By Jesus Chucho Mendoza
On July 1, Mexico held its national presidential election with the largest voter turnout in its history. However, millions of Mexicans are yelling electoral fraud, as the election was tainted in many ways.
It is important to note that before these elections various groups had been gaining momentum in their massive mobilizations. These groups included progressives, students, farmers, teachers, nonviolence advocates and many others who have had enough of their corrupt and oppressive government. In Mexico City, two days before the election, close to a million supporters of the leftist candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), gathered to give closure to his presidential campaign.
However, the election results brought bad news to the grassroots movement, with the declaration of Enrique Peña Nieto as Mexico’s next president. These results have not been accepted by AMLO, and the grassroots movement alleges electoral fraud. There are several claims that include exceeding campaign-spending limits, buying votes, the running of a parallel campaign via anonymous funds and preventing voters from voting in their respective polling places.
The two main federal entities to oversee the electoral process failed to take serious action on the complaints and accusations by tens of thousands of voters throughout the country. The Instituto Federal Electoral, or IFE (Electoral Federal Institute), has said that it will look into the concerns but that there is no actual evidence of any wrongdoing by the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, or PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), which took the election. The other entity, the Tribunal Electoral (Electoral Court), has stated that it will look into the accusations but will not investigate because that is not its responsibility.
The negligence by the Mexican federal authorities is sending a message to its people and the international community that once again there will be an illegitimate president in Mexico for the next six years. The current president, Felipe Calderon, also came to power with a tainted election, where the IFE refused to recount the votes after he won by a margin of barely 2% against the same progressive candidate, AMLO. The young Partido Revolucionario Democratico, or PRD (Democratic Revolutionary Party), which AMLO represents, was founded in 1988 and has lost four of the last five elections due to rigged elections. Cuauhtemoc Cardenas was robbed twice from becoming Mexico’s president.
However, the story is different today. The Mexican people seem to be firm in seeking justice and democracy to pave the way for a new Mexico. Millions of demonstrators are taking to the streets throughout the country and demanding that the election be annulled, thus calling for another election. There have already been three mega-marches in Mexico City since the fraudulent elections. The national and international media have refused to cover the massive mobilizations, preventing the world from witnessing and supporting the peaceful revolution that is taking place in Mexico by its working class and its students.
Jesus Chucho Mendoza is co-founder of the YNAMIK Institute for migrant communities and a community activist/organizer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Stan Santos
Perhaps the saddest outcome for the people of Mexico, and despite a courageous fight against insurmountable odds, is that they live in a land of two extremes. More than 50% of Mexicans live in extreme poverty, with a daily lack of sufficient caloric intake and compromised health outcomes, while it is also home to the richest man in the world: Carlos Slim. According to Forbes business magazine, Slim has a net worth of $69 billion. Slim, with investments in telecommunications and banking, shares the list with Carlos “El Chapo” Guzman. Guzman, however, is undervalued by Forbes, which places his net worth at barely $1 billion.
Stratfor, a global intelligence firm, estimates El Chapo’s value at more than $12 billion, which would make him the 20th richest man in the world. El Chapo Guzman has etched his riches from drug trafficking, controlling approximately 25% of the flow into the United States. Based on conservative estimates, which place drug trafficking through Mexico at about $50 billion annually, El Chapo would net more than $12 billion annually. So, even $12 billion is a conservative estimate.
Meanwhile, it is believed that the loss of drug trafficking in Mexico would cause the country’s economy to shrink by more than 63%. As long as this situation and the so-called War on Drugs persist, it is doubtful Mexican society will rise above the powerful influence that the narco-traffickers have exercised on successive Mexican governmental regimes. It is more likely that the United States will exploit the opportunity to significantly increase military operations south of the border. And the Enrique Peña Nieto administration has already announced its willingness to increase cooperation with this plan, one that an administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador would certainly resist.
Stan Santos is an activist in the labor and immigrant community. Contact him at email@example.com.