Result of the Mexican Elections
Reflection of Deepening Social Crisis
By Nita Palmer
On July 16th 2006, over one million people descended on Mexico City to protest the recent fraudulent elections, marking the biggest demonstration in Mexican history. The elections, held July 2nd had declared conservative candidate Felipe Calderon of the National Action Party (PAN) the winner by a mere margin of 0.6%. However, as the hours ticked by, increasing evidence came to show that the elections had been plagued by massive fraud, and that centre-left candidate Lopez Obrador of the Party for a Democratic Revolution (PRD) was likely the winner.
On Monday, July 3rd suspicious election results began to expose the fraud, carried out by the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE). The IFE claimed that they had tabulated 98.5% of the votes. But, on Tuesday, July 4th over 2.5 million ballots were discovered in garbage bins and dumps. These votes were dumped in over 11,000 precincts – most of which Obrador had claimed victory in. People in Mexico began clamouring for a recount. After these 2.5 million ballots were “found” by the IFE, a count of them narrowed Calderon’s lead by 145,000 votes – and exposed many more irregularities in the vote tabulation procedure.
Election Fraud: Ruling Class Clings to Power
In Mexico today, the poor, working, and oppressed majority are undergoing growing radicalization, and are less and less tolerant to oppression from the ruling class. People are demanding a government that represents the needs of the people, rather than the demands of profit-making and the pressure of US imperialism. Within this context, the PRD and Obrador represent the people’s wishes better than any of the other major bourgeois or reformist political parties – thus the huge support for Obrador in the recent elections in light of a revolutionary leadership. The support for Obrador is truly a reflection of an ever-deepening social crisis in Mexico, where the wishes of the masses and the goals of the ruling class are increasingly spinning towards opposite poles. In this context, a PRD government under Obrador poses a threat to the Mexican ruling class in spite of his insistence that he is friendly to both of these opposite classes. Increasingly dissatisfied with the status quo, mass pressure from poor, working, and oppressed people has very real potential to push Obrador to make reforms in the interests of the masses, rather than in the interests of the ruling class.
Fearing that Mexico under an Obrador government under mass pressure would be heading down the same anti-imperialist path as Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia, the Mexican government had to intervene to preserve the interests of the Mexican ruling class. The fraudulent elections were a desperate attempt by the ruling class in Mexico to preserve their control.
Deepening Social Crisis
“I would like to mention with great satisfaction how productive the relation with the United States has been on bilateral basis… in order to promote development here in Mexico. And all this is part of a commitment and obligation of generating opportunities, making sure that we can build up, create jobs, create greater income, revenues for the families in Mexico”
- President Vicente Fox (PAN), March 30th 2006
Vicente Fox’s comments paint a picture of Mexico as a model country with a strong economy and an ideal of creating opportunities for all people there. The reality is anything but, with at least 40% of Mexico’s population living below the poverty line, and 10% living on less than $1 per day (UNICEF, 2005). Instead, money goes to the estimated 40 families in Mexico who own 30% of the country’s wealth. In the end, the only ones who see profit from the Mexican economy today are those whose hands the wealth is already concentrated in – the Mexican ruling class, and the U.S. ruling class, who exert their influence over Mexico.
The widening of this gulf between the gains of the wealthy few and the gains of the poor majority have turned Mexico into a tinderbox of class conflict, ready to be ignited at any moment. The readiness of the Mexican people to mobilize for their rights – and the readiness of the Mexican government to immediately stamp these movements out - has been shown repeatedly in the last few months.
In Oaxaca, 70,000 teachers began a strike on May 15th 2006, demanding increased funding to schools and fair wages. Oaxaca quickly became a frontline of class conflict, as on June 14th 2006, the Mexican government sent 3,000 police to the central square of the city, which 30,000 people had been occupying in support of the teachers. The police unleashed a no-holds-barred attack from the air and from the ground. Red Cross reports indicate that 11 people were killed, and many more wounded.
Just a few short weeks prior to this, the town of San Salvador Atenco had seen a similar clash between government forces and poor and working people. After police arrested flower vendors in the nearby town of Texcoco for “illegally selling flowers”, the people of Atenco set up a blockade of the highway in solidarity with the flower vendors. Again, people’s resistance to the Mexican ruling class was met with violent police repression, in which a 14-year-old boy was killed, and many people arrested were raped and badly beaten. As the class divisions sharpen in Mexico, so too do these clashes. Each mobilization of people is a threat to the Mexican ruling capitalist class, as each mobilization threatens to be the spark that engulfs Mexico in a fire of resistance and social upheval.
Steps to Social Change
For people in Mexico, the fog of turmoil and confusion that the Mexican government is attempting to cover the election fraud with still means only one thing - the Mexican government must respect their own laws, and the wish of the majority. The people of Mexico chose Lopez Obrador as their president, and so they must have him. Left too long without a leadership capable of representing the wishes of poor, working, and oppressed people, people in Mexico have pushed Obrador to the front, and are demanding that he be their vehicle for change.
How far Obrador will go as the leader of the PRD to meet the demands of the people remains to be seen. But, given opportunity, the people of Mexico have the potential to set Mexico on the same course as Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia. This is the true leadership that the people of Mexico need – the leadership provided by Cuba for nearly 48 years, and that Venezuela and Bolivia have now joined in, in the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA). This anti-imperialist bloc in Latin America is strengthening every day. If Mexico joined this bloc, it would mean another gain for people in Mexico and throughout Latin America, as well as another blow to US imperialism.
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