<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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The Results of Deception

It Is Critical for the Mexican People to Act as a Political Protagonist


By Gilberto López y Rivas
La Jornada

July 17, 2006

Whatever the legal and political conclusion may be to the accusation that electoral fraud has been committed against Andrés Manuel López Obrador, it is obvious that the crisis of legitimacy in democratic institutions is the most significant feature of the current political reality in Mexico. Two hypotheses have been confirmed: one arguing that basing the current system of political representation on neoliberal globalization and capitalism makes it fragile, and the other about how powerful constituents – partisan factions associated with the state – are capable of aborting the decision-making power of a public that cannot defend itself against political machinery designed to carry out fraud, coercion and manipulation. This political machinery was recently set into motion on July 2nd, by Vicente Fox’s administration and its network of state, business, corporate and intellectual accomplices.

The current General Council of the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE in its Spanish initials) has been completely discredited by its conduct before, during and after the July 2nd elections and by its central role in the political cheating, both traditional and electronic. Despite its modern techniques, the IFE left many tracks pointing to its fraudulent behavior. The apparent fraud was so significant that indignant citizens have been denouncing the council’s president, Luis Carlos Ugalde, electoral crook who threatened the essence of the system of political representation: respect for the will of the people as expressed through the vote.

Previous accusations that surrounded the last-minute naming of nine civilian council members to the Federal Electoral Institute were also proven to be well founded. The accusations were based on concerns that the citizens named to the council had career histories, political mentors and corporate relationships that would lead them to handle their responsibilities in a partisan manner, in favor of the ruling-party candidate.

Will it be possible to trust the IFE’s vote count without knowing with absolute scientific certainty that its computers do not house an efficient and silent algorithm that rearranges quantities and produces percentages prepared in advance by the computer experts employed by Mexico’s most powerful constituents? For now, it is logical to suppose that as long as the current structure of the IFE administration exists, millions of citizens will refuse to participate in the electoral process.

As a result of this situation, a first preventive step would be to demand the immediate resignation of the General Council of the Federal Electoral Institute for not complying with the minimal requirements of equity and transparency in the development of its functions. It also brings up once again the incapacity of the parties in the Coalition for the Good of All, in particular the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), to observe the elections at a national level. These elections made it obvious to the public and to the party itself that the “citizen networks” created to protect the candidacy of Andrés Manuel López Obrador were a failure. These networks were only able to provide observation at a minimal percentage of polling places, as was documented extensively in the magazine Proceso (July 9th issue). This is important not only as part of a complete evaluation of what has happened, but also because it highlights the seriousness of this highly visible flaw in the current citizen movement against fraud, which should be organized by and based in regional and local organizations. The defense of democratic rights and the democratic victories that the Mexican people have won should go beyond the interests of one party, or one candidate. This means that actions against fraud and the naming of Calderón as president should be unified, rather than playing in to vengeance and personal resentment by seeking out “scapegoats” in the Other Campaign; especially Subcomandante Marcos, spokesman for the EZLN.

The challenge of election results being brought before the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judiciary (TEPJF) is focused on the position of President of the Republic. This means that the PRD has become the second largest political force in the nation. The party currently has the largest representation since its founding, with seats in the National Congress, local congresses, the Mexico City government and the majority of branches of government. This reality should be taken into serious account by the current civic movement towards organization and resistance. The movement should oblige this powerful political machine with many interests to maintain an active participation in the democratic movement and not to make pacts that turn into to negotiations between elites, for “the good and tranquility of the Republic.”

Each of the possibilities open to the Electoral Tribunal – which are: a) to count every single vote from every single polling place and eventually recognize López Obrador as the winner; b) validate the fraudulent version of the election results that the IFE has presented and give the victory to Felipe Calderón; or c) declare the election process null and void and install an interim government to organize new presidential elections – will also produce political and social conflicts in a Mexico already divided and fragmented by the devastating effects of neoliberal globalization.

It should not be overlooked that if the Electoral Tribunal opts to confer the presidency on Calderón, sectors of the ultra-right and its police and intellectual apparatus will once again support systematic acts of repression and provocation directed against popular movement and protest. This threat should be neutralized with an increase in mobilization and a higher level of civic organization.

In all scenarios, it is critical for the Mexican people to act as the political protagonist, since it is the Mexican people who will determine how these changes play out in the immediate future as well as the future that lies beyond the current political situation. For its part, the current situation in Mexico confirms the thesis that democracy is limited when it is ruled by neoliberal capitalism and that there must be a social movement to organize civil society that can overcome the predetermined results of a elections fixed according to the demands of the reproduction of capital, in any of its various guises.

Published in Spanish in La Jornada, July 14, 2006

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America