Wednesday, July 05, 2006


US lapdog media helps Mexican right wing steal liberty

The Mexican election shows clear signs of tampering. It is likely that Mexico is headed into political crisis, because the right has whipped up a campaign of hate against the left wing candidate. And, via Daily Kos, it looks like that candidate is winning, up by 2% with 80% of the vote counted. Worse: our lapdog media is part of attempting to steal freedom from the Mexican people. From DemocracyNow The party of populist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is demanding a full, vote-by-vote recount in Mexico's closest-ever presidential race. A preliminary count of the votes cast in Sunday's election gave a slim lead to conservative candidate Felipe Calderon. But federal election officials acknowledged Tuesday that more than three million ballots - or eight percent of the total - remain uncounted. In the latest tally, Calderon leads Lopez Obrador by just over 0.6 of a percentage point, meaning the race is still too close to call. David Brooks, U.S. Bureau Chief for Mexican Daily newspaper La Jornada. Gilberto López Rivas, anthropologist... John Ross, a regular contributor to the Nation,... George Grayson, professor of Government at the College of William and Mary.... GEORGE GRAYSON: ... I was out on election day as an observer visiting various precincts, and I found it to be a relatively calm, orderly process, except their so-called special precincts, casillas especiales... JOHN ROSS: ... you can't tell anything from what happens in the pol[l]s on election day, elections here are stolen before, during and after the election, and so now we’re in the aftermath, and we saw the disappearance of 3 million votes from the PREP, from the preliminary totals. Only 2.5 million have been put back in there. There's still 600,000 votes out there. I personally believe that those votes were not counted on Sunday night to give the impression that Felipe Calderon had won the election. ... Way before the campaigns began in January, when Luis Carlos Ugalde was appointed president of the IFE, we began to see a pronounced bias against Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and in favor of Felipe Calderon in the decisions that the IFE and Ugalde were making. This latest event where three million votes disappeared and then were placed back in after Ugalde was called on it, and he only on a television interview yesterday morning admitted that these votes had been taken out. The other thing, Amy, that we really have to look at is that there's an enormous disparity between the numbers of votes that have been cast for senators and deputies and those for the president. And interestingly enough, in those states in which the PRD, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's party, has won the elections, there are much many fewer votes for the president than there are for the senators and deputies, whereas in the states that the PAN now controls, there are many more votes for the president than there are for the senators and the deputies. And the state that’s most, I think, blaring here is the state of Tabasco. There were 13% more votes for the president than there are for senators and congressmen. And I say that Tabasco is an interesting case, because both the candidate from the PRI, Roberto Madrazo, and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador are natives of Tabasco, and of course there would be a much higher vote for president than there would be for senators or deputies. So, that’s where we are. Today, they begin to tally up the districts. There's going to be a huge fight about whether or not you get to open up the ballot box, open up the bags in which the ballots are counted, and recount those things. What we're seeing here is a replay of the 1988 election, which was stolen from Cuauhtemoc Cardenas by an electoral authority that was then part of the government. The IFE is supposed to be autonomous. But we're seeing a replay right down to the fact that on Saturday night two poll-watchers [inaudible] were shot, were killed. After the 1988 election was stolen from Cardenas, hundreds and hundreds of his supporters were killed in political violence here. ... GILBERTO LOPEZ RIVAS: Well, I think that we have the phantom of the fraud election and state election appearing now in the public opinion and letters. Hundreds of letters in electronic means of communication are counting the irregularities and the forms in which this fraud is carried on by the Institute of Federal Elections. And I think that the counting of the votes could clear this fraud or could confirm that there is complicity between Ugalde, who is the head of the Institute of Federal Elections, and the President Fox. ... ...So what is happening now is that I receive hundreds of mails that are calling to demonstrations. As a matter of fact, today we have several demonstrations in front of the electoral body counting. So, I think that the society, Mexican society, cannot afford another fraud ... AMY GOODMAN: The Los Angeles Times is reporting today suspicion among Lopez Obrador's supporters was heightened Monday when the investigative magazine Proceso, citing police intelligence sources, reported that senior Interior Ministry officials had attempted to shape media coverage on election night. Ministry officials called the news directors at Mexico’s two leading television networks and requested that they not broadcast the results of their exit polls, Proceso reported, those exit polls, of course, showing that Lopez Obrador was in the lead.... AMY GOODMAN: David Brooks, can you talk about the role of U.S. consultants in Mexico, specifically Dick Morris? DAVID BROOKS: I mean, the campaign of Felipe Calderon became much more successful once it went negative and it started borrowing U.S.-style fear campaign tactics and negative campaigning. Dick Morris was one of the informal consultants. He claims that he was never hired and wasn't full-time, but that he has said and admitted that he did have informal consultations with the Calderon campaign. DAVID BROOKS: ..That media campaign has now crossed the border. And just yesterday, the L.A. Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, all published editorials basically repeating some of the claims of Lopez Obrador as a danger, basically proclaiming that, in their view, Calderon has won the election, and saying that that's a good thing for Mexico and for the United States....And the other factor there is, of course, that the U.S. has been very careful, the U.S. government has been very careful not to openly participate in this election, which is a wise thing to do. But it's no secret that the Bush administration, that Wall Street and, of course, the major media in this country favor Felipe Calderon, and that is also creating an issue of be careful what you read in the editorials, although the reports in most of these papers contradict the editorial. JOHN ROSS: ... I wanted to take up another thing, because I think it's important, and also to respond to Professor Grayson, who wrote a hit piece, a book that was a hit piece on Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador: this question of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as being a violator of the law. We see statements in the New York Times by Ginger Thompson that he led violent demonstrations in Tabasco in 1996. I was with Lopez Obrador at those demonstrations in front of the PEMEX platforms. They were, in fact, nonviolent demonstrations. Just another example of how the U.S. press has turned this thing around. And, you know, here in Mexico City was accused of breaking the law because he tried to build an access road to a hospital out in Cuajimalpa in violation of a court order. They tried to bar him from the ballot. Major parties and Vicente Fox tried to bar him from the ballot. He put 1.2 million people in the streets. I was happy to march in that demonstration, the largest political demonstration in Mexico’s history, last April. And they dropped the charges right away. The other thing is that, you know, when we say that the media has been very bad in this campaign, we have to understand that they're operating with the permission of the IFE. These hit pieces spots that ran for months and months that compared Lopez Obrador, inter-cut his face Hugo Chavez, Subcomandante Marcos, riots, lynchings, whatever you want, all these inter-cut his face, ran for months and months and months despite the objections of the PRD and of Lopez Obrador. It was only when there was a court order to have them removed that the IFE moved to remove those from the air just at the beginning of June. Time and time again -- I think the most -- one of the most egregious errors, maybe a deliberate error, that the IFE committed during this campaign was to disenfranchise millions and millions of Mexicans north of the border by setting up a procedure where it was impossible for people, undocumented workers, in the United States to cast a ballot, although there is a law now that says they're allowed to cast that ballot. ... When someone thinks they can decide who should be the leader of a nation despite the will of the populace, that, my friends, is totalitarianism. And totalitarianism is what Lady Hawhaw, The Washington Post, and a number of newspapers are abetting.
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