“Hundreds of thousands of people have marched through Mexico City in support of the capital’s embattled mayor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,” reports BBC News.
CAPTION: Thousands of followers
of Mexico City’s left wing Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador march in Mexico City, April 24, 2005. The march is against the impeachment and impending prosecution for contempt of court. Mexico’s government has ruled out a pardon for the country’s most popular politician in the event he is found guilty in a land dispute case, which would prevent him from running for president next year. REUTERS/Daniel Aguilar
AMY GOODMAN: In Mexico, turmoil and confusion continue to surround the upcoming presidential election. Last week, the Mexican federal Congress voted to impeach one of the leading candidates from his job as mayor of Mexico City. The politician –– Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador –– is now facing arrest over a minor four-year-old infraction. Once an arrest warrant is issued, he could lose his political rights and be barred from running for the presidency. Lopez Obrador has been comfortably leading opinion polls for next year”s elections to replace Mexican President Vicente Fox who cannot run again.
Today we look at this and other major issues in Mexico today with two of the country’s best known writers: Elena Poniatowska is a founder of the newspaper La Jornada and Mexico”s first feminist magazine, “Fem.” She is the first woman to win the Mexican National Award for Journalism. Paco Ignacio Taibo is a leading Mexican author. He has written more than 50 books, including novels, short stories, and essays, and is particularly known for his detective novels. He recently completed a novel with Zapaitista leader Subcommandante Marcos.
We also hear a new recording in English by Marcos recorded in the jungles of Chiapas. …
AMY GOODMAN: Who are you representing, and what is happening in Mexican politics today?
ELENA PONIATOWSKA: I don’t know who I’m representing, really. I don’t even know if I’m representing myself. I was just asked by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who suddenly arrived at my house. I hadn’t even — I think I had seen him twice in my life, and he asked me to help him. And I was so indignant at what was happening that, of course, I said yes. So, we have been seeing two more people and I, Jose Agustin Ortiz Pinchetti, Chaneca Maldonado (Bertha Maldonado), Marti Batres. We have been seeing the Dean of the University, the people who work in markets, the people, the trambiarios, the railroad – it’s not the railroad, it’s the tram workers. We have been visiting them, speaking to them, and they are as indignant as we are. So, we have been going to unions, we saw judges, and that’s a full-time job. It starts at 6:00 in the morning and ends at 10:00 at night.
AMY GOODMAN: Paco Taibo, what exactly is happening?
PACO IGNACIO TAIBO: Well it’s a pre-electoral fraud, as easy as that.
AMY GOODMAN: PRI, meaning the party?
PACO IGNACIO TAIBO: No, “pre” meaning previous.
AMY GOODMAN: Pre-election fraud?
PACO IGNACIO TAIBO: Yes. Mexican politics has a long tradition of electoral fraud. The 1984 electoral fraud was something horrible for Mexico. It opened 20 years of Salinismo and the worst economic situation for the country, and so in this time they decided not to work in the election, but to do it previously. So, they try to block the run for Andres Manuel one year-and-a-half previous to the election. So they created this kind of strange – it’s really weird — the trick they created to impeach him. They said, “When you were head of the Mexico City, you covered this space which should run a little street in order to connect – “ Nobody understands anything. It’s kind of Kafkiano, pure Kafka, no?
AMY GOODMAN: That he allowed the construction of a ramp onto a highway or something?
PACO IGNACIO TAIBO: Yeah. Something – and you go there and you see where it is, and you cannot see it. So, in a country which the — the ones that — the head of the PRI in his last campaign, he has spent more money than Clinton in his campaign for the Tabasco small territory. He spent more money than Clinton in his last campaign here. And in this country, that was illegal, of course, the financing — the way he financed his campaign in a country where that kind of things happens, nothing happens, then you put in jail the Mayor of Mexico City, elected by 6 million citizens of Mexico because of these weird charges.
AMY GOODMAN: Something of years ago? That they are saying?
PACO IGNACIO TAIBO: You cannot believe it. So there was a strong reaction in the city and in the country. Stronger in the city, because Andres Manuel is linked very closely to the people of Mexico City as mayor of the city. He has a strong support, and the reaction was very, very angry. We were very angry. Everybody, and when I say everybody, maybe it’s one of the first times in Mexico in which a movement starts with this kind of majority, pre-established majority of the people in favor of Andres Manuel. He was leading the polls with 86%.
AMY GOODMAN: So during the time of the Pope’s death, we got very little coverage of this massive protest. I don’t know if the U.S. media would have covered it anyway, but something like, what, 300,000 Mexicans marched in the streets of Mexico City last week?
PACO IGNACIO TAIBO: I think more than that, in the Zocalo.
AMY GOODMAN: In the square?
ELENA PONIATOWSKA: Yes. 350,000 people now march, because maybe he’s a different kind of a politician. You know, we have always been used to. He is a man who speaks like you and me and Paco. He makes mistakes. He has another voice. His voice is different from the voice of the political men we are used to. I think that’s very important. Besides, people love him. He has given money for the first time in the history of Mexico to all the men and women. He has built a university. He has built schools. He has built hospitals. He hasn’t — it’s a great — in Mexico it’s a great victory not to be a thief. Imagine, not to steal. It’s already a thing that’s so important that everyone recognizes. “Oh, he’s not stealing,” you know? So, that’s — I think he has done a job that touches everyone. And when you see the people that follow him, that day about the impeachment, you could see very poor women and very poor men in the plaza, and they were crying. They had tears coming down their faces. And they stayed there. The meeting was at 10:00. And it was 10:00 at night – 10:00 in the morning and 10:00 at night and you could — they were still waiting to know the results of if he was going to be impeached, or what was going to happen?
AMY GOODMAN: Why do you think the President, Vicente Fox, the former head of Coca-Cola in Mexico is so threatened by Lopez Obrador?
PACO IGNACIO TAIBO: Because it’s clear that they were going to lose, the Panistas, the government of Fox and the PRI, the whole PRI. They were going to lose this next presidential election, so the only way they found to stop Lopez Obrador was this. … Read the entire interview at DN!
AMY GOODMAN: What about Fox’s relationship with Bush?
PACO IGNACIO TAIBO: They love each other. They really love each other. But in this kind of cases when you are the butler, you — there’s a different kind of love, you see? It’s not the same love from Bush to Fox, than from Fox to Bush.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean?
PACO IGNACIO TAIBO: I mean that the relation between the owner and the butler. Fox is the butler. No more than that.
AMY GOODMAN: You mean the bottler of Coke?
PACO IGNACIO TAIBO: No, the butler of Bush. El majordomo. … Read the entire interview at DN!
CAPTION: Supporters of Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, some with their mouths covered with white masks, protesters in the so-called ‘March of Silence’ walk down one of Mexico City main avenues on Sunday April 24, 2005. Lopez Obrador, a leading contender for president in the 2006 elections, is stuck in legal limbo after Congress voted on April 7 to strip him of the immunity from prosecution to face charges in an obscure land expropriation case.(AP Photo/Samkit Shah)