President Jorge W. Bush was downright timid taking sides in the Mexican presidential election, mindful that his endorsement has all too frequently been the kiss of political death to his allies in the global war on terror and the poor.
Why should he campaign honestly and openly for his good friend Felipe Calderon when the same systems and techniques used to secure his presidency were in place below the border?
According to journalist Greg Palast (the man who “broke” the stories of election fraud and disenfranchisement in Florida and Ohio for the BBC), the FBI obtained Mexican voter rolls through Choicepoint of Georgia -- the same company that performed electoral magic for the American president.
Choicepoint should have a new business motto: Make it close and we’ll make it count.
As in Florida and Ohio, the exit polls showed Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a candidate who appealed to the great masses of Mexican poor, pulling ahead but by the time the tally made its way through the computer counting system, Calderon was proclaiming victory.
Lopez Obrador has filed charges of massive fraud, demanding a vote by vote recount at all polling places where irregularities occurred, fully in accordance with Mexican law, but Calderon wants to turn the page, book closed, and the Federal Election Tribunal seems likely to comply.
The only development that can secure honest democracy south of the border now is a popular uprising of the kind observed in Venezuela after the American-sponsored coup and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, which rallied the world, including our own government.
An estimated one hundred thousand people gathered on the central plaza in Mexico City Saturday. If they show the courage and dogged determination that the Venezuelans and Ukrainians did, they will claim a resounding victory for democracy and send a message to the citizens of their northern neighbor: If you want democracy, you must fight for it -- not just with words and opinions but with action. If you want to take your government back, you must be willing to stand on the streets of protest.
Do not be fooled by American media coverage: Lopez Obrador is no wild-eyed radical. He is at best a moderate progressive -- not of the Hugo Chavez or Evo Morales type but more like Lula of Brazil -- but even that would be a sea change for Mexico after the failure and broken promise of Vicente Fox.
The importance of the Mexican election is not so much the immigration issue (the obsessive-compulsive distraction of the north) as the economic “free trade” policies that have exacerbated the problem. The majority of the population is poor and the top ten percent own 45% of the nation’s wealth. The already acute divide between the haves and have-nots has only grown worse as the National Action Party of Fox and Calderon played lapdogs to the corporate globalization movement.
Sadly, even if Lopez Obrador were to prevail, he would be unlikely to reverse the trend without control of the Mexican legislature, but he would surely ease the suffering and destitution of the masses by reviving the social programs the globalists decry.
Every American who is concerned with immigration should stand up for Lopez Obrador now for the only hope of reducing the waves of border migration is not a wall or a thousand corpses on the Arizona desert but raising the standards of Mexico’s working poor.
What concerns our government is not so much Lopez Obrador himself but the resistance to corporate globalization that has swept across much of Latin America.
What common ordinary Americans need to understand is that Lopez Obrador is not a threat. He is fighting for us. What we need in our own government are more candidates who care about the poor and the working class, who realize that New Orleans is infinitely more important than Baghdad or Kabul, and who understand that we all need a little help -- not just Halliburton, Bechtel, Wal-Mart and Exxon-Mobil.
The ruling class of Mexico attempted to retain power, despite the overwhelming failure and disappointment of the current government, by raising the red flag of fear. Lopez Obrador would bring disaster and send the nation into spiral descent. When that failed, they resorted to less honorable means. As it is in America north, so it is in Mexico.
Lopez Obrador is only asking what Albert Gore should have asked in 2000 and what John Kerry should have demanded in 2004: that every vote be counted.
Under Mexican law, created against a backdrop of systemic fraud and corruption, a winner cannot be declared until the allegations are weighed and adjudicated. The deadline is September 6.
If we believe in democracy, the issue is clear: Viva Lopez Obrador!
Jack Random is the author of Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press) the Jazzman Chronicles, Volumes I and II (City Lights Books). The Chronicles have been published by CounterPunch, the Albion Monitor, Buzzle, Dissident Voice and others. Visit his website: Random Jack.
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