Saturday, August 19, 2006

Why the Corporate Media Sucks: Fraud in Mexico City, Government Terror in Oaxaca

Remember the election in Mexico? For those who aren't info junkies, or even those who swim the seas of the left blogosphere, the happenings in our southern neighbor have been mighty quiet of late.

Of course, Mexico has not been quiet. The election of July 2nd, where the right-wing candidate, Filepe Calderon, had a 230,000 reported vote edge over the leftist, Andreas Lopez Obrador, out of about 30 million votes cast. Lopez Obrador and his party, the Party of Democratic Revolution (the PRD) mobilized (although in perhaps an odd way), got up to 2 million to rallies, and called for a complete recount.

The Mexican judiciary issued a ruling that there be a partial recount of 9% of the votes. That recount has been concluded, and the evidence of fraud is overwhelming. From the most-excellent (non-corporate) news site, Narco News (full article here):

  • In 3,074 precincts (29 percent of those recounted), 45,890 illegal votes, above the number of voters who cast ballots in each polling place, were found stuffed inside the ballot boxes (an average of 15 for each of these precincts, primarily in strongholds of the National Action Party, known as the PAN, of President Vicente Fox and his candidate, Felipe Calderón).
  • In 4,368 precincts (41 percent of those recounted), 80,392 ballots of citizens who did vote are missing (an average of 18 votes in each of these precincts).
  • Together, these 7,442 precincts contain about 70 percent of the ballots recounted. The total amount of ballots either stolen or forged adds up to 126,282 votes altered.
  • If the recount results of these 10,679 precincts (8.2 percent of the nation’s 130,000 polling places) are projected nationwide, it would mean that more than 1.5 million votes were either stolen or stuffed in an election that the first official count claimed was won by Calderon by only 243,000 votes.
  • Among the findings of this very limited partial recount are that in 3,079 precincts where the PAN party is strong and where, in many cases, the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) of candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador did not count with election night poll watchers, one or more of three things occurred: Either the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE, in its Spanish initials) illegally provided more ballots than there are voters in those precincts, or the PAN party stole those extra ballots, or ballots were forged.

So, as in 1988 when the computer mysteriously crashed and PRD candidate Cardenas was denied an apparent victory, the organs of the Mexican government are conspiring to keep power out of the hands of the political left.

But the other story is of the other campaign: the Zapatista-facilitated uprising against the entire political system of Mexico. The state of Oaxaca, one state up from the EZLN (Zapatista) stronghold of Chiapas, has been shut down by popular dissent. For years, the Zapatistas have been enculturating indigenous autonomous zones, where the official state is simply ignored and the organizing of society is handled by the people.

This has come into open conflict in Oaxaca. The government buildings have all been surrounded by the APPO (the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca) and they have controlled the town square since May 22nd. They are demanding the resignation of the governor of the state, Ulises Ruiz. From John Gibler:

The strategy of the APPO is to generate “ungovernability” to force the resignation of Ulises Ruiz. The complete absence of uniformed city or state police at the APPO’s actions is a testament to the power they have achieved. I have not seen a single uniformed police officer during a two-week stay in Oaxaca City. (Nor have I heard testimony or read newspaper stories of street crime in the area controlled by the APPO.) The APPO has surrounded and essentially taken over the office buildings of the three branches of state government. They took over CORTV, a private company, and released the station employees to the Red Cross—as if the APPO were a recognized belligerent force.

Recently, Governor Ruiz announced that he was going to try to behead the opposition.

OAXACA CITY, August 10, 2006: The government of Oaxaca has advised the public that it will arrest all the leaders of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO) to “guarantee the safety” of the state, the Secretary of Public Security Lino Celaya Luria said yesterday.

This clarifies the sudden rash of plainclothes operators snatching men off the streets. That’s what they mean by “arrests.”

Celaya indicated that the government has identified sixteen leaders of social organizations who, along with leaders of Section 22 of the teachers’ union, have directed the complete blockade of government buildings and the taking of highways and public offices of the state of Oaxaca.

State Attorney General Lizbeth Caña Cadeza has begun to implement the ruling by issuing fifty previous warrants based on past crimes. Caña Cadeza said that the “leaders” of APPO are among those fifty names. The charges are based on both actual “crimes” and the intellectual authoring of those crimes, both common and federal.

Mysterious arrests by plainclothes officers in unlicensed cars, men with guns shooting up the offices of opposition newspapers, and disappearances have been the result.

Which leads back the point in the title - the corporate media sucks. Mexico is in the grips of a mass mobilization of a hotly contested presidential election, and has been since July. One of the states governments has been under seige since the end of May. If the leaders of the People's Grange of South Dakota had been occupying Pierre for a couple months, don't you think we'd have heard about it?

The fact is, Mexico is the next rung down on the pyramid of oppression and economic exploitation that supports the American empire. The states of Central and Southern America are supposed to be in the hands of quiet technocrats, or if that fails, brutal generals; as long as they keep the right pro-US policies. So uprisings, either electoral or actual, are not going to be heard in the US corporate press.

This old IWW picture tells the story - except you need to extend it downward, to workers in other countries.

No comments: