Search in blog

[e-mail us]

The Sixth
La Sexta
Las Voces de La Otra Campaña
Ke Huelga
del rompecabezas
de la otra

Audios y textos por estado
visor hibrido de noticias
La Otra en La Jornada

Immigrant Solidarity Network
School Walkouts info
Detention Watch Network
Immigrant Rights @
NO HR4437 Network
Immigrant @ indybay
Migración @ La Jornada (México)
Los Angeles
Mujerez de Maiz
East Side Cafe
South Central Farmers
Casa del pueblo
Cop Watch
La Otra Orange County
La Otra en el Otro Lado
Estación Libre
Con Safos
Informate, Organiza, y Lucha
San Diego / Tijuana / Ensenada / Cucapás
Telesecundaria Cucapá (El Mayor)
La Otra Tijuana
La Otra Ensenada
Las Otra San Diego
Organic Collective
San Francisco
Chiapas Support Committee
Radio Zapatista
Caracol de la misión
Nueva York
Movimiento por la Justicia en el Barrio Notas en detod@s-paratod@s
Encuentro Gathering
Salón Chingón
La Otra Chicago
Otros en EE.UU.
Others in the US
El Kilombo Intergalactico
(Durham, North Carolina)
(Washington DC)
Chiapas 95
Accion Zapatista
Mexico Solidarity Network
Red de Solidaridad con México
Community to Community
(Bellingham, WA)
enlace zapatista
My Word is my Weapon
La Sexta
Palabra Zapatista
Centro de documentación sobre zapatismo
La Jornada
sin fronteras
The Sixth
Encuentro (NY)
Zapatistas in Cyberspace

Enlace Zapatista

La Jornada > Cobertura de "La otra campaña"

Nodos Comunes

.. Caosmosis ..

Rage One (blog)

domingo, agosto 06, 2006

Mexico Week In Review: 07.31-08.06


Mexico Week In Review: 07.31-08.06
Published since 1994, 'Mexico Week In Review' is a service of the
Committee of Indigenous Solidarity (CIS). CIS is a Washington, D.C.
based activist group committed to the ongoing struggles of Indigenous
peoples in the Americas. CIS is actively supporting the struggles
of the Indigenous peoples of Mexico while simultaneously combating
related structures of oppression within our own communities.

To view newsletter archives, visit:

"Para Todos, Todo; Para Nosotros Nada"



Mexico's electoral body has rejected a request by left-wing candidate
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for a full recount of votes from July's
disputed election. Instead, the electoral tribunal's seven judges
ordered a partial recount. Mr. Lopez Obrador has repeatedly said a
ballot-by-ballot recount is the only way to restore faith in Mexico's
electoral system. The 2 July vote gave victory to the conservative
candidate, Felipe Calderon, by less than 1%.

The electoral tribunal ordered the recount of votes at 11,839 of the
country's almost 130,500 polling stations. In Mexico City's central
Zocalo square, thousands of Mr. Lopez Obrador's supporters chanted
"Vote-by-vote!" as they watched the tribunal's session on a huge
screen. Protesters blocked the entrance to the tribunal, after the
decision was announced. "If there is no solution, there'll be
revolution," they shouted.

Representatives of Mr. Lopez Obrador walked out of the tribunal's
session in protest. Mr. Lopez Obrador has challenged the election
result, saying the vote was rigged. He has said he will not accept a
partial recount, raising fears of prolonged public unrest. Hundreds
of thousands of people in Mexico have been holding rallies to support
Mr. Obrador. Mr. Calderon says his victory was irreversible, and his
conservative National Action Party has described Mr. Lopez Obrador's
claims as "schizophrenic". The dispute has paralyzed Mexican
politics, correspondents say. A president-elect must be declared by 6
September to replace Vicente Fox on 1 December.

Source: BBC News: 08/05


Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has called
on supporters to march on the electoral tribunal to demand a full
vote recount. Mr. Lopez Obrador rejected the tribunal's decision to
recount votes from only 9% of polling stations. "We don't want a
portion of democracy. We want 100% democracy," he told thousands of
supporters in Mexico City.

Mr. Lopez Obrador told tens of thousands of supporters in the city's
vast Zocalo Square on Sunday (08/06): "This week we are going to
carry out actions of resistance." The fight, he added, would
"possibly will take more time, but will not be in vain". Mr. Lopez
Obrador urged followers to march on the electoral tribunal
headquarters on Monday, and to keep up their sit-in of the Zocalo
Square and main Reforma Avenue. The sit-ins have snarled up much of
the center of the city for the last week.

Source: BBC News: 08/06


The seven justices of Mexico's highest election court will decide who
will be that country's next president. A quick look at who they are:

LEONEL CASTILLO - Chief Justice. District court judge since 1981 in
Queretaro and Michoacan states. Subsequently a circuit judge and
appeals court judge. Author and lecturer. He earned his law degree at
San Nicolas de Hidalgo Michoacan State University.

ELOY FUENTES - A former real estate and civil court judge and later a
Superior Court judge, he was the tribunal's chief justice in 2004 and
2005. He teaches civil law and has published several articles on
election law. His law degree is from the Autonomous National
University of Mexico.

JOSE ALEJANDRO LUNA - A judge since 1968, he is a founding member of
Mexico's National College of Circuit Judges. He earned a law degree
from Chiapas School of Law and has done postgraduate work in law,
politics and criminology in Spain.

ALFONSINA BERTA NAVARRO - The only woman on the tribunal, she was the
first woman appointed a district court judge in Mexico. She's also a
professor at the Arizona University in Guadalajara. Her law degree is
from the University of Guadalajara.

J. FERNANDO OJESTO MARTINEZ - A professor and frequent author and
lecturer on electoral law, he served as the tribunal's chief justice
from 2000 to 2004. He was first appointed to Mexico's federal bench
in 1987. He holds a B.A. and Ph.D. in law from the National
Autonomous University of Mexico, as well as a master's degree in
public administration and public policy from the London School of

J. JESUS OROZCO - A prominent legal scholar, he was appointed to the
tribunal without previous judicial experience. He's taught
constitutional law at several Mexican universities, including the
National Autonomous University of Mexico, where he got his law
degree. He also holds a master's in comparative law from UCLA.

MAURO MIGUEL REYES - A former private attorney, legal scholar and
judge, he's written and lectured widely on the newly constituted
federal election tribunal. He received his law degree from the
Autonomous University of Puebla, where he was a professor emeritus.

Source: McClatchy Newspapers: 07/25


A month after more than 41 million Mexicans went to the polls to
elect their next president, the country is still awaiting a result. A
preliminary count of polling station tally sheets put conservative
Felipe Calderón of the National Action Party (PAN) ahead with a
slight lead over left-populist Andres Manuel López Obrador of the
Democratic Revolution Party (PRD). Both candidates have claimed
victory, with López Obrador and his supporters holding vigils and
protests across the country and calling for a vote-by-vote recount.

That hasn't kept a consensus from emerging in the commercial media
that Calderón won by a small margin in a squeaky-clean election. In a
hyperbolic editorial on July 30 - one that bordered on the ridiculous
- the Washington Post accused López Obrador, known as AMLO to his
supporters, of taking "a lesson from Joseph Stalin" and launching an
"anti-democracy campaign" by demanding a manual recount and urging
his supporters to take to the streets in peaceful protests. Calling
the vote "a success story and a model for other nations," the editors
concluded that it's "difficult to overstate the irresponsibility of
Mr. López Obrador's actions." Days after the election, the New York
Times irresponsibly declared candidate Calderón the winner, even
though no victor had been declared under Mexican law, and just this
week, in an article about López Obrador's protests, the Times
reported that López Obrador had "escalated his campaign to undo
official results." But there are no "official" results and probably
won't be until after Sept. 1. Under Mexican law, the Federal
Electoral Institute (IFE) is charged with running the elections and
counting the vote. But only the country's Election Tribunal, known by
its Mexican nickname as the "TRIFE," has the power to declare a
victor (See here for background on the TRIFE). They have until Sept.
6 to rule on the election.

It appears that the U.S. media has become so enamored with the
construct of the "anti-democratic" left in Latin America - the
ubiquitous "fiery populists" (a term that has described everyone from
the centrist Lula da Silva to Hugo Chávez) - that they are incapable
of fulfilling their basic mandate to inform their readers when it
comes to the political landscape south of the border. It's nothing
short of journalistic malpractice.

But back in the real world, a growing body of credible evidence from
mainstream Mexican journalists, independent election observers and
respected scholars indicates that an attempt was made to deliver the
presidency to Calderón. It includes a pattern of irregularities at
the polls, interference by the ruling party and some very suspicious
statistical patterns in the "official" results. The TRIFE is now
sifting through 900 pages of formal complaints lodged by López
Obrador. Their ruling on those challenges will indicate how well
Mexico's electoral process holds up in a closely fought and highly
polarized race.

Growing Evidence of Irregularities and Fraud

México has a history of the party in power's using its clout to tip
the election in its favor, and strict laws prohibiting ruling party
interference were enacted in the 1990s. Election law prevented
Vicente Fox, the outgoing PAN president, from making public
statements of a partisan or political nature. But he overstepped this
line many times in the 2006 campaign, including dozens of speeches
reinforcing candidate Felipe Calderón's basic message that López
Obrador was a "danger to México." In a well-publicized speech,
candidate López Obrador responded, "With all respect, Mr. President,
shut up. You sound like a chattering bird." Fox continued with these
speeches until election authorities and public commentators warned
Fox he was violating election laws.

The Fox administration also ran public service announcements touting
government programs and services and promoting the vote. PAN
saturated the television airwaves with "swift-boat" style attack ads
against López Obrador, comparing him to Venezuela's Hugo Chávez and
calling him a "danger to México." Election authorities eventually
ordered these commercials off the air on the grounds that they were
untrue and maligned the candidate's character, but critics believe
they moved too slowly. Under Mexican law, ruling party interference
is a serious charge and grounds for annulling an election. In the
last ten years, the same Electoral Tribunal judges that are reviewing
AMLO's complaints annulled governors' races in Tabasco and Colima,
based on ruling party interference. The Institutional Revolution
Party (PRI), which ruled México for seven decades before the system
was reformed in the 1990s, made vote buying and voter coercion into a
high art form, and there is strong evidence that they were up to
their old tricks in the 2006 election. With PRI governors in 17 of
Mexico's 31 states, election observers documented a significant
number of examples of voters being offered money or receiving food or
building materials in exchange for their PRI vote. In a country where
half the citizens live in poverty and rely on different forms of
government assistance, voters are often told that their public
assistance is dependent on voting for the party in power. There are
examples of PAN using similar practices, especially a well-documented
case of funds diverted from a San Luis Potosi building program into
PAN electoral races.

The Mexican electoral system has come a long way in two decades in
implementing anti-fraud systems. But there are still several ways
that results can be tampered with on Election Day. López Obrador's
campaign and hundreds of independent election observers documented
several hundred cases of "old fashioned" election-day fraud in making
their case for a recount. Here's how the system was supposed to work.
On July 2, Mexicans voted at over 130,000 different polling stations,
casting separate ballots for president, senator and federal deputy.
Each political party was encouraged to have registered poll watchers
at every polling station to observe the voting process and count at
the end of the day. As international and Mexican election observers
noted, however, problems emerged when there weren't enough
independent and party observers to go around. In regions where one
party was dominant, this created opportunities for vote shaving,
ballot stuffing, lost ballots and other forms of fraud.

The PRD's strongest case for a recount comes from the fact that
ballots in almost one-third of the country were not counted in the
presence of independent observers. One analysis of IFE results found
that there were 2,366 polling places where only a PAN observer was
present. In these districts, Calderón beat López Obrador by a
whopping 71-21 margin. Other elements of PRD's legal challenge
include documentation of several ballot boxes found in dumps in the
PRD stronghold of México City. They also point to evidence such as
the nonpartisan Civic Alliance's report documenting 17 polling sites
in PAN-dominated Nuevo León, Michoacan and Querétaro, where the
number of votes cast vastly exceeded the number of registered voters
at a site.

Reports by international and domestic election observers affiliated
with the Civic Alliance and Global Exchange stop short of claiming
fraud in the elections. They laud the dedication of most poll workers
they monitored and the preparations for the vote in most of the
polling places, as well as the orderly and peaceful process overall.
But the cumulative evidence is damning in such a closely contested
race. In the weeks after the election, PRD observers again sounded
the alarm as sealed ballot packets were being illegally opened at IFE
district offices in several PAN-dominated regions. PRD officials
accused IFE officials of possibly tampering with ballots or
attempting to cover up fraud in the event of a recount. The TRIFE
ordered these offices to stop opening vote packets.

