Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mexico election: wheels coming off AMLO's campaign

By AMLO's campaign, I mean his campaign to get a 100% nationwide recount of all the votes.

AMLO has hurt his cause by taking the shotgun approach. That is, accusing everyone and everybody of fraud and of conspiring to steal his election from him. He has formally accused the following people and groups of illegally influencing either the election or the vote counting: The federal government, state governments, municipal governments, the IFE itself, the IP (private industry and business), "the citizens who counted the votes", the Partido Nueva Alianza (the PRI alliance) and even "Doctor Simi", a maverick owner of a pharmacy chain who ran a quixotic write-in campaign.

For instance, he has accused the PAN president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, of orchestrating the fraud, calling him a "mapache" -- literally, a "racoon", figuratively, a "bandit", actually a serious insult (remember in "The Wild Bunch" that the Mexican general for whom the Bunch was stealing weapons was named General Mapache). He has offered no proof other than a video of Fox at the polls with a smiling Fox showing a reporter his ballot marked for the PAN's Calderón.

Note: He hasn't blamed Bush . . . yet.

He has accused a PRIista political leader, Elba Esther Gordillo, of calling PRI governors as well as a PRIista member of Fox's cabinet to enlist their aid against AMLO and the PRD. AMLO played two illegally taped telephone conversations over loudspeakers at his rally in Mexico City on Saturday as proof of his accusations. From a strictly procedural standpoint, the taped conversations cannot be used because they were illegally obtained. Gordillo stated yesterday that she had called many people concerning the election, including PRD officials.

Today, minutes after AMLO's campaign manager insisted that no PRD official had ever talked to Gordillo, Manuel Camacho, a PRD bigwig, admitted, "Yeah, she called me, too. Lots of people were calling lots of other people. So what?" Ouch. I might note that I have listened to the tapes and read transcripts and they are innocuous. Gordillo is a sworn enemy of PRI candidate Madrazo and even launched her own little independent party which received about 2% of the vote. What she was calling around for was to try to enlist other PRIistas into abandoning Madrazo. Many did (covertly), judging by the PRI's poor showing.

AMLO has presented a video of a casilla (poll) official puting ballots into a ballot box. AMLO says that this is evidence of ballot stuffing. The IFE responded that, when ballots are found in the wrong boxes, they are removed and placed into the correct ballot boxes. I will note here that at the polls, there are separate ballot boxes for each election being contested at that poll and each voter receives a separate ballot for each contest. The proper ballot has to be dropped into the corresponding box. When the votes are being counted from a particular box, say the Senate ballot box, if ballots are found for the presidential election, they have to be moved to that ballot box so that they can be counted. That is the responsibility of the casilla's president and is done so openly, in front of and with the approval of all the party representatives. In the incident shown on the video, the IFE already has a written statement from the PRD representative who was present at the time.

Regarding the accusations of massive fraud, Rodolfo Stavenhagen, Jorge Bustamante and Santiago Corcuera, representatives of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, expressed their confidence in the independence and autonomy of both the IFE and the federal tribunal which will make the final call on the election(s). In a joint statement, they also demanded that "the candidates and political parties that contested the July 2 election do not magnify isolated incidents to try to disqualify in total the citizens who functioned as poll officials, the IFE and the entire electoral process."

So, AMLO, due as much to his own demagoguery as to facts on the ground, is, if anything, further behind today than he was after the vote tallies on Thursday morning.

Please visit the Pale Horse Galleries online store
for art, gifts and collectables -- all hand made
by Mexican indigenous artists.


No comments: