<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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Al Giordano

Opening Statement, April 18, 2000
¡Bienvenidos en Español!
Bem Vindos em Português!

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Mexico’s Partial Vote Recount Confirms Massive and Systematic Election Fraud

With Less than 9 Percent of Precincts Recounted, More than 126,000 Votes Are Found to Have Been Disappeared or Illegally Fabricated

By Al Giordano
Part V of a Special Series for The Narco News Bulletin

August 14, 2006

Finally, the hard numbers are starting to come in. In the “partial recount” of paper ballots from the July 2 presidential election in Mexico, ordered by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (known as the Trife), the recount has been completed in 10,679 precincts of the 11,839 ordered by the court (about 9 percent of Mexico’s 130,000 precincts). From these precincts, Narco News has obtained the following preliminary numbers that confirm the massive and systematic electoral fraud inflicted on the Mexican people:

  • In 3,074 precincts (29 percent of those recounted), 45,890 illegal votes, above the number of voters who cast ballots in each polling place, were found stuffed inside the ballot boxes (an average of 15 for each of these precincts, primarily in strongholds of the National Action Party, known as the PAN, of President Vicente Fox and his candidate, Felipe Calderón).
  • In 4,368 precincts (41 percent of those recounted), 80,392 ballots of citizens who did vote are missing (an average of 18 votes in each of these precincts).
  • Together, these 7,442 precincts contain about 70 percent of the ballots recounted. The total amount of ballots either stolen or forged adds up to 126,282 votes altered.
  • If the recount results of these 10,679 precincts (8.2 percent of the nation’s 130,000 polling places) are projected nationwide, it would mean that more than 1.5 million votes were either stolen or stuffed in an election that the first official count claimed was won by Calderon by only 243,000 votes.
  • Among the findings of this very limited partial recount are that in 3,079 precincts where the PAN party is strong and where, in many cases, the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) of candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador did not count with election night poll watchers, one or more of three things occurred: Either the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE, in its Spanish initials) illegally provided more ballots than there are voters in those precincts, or the PAN party stole those extra ballots, or ballots were forged.

Taqueo and Saqueo

These preliminary recounts demonstrate mainly two kinds of fraud: “taqueo,” or the stuffing of ballot boxes with false votes as if putting extra beans inside a taco, and “saqueo,” or “looting,” that is, the disappearance of legitimate ballots cast.

A significant problem, now, for Mexican democracy (for those who claim that the election was fair, and also for those who view this evidence as proof of electoral fraud) is that there is no way to tell, inside each ballot box, which of the ballots were legal and which were not; nor which ballots were stolen and which were not.

In some past post-electoral disputes for state and local offices, the Trife electoral court has opted, based on this kind of evidence, to annul the results from those precincts where stuffing or looting occurred.

If the Trife follows the law and its own established precedents, and annuls the results in these 7,442 precincts where the fraud took place, it would reverse the official results and López Obrador would emerge the victor by more than 425,000 votes nationwide.

Specifically, Calderón would lose 1,225,326 votes from his tally, while López Obrador would lose just 556,600; a difference of 668,726. When factoring in IFE’s claim that Calderón has a more than 243,000 vote advantage, López Obrador would still win the election by those 425,000 votes plus some.

In other words, if the Supreme Electoral Court determines that only half of the problematic precincts are to be annulled, López Obrador would still be declared the presidential victor. To continue to impose Calderón, at this point, would require the court’s endorsement of results from at least 4,000 precincts that the recount has demonstrated were scenes of the electoral crimes of ballot-stuffing and ballot-theft. By failing to annul those precincts, the court would, in effect, annul the legitimacy of the Mexican State, lighting the fuse on a social conflict much larger than anything that has yet occurred in the wake of the fraudulent election.

The Clock Is Ticking

The Trife court has a constitutional deadline of August 31 to complete its computations and of September 6 to either declare the presidential winner or, alternately, to annul the elections. The court has very broad and absolute power to annul up to 20 percent of the precincts without annulling the entire election (annulment would mean that Congress would choose an interim president and new elections would be called within two years). If the Trife annuls more than 20 percent of the precincts, the entire election would have to be annulled.

López Obrador and his supporters have demanded a full recount of all precincts: “Vote by vote, precinct by precinct.” And, indeed, the results of the partial recount strongly suggest that a full recount would demonstrate that they won the election. As the tension has risen, and the deadlines approach, López Obrador supporters maintain a 12-mile encampment in downtown Mexico City, have symbolically closed government office buildings, held mass marches with millions of protesters, maintained encampments outside of IFE offices throughout the country, and this past week began “takings” of toll booths on federal highways, allowing motorists to pass through without paying.

López Obrador has already announced that if the Trife tries to impose Calderón, there will be “civil resistance” at the halls of Congress on September 1, when President Vicente Fox must give his annual State of the Union address, and that on Mexico’s national Independence Day, September 15, when the president traditionally leads the “cry of pain” from the Mexico City Zocalo, the opponents to the electoral fraud will displace Fox with a cry of their own.

Many observers viewed the Trife court’s initial rejection of a full recount as a reflection of the court’s own bias and willingness to impose Calderón as president at any cost. Others believe that the electoral court’s own established precedent of annulling precincts where ballot stuffing or theft occurred puts it in a position of having to annul those 7,442 precincts (almost six percent of all precincts nationwide), reversing the results of the election. Also, recently, one of the justices of the nation’s Supreme Court suggested in public that if the Trife doesn’t or can’t establish certainty over the result, the highest court may then intervene. In other words, September 6 might not be the final date of the legal conflict over this very tarnished election.

Presence of Malice

Photo: D.R. 2006 El Universal
The partial recount has also revealed more evidence of a pattern of malice on the part of IFE officials. The existence of more ballots than there are voters in PAN stronghold precincts indicates that either the IFE illegally sent more ballots than allowed to those precincts, or somehow the party in power obtained them by other illegal means. The recount has also revealed a massive number of precincts where the seals on the ballot boxes had been broken since Election Day, opening the possibility that ballots were inserted or removed after July 2nd.

Mexico’s television duopoly – Televisa and TV Azteca – have declined to report the irregularities that have surfaced as a result of the partial recount. The same goes for much – but not all – of the corporate media. The facts have instead broken the media blockade via Internet and organization, as well as the detailed reporting of the daily La Jornada in Mexico City, the daily Por Esto! in Yucatán (two of the nation’s four largest newspapers) and some other media. Add to this mediatic schizophrenia the factor that those who support Calderón and insist the election was clean are passive, lacking conviction, whereas those millions who believe an electoral fraud was committed are active, and in the streets, and it is evident that just as the Mexican State has lost legitimacy, the corporate (especially television) media have lost credibility and power to spin public opinion.

Photo: D.R. 2006 Reforma
This morning, part of the protest encampment in downtown Mexico City, along Madero Street, was dismantled by its participants and thousands moved, en masse, to the entrance to the halls of the Federal Congress. Riot police blocked them from reaching the doors. There was some pushing and shoving, as the accompanying photos show, but demonstrators – who outnumbered police by a factor of thousands – by and large remained peaceful, still holding out a cubic-centimeter of hope that the Trife electoral tribunal will do the right thing and fix the fraud. But that patience is as thin as a razor, and as the clock counts down to the decision that the Trife must make by September 6, the electoral court and its seven judges now have the facts in hand, the evidence of systematic fraud that changed the results, which the partial recount has furnished.

The anti-fraud protestors have maintained a peaceful round-the-clock vigil outside the halls of Congress in the Mexico City neighborhood of San Lazaro for various weeks, in which many of the current senators and congress members from the PRD party have participated. At 2:15 this afternoon, elements of the Federal Preventive Police (PFP, in its Spanish initials, the same agency that invaded San Salvador Atenco in May) attacked the vigil encampment, according to this wire report from La Jornada. (The report states that six congressmen and women were wounded in the attack; El Universal reports the number of legislators wounded by police at 11.) When police forces attack and prevent duly elected senators and congress members from entering their own governing hall, the term for that is coup d’etat. It is an invitation to social revolution. The events of recent weeks and months in Mexico suggest that Vicente Fox and his attack troops would be wrong to presume that there are enough police in the country to hold back the turn of history that he is provoking from above.

Photo: D.R. 2006 El Universal
Today marks two months since June 14, when 15,000 citizens of Oaxaca beat back and chased 3,000 riot cops from that city’s historic center, revealing the “new math” of Mexican protest movements. They have since taken the state TV station and more than 30 city halls, as well as having shut down the state government in their demand that repressive Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz resign. Yet their numbers are a fraction of the masses that, in Mexico City and elsewhere, are resisting the electoral fraud. And added to the post-electoral conflict, more related to that in Oaxaca, is the unsettled account of 30 political prisoners arrested May 3 and 4 in San Salvador Atenco, the pending arrival there of indigenous comandantes from the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN, in its Spanish initials), and the quiet organizing being done from Mexico City and in other states by its Subcomandante Marcos and thousands of organizations and adherents to the Zapatista Other Campaign, which, outside the glare of the media and the electoral spectacle, organizes toward a national rebellion more ambitious than saving the vote of a single election, but, rather, seeking to topple an economic system. The Trife, if it imposes the fraud, will accelerate the Zapatista calendar as perhaps the greatest consequence.

If the seven electoral justices believed that holding a partial recount would calm passions, the facts unleashed by that partial recount have served, instead, to flame them. What the judges do with those facts will determine whether the institutions will correct the fraud, or whether the institutions will risk, as in Oaxaca, falling from power because of trying to impose an indefensible crime against Mexican society and democracy. What seven judges decide in the next three weeks will mark a crossroads in Mexican history… and that of all América.

Read Part I of this series: In Mexico, 2.5 Million Missing Votes Reappear: López Obrador Reduces Calderón’s Official Margin to 0.6 percent

Read Part II: A Full Recount Would Show that López Obrador Won Mexico’s Presidency by More than One Million Votes

Read Part III: Death by Video: Mexico’s Election Fraud Is Coming Undone

Read Part IV: Mexico’s Electoral Tribunal Orders Partial Recount to Begin on Wednesday

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