AMLO's lead had frittered away into a virtual tie with rightwing National Action Party candidate Felipe Calderon.... AMLO's diminished numbers were further complicated by Marcos's arrival in the capitol. [Marcos] has blasted the PRD and its candidate unceasingly in stump speech after stump speech across much of Mexico for the past five months...Marcos always reserves special invective for Lopez Obrador and the PRD -- the Other Campaign is, after all, a battle for the hearts and minds of the Mexican left. But perhaps the cruelest blow that [Marcos] has yet struck against his rival on the left came when he declared under the heat of national TV cameras that Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador would be the winner of the July 2nd election. Marcos's "endorsement" is seen in some quarters as being akin to Osama Bin Laden's 2004 U.S. election eve TV appearance that frightened millions of voters into re-electing George Bush. John Ross, July 5 2006 Under the PRI's seven-decade reign, the period between election day and the official declaration of a winner--always a member of the PRI--was utilized to cook the final results. Now under the right-wing National Action Party (PAN) and with outgoing president Vicente Fox calling the shots, the abuse of state power is once again evident. ... Lopez Obrador went into Election Day with a small lead in reputable polls; exit polling seems to have confirmed a slender victory, although the Federal Electoral Institute has been reluctant to discuss the numbers. ...On election eve 2006, two PRD poll watchers were shot and killed in conflict-ridden Guerrero state in what public officials called an "attempted robbery." That is exactly the way the killing began in 1988. DemocracyNow, July 7, 2006 JUAN GONZALEZ: In terms of the official count that did occur in the last -- in the midweek, there were instances where some ballot boxes were opened, and generally speaking, the counts, the actual counts, there improved the numbers for Lopez Obrador, didn't they, for the most part? LAURA CARLSEN: Yes, that's exactly right. The ones that were opened, according to these very strict rules that the Federal Elections Institute has for which ones you open or not, they did have mistakes in them. And those mistakes generally did favor Felipe Calderon. This will be one of the -- certainly one of the arguments that the group of lawyers of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will put forward when they ask the court to review the matter, because they're saying that not only there are mistakes, but these mistakes tend to have a tendency to favor the rightwing candidate. ...The Federal Electoral Institute was slow in applying many of its own rules during [the pre-election] period, particularly there's a rule against smear campaigns. Basically the rule says that you have to say something positive about your own platform and not just attack the opponent, which was characteristic of the campaign of fear that was orchestrated by Felipe Calderon against Lopez Obrador. In fact, the slogan was “Lopez Obrador is a danger to Mexico.” And it took months for the Elections Institute to rule that illegal. The same with the intervention of President Fox in the elections. ...The coverage that I’ve been seeing through the New York Times today, for example, and others, I think, is very unfair. What [Obrador has] called for is not a show of strength in the Zocalo, although in many ways it will indicate the kind of support he has, but, as I say, an informative assembly. And he's been very, very careful to make it clear that the idea is not to take the resolution of this problem to the streets, but to begin to talk to supporters about what comes next and to keep it within the legal channels. When PAN displaced PRI as Mexico's dominant party, there was hope that the system would change. It has not. PAN has become PRI, displacing local bosses and strongmen with servants of foreign investors. The "dinosaurios" are still running the shop, but this time as employees.
So you think the situation in Mexico was stable when? I'm 55 years old, and the story on Mexico has always been chaos, corruption, poverty, instability, prostitution,
etc over that entire time. Maybe you are old enough to know of another time when things were OK down there? Come to think of it, it's never been OK down there.
Craig, what I think is that Mexico is on the brink of civil war.

There was a time, before 1968, when Mexico was a much more hopeful place. Yes, there was corruption, poverty, and rampant discrimination of the kind we associate with the Mississippi Delta in 1960. But the Cardenas era, like the FDR era in the United States, had left people with a sense that things could be different. Until 1968, when the government murdered dozens or hundreds of people for the crime of having a different opinion, Mexico was moving toward being a more genuinely democratic society. Since then, it has moved progressively toward totalitarianism.

Now I understand from your blog that you think the right has an exclusive lock on the truth, and that the left is delusional, criminal, treasonous.

This kind of thinking is a form of moral illness, a blindness, a sickness of the soul. The right in the United States, like the right in Mexico is bringing down upon its people a catastrophe of the kind Jeremiah described as making the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. There is probably nothing anyone can do to stop it, because the people who need to see have no eyes, the people who need to hear have no ears. All because they think they are the sole possessors of truth.
i'll pick this up at correntewire. i've been lax on this, mainly out of my own ignorance (although several of my blogmates have carried it) thanks for the informative post.
Thanks, CD. From posts I have seen elsewhere, I know that your work is widely read and regarded.

And I see Lambert has a link to the LAT. One has to get below the headline, below the fold, and past an unrebutted lie by Calderon regarding the very limited recount that was done to get to the allegations:

PRD officials say they have ample evidence of irregularities. In many instances, they said, vote totals at precincts in Calderon strongholds, such as the central state of Guanajuato, exceeded the number of ballots delivered to those precincts.

The election was monitored by hundreds of international observers, many of whom lauded the apparent orderliness of Sunday's vote. Some, however, did note irregularities during the official count of polling station reports that began Wednesday.

And Global Exchange seems have done a 180. A couple of days ago, they said the election was crooked. I suspect we're getting some selective quotation. But all these things represent issues to monitor.

Meanwhile, Obrador is doing a massive townhall meeting to get people prepared for the legal battle to come.
Es muy importante contrastar las declaracciones de Amlo 12 días antes de la elección, poco antes de finalizar el prep, y un día después del cómputo distrital, consulta el video en:
Ahora cumples!!
Yes, We need to keep working this one.

Thanks for the alert.
"Craig" is a moron, pay him no mind. He says Glenn Greenwald's book was never on the best seller list at the NY Times, because he forgot to check the paperback list-it is not available in hardcover, never has been. Craig also does not allow anonymous comments, and insists on approving what you say as well. How brave. Well, I guess if I had such a tenuous grip on facts, I'd use whatever I could to cover up my ignorance too.

This post has definitely made me curous about Mexican politics. I should and will probably pay more attention in the future.
Gracias por estas novedades, escrito en Spamish en MercuryRising, Pandaluz.
Thank you for this news, written in Spamish on MercuryRising, Pandaluz.

A ver en que nivel de Espanol le puedo contestar.
Let's see at what level of Spanish I can answer.

1. Si politicos no mienteran, de politicos habria pocos.
If politicians didn't lie, there wouldn't be politicians.

2. Usar payasos para ilustrar su punto de vista no es buena estrategia. Y Brozo tampoco.
Using clowns to illustrate your point of view is not a good strategy. And not Brozo (the guy with green hair) either.

3. Lopez Obrador dijo que si perdiera la eleccion, no desafiara el voto. Pero parece a mi-- y a la NYT-- que no han contado las papeletas completamente.
Lopez Obrador said that if he lost the election, he wouldn't challenge it. But it looks to me-- and to the New York Times-- that the ballots haven't been counted fully.

4. Lopez Obrador prometio que no iba a comenzar una guerra en las calles. Hasta ahora, todo esta tranquilo.
Lopez Obrador promised he wouldn't start a street war. So far, things are peaceful.

5. Su anuncio me parece propaganda. No va a cambiar la opinion de nadien.
This looks likes propaganda to me. It's not going to change anyone's opinion.
Welcome, Ron, to the question of the Mexican election, to MercuryRising, and to the left side of politics.

Like you, there are many things that the right says it stands for that I support. Unfortunately, they don't stand for those things.

They don't stand for fewer abortions, or they would be in favor of contraception (and they wouldn't lie in claiming that prior to legalization, there was no abortion).

They don't stand for people climbing the ladder of opportunity. If they did, they wouldn't ask us to pay Paris Hilton's taxes or let major corporations off the hook for their taxes.

They don't stand for Christianity or they would feed the poor, oppose capital punishment, and avoid starting wars.

I can't tell what the right stands for except hating people, free lunch for the wealthy, and grabbing what belongs to other countries. A member of the middle class who is voting Republican is a chicken voting to make Colonel Sanders a general.
Hey Charles, a post on the topic finally got front-paged on Kos...


Nice work! Keep beating the drum.

Thanks for this good news, Richard.

BTW, I keep discovering new means by which the Washington Post proves it is full of s--t. The demo was very different than described, with AMLO emphasizing this is a peaceful movement.
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