While the López Obrador campaign has not made major charges of "cyber
fraud," there is an emerging controversy over the IFE's role in
reporting who was ahead in the vote count. For the 2006 election, the
IFE had developed a sophisticated system to provide preliminary
results called the PREP. Relying on results being phoned in from a
sample of precincts, the IFE could compile a credible picture of the
vote. If the PREP showed one candidate with a clear majority, the
system would have allowed Mexicans to go to sleep on election night
knowing who their next president would be. But because of the razor
close results, the PREP proved to be an inadequate measure.

Now research is emerging to suggest that the PREP results were cooked
to create the appearance of a Calderón victory. Physicist Jorge López
at the University of Texas, El Paso, conducted a statistical analysis
of the PREP results and found that, as the results came in, the
differential between the candidates' totals remained almost constant.
One would expect that, as results from each party's geographic
strongholds were counted, the gap between their totals would rise and
would fall. In such a tight election, one would even expect the lead
to change back and forth as the count progressed. None of that
happened. The results of a third candidate, Roberto Madrazo of the
Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), fluctuated as expected. He
also noted that there was very little deviation between the actual
results as they came in and the average results; in a normal, natural
distribution, one would expect significant differences between the
two (it should look something like a squashed bell-shaped curve). Dr.
López concluded the pattern was "a clear indication that the data was
manufactured by an algorithm and does not stand a chance at passing
as data originated at the actual voting."

Luis Mochan, a physicist at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de
México, did similar work. He noted that the PREP data was posted
after the first 10,000 reports had been processed, and looked at
whether those first 10,000 reports were consistent with the
statistical trends for the rest of the day. When he plotted the data
backwards, Calderón's vote total originated at zero, as is normal,
but López Obrador began the day 126,000 votes in the hole. Mochan and
López both point out that the Calderón began the day building a large
percentage lead - seven points - that decreased steadily throughout
the day. The large early lead would have been handy from a
psychological and political perspective, allowing Calderón to claim
that he led all day long, but the results had to end in a close
result given that polls conducted a week before the tally showed a
statistical dead heat. Mochan also notes gross discrepancies in the
number of votes processed late in the evening: "At the end of the
plot, we find intervals with more than 1,200 votes per [voting]
booth. I understand that no booth was to receive more than 750 votes.
Even more worrisome, some data points indicate a negative number of
votes per booth." Mochan notes that these statistical anomalies
aren't definitive proof of anything. But economist James Galbraith,
reviewing Mochan's data, speculated about a likely scenario that
would fit the discrepancies seen that night:

Felipe Calderón started the night with an advantage in total votes, a
gift from the authorities. As the count progressed, this advantage
was maintained by misreporting of the actual results. This enabled
Calderón to claim that he had led through the entire process - an
argument greatly repeated but spurious in any case because it is only
the final count that matters. Toward the end of the count, further
adjustments were made to support the appearance of a victory by
Calderón. Critics suggest that the IFE may have aggressively pushed
to swiftly declare Calderón a victor, obviating the need for a
poll-by-poll vote recount.

The U.S. media was also confused on the Wednesday after the vote when
the IFE ordered all 300 district offices to review the tally sheets.
It was widely reported as a "recount," when in fact very few ballots
were actually counted. In some cases, such as when a tally sheet was
illegible, the sealed ballot packets where opened and recounted.
Almost every time that occurred, observers encountered significant
errors in the vote count. In the state of México, one tally sheet
recorded 88 votes for López Obrador when the recount of ballots found
188 votes. Whether it was human error or intentional vote shaving, in
a tight election race, these examples gain heightened significance.
None of these reports in and of themselves constitute a smoking gun.
But the questions they raise need to be answered. There is far more
evidence pointing to fraud in the Mexican elections in 2006 than was
made publicly available about Ukraine's contested vote in 2004.
Comparing the media and political establishment's reactions to the
two reveals the transparent dishonesty in backing Calderón's claim of
victory; in 2004 many of the same voices that are now calling López
Obrador "undemocratic" were screaming that the Ukrainian tally had to
be annulled and only a new election would assure democracy in the
former Soviet satellite. In both instances, the candidate who
declared victory was friendly towards a powerful neighboring state;
in 2004 that state was Russia, and two years later it's the United
States. Forget about threatening Mexico's fragile democratic
institutions - that makes all the difference to the editorial boards
of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

According to the Mexican daily La Jornada, over two million
supporters of López Obrador gathered in México City on Sunday, July
30, the largest public demonstration in Mexico's history. Millions of
voices chanted "vote by vote, poll by poll," calling on the Electoral
Tribunal to order a recount. A poll released this week found that
Mexicans, by a 20-point margin (48-28), want a vote-by-vote count.
López Obrador has said he will call off protests when the Tribunal
agrees to a recount and will honor its final decision. As for the
charge in the U.S. media that López Obrador is undermining democracy
and the rule of law by calling on his supporters to protest, we
believe that the rights of peaceful assembly and free speech are
important democratic tenets. Public protests have played a historic
part in Mexico's three decade-long transition to democracy.

President and PAN leader Vicente Fox called for direct action when he
believed he was victimized by electoral fraud in his race for the
governorship of Guanajuato in 1991. Fox called on thousands of
supporters to take to the streets and block highways, and the results
were eventually overturned. Asked before the 2000 presidential
election if he would do the same thing if he suspected fraud, he
didn't hesitate to say "we will be very alert to any irregularities,
and we will submit the appropriate legal accusations that are
necessary. If there is any instability [as a result of those
accusations], it will be due to whatever they have done fraudulently
to avoid recognizing our victory." While Calderón has opposed a
ballot-by-ballot recount, even some of his staunchest supporters have
argued that the process would assure Mexicans' faith in their
electoral authorities and strengthen the country's young democracy.
In a race where over 64 percent of Mexicans voted against him,
Calderón, if he should prove victorious, will need all the legitimacy
he can muster.

As México awaits the rulings of the electoral tribunal, tensions are
high. The campaign - often dirty - and the close results have
polarized the country. Given the context, the U.S. media's
water-carrying for Calderón's campaign is anything but helpful. The
fact that there have been no "official" results is not open to
dispute, and until AMLO's allegations have been investigated, there
is no way that anyone can say who will come out ahead.

Source: AlterNet: 08/02


About 500 women banging spoons against pots and pans seized a
state-run television station and broadcast a homemade video Wednesday
that showed police kicking protesters out of Oaxaca's main square
last month. The women took control of Oaxaca's Channel 9 station and
held employees for about six hours before releasing them. It was
unclear how long the siege would last and police were nowhere to be
seen near the station.

The standoff is the latest by demonstrators who accuse Gov. Ulises
Ruiz of rigging his 2004 election victory and violently repressing
opposition groups. Station director Mercedes Rojas said the state has
filed a criminal complaint with the federal attorney general's
office, noting that the station has about $54.5 million worth of
equipment inside and that the protesters had threatened the 60
employees with violence while holding them captive. Federal officials
have not commented on the standoff.

Tensions have been on the rise since June, when state police attacked
a demonstration of striking teachers occupying the historic central
plaza and demanding a wage increase. Since then, thousands of
teachers, unionists and leftists have camped out in the plaza,
spray-painting buildings with revolutionary slogans, smashing hotel
windows and erecting makeshift barricades. Most businesses remain

The unrest has paralyzed one of Mexico's top cultural attractions,
where visitors to the southern city normally browse traditional
markets for Indian handicrafts, hike ancient pyramids and stroll
cobblestone streets to sample mole dishes. Officials recently
canceled a prominent cultural festival because of fears that violence
could injure tourists and residents. Tourism is down 75 percent,
costing the city more than $45 million, according to the Mexican
Employers Federation. Business leaders have asked the federal
government to intervene, but aides to President Vicente Fox have said
the problem must be resolved at the state level.

Source: Associated Press: 08/02

The above articles were originally published and copyrighted by the
listed sources. These articles are offered for educational purposes
which CIS maintains is 'fair use' of copyrighted material as
provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

end: Mexico Week In Review: 07.31-08.06

Printer friendly
Version para Imprimir

From Spanish:

Del inglés: