[Crossposted from my Real History blog]
As the President stepped up to the podium, members of Congress marched on the podium chanting “ballot by ballot”, and calling the President a “traitor to democracy.”
Yes, this really happened. No, it didn’t happen in the United States, although it should have. This, my friends, is how Democracy looks in Mexico.
Mexican President Vicente Fox was unable to give his State of the Union address today, the first time in 180 years that the annual speech was not delivered.
Two months after the Mexican election of July 2, we still don’t know for sure whom the Mexicans elected. After the initial count of the votes, the conservative candidate, Felipe Calderon, of the National Action Party (PAN), was ahead by a margin of less than 1% of the votes of his closest rival, Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Obrador, 52, was the popular mayor of Mexico City from 2000 to 2005. According to this Washington Post piece, he left office with an unheard of 80% approval rating. As the WP’s Heather Murphy wrote,
I talked to some Mexican Americans recently, and they compared Obrador to President Kennedy in terms of his popularity there. He stood up for the underdog. He got things done. Calderon got things done too, but for a different, richer, and smaller segment of society.
Greg Palast sounded the alarm early in this case:
So it is not surprising that hundreds of thousands of Mexicans took to the streets of Mexico City, literally shutting the city down, to protest what they feel was a stolen election. Shades of 2000, and 2004, in the U.S.
I haven’t been following this story too closely. I’m sort of on tragedy overload right now and trying to stay focused where I feel I can do the most good. (I’m very active with electronic voting issues in Los Angeles.) But it outrages me when people steal. And when rich people steal from the poor, that outrageous me perhaps the most. And that’s exactly what happens when rich people steal the vote from the poor. They gobble up the goods of society for themselves, leaving those most in need to become even more miserable.
I knew that a federal court in Mexico denied Obrador’s claims of fraud and said the count remains unchanged, and Calderon is the winner. I knew that the mainstream media around the world had pretty much declared Calderon the winner and told Obrador to go home.
But when I read today that Calderon was the former energy secretary under the current President, Vincente Fox, I had a horrible, and horribly familiar, feeling.
Is this all about oil? This little piece of info in a Bloomberg report makes me think so:
Mexico’s oil is controlled by a state-owned monopoly. So it makes sense that the candidate who vowed to open up oil markets to private profiteering would get support from all kinds of covert operators, who know where there bread is buttered. It would explain a scene like this, repored at NarcoNews:
But Mexico doesn’t have enough oil to steal, does it? Maybe. Maybe not. According to this Washington Post article today,
Now, by the time stories of a massive new oil find hits the papers, that knowledge was already known in certain circles much, much earlier. So it makes sense that those with secret knowledge of this windfall would work really hard to ensure the man who promised to open oil fields to privatization was elected president. It makes sense that the boxes would be stuffed to ensure the desired outcome. And most of all, it makes PERFECT sense that the media, which serves at the pleasure of the oil-based establishment, would report the story the oil barons want the world to see.
What doesn’t make sense is how little people in the US care about what’s happening south of our borders. What happens to one of us on this little spinning ball in space happens to all of us. Stolen elections should not be ignored, washed away, overlooked, no matter where they happen, and no matter who does the stealing. This is a tragedy, and I, for one, stand with those who cry for a genuine audit of the vote.
Ballot by ballot.
Ballot by ballot!