The Campaign That Never Ends

There are no summer doldrums in Mexico, at least not for the political class, journalists or thousands of intensely loyal supporters of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The anticipated post-election lull has turned into a very hectic season filled with counting, litigating, marching and spinning. (No violence, thankfully.) It almost feels as if the campaign never ended, except there are more lawyers around now. At least a July recount comes with sunshine, unlike in Washington six years ago when Tipper Gore provided hot chocolate for shivering reporters and protesters.

Ceci Connolly

But, back to 2006 and Mexico. To recap, Felipe Calderón, the candidate of President Vicente Fox's ruling PAN, was unofficially declared the victor in the July 2 presidential campaign in Mexico. Despite much ado about the tight results, he's been trying his best ever since to pretend there's no debate about that.

His rival, however, along with hundreds of thousands of Mexicans have a different opinion. They see fraud, incompetance and malfeasance in the razor-thin margin and have asked Mexico's electoral tribunal to conduct its first-ever investigation into a presidential vote.

Last weekend, López Obrador again encouraged the masses to take to the streets -- and again, they are responding. By Wednesday, "the marchers, numbering at least 10,000, walked in separate groups from around Mexico City to its central square and said they would not back down until electoral authorities accept" López Obrador's victory, according to Reuters.

La Jornada provides an excellent description of the colorful parade, which is scheduled to culminate with a mass demonstration Sunday in the city's Zocalo.

Counts and Courts

The tribunal has started poring over the 900-page complaint filed by the PRD's López Obrador.

"López Obrador´s lawyers said they cited mathematical errors in the vote tally and ballot stuffing among their complaints to demand a recount of all ballots. In a broader claim against the validity of the election, López Obrador argues President Vicente Fox improperly campaigned on behalf of Felipe Calderón, and used government resources to support him," according to a nice overview by the Miami Herald's Mexico edition.

"The court said in a statement that López Obrador presented challenges in 225 out of 300 electoral districts and Calderón is challenging 129 districts. The PAN submitted challenges calling for the annulment of about 500 polling places as a defense against López Obrador´s court case."

The López Obrador document is so wide-ranging that it appears his team might be aiming for a complete annulment of the election, rather than the recount that the former mayor has discussed.

"Judging from comments by PRD officials, the challenge includes episodes from the campaign, such as IFE's failure to stop the PAN's "dirty war" against López Obrador, the PAN´s access to and use of the electoral rolls and other government rosters for electoral purposes, the Fox administration's support for Calderón, and PAN campaign spending that exceeded limits.

"Those kinds of complaints have led some observers to wonder if a complete election annulment may be a goal, if not the first goal, of the López Obrador camp. Campaign law violations, even if proven, would not be remedied by a full or even a partial recount. Nor would huge fines, such as those levied on the PRI for diverting state oil money to a previous candidate´s campaign, affect the current election.

"How solid the PRD's case is for a recount remains to be seen. (And it will, in fact, be seen; the tribunal sessions will be televised live on cable.) What's clear now is that the status of the election is much more in doubt than the Calderón camp wanted Mexicans and the international community to believe."

López Obrador is still peeved at the electoral commission, whom he has dubbed "delinquents." In addition to his challenge before the federal tribunal, López Obrador said he's asked his lawyers to consider some sort of legal action against the commission.

All the griping about "fraude" has prompted Fox's spokesman to defend the process.

The commission ">went one step farther , launching "radio ads to defend its reputation for fairness. The ads say the voting was overseen by 1 million citizens and that all five competing political parties had observers at most of the voting booths. López Obrador says his Democratic Revolution Party only had observers in 70 percent of the 130,000 polling stations."

Statesman or Pit Bull?

Calderón, meanwhile, can't decide what the best public relations strategy is for this very odd interregnum.

"With the 11-day standoff marked by rising tensions, Calderón called Tuesday for calm, asking all concerned to 'avoid any type of provocation.' The next day, however, Germán Martínez, a prominent PAN member who represents the party before the Federal Electoral Institute, issued a pre-emptive guilty verdict against López Obrador, saying the former Mexico City mayor will be 'the one and only person responsible for any violence that may be generated' in the coming weeks."

In an interview with his hometown paper, Morelia's La Cronica, Calderón said "there is no institutional crisis, even though there have been protests."

In a press conference, he asked followers to "maintain calmness," but he also urged them to begin "civic organizing" to defend his triumph. "You win with votes, not with protests," he said, according to a report in Millenio. He denounced López Obrador's post-election activities and once again praised the electoral commission and the tribunal.

At times, Calderón has attempted to reach out to the López Obrador supporters by embracing AMLO's lift-up-the-poor themes.

"In apparent recognition of his slim advantage in the final vote count - 0.58 percent or 243,000 votes - Calderón pledged to work toward reducing the nation´s enormous class divisions. Helping the poor majority was a central part of López Obrador´s presidential platform.

'The transition will be characterized by agreements on a common agenda that allows the nation to advance toward overcoming inequalities and generating opportunities for everyone,' Calderón said."

But as the piece in the Herald's Mexico edition notes, that olive branch only stretches so far. Calderón has not spoken to PRD governors and he "reiterated that he had 'won the contest at the polls' and was ready to 'respond to doubts' about his legitimacy."

Calderón's presidential posturing prompted a tart response from López Obrador. "It doesn´t cost anything to dream," he scoffed.

Calderón has named his transition team. But fellow blogger and lawyer Ana Maria Salazar wonders if that's legal?

"The public sessions of the Electoral Tribunal of Justice will be broadcast on television in order to give transparency and confidence to the electoral process. (I do not know if this will be great TV but, I am sure it will get great ratings..... "

Campaign Conexión agrees!

Face Time for AMLO

The guy who never really liked reporters much is suddenly spending a lot of time with them. López Obrador has gone four-for-four on press conferences this week. Each day he trickles out a few more videos; the latest allegedly showed some polling places where volunteers overcounted the Calderón ballots. It's not clear to Campaign Conexión that any of these would be relevant in a legal proceeding, but they make for a great TV, especially in a country where millions are predisposed to believe allegations of fraud, greed or incompetance.

At Thursday's news conference he went after television ads aired by two businesses that he says supported Calderón. López Obrador accused the electoral commission of doing nothing to stop the spots paid for by Jumex, a juice company, and Sabritas, a junk food maker.

And it's not just news conferences. AMLO, as his Mexico City constituents have long addressed him, is granting interviews too. In a lengthy piece in La Jornada, he said he would not permit the "deterioration" of Mexican democracy and he asserted his "right" to lead a peaceful protest movement. "We cannot let them cancel the hopes of millions of Mexicans," he said.

Campaign Conexión is wondering if all this playing footsie with the press corps might even extend to non-Mexican journalists????

It would be nice to finish this edition of Campaign Conexión, but alas, no es posible. Take a look at columnist Fred Rosen's "certainties within the uncertainty."

"No matter what the final result, the winning candidate will have to govern a country in which over 60 percent of the electorate voted against him. Given the negativity of the campaign, much of that opposition will be intense. Calderón seems to recognize this and has indirectly offered AMLO a place in his Cabinet!!

"While AMLO is more likely to spend the next few years shoring up his left, not his right flank, a Calderón Cabinet will certainly include a few putative leftists, much like the original Fox Cabinet contained some progressive, 'useful vote' partisans like Jorge Castañeda and Adolfo Aguilar Zinzer -- inclusions that may well have been consequential in determining Mexico's Security Council vote against the U.S. war in Iraq."

Anyone out there have an upbeat thought to share?

By |  July 14, 2006; 9:06 AM ET  | Category:  Campaign Conexión
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Does AMLO have an "end game" in mind? I saw snippit of his commentary of Televisa last night and he was careful to say "not all businesses" where pumping for Calderon. Perhaps he is keeping an eye on the future.

On the other hand, at a minimum, he appears to want to delegitimize Calderon's victory, making it more difficult for him to govern. Even if the tribunal where to annul the election, which seems to be a stretch, he could always claim Calderon wasn't truly elected. I guess if you assume the other side will do damage anyway and you want to weaken them, that makes sense, but it is hard to see how the country benefits.

At what point to Mexicans cease being PANistas and Perredistas and return to being Mexicans?

Posted by: RC | July 14, 2006 12:39 PM

I think AMLO's end game is to get the election anulled. His complaints about political meddling by the president, the church, big business, IFE, and pretty much everybody would seem to impugn the process, no matter how a recount turns out.

Of course if this election process was flawed, what is the recourse? Another election with all the candidates? Just a run off between AMLO and Calderon? And, if the IFE is not trustworthy, who is to administer it? Even if there is a second election, or a run off, and AMLO loses again, I do not think he will even accept that.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 14, 2006 03:02 PM

The fact that AMLO's fraud videos were revealed to be false (by his own representative at the voting booth!) and that he has resorted to accussing his representatives at the polls of being corrupt (which is a pretty cheap blow) has been underreported by the international media. Could you please explain this to your readers?

Posted by: Miguel | July 14, 2006 03:43 PM

From what I have read if the election is annuled, the congress would have to name an interim president. His or her administration would last for 1 or two years while new elections are organized. This has already been commented in Mexican newspapers and Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas has been mentioned as a possible option, if this happens.

Posted by: TG | July 14, 2006 05:22 PM

There is an article at the New York Times about the lies of Mr. Lopez Obrador. But so far it is the only one I have seen. In general, most international newspapers have reported AMLO's claims while also stating what the European Union Observers have also said.
AMLO and his gang are now telling people another big lie. They are saying all they want is a total recount vote by vote.
But at the Court they did not ask for that. They asked for 50 thousand Casillas (polling booths) to be recounted. This tells you the kind of thugs we are dealing with here. The Court cannot open a single ballot box without a proper complain and its legal justification. But in reality they have no evidences since they did not make any complains on election day, when these acts were consumated.
Because they know they have a lost case. Because we must remember that this whole election process was carried out by the IFE. And this institution has got a whole lot of credibility, except for those thugs at PRD, but the rest of the people believe in this institution, PRD representatives included.
They are trying to build a political case here, but it is backfiring because those lies he has been saying are making people grow suspicious of them.
They will continue with their histerical screams for the whole process and what they want is for the Court to give up to this presure and open the boxes, which is not going to happen because the PAN has a permanent guard at the court and will be there to defend the law.
All they want is for the Court to open all ballots with the excuse of recounting vote by vote, but it is a trick because if the court opens all the ballots without legal justification, in that very moment they will walk to the supreme court and invalidate the whole election.
AMLO knows he lost, now he does not want Felipe to take power.
How patetical.

Posted by: emtyboxes | July 14, 2006 05:25 PM

Down with corruption.

Down with oppression.

Return the power to the people.

These are the things Calderon fears most.

Viva la revolucion! Viva AMLO!

Posted by: shadywilder | July 14, 2006 06:29 PM

Shady wilder, where do you live? In Mexico or out?

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 14, 2006 06:56 PM

What revolution? Viva AMLO? - AMLO needs to step aside and realize that you cannot win by protesting. You win with votes. I feel sorry and upset for my fellow Mexicans; a mere promise of few pesos has given this individual (AMLO) a footstep inside a ride he has not the most remote idea how to handle. The Mexican GOVT cannot continue to throw left-overs to thier poor. It would only create the WellFare fiasco we have here in the USA. Mexicans are known for being hardworkers, new opportunities are needed. The last thing a nation needs is for a big segment of its population to be depeneded on Federal money. The jobs are only going to come when the THREE parties in Congress really seek the well being of the Mexican people. I am putting my trust (vote) on Calderon, his proposals seem realistic enough to continue on the momentum (if small by global standards) that Presidente Fox started. Just FYI - nothing against PRD, Cardenas had and I believe still has some good credentials and the needed competence to lead Mexico. AMLO on the other hand, well ... he's good to draw masses. Secretary of Festivals and Carnivals should be his new government post.

Posted by: Calixican | July 14, 2006 07:06 PM

emptyboxes- since when does the PAN respect the law? They twist it to their convenience to cover up for their buddies and cling to the power. Why do you think Martha Sahagun hates AMLO? Her newly rich kids could go to jail once AMLO takes Office. On the other hand, if Calderon wins, the Bribiesca Sahagun clan will be off the hook for good and the Zavala brother-in-law will be the most successful businessman of the year for six years in a row while the poor will still be starving.

Miguel- In case you don't know, there were many Priistas and Panistas who volunteered and registered in the PRD as PRD representatives for July 2nd. In my hometown we had many imposters in the PRD representatives list. I know that for a fact.

Anyway, what is Calderon so afraid of if there is vote by vote count? Why is he so much against it? We already know the ballot count was truly a real mess. Whether we voted for AMLO or not, we still want and deserve to know what really happened on July 2nd. We want to know if our votes were negotiated with or not by our governors. Calderon knows darn well his "victory" is not legitimate and that is why he can't come up with a better excuse than to say "that the count was already made on July 2nd by the citizens and this procedure would offend them". We were offended and very turned off by him when he hissed and distilled venom with his scare campaign and he never took that into consideration. It is a great opportunity to count the votes since it would bring back trust and credibility on the IFE in case Calderon's much questioned victory is as legitimate as he claims it to be.

Now AMLO has every constitutional right to turn to the TEPJF. That is why it exists to begin with. If we look back, we can remember Fox saying "he would not accept the IFE results if Labastida were to win with a 5% difference" during his presidential campaign. Why should it surprise us if AMLO is not accepting the results given so far when it is only a .5% difference and there is speculation of fraud?

So, arrogant Calderon has indirectly offered Lopez Obrador a place in his Cabinet. Why would he do such a thing if according to Calderon's scare campaign, "Lopez Obrador is a danger to Mexico". Wouldn't he be a danger then? It is quite contradicting to invite danger to participate in his Cabinet.

I hope the TEPJF will consider the vote by vote count option. If AMLO didn't win, I wouldn't mind the election annulment. Anything but sleazy Calderon for President!

Posted by: K. Reséndez | July 15, 2006 03:21 AM


The Wall Street Journal also reported about AMLO's mischaracterized video several days ago.

K. Reséndez,

Regarding a complete recount, there is a little problem of the law. If the law doesn't call for a complete recount then the loser is asking that the rules be changed post haste. Maybe the court can order a complete recount if it deems it neccessary but AMLO certainly has no right do demand one unilaterally.


I get the impression you are a gringo living in Mexico. I'm envious!

Posted by: RC | July 15, 2006 11:53 AM

Obrador will not accept defeat. Already he is disqualifying a total recount vote by vote because he argues, the whole process was all dirty.
It is really unacceptable to see how he is spreading hate in his followers towards IFE, I see with preocupation the Photos of Mr. Ugalde depicting him as a criminal in some posters these people carry and in Proceso magazine and La Jornada.
La Jornada and Proceso repeat like dumb parrots AMLO and PRD baseless and unsustantiated allegations. They will pay a very high price for what they are doing.
To give you an example. We have a neighbour from Mexico City here who simpatizes with AMLO. All the campaign, as always, we were all very good friends, we discussed and interchanged our different points of views. On election day, we had breakfast at a club. All neighbours, most in my neighborhood are panistas, but there were some priistas and only this perredista, and we all had a very good time. Until the election results came out.
At the electoral district, this prd neighbour was a representative, and during the counting he received orders from the PRD party headquarters in Mexico City to slow down the process because they wanted to give the impression that AMLO was winning the race.
And to the dissapointment of the rest of us, priistas and panistas who participated in the counting, he did. He argued, discussed, acted as a turtle, called for breaks when they were not allowed, He did everything possible to slow down the counting of the votes. On that wednesday 5 of July, by 2 pm, the information from all the districts in the south of the country was flowing unobstructed into the IFE and we could all see how AMLO was winning in the numbers, but in the north of Mexico, and in our District, we took 4 hours to finish 1 Act just because my dear neighbour wanted to recount and recount 10 times! and always in the presence of everybody. They did the same all over the north regions in the country where Felipe Calderon won 5 to 1 mostly.
And now, the post-electoral conflict. Our neighbour has got an attitude of hate and frustration. We had tried to talk to him and we asked him: Did you see any fraud in our district? and he admitted he did not see any.
Now we had another club meeting and we invited him againg but he wouldn't come. And now his children are also having arguments with ours too.
Here in Nuevo Leon we are accustomed to see our party lose or win, sometimes the PRI wins, I have voted for both parties and I actually did in these elections, I voted locally for PRI, local congress for PAN, federal congress and senate PRI and President PAN.
I personally never believed Mr. Obrador when he talked about Juarez or other heroes of our history. I never believed when he talked about how there were two projects in these elections, about changing the whole economic system, about his alternative solution. In the end, he is a person and we vote for a person, and we weigh the good things and the bad things.
AMLO could have won that day, the results were so closed anyone of them could have won. I heard it rained a lot in some areas of Mexico city and others in the south, that could also explain his defeat, the histerical fear he inspired in many business men and their involvement in the elections could also explain it, but their involvement is just as legal as the involvement of labor unions and indigenuos organizations, they have all the right to participate and promote the vote for their favorite candidate. There were many factors.
Now AMLO is a factor of instability. He is radicalizing some people. But make no mistake, the same radicals who followed EZLN and Marcos, are the same ones following him. His calls for protests and his daily offenses and accusations to the IFE, the President, Calderon, the business community, Gordillo, the Media and others only come to show his temper when in a negative situation. He has a personality problem and shows it on every interview.
Felipe Calderon is coming into the arena as someone who spared Mexico from a candidate with serious personality problems and someone with the williness to create alliances, the strenght calmly in adversity and the intelligence to play politics at a professional level. He came from behind, he won the nomination against the will of the president, his own party bosses and he then when he got the nomination, he started a mediocre campaign and he quickly admitted it publicly and made changes and then he started growing in popularity until he was able to challenge AMLO in a very contested election. And he won. He has won battle and has got the upper hand on this legal battle because the votes were already counted, and then the actas were recounted. The filters the IFE has put in place to make sure the election is clean have worked, and if they open ballots they will find the same results standing. What the PAN wants is what the law says and that is all. And the law is clear, you cannot order a recount indiscriminately, we counted the votes, half a million independent citizens did it in front of another half a million observers from different parties and international observers as well.
Already the IFE is saying they agree with a total recount, because that will only increase their credibility. Already Mr. Obrador is saying the IFE has opened the ballots to match the numbers illegaly. Already he is justifying his defeat and accusing the IFE again.
Populism is a terrible cancer in latin-american countries, it destroys institutions, it destroys economies, it destroys the social fabric, which is far from being the silly class separation advocated by Carl Marx.

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 15, 2006 12:40 PM

AMLO's comments, and the PRD's formal complaint to the TEPJF, while demanding a recount, also seem to be impugning the whole process. The Wall Street Journal published something on this the other day. I suppose they could be lying, but, assume they are not. It seems that AMLO is setting up the stage to argue that not only were the votes miscounted, but that the govt, church, business, IFE, 500,000 vote counters, and his own poll watchers are so corrupt that, even if he did lose, it was unfair. This leads to the problem of what to do. If the election is anulled, one would suppose that the same IFE would have to conduct a new one. As we all know, because AMLO says it is so, that the IFE is corrupt, if he loses in new elections, he will probably impugn them too.
AMLO seems to be trying to argue that ANY electoral process that does not deliver victory to him is inherently flawed.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 15, 2006 03:16 PM

To AMLO everything is part of the supposed 'COMPLO' ( complot ) that the Right, the North, the South, some of the Left, the mexican Presidency, the IFE, FIFA, God and the lady that sells tamales outside Metro Balderas have plotted against him. I wonder what will he do if the TRIFE and the Supreme Court won't fall for his tantrum - because even though he's said he'll respect the verdict of the TRIFE, for some reason I don't trust him.

Posted by: Calixican | July 15, 2006 05:45 PM

Jerry Bourbon: You can say that again.

Back to basics: In any Mexican Elections, the contenders know, at the end of the same day, whether they won or lost. Because they all have the actas. As if it were not enough, they also have the exit polls, in most cases they start getting this exit polls at noon and they know what it happening. Even though this election was very close. All parties had the Actas, which tell you exactly who the winner is. Most of the times the parties do not have the 100% of the Actas of each Casilla (booth or station) but big political parties like PRD, PAN or PRI usually have some 85 to 95 of the Actas, which only means that they have as many representatives in the Casillas (polling stations). So the way it works, as soon as the casillas are closed, the parties collect all this information and after one hour more or less, they have the results.
AMLO and PRD knew they lost the very fist night. But AMLO went out and said he had won, planning on the impugnation of the results and on playing his cards in a way that he could revert the results.
So he and his staff lied. And the rest was a strategy to discredit IFE, the Counting, the Casilla representatives, everybody.
He knows very well that the Courts knows what really happened and that they don't eat that crap about the fraud and the cibernetic stuff.
That is precisely why he is calling for Abstract Fraud. That is, there was no fraud in the ballots, or the numbers or cibernetic. No, the fraud was abstract, it was the support from the President to the PAN Candidate in the form of declarations, social programs etc. It also came from the media, which he is accussing to plot against him. The Church and the business man among other.
But that is not going to fly because he had all the spaces in the media just as the rest of the candidates, he had many spots against Calderon, he played in the same game. In the case of federal social programs benefiting PAN candidates, well there is a report from the United Nations showing the 100 most impoverished regions of Mexico, all of them in the south and exactly where AMLO won 5 to 1 versus Calderon. So where is all the presidential support?
AMLO also knows also the IFE will defend this election because the IFE truly believes the whole process was clean and transparent regarless of the result.
The Court has been watching, they are not the poor ignorant peasants from Guerrero to be easily conviced with simple arguments.
He has to present evidence and he has none.
The Court will take its time as it should, and already there are many optimistical fans from AMLO who really believe there is a chance. This is exactly what AMLO wants, he wants his followers, whose numbers are dwindling, to be enthusiastic about the desicion of the Court, so that he can take them to the streets once the Court ratifies Felipe Calderon, and they will, because they work on the abstract that the process is clean and that it is AMLO and PRD that have to demosntrate the oppossite, and the PAN will be there to refute them. AMLO is desperate. He does not know what he will do after this and when already people are declaring Marcelo Chucky Ebrard the new leader of the left in Mexico.

Posted by: emtyboxes | July 15, 2006 05:56 PM

I kind feel the prd followers are begining to dwindle in these forums.
I guess they noticed their crokeed allegations don't fly here anymore.
Wonder where they are now trying to get some attention to their sorry cause.
I am getting a little bored, though. Pasilla, where are you?

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 15, 2006 06:51 PM

Have any of you fellows seen those stupid so-called murals being shown by Monsivais and other cocaine respectable intellectuals?
They are suppose to be art and spread hate and offend instead. What a sorry crap they are.

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 15, 2006 07:58 PM

"Populism is a terrible cancer in latin-american countries, it destroys institutions, it destroys economies, it destroys the social fabric"

Yes, I agree. Populism isn't really an ideology, but rather a set of grievances that don't have an answer. Populists rail against government but then they expect it do EVERYTHING for them.

It isn't just a problem in Latin America, we've got it north of the border. Listen to the idiot Lou Dobbs. The anti-immigration types are pretty much all populists (albeit of the right-wing sort).

Posted by: RC | July 15, 2006 10:42 PM

I had hoped that by now someone from what remains of the "rational left" would have contributed something of value to this discussion. Maybe there aren't that many of us around anymore. My husband & I have been active for over 25 years in trying to promote better opportunities for the poor of our country by CREATING jobs through CREATING businesses, many of which are cooperatives. OK, OK, I know I'm getting myself setup here, business is a dirty word for the normal Mexican leftist, but business is a legitimate means to help the underprivileged. Of course there are people that need government assistance & they must be attended to NOW if any decency remains in Mexican politics today.

Old style Mexican leftist doctrine always implies paternalistic governments & movements that really have no ability to create long term solutions to social & economic inequalities. Politics in Mexico means creating voting organizations, and each group or party has their favorite strategy for achieving the formation of these entities. The PRI was the master of this for many years & can still sing a pretty mean ranchera at local levels. Now, the PRD has shown that the student can outdo the teacher. Many of the masses that support this party are groups that now have seen the handwriting on the wall: the PRI doesn't have the power to hand out favors like in the old days, better get on board with who has the jack. Mercenary masses is an appropriate moniker for many of these groups, ideology has little to do with what they want. Just check out the Francisco Villa group in Mexico City or the ones from San Salvador Atenco for an idea of how these people operate. "Have machete, will travel"

In '88 I voted for Engineer Cárdenas (who ran for a coalition of several parties before the PRD was founded) & as almost everyone in the country knows by now, was cheated out of the presidency by the very people that are now members of AMLO's advisors! Even the biggest of the '88 villains, Manuel Bartlett, came out before the elections with a not-so-veiled endorsement of the PRD candidate! I cried for days after the '88 elections, so much hope, so many hours of work & even personal danger. When it became clear that we were not going to start an insurrection to protest, we went to work. The Federal Election Institute, IFE, was part of a great national effort to make sure we would never again be cheated out of an honest electoral victory. Panistas & perredistas worked together for many years to bring honesty & transparency to Mexican elections, and in spite of our ideological differences we changed our country's history.

Now it seems that all that effort was in vain, or at least it is if you listen to AMLO. The IFE is a pigsty of corruption, the half-million citizens who ran the elections are sold out and even his own people betrayed him. Maybe this has taken some Mexicans by surprise, but what kind of person would sell out his party's principles and welcome all these dirty pol's from the worst of the PRI's golden era of fraud and corruption? A person who cares only for his own personal ambitions and thinks nothing of pushing aside the moral leader of his party, invite shady operators to help him and manipulate masses of questionable motives to pressure whoever stands in his way, that's who!

I voted for Patricia Mercado because I feel she has the personal integrity and modern leftist vision a la Bachelet of Chile. (My husband said it was a token vote at best and boycotted the elections.) I think that this approach could be a new start to constructing a rational leftist proposal that doesn't want to throw out the baby with the bath water at every turn. (Good grief! The Mexican left crumbles again.) Also, we need a left that doesn't pit the different classes against one another creating social instability and the end of foreign investment. We need business that is politically neutral and able to operate fairly because of reforms that are clear & not hostile to these interests, but that at the same time do not exploit the workers. Businesses in the PRI mold were unfair to all but those involved; will the AMLO vision be any different? Rioboó, Bejarano, Imaz & Ahumada certainly give rise to many doubts. This also goes, & maybe even more so for the buddy-buddy deals that many rightist politicians seem to prefer. ¡Ay mis hijos! Martita.

Personality cults are a dangerous proposition, especially in countries where there are deep social inequalities such as Mexico. Hopes, aspirations & ideals are always greater than the persons that espouse them and they are never the ONLY road to take to achieve them, either. A movement is only as great as its proponents as a whole. AMLO, if you didn't already know is not God, or even an apostle for that matter. He is a vile opportunist that is set to destroy the work of many, many good-intentioned leftists that are willing to play by the rules and actively participate in the creation of a better country and even go as far as to negotiate with the other political forces. Congressional gridlock has not helped us get ahead for the last 6 years. ALL the parties are at fault & Fox, too. Now we have to look that devil in the face again, but now with more bad milk, excuse me, blood between the political actors. If Calderón is favored by the TRIFE, which is very likely considering AMLO's "evidence", we might be in for a long period of protests and all kinds of attempts to block the government. Is all of Mexico going to be like Oaxaca? Will the rightist forces finally decide to change the plight of the poor? Not with handouts but with real solutions? Will the federal budget finally be oriented to development & not to politically appease some interest group? Can, & even more important, WILL the PAN really take up the problems of the millions of utterly poor & (even worse) uneducated? Will the PRD block every proposal that emanates from the PAN? Will the AMLO group kill all hope of a viable left? A lot hangs in the balance mis cuates.

Posted by: K. Vronna | July 15, 2006 11:21 PM

As the Court starts its process to qualify the elections. Thousands of people, mostly poor farmers and many of them being paid by local PRD leaders, are being mobilized to the Zocalo. It is itself a violent proposal. It cannot be described as a pacifical demonstration because this people are being brought specifically for the event.
42 Million citizens voted at each town, city, community and they did it peacefully.
I have seen the messages coming out of these so-called Informative Meetins, their message is about hate, hate towards the PAN, the IFE, the other people who voted for a different option and AMLO is betting on the violenve he can generate in his followers.
I also think that the numbers are dwindling more and more and the only one following him in the end will be the same people who follow EZLN and other surversive and radical groups.
I don't believe we will be in for a long period of protests at all. Already polls are showing this whole affair is not a good businee for PRD as a party.
As soon as the TRIFE gives Felipe Calderon his Constancia de Mayoria (declaration en elected president) the grip of power and influence AMLO holds today will begin to crumble.
Most of the support he has from his own party is because until now, they believe stills has a very remote posibility to become the president and this is what AMLO wanted first, he has been successful in sending to his own PRD members who want him to stop his protests and impugnation, the message: Be careful, I can still be the next president, and if that happens, you will be sorry"
We all know how AMLO threatend everybody inside the PRD and outside, he threatened Televisa and TV Azteca, Banamex and other banks, business communities and else.
But as soon as Felipe Calderon is declared president, that will be it. The PRD will enter into an internal struggle, because we are talking about a political organization made up of gangs who will fight among each other for the leadership of the party.
Already Marcelo Ebrad is keeping a low-profile as though he does not want to upset AMLO, but a group behind Marcelo Ebrad is already separating themselves from the AMLO camp.
My guess is that this bubble he has created will go away as the next coming elections in many states get nearer and nearer in time.
And my guess is that PRD will lose. Most young voters are dissapointed because this turned out something they did not expect and dislike of PRD and these poor acarreados and local violent leaders is growing.

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 16, 2006 09:59 AM

President Fox is involved in all this dirty fraud against Mr. Lopez Obrador as well as all those people who hold the power and money in Mexico. Why did I vote for Lopez Obrador? I wanted a changed starting from the roots. We all know about all the PRI abuses when they were the ruling party. Then, PAN came and the same thing repeated again. PRI and PAN has always been the same thing (so we call them PRIAN) and abuses after abuses have marked Mexico`s history until now.

As we all know in Mexico, IFE computer program was modified by Hildebrando S.A. de C.V., a company that belongs to Calderon`s brother in law. That explains why the results given by the computer were always in Calderon`s favor.

Now, I do not know if a recount vote by voye will change the results because PAN has had enough time to change the tally sheets and to alter the ballot boxes.... God saves us from Canderon as president!!

Posted by: Antonio Ramos-Perez | July 16, 2006 10:10 AM

If Calderon wins this is likely to happen:

1.- Marta Sahagun sons will continue abusing of the power they indirectly hold. They will make of Construcciones Practicas S.A. de C.V. the most profitable business in Mexico and the justice will never reach them.... because MOMMY will save them. The Jury will declare they are the most decent people, hard-working, almost angels in all Mexico.
2.- Calderon`s brother in law will become the most succesful man and he will, as it was proved before, find a way to avoid paying taxes. He will get lots of contracts from government (at this point he will have to use a third company to do that for him so he is not doing it directly).
3.- Medicines and food will be taxed and the state owned company PEMEX will be privatized and given to those "rich lacras" who have always abused and dishoneslty worked for the good of their bank accounts.
4.- Fox will be declared as a mesias and history will call him "El Democrata".
5.- Father Maciel, "el santo pederastra" will be sanctified because Marta Sahagun will work on that.
6.- Word "Sex" will be removed from all books and some books will be banned from schools just because they make mention about sexuality. We have to remember what happened with that teacher who was fired (from the school where Saint Carlos Abascal`s daughter was studying) because she recommended the book "Aura" to her students. Just because it has a sexuality passage.....
7.- Many things will happen fot the good of people........ who already have all the money and power. And we, the poors, will be left out as always with no opportunities.

Posted by: Antonio Ramos-Perez | July 16, 2006 10:46 AM

Antonio Ramos-Perez, let's look at your complaints.
You say you voted for AMLO because you wanted change. Fair enough. Please explain in what way AMLO and the PRD will bring change from the paternalistic, clientelistic PRI politics of the last 75 years? Will the people change? No, the PRD is almost exclusively made up of ex-PRIistas, mad at the PRI because they did not get nominated for some office. (If the PRI had nominated Cardenas in 88, the PRD would never have even existed.) Will the supporters change? No, the same lideres, caciques, union members and thugs that supported the PRI are now moving to the PRD. (Empty boxes hit this one right on the head.) Will the IDEAS change? Please give me ONE new idea of the PRD. Everything that comes out of AMLO's mouth sounds like Lopez Portillo circa 1977. Finally, will the plight of the poor people change if AMLO becomes president? Who knows, but I would rather be poor in a PAN state like NL than a PRD state like Zacatecas.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 16, 2006 12:25 PM

Now, let's look at your seven complaints.

1 If Martha Sahagun is the worst you can come up with, you are really not trying very hard.

2 If stupid distant relatives are a disqualifier, NONE of the current candidates should be president.

3 "Medicines and food will be taxed" OK, let's not. And where do YOU propose to get the money for AMLO's massive subsidy programs for the poor, his elderly pension, and the hypersonic train to the border??? I have a feeling the answer is by printing it. "PEMEX will be privatized" PEMEX was privatized years ago. It belongs to the soil workers union. If it is transferred to Mexicans who will pay for it, and who, unlike the government, have the capital to invest, great. While we are at it, lets throw in the CFE too. If PEMEX is not privatized, what is your take on the belief that Mexico will become a net oil IMPORTER within a generation, due to lack of capital? Is this just right wing propaganda?
4 "Fox will be declared 'El Mesias'" By who? AMLO is the candidate who compared himself to Jesus.
5 Father Maciel???? If this is what passes for political discourse in the PRD, no wonder you are in trouble.
6 Ah, sex ed. You forgot to explain how El Yunque is going to secretly put radio transmitters in peoples' brains so the thought police can know what they are thinking.
7 People will get rich? You mean, like Bejerano got rich? Will these rich people also be videotaped blowing the money in Las Vegas, or on strippers?

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 16, 2006 12:35 PM

RC wrote: "At what point do Mexicans cease being PANistas and Perredistas and return to being Mexicans?" It is my belief that the social and politicial injustices that have been part of Mexico's history have created a belief in fate that things will always be the way they are in Mexico and that there will always be poverty and injustice for the vast majority. Perhaps this election has created a new hope among the underclass that social and economic justice is possible and that Mexicans may never again act like they did in the past.

Posted by: JGJ | July 16, 2006 12:38 PM

K. Vronna (cute nickname):

Why instead of posing rethorical questions, left and right, don't you try to answer some of them? I believe that yours is one more case of political naivete, of missinformed good intentions. I concur with your husband, by the way. I can understand that you or anybody else can oppose a government plan. What I refuse to accept is the visceral speech against AMLO, almost always consisting of utterly unsubstantiated accusations. I hope that you stop to reflect and come back to being a true "rational leftist." From your hateful, confusing comment, I cannot believe that you are at the moment. You sound a bit as delirant as right sympathizers like emptyboxes and Jerry Bourbon.


Do you ever think before writing?:

"It cannot be described as a pacifical demonstration because this people are being brought specifically for the event..."

Would it be all righ if they were promised nice shopping and sightseeing? Your rantings can be hilarious.

Do you ever read critically?:

"...the only one following him in the end will be the same people who follow EZLN..."

Do you know about "la otra campaña"? Have you read Marcos' rejection of AMLO and, above all, the democratic process in its totality, as it is? I bet you don't or you conveniently disregard it.

Jerry Bourbon:

You seem obssesed with the composition of the PRD an its militants who were PRI-members. Not everything that PRI did was bad. Until 1970 the Mexican economy was handled with rationality. Then the "tragic dozen" followed, and then the neo-liberalism. PAN policies are a follow up of the failed economic policies that PRI started, policies that put numbers (macroeconomic indicators over people's welfare). You seem to believe that everything new should be good. Not so. AMLO, the PRD, are attemting to rescue the country from the corrupt few who got their riches from the people suffering (just remember FOBAPROA). Not all businessmen are alike. But there are a few who are scared to death to lose their spurious privileges. They have spent lots of money in convincing people of the malignancy of AMLO with their propaganda. And they have been successful, I notice. But the winner is not always right.

Posted by: pasilla | July 16, 2006 01:41 PM

The PRI was "rational" until 1970? Would you consider what happened in Tlatelolco in 1968 to be "rational"? Most PANistas called it a "massacre".
Pre-1970 Mexico was a small and very poor country dominated by cartels and monopolies, and woefully corrupt and ineffecient. It was not by accident that phone books were called "books of the dead". Politically, it was a one party dictatorship, challenged, bravely and futily, by the PAN. You may not be aware, because it seems that anything more than 25 kms outside of the DF is beyond your notice, but in 1970, Tijuana was occupied by the army, to put down a near insurrection after the PAN was robbed yet again in a mayoral race. This is "rationality"?

You mention the "tragic dozen" years of Echeverria and Lopez Portillo. How, please inform us, does AMLO's economic program differ from those two?

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 16, 2006 02:40 PM

Jerry Bourbon:

It's extremely hard to argue with somebody who doesn't know how ro read, or disingenously refuses to read properly; my direct quote was:

"Until 1970 the Mexican economy was handled with rationality..."

You ask:

"The PRI was "rational" until 1970?..."

Until you refrain from twisting what everybody says to fit your purposes, I don't see how anybody can have a rational discussion with you...

"It was not by accident that phone books were called "books of the dead"." I never hear that; besides, I don't have a clue what you are talking about...

"How, please inform us, does AMLO's economic program differ from those two?"

AMLO's program (rather a series of ideological definitions) is out there for anybody to read. History of Mexico too. I don't understand what's the benefit of comparing programs for administrations gone by, which obviously were not followed, and a rough declaration of intentions. What I can tell you is that, in my view, tightening the economy belt for another six years, to keep inflation low, but mantaining poverty and unemployment to the high current levels is very dangerous. People demand investment.

Posted by: pasilla | July 16, 2006 05:04 PM

Pasilla, remember I am not an intellectual. Please excuse me if my intelligence is not up to your high, UNAM, standards.

You now say that keeping policies that maintain inflation low is "very dangerous"??? Are you old enough to remember the 80's? I would hope that even an intellectual like yourself would be aware that inflation in no way hurts the rich; they just keep on depositing their money in the US like they have always done. It devastates both the poor and the middle class. And, since no where in AMLO's program, which I have read, is there a realistic source of money to pay for all his programs, the only possible solution is to print money. Which means inflation. Once of that was enough. Of course, if you are another limosuine liberal (what the Brazilians call the "esquerda festiva") supporting the left because it is trendy, you probably have enough money that inflation will not bother you. It will bother the rest of us, though.

As to the phone books, you should talk to someone old enough to remember; phone lines were so hard to come by under the glorious state monopoly of TELMEX that, when someone died, they were supposed to inform telmex so the line could be cancelled. Of course that meant a five year wait for a new one, so, when someone died, and there house was sold, the line went with it. The new owner didn't dare tell telmex what had happened, so the line stayed under its old name. Hence the name "books of the dead". Don't worry, if your hero gets into office the good times will be here again, and we will all get to celebrate inflation, incompetence and corruption just like in the 70's

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 16, 2006 07:04 PM

Jerry Bourbon:

I don't care who you are. I just read what you write; that's the nature of the blogs. You don't know of me more than what I care to reveal. But your sport seems to be speculation. What is "UNAM standards," by the way?

"You now say that keeping policies that maintain inflation low is "very dangerous"???"

No. What I said is:

"tightening the economy belt for another six years, to keep inflation low, but mantaining poverty and unemployment to the high current levels is very dangerous."

Once again, you take what it serves your purposes, and disregard what it doesn't.

The times of high inflation may not be there in Mexico, but those of "incompetence and corruption" have remained in the Fox government and his "gabinetazo," never mind the uncomfortable in-laws. And there are ominous possibilities with Calderon. I'm not sure what the term "hero" means to you. But I repeat what I already said in this blog. We are past personalities; we are discussing ideas. I defend the belief that ALL Mexicans, no matter what their origins are, should have an oportunity to do well in their own country. It didn't happen in the Fox administration, and I deduct that it cannot happen with "the candidate of continuity."

Posted by: pasilla | July 16, 2006 08:00 PM

Pasilla, do you contend things were better for the average Mexican in 1970? If so, on what do you base that assertion?

Posted by: RC | July 16, 2006 08:14 PM

You say that Mexicans should have an opportunity to do well in their own country, and it "did not happen under the Fox administration". Please verify that I am not misquoting you.

Fox tried desperately to bring about change by modernizing the job killing labor code, he tried to bring Mexico up from last place in the developing world in tax collection, He tried to promote needed reforms in the electricity and petroleum sectors. All of his reforms were rejected by congress, amidst much demagoguery by the PRD (and, to be fair,PRI) about how he was starving grandma and selling the country out to "foreigners".
Since, despite what AMLO says, Fox is not an anti-democrat, he had no choice but to accept congress's rejections. Despite that, he has kept inflation low, to the extent that last year, inflation in Mexico was LOWER than in the United States or Europe. This has had ENORMOUS benefits for the poor, because it means that credit is slowly becoming available again. Fox has also, by using newly available credit, converted millions of Mexicans on very low incomes into homeowners.
Something else that not many people take into account is the freedom now enjoyed in Mexico. Fox and the PAN are regularly vilified in the leftest press, and NOT A THING happens to the press. Imagine that at any time in Mexico's previous history.

There is every indication that Calderon will continue this legacy, and with a near majority in congress will actually be able to make some real reforms. There is every indication that AMLO, if put in power, will not.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 16, 2006 08:41 PM


This is what I said:

"Until 1970 the Mexican economy was handled with rationality..."

Facts? From 1958 to 1970 (period known as "the stabilizing development"), the average annual growth of the GNP was 6.3% (during the Fox's administration 1.9%, in the first 5 years); average annual inflation (again, 1958-1970) was 2.2% (during Fox's administration's first 5 years 5%)...

Posted by: pasilla | July 16, 2006 11:35 PM

Pasilla, the numbers you stated above sound nice, until you compare them with growth rates in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, West Germany and Hong Kong over the same years.

Unlike your adored "golden past" in Mexico, all the above named countries (except Taiwan) at least pretended to be democratic, and all allowed the free market and competitive forces to flourish.
Compare them to Mexico in 1970. Compare them to Mexico today. Thanks, PRI.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 16, 2006 11:39 PM

Also, Pasilla, I do not think you answered RC's question. Were you saying that Mexicans in 1970 were better off than today?

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 16, 2006 11:41 PM

Jerry Bourbon:

It is not a matter of trying "desperately," but of trying wisely and successfully. Fox is not the first president (and he will not be the last) with an oposition congress; he just lacked the knack for negotiation...

Fox's government has given approximately 300,000 loans to buy homes; I don't know how that compares to other administrations.

Regarding credit, let's be realistic: banks in Mexico are extremely voracious and I'm doubtful that many people are able to contract credit, without collateral that they don't have.

I have never denied the freedom of the press existent during the Fox administration; but to be fair, we have to recognize that this started taking shape during the Zedillo administration.

Finally, a relative majority an absolute majority doesn't make...

Posted by: pasilla | July 16, 2006 11:56 PM

Jerry Bourbon:

Here you go again. My "adored golden past." Your favorite dance most likely is the "twist."

RC asked for facts backing my comment; that's what I offered. And I wrote what I wrote, not what you want or believe that I wrote; I didn't assert that the "average Mexican" was better off in 1970 than today for two reasons: a) I don't know what "average Mexican" means and b) the second reason helps me reinforce my point: inflation control, in isolation, doesn't automatically improve the people's standard of living. This is behind AMLO's government investment proposal, to create new consumers. Besides, why don't you let RC ask if he wants to?

Posted by: pasilla | July 17, 2006 12:16 AM

Jerry Bourbon,

You wrote:

"Pasilla, remember I am not an intellectual. Please excuse me if my intelligence is not up to your high, UNAM, standards."

The UNAM is a universe of its own, a university of immense size and diversity. It has one of the most advanced research programs in Latin America. Radical political groups such as the CGH have caused a loss of prestige, but these are not representative of what this institution is about. As an ex-alumnus, I resent being referred to in this sarcastic way. I have many friends who work and teach there even today (we're some old leftist social reformers from the late 60's and early 70's when your beliefs could get you a one-way helicopter ride to practice some skydiving without a parachute.) Insults are easy to sling, but they aren't fair to those who are not disposed to debate on that level. Not all of us Puma People are intellectuals, and some of us are downright practical people looking for innovative answers to promote social and economic justice. Lumping is a bad practice, even when you're making gravy. If Pasilla gets to you, try to count to 10 before answering, you seem to be a rational person most of the time by what you post here and it does not become you to fall into name calling.


Thanks for the compliment about my nickname; it is rather cute, no? But that's not my true character, at least not for the last few years, although I've been sorely tried at times.

You wrote:

"Why instead of posing rethorical questions, left and right, don't you try to answer some of them?"

Now if you reread the 7 questions I posed at the end of what I wrote, do you think YOU can answer them? I mean YOU, not some posturing party-line parroting, but some true original thinking that is grounded in the real world. If you can, I tip my cap to you and would like to know if you'll loan me your crystal ball sometime, I'm thinking of playing the lottery.


"I believe that yours is one more case of political naivete, of missinformed good intentions."

I can only relate to you what experience has taught me; it takes years of hard work, commitment, honest self-reflection and a true desire to help those that are willing to be helped to build a community, a movement and a nation. There is no easy way, concrete proposals take time and effort to formulate and test. If you judge what I said as naïve, then what are these "series of ideological definitions"? Try comparing these vague intentions with the comprehensive political/economic platform of Cárdenas in any of his three presidential bids and tell me about what naïveté means. How about being a little more even-handed in your conclusions.

I certainly didn't intend to come off as hateful in the remarks I made, but it still sticks in my craw that those bastardos priistas that robbed us of God knows how many years of, (uh oh, here it comes) RATIONAL LEFTIST government are now looking to get their hueso in a "leftist" candidacy. My only guess as to why you would accept the participation of someone as sleazy as Camacho Solís (They call him "El Árbitro" porque anda de partido en partido) in your candidate's campaign is that either you're either too young to know the history of '88 or you're part of the win at any price, (including your ideals) crowd that has hijacked the PRD. What's your take on why Cárdenas didn't come out in support of AMLO? I think it's because he's a PRINCIPLED person that must be downing a case of antacid these days when he sees all those bandidos that stole his presidency trying to take by assault Los Pinos after hijacking the party he helped found. And what do we hear in the AMLO demonstrations these days - "¡Cárdenas traidor!" I think the true traitor of the leftist movement is someone else.

So, Pasilla, you agree with my spouse; you mean you didn't vote either? Smells like a complot to me.

Posted by: K. Vronna | July 17, 2006 12:32 AM


Inflation control, in isolation or not, DOES ALWAYS improve people's standard of living. If you distrust me, I defy you to name one example of a country with 1980's Mexican levels of inflation that is not sinking ever deeper into poverty. Zimbabwe comes to mind.

Inflation control is not the only factor in improving a country's economic well being, of course. Creating jobs would help also. Unfortunately, the Ley Federal de Trabajo, as presently written, and defended vigorously by AMLO, is the single biggest job killer in this country. So, the country is not progressing. But, it would be worse if we also had triple digit inflation.

When you say that Fox's govt has given 300,000 loans, I think you are confusing INFONAVIT loans for all loans. In 2004, according to Harvard University, 660,000 new, cheap, homes were built, 90% of which were sold, on credit, to people making less than 10 times the minimum wage. You are not paying attention to the private credit schemes that companies like ARA and GEO are putting together, schemes that would be utterly impossible if high inflation had persisted.

K Vronna

I am sorry, your posts are always persuasive, even when I disagree with them. But, it is hard to take seriously a university which charges 20 centavos a semester in tuition, and which produces many groups like the CGH, and the zapatista wannabes. Obviously you came out all right, so it cannot be all bad. Still, if I had a kid, I would rather pay a slight bit more than 20 centavos and send him to ITESM. He might be employable in the private sector upon graduation.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 17, 2006 01:02 AM

K Vronna, you also mention Cardenas. I find it very interesting that his kid, Cardenas Batel has had very little to say indeed about the "theft" of AMLO's victory. Sometimes, you can say a lot without saying anything at all.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 17, 2006 01:06 AM

Oh!, This is really a never ending campaign and I feel that the whole six years ahead it is gonna be like this. It's kind of sad because all this people attending to the demonstrations ProAMLO are really looking for something that give light to their life, this people are needed for a change, they see AMLO as a God or a saint, comparisons with Jesus are made every time, many of them are willing to give their life to the cause and that's sad, and make me angry against Obrador, It's not fair to play the role of the Pied piper of Hamelin leading all this people and the country to a deep, deep division that it's not going to lead anywhere but confrontation.
I can't tell if AMLO it's very naif or very machiavellian to act in such irresponsible way, it's awfully insane, I can only see that for him, the ends justify the means.

The new government has a really hard task on education the next six years to erradicate ignorance, or a worst AMLO can have a real new chance to rule the country.

Posted by: Jorge Estrada | July 17, 2006 01:09 AM

This so-called informative meetings do not impress most Mexicans. We know the PRD has got all these labor unions and organizations and they force their people to go to these bs meetings, in most cases they pay them 70 pesos.
This will go away when the Tribunal takes the decision. As soon as the Tribunal ratifies Felipe Calderon, all the support behind AMLO will slip away.
And without it he will not be able to organize these meetings.
Each meeting is very, very expensive to organize, we are talking about a tens of millions or perhaps more. Right now his party is able to pay for it because he still has control over it.
But that will soon change.

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 17, 2006 08:16 AM

This is no never ending campaign. It will go away as soon as the Court declares Felipe Calderon the President. That's it.
Right now the PRD and business partners still have some money and they can organize this expensive massive meetings like the one they organized yesterday. Each one of these meetings cost about a hundred million pesos. And he is betting everything on it. The poor fellow thinks the Courts will let themselves to be pressured and blackmailed by these meetings. He is lost.

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 17, 2006 08:39 AM

Pasilla, when I said "average Mexican" I meant the person at the median (while imperfect, it is probably the best marker of the majority). By most measures (life expectancy, access to advanced medical care, chances of living in extreme poverty, etc) the person at the median is better off today. I assuming the growth rate you quote from 1958-70 period is per capita, if not, it not it would have to be adjusted for population growth to get a side by side comparison with today.

I have seen statistics that claim Mexico grew more rapidly during the past, so I don't take issue with your point. I do question the notion (not necessarily from you but certainly other AMLO backers) that the statist economy of the old-PRI governments was humming along just fine and then evil neoliberalism came a long a killed it.

Echeverria and Portillo were of the statist mold. De La Madrid implemented austerity because he had no choice. Populists simply expect the state to wave a magic wand and guarantee everything and when they can't finance all their promises they print money will-nilly.

Maybe Mexico can return to those earlier growth rates, maybe not. If the price of oil keeps climbing, Mexico will benefit regardless of who is in charge. However, I don't think protectionism and populism are recipes for strong growth.

Posted by: RC | July 17, 2006 09:26 AM

Emptyboxes, if AMLO was able to bring 1 million to a rally (even if that is an overestimate, he still got many hundreds of thousands), I suspect the election tribunal will have difficulty not calling for a full recount.

Apparently, AMLO said he would accept a results of a recount, although I suppose he could later claim circumstances forced him to change his mind and seek annulment.

Posted by: RC | July 17, 2006 09:31 AM

RC considering that a big majority of the DF and State of Mexico voters went for AMLO, the fact that he is able to fill the zocalo is not that impressive.

Do not be surprised if in the near future, Calderon doesn't do the same thing in the Macroplaza in Monterrey.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 17, 2006 10:24 AM

The Tribunal has already been in these circumstances and has taken desicions not based on political presure and or meetings, the tribunal is there to interpret the law and exercise it. PRD can have a meeting with a million people, but PAN can do exactly the same and they have done it in the past.
But PAN is not thinking about doing it because they are sure they won and they know for certain that the tribunal will ratify Felipe Calderon.
There have been many offenses and lies from AMLO and he and his staff know very well that they can fool ignorant and poor people but they cannot fool the Court.
The Court saw how as soon as AMLO saw he had lost, he claimed fraud and demanded the IFE to open the ballots and recount, this was a dirty trick to get the election nullified, the court also saw how the PRD manipulated and obstructed the results of the counting at the districts in an effort to brake the elections.
The Court also saw how the PRD and AMLO lied by presenting videos taken from normal and legal activities at the districts and manipulated them to try to make people believe that they were people committing fraud.
The Court has seen many dirty tricks from AMLO and PRD and they know it. That is why all these demonstrations.
These meetings alse serve in a way for AMLO to say goodbye without losing face. He just won't admit he lost.
If there is a recount, a vote by vote recount, he will come up with some other excuse.
Problem is, the moment AMLO admits he lost, he will lose all his political power.
The same will happen if Felipe Calderon wins, he will quickly lose all his political power.
The only way out for him now is to try to nullify the elections and or to make a little show with some demonstrations and build the impression he is the victim of fraud.

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 17, 2006 10:26 AM

The Hypocresy of the UNAM and it Dogmatic Leftist Agenda

First, they supervised and tested many times and certified all the operation of the PREP and this is well documented in the press. When the PREP began showing the results favoring Felipe Calderon and AMLO and the PRD starting raising doubts about the honesty and well functioning of the PREP, the IFE claimed that the PREP had been tested and that several institutions had also supervised and tested and certified the well functioning of the PREP. Then the UNAM was silent, not only they did not come out to say that they had tested it and they supported it because they had also been involved in its design and deployment but they also denied any relation with the PREP or the IFE. No, the UNAM cannot support anything that will go agaisnt AMLO wishes.
This is the kind of standards they have in this university. Other universities in the world, with much less money, are producing great scientists and professionals and also nobel prizes, Stanford for instance has produced more than 35 nobel prizes while UNAM, which has received incredible amounts of money from our taxes produces militant communist organizations, radical pseudo-analists, EZLN supporters, all kinds of retrograd movements and some mediocre professionals.
To the point that nowadays many companies in Mexico prefer to hire graduates from other public and private universities, and sometimes this is easy to verify by looking at the jobs announcements, they state, No UNAM graduates please.

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 17, 2006 11:44 AM

Obrador is not going to stop the rallies, He is totally unprepared for a normal life, he has been dreaming about being president almost all his life, he simply doesn't know what is to live outside politics or how to earn money by himself, he is going to hang to this with his paws all the way he can, otherwise he lost his function as a living being.
What can you expect from an obsessive paranoic?

Posted by: A. Ramos | July 17, 2006 11:56 AM

K. Vronna:

I'm not going to answer questions on behalf of the party on the right. Regarding the following:

"Will the PRD block every proposal that emanates from the PAN?"

Only if they go against basic platform issues; I'm pretty sure that they will oppose (I'm not sure if block, with the PRI playing footsie-footsie with the PAN) the VAT on medicines and food, and PEMEX privatization. I'd be more concerned about PRD politicians not reading or understandig law proposals (like "Ley TELEVISA"

"Will the AMLO group kill all hope of a viable left?"

I don't see why; however, I'm not sure exactly what you mean by a "viable left:" A left full of analysts and spectators, or a left willing to get to power?

It's a mistake to put in writing too detailed government proposals; look at what happened to Fox and his 7% annual growth... By the way, RC, annual growth of the GDP is that, not per capita income...

Words like "ideals" sound pretty; but politics, particularly in a multi-party system, requires alliances. This attitude of good vs. evil is more common amongst people on the right; I'm a little puzzled by the tone of your reply.

Cardenas. The problem with him is his refusal to recognize that his electoral political time is passing by. He played an important role in Mexican politics, but with a measly 16% of the votes in the 2000 presidential election, consideration of his electoral future was warranted. I have never heard AMLO say anything negative about Cardenas, have you?

Going back to strategies. What is the purpose of a true party participating in an electoral contest, if it's not possed to win? Some people from the left can continue claiming the high ground and being barely relevant to the end of time. As a matter of facts, all this mess is in part caused by naivete and lack of organization of the PRD. Your vote for Mercado is no different, in my mind, to "la otra campaña;" in both cases people are working at the outside, watching somebody else making the decisions...

Didn't I vote? You're right: I didn't, because IFE didn't allow me to.

Posted by: pasilla | July 17, 2006 12:09 PM

A. Ramos:

Are you a psychiatrist? Is AMLO a patient of yours, or you diagnose at a distance? Or you are just making a careless, baseless accusation as those so cherished by people on the right?

Posted by: pasilla | July 17, 2006 12:25 PM

Pasilla-- I have not visited this blog for a few days because other things are going on in the world. But I see you have been valiantly defending your position like a swordman with his back to the wall, holding off several attackers at once.

I think you made a good point about the PRI prior to the bad dozen years under Echevarria and Lopez Portillo, but I can't help but agree with Senor Bourbon and others who see similarities in the leftist economic policies that led to disaster then and the leftist approach of AMLO which could lead to an even worse disaster.

Without even knowing specific points in AMLO's proposals, we know his general approach to these matters and we know he opposes what the Latin American left always calls the "neoliberal policies" of Fox (and Zedillo and Salinas before him).

In other words, Lopez Obrador would try to roll back the reforms, try to dispense more money from the government to the poor, and, along the way, to the pockets of all the petty bureaucrats carrying out the programs. I rush to emphasize here that I am not saying he would deliberately foster corruption, but, as we saw when he was governor of DF, the people around him will take advantage and, instead of dealing with that forcefully, he will complain of a conspiracy against him.

That brings us to what, by now, has become the main point-- the man is unstable. Even you, Pasilla, must see that now. You, I am sure, supported him for legitimate reasons and I think you truly hoped he would be the person who would gain power and address the terrible inequities in Mexico. But his actions have shown him to be "un poco raro."

He presents evidence that turns out not to be evidence and then claims some of his own people took bribes to undermine his evidence? I can't believe anyone with any sense is still supporting him after the video tape fiasco.

Let the TRIFE do its thing and let the people who have nothing better to do go march in the streets and fill the Zocalo every weekend. Meanwhile life goes on. The rest of the world has already turned its attention elsewhere. It is time for Mexico to unite behind Calderon and try to move on.

Posted by: Goyo | July 17, 2006 01:20 PM

Ha Ha! Why PRD people tend to accuse all people who disagree with them of being part of the right? for me AMLO doesn't represent left or right or anything, he is only representing himself. I do not agree with the PANistas but certainly Obrador have something in his head, pretty obvious if someone compare himself to Jesus Christ and talk about himself as "the little ray of hope", If he is not crazy, he is ridiculous.

Posted by: Jorge Estrada | July 17, 2006 01:23 PM

The talk about AMLO's psicological problems is out there in the public opinion and it is begining to grow ever more.
When AMLO was with Doriga last week, Doriga questioned him about the video where he exposed what he said it was fraud but that was later denied even by his own PRD representative. The man and the people appearing in the video were not doing anything wrong.
I sincerely expected an apology from AMLO but instead of apologizing he dodged the question by answering with genelities about the fraud conspiracy. It was just disgusting. He still owes an apology to those people he offended but of course, hypocrate and apologist leftist pseudo-intellectuals like Denise Dresser, Guadalupe Loaeza, Monsivais, Lorenzo Meyer, these people, for as much as they consider themselves intelligent, will never mention the video affair.

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 17, 2006 01:53 PM


The talk is also out there that you love to write nonsense. Why should Guadalupe Loaeza, Carlos Monsivais or anybody else talk about the Salamanca video, if you don't lose the opportunity to mention it at every opportunity, as if there were nothing else to talk about? By the way, did you notice the "dwindling numbers" of AMLO sympathizers marching yesterday?

And all you, psychiatry afficionados: don't you feel a little shameful accusing somebody, anybody of mental disease, without proof? This is precisely your problem: you choose to disqualify, rather than to argue with basis.

Goyo, with these heedless, cavalier "adversaries," why should I have my back to the wall?

Posted by: pasilla | July 17, 2006 02:59 PM

Carlos Monsivais and other mentally challenged pseudo-intellectuals should do a favor to themselves and their readers by covering the issue completely. And they should talk about the video affair in all fairness to what is really happening. But there are also many many lies from AMLO these idiots will never talk about and I am sure it is because they get a little paycheck somewhere in the DF government. Today's article from Denise Dresser is another pathetic apology of AMLO.
The popularity of AMLO is down. Forget yesterday's march. I can organize one myself and I will be able to get as many provided I have the money. You see what you don't understand is that the people who go to these demonstrations is the poorest and most ignorant people who are manipulated by AMLO and his network of free-tamale organizations. That is all.
But he won't be able to do it for long because the money will go away.
Already the Reforma polls indicate his popularity is going down very bad and they are also saying that more than 60 percent of the population do not agree with a recount and more than 70 trust the IFE.
Get real Pasilla.

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 17, 2006 03:20 PM

Carlos Monsivais, awarded the Mexico's 2006 National Prize of Language and Literature, is a "mentally challenged pseudo-intellectual." What can one expect of somebody who makes a remark like that. Unfortunately, THIS IS REALITY.

Posted by: pasilla | July 17, 2006 03:51 PM

The award is worthless and it only shows how bad literature is in Mexico today.

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 17, 2006 04:07 PM

The jury that gave Monsavais his award was composed of like minded leftist "intelectuals". Surprise, surprise.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 17, 2006 06:21 PM

Today AMLO gave another one of his histerical press conferences. You can see how he feels so good with those cameras in front of him, it's like he needs this bit of attention everyday, its like he would die if he doesn't see himself on tv. Behind him, I always see Camacho or Monreal or Duarte laguhing and you cannot really tell whether thy are laughing at AMLO on his back or at the evidence he is suppossed to be presenting. Today he made a discovery, the fraud was committed using ancient and long forgotten methods, it was not the cibernetic fraud anymore. The word then is out and tomorrow the usual gang of AMLO apologists like Lorenzo Meyer and Denise Dresser and Trujillo and other mediocre analists will start talking about this new discovery from AMLO. They will try to build a case in front of the public opinion but we all know what their sorry agenda is.
By the way, there is a new poll by ISA-GEO, has anybody here got the numbers?

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 17, 2006 06:22 PM

The following link is to a study done by that hotbed of radical conservatism and el junque, Harvard University. It shows how the Mexican housing market has exloded under Fox, and specifically places credit for this on exchange rate stability and low inflation.

Kiss both of those goodbye if AMLO becomes president.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 17, 2006 06:32 PM

Excellent point, Jerry Bourbon. AMLO would redistribute wealth by taking some from the pockets of the people in the struggling middle class and then toss it out there to the poor, with lots of people in the government getting their cut along the way. The Fox government has done much more to eliminate poverty by giving people the opportunity to own a home and build wealth on their own. Now what is needed are more good-paying jobs at home, something Felipe Calderon might be able to accopmlish if he can get his reforms through the divided congress.

As for pasilla's demand for proof of AMLO's instability, perhaps none of us is qualified to provide a clinical assessment, but surely anyone can see that something is wrong with this fellow. He exhibits paranoia and compulsiveness and accuses his own people of corruption when they disagree with him.

Empyboxes is right, he owes those people and the people who appeared in the video a sincere apology. He should also apologize to the Mexican people for his behavior and the damage he has done to the reputation of the IFE. He should apologize to the European Union and others who sent observers, who, he claims "observed, but did not see."

Posted by: Goyo | July 17, 2006 06:48 PM

AMLO has got a psicological problem and many people are already talking about, that is an undeniable fact. As to why is this happening, I would say that the answer is probably in all those interviews he gave before and after the elections.
The impression that these meetings cause is not what his followers would like it to be. We know for certain that AMLO and PRD have many popular organizations, market vendors, taxi drivers, street vendors, etc. Who depend of DF government for permits and easy access to their clientele. But the rest of Mexico is unimpressed and we know what is really happening. It is nothing but a violent reaction from a man who has no respect for the law, the institutions and the voters and who wants to be president of Mexico to use the power to eliminate adversaries and benefit friends and business partners.
Felipe Calderon has kept a totall different attitude, he has been quiet and taking a break at home knowing that the campaign is over and that the Tribunal will take a fav orable desicion because AMLO allegations are baseless.
People are begining to compare the conflictive, offensive and violent reaction from AMLO versus the calm and friendly attitude of the winner.
The polls will show it. The support for AMLO is quickly eroding.

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 17, 2006 08:17 PM in this link are the reasons for a recount,at the bottom of the page you´ll find "testimonios graficas e informacion electoral" in there you´ll find dates,pick one and see for yourself why we need a recount.

Posted by: Raul Perez Espinoza | July 17, 2006 09:05 PM

Raul Perez Espinoza:

You need to provide a serious source. This fellow Julio Hernandez is a writer from la jornada and is a radical communist and a staunch supporter of PRD and AMLO particularly. He was one the first to claim there had been a cibernetic fraud, something even the PRD has denied and he is behind some other cocaine conspiracy theories. He has been going to the so called informative meetings. His views are seriously compromised by his idelogist agenda. He just another frustrated leftist pseudo-intellectual who never got any further than writing his own biased articles. You need to provide serious sources here and not these cocaine analists. Please have some respect for the readers of this blog.

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 17, 2006 09:39 PM

According to La Jornada (which would never lie) AMLO yesterday said that nothing less than 60% of the final polling place counts are fraudulent. This translates to 80,000 fraudelent results from polling places. Assuming a minimum of five citizens running each poll, and many party representitives, including one perredista per polling station, this means that at a minimum three quarters of a million Mexicans (And, supposing that the PRD covered only half the polling stations, 40,000 perredistas) participated in the fraud of July 2.

If this is true, Mexico is doomed. If not, it is one more example of how AMLO is getting wackier by the day.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 17, 2006 10:08 PM

If AMLO does become president, what will be the punishment for all the "enemies" who tried to steal the election from him? What will be the punishment for the northern states that voted against him?

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 17, 2006 10:10 PM

La Jornada and Proceso among others are a piece of crap. Their biased reports speak of narrow-minded individuals. I read El Norte, which in Mexico City is Reforma, and in this non-partisan newspaper you can find all kinds of points of views. Today for example there is an AMLO apologetical article from Denise Dresser, But there is another one from Silva Herzog, who is a more pragmatical analist. Sunday it was interesting because they had one article from Monsivais, who usually writes for Reforma and El Universal on Sundays, and there was another article from Enrique Krauze, one of the best history writers in Mexico and a pragmatical and liberal thinker. I actually receive his Letras Libres magazine which I will recommend if you want to read non-leftist Mexican intellectuals.

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 17, 2006 10:19 PM

K. Vronna (what a great nick!!) took the words out of my mouth. I thought I was the only one who thought that way. I voted for Patricia too because she's the only viable left wing alternative in this country. The PRD of today is an embarrassment to the Mexican left.

It is funny to watch that all the AMLO supporters think that you're not a true leftist if you're not supporting El Peje. They call you traitors, sell-outs to the right wing, and beg for you to be enlightened and join the marches.

I'd love to have a left wing government in Mexico. A modern left wing government that is, like José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in Spain. AMLO is soooooo far from that. How can people like Muñoz Ledo, Elena Poniatowska, Carlos Monsiváis be on his side? Are they blind to the double standards of the PRD? Are they blind to their lies and their corruption? This pathetic videos showing this supposed "fraud" are publicized with "mala leche" just so he can reach an annulment of the elections and dismiss the 28 millions of Mexicans who doesn't want AMLO to be our president. What a democrat!

What makes me sick is AMLO's attitude of "is it me or no one". He's not willing to cooperate with the future government, he has said it himself and his compinches at the PRD. And where's the well being of Mexico? Down the toilet, thank you very much. Since El Peje isn't going to sit in the presidential chair the country can go to hell for what he cares. He's going to be a pain in the butt for the next six years and, I don't know about you, but I truly think my country deserves better that this.

PAN isn't better either, but to sustain that AMLO and his army of ex-príistas are the answer to our prayers is simply beyond my understanding.

I sincerely hope that Cuauhtémoc, Lázaro Cárdenas and Amalia García get their party back, because, as for right now, the PRD has been kidnapped by a bunch of opportunists led by AMLO who are taking advantage of the needs of our country's underdogs for their personal benefit.

Posted by: bunburina | July 17, 2006 10:25 PM

Bunburina, your comments are always interesting and intelligent. Which is why I am struck by your insistence that what we need in Mexico is a viable left wing movement, instead of that moron AMLO. Why? In the entire history of Latin America, from here to Tierra del Fuego, NOT ONE left wing government has been viable over a long term. If you mean you want another Lula, I could agree with you, but I do not think Lula could really be classed as left wing, he is more center. His policies are anyway, which is why they are working. Ditto Tabare Vazquez in the Uruguay, and (hopefully) Bachelet in Chile. All the real left wing governments in Latin America today are taking their countries down the toilet. Kirchner in Argentina, Hugito in Venezuela, Evo in Bolivia, Fidel, they all bring nothing but backwardness and repression. Do we want that here in Mexico?

Put another way, if Bachelet was a Mexican, it is much more likely that she would be a PANista, not a perredista. Ditto Lula.

AMLO himself does not even really, for me, have an ideology, he is neither right nor left wing, he is "me me me wing", and if he thought the votes were there he would probably join the nazi party.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 17, 2006 10:39 PM

I went to the country side last weekend, I wanted to get a little away from the City and from all this elections stuff. I went to Galeana, a nice little town south of Monterrey, about 3 hrs away. The people in this place are mostly farmers who have no internet access and most of what they learn comes from word of mouth and from the local tv.
None of them believe AMLO, they had local elections too and they participated, some as representatives and others as IFE officials and all of them will tell you the same thing, that the elections were clean and that AMLO's problem is that he does not know how to admit he lost.
You guys are right when you say that AMLO has no ideology. That is true. A governor who awards 150 contracts to one single company in one day, all of them worth hundreds of millions, like PRD government did with Ahumada, cannot be considered a leftist government.
Modern socialism today, is usually an extension of capitalism. In Europe, in Germany or Spain or even France, socialist governments and parties hold Adam Smith principles dearest to them and have completely thrown to trash Carl Marx books and ideas, they are obsolete and do not work and are not to be tested again.Sometimes I think the Europeans are embarrass to admit they are just copying American Capitalism, they just want to call it Social Democracy, but more and more, they are building the same institutions, Anti-Trust laws, Free-trade regulations, etc. In Mexico our Socialist or Leftist parties still hold themselves to Carlos Marx's ideology, and still believe in leninism and sometimes even stalinism. But their ideology gets mixed up with the hierarchical structures of their parties, which are based on mesianic leaders who are suppossed to advanced their cause. The legitimate cause of the Mexican people, it does not matter if the whole north and central regions of the country vote against them.

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 17, 2006 11:15 PM

Jerry Bourbon, emptyboxes:

I do agree with you, I'm actually up for free trade, globalization and private investment. In this time and age there is no escaping to the globalized economy and it would be a complete suicide to close our economy and increase governmental control in it. We gain nothing attacking the World Trade Organization or the World Bank; instead, we have to work with them.

That's why I'm refering to the modern and viable left wing. For example, Zapatero, a leftist, understands very well that entrepreneurs are not an enemy but an ally and the government should defend their private property. This is shown with the recent feud he had with Evo Morales (who is very alike to AMLO). He defended the Spanish oil and gas companies because he knew that spanish companies had invested a great deal of capital in Bolivia and that the bolivian government would never have enough money to keep those facilities running effectively. It is on the best interest for both, Bolivia and Spain, to keep the gas and oil companies private. (Actually, I think that's one of the reasons Zapatero did not want to support AMLO; he didn't want a retrograd, an Evo II to deal with in Mexico).

That's exactly what I want from a left wing government, not some bs of making roads to boost employment.

Jerry, although the PAN more resembles this, I can not vote for them since I'm not a conservative. I'm pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, pro-legalization of drugs. I like a strong separation between the church and the state. And that's some stuff that the PAN is not willing to promote.

The PAN also tends to be more of an american model of social expenditure, meaning low taxes and not so many public services. I like the european model, the scandinavian model of relatively high taxes but of strong social programs like unemployment insurance, free universal medical care, well payed retirement fees, economical incentives for students etc. I think our country, with the disparities that we have, really needs a model like the one I'm talking about.

The only candidate that talked about all the stuff mentioned above is Patricia Mercado. AMLO didn't even care to take this in to account. He was to busy convincing people that panistas, príistas, El Yunque, the Vatican, the CIA, the Mossad and martians were doing a complot against him.

That's more or less what I was thinking when I said we needed a viable, modern left wing government.

Posted by: bunburina | July 17, 2006 11:45 PM

I don't pretend to speak for everyone here, but I wouldn't seek psychiatric help from ANY of you guys. Since when do you become a long distance psychiatrists just by watching interviews or reading articles? I'm sure that AMLO is miffed and nervous and a whole lot of other things that most of us would feel if we were to go through what he has. Wouldn't it be a more valid discussion without the examples of amateur psychiatry? Or are there a lot of Memo Frists out there that can diagnose just by looking?

Emptyboxes, a blanket condemnation is a risky proposition at best; an intentional deception at worst. The UNAM has more problems than we could ever discuss here and I don't think that this blog is an appropriate forum for those issues, at least not in-depth. I do want to express that there are some very capable people and departments still left, but if politics and corruption are not weeded out soon even those that remain will be gone. Ramoncito is a great example of how political opportunists have used the school to pursue their personal ambitions and reorient the budget to those ends. Just try to remember what I said about throwing out the baby with the bath water, though; it would be much wiser to reform than destroy.

Jerry, I know what you mean about finding a job with a UNAM degree, some of my nephews studied their master's in the UDLA and in the Tec just to prove to future employers that they had been "reformed". I wish we had a labor code worth its salt that would stop this discrimination and others, too.

Have any of you considered how the country has been dividing at the street level? How little contact there is between the different socio-economic-cultural classes? When I was a kid we bought all our food at the market. We had our favorite vendors, some close friends, and even some were compadres of my parents. The neighborhoods were integrated for the most part and rich kids played with poor kids. Gated communities were unknown to us. Only the really well off could send their children to private schools and our public schools and teachers were not that bad in spite of the SEP. What will the adults be like that will come from these kids that live in gated communities, shop in exclusive malls, attend exclusive private schools and churches and never talk with the underprivileged? Whenever people have to deal with each other on an everyday basis their differences become less pronounced and there is a human face behind the issues. You might even find that you can negotiate in good faith with them. Can we do that now before it's too late?

Bunburina, I feel a little less lonely now, thanks. Jerry, we need BOTH a rational right and a rational left to achieve political balance. You know - checks and balances.

Posted by: K. Vronna | July 18, 2006 12:27 AM

K Vronna, when you were a kid (and I am not guessing your age!), the level of violence in Mexico was nothing like it is today. Gated communities were unknown because they were not needed. I am not one of these hysterical "crime is everywhere!" people who refuse to even go outside because of fear (Right now, Frontera, the better Tijuana paper is on a "secuestro" kick, if you believed it, you wouldn't leave your house either. This is crap, most of the "secuestrados" are narcos ajusting accounts) however, no one would argue that crime is a lot worse than it has been. You can lay the blame for this on any number of things, I personally blame the 94 peso devaluation, the 85 earthquake, and the 1974 passage of the Ley Federal de Armas de Fuego, which made self defense with a gun basically illegal. Whatever the reason, things are more dangerous, and the wimps among us are hiding in their gated communities.
Maybe things are different in the DF, but I still buy meat from my local butcher, can eat tacos on credit when necessary at the local puesto, and sold a car on credit (and was paid) to the local policia auxiliar. I think the contact is still there between people. Maybe I am optimistic.
Politically, Tijuana is not divided. Basically, everybody hates AMLO. The real division here is PRI/PAN, and I have many PRIista friends, everyone gets along.

Bunburrina, you say you are pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, pro-legalization of drugs. Looking at that, nowhere in the PRD's (I do not know about Mercado)program is there anything about decriminalizing abortion, there are laws on gay rights now, the problem is they are not enforced, just as laws on age and sex discrimination are ignored, and if it had not been for enormous American pressure, PANista Fox would of signed a bill legalizing small quantities of drugs. The PAN is really not so bad.

As to Mexico adopting a European model, come one, you're smarter than that, half the economy is in the black market, paying no taxes, and the government is chronically underfunded as it is. If it were not for PEMEX revenues, the federal government would basically cease to exist. European governments take in up to 50% of (first world) GDP in tax revenue, while the federal government here takes in something like 15% of what is definitely not a first world GDP. There is and will be no money for a European social model here in our lifetimes. Period. That is sad but it is reality and we need to work within reality.
Furthermore, well funded or not, the Europeans still do not live as well as the Americans.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 18, 2006 01:07 AM

Bunburrina, one huge benefit of both globalization and free trade that we often forget, and the reactionary left never noticed, is that, were it not for things like the internet and NAFTA, the only discussion about this election we would be having right now is by how many points Madrazo won. In my view, free trade and globalization liberated Mexico from the PRI. Maybe the PAN (or AMLO, or Mercado)is not the best alternative, but at least we now have alternatives. It beats the non globalized past anyday.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 18, 2006 01:21 AM

Jerry, I know we're not becoming Sweden or Finland anytime soon. But I think we can be taking important steps towards that goal. I disagree with you in the sense that americans live better thant europeans. At least in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Scandinavia you don't get to see the ghettos that exist around the New York City area, to say an example. They do have a higher living standard. Besides, it has always seemed to me that the american model is rather selfish and too individualistic (de rascarse con sus propias uñas). I believe there's a certain resposibility of the state to provide for some basic conditions for people to fulfill themselves.

Anyhow, to achieve that, as you rightly put it, the government has to do something about the informal commerce and black market. However, the whole mafia of the black market, at least in Mexico City is controled by AMLO and Co. The ambulantes are on the PRD payroll so is going to be very hard to find a solution for this.

A start would be to have a comprehensive tax reform, and I really hope, the next Congress would agree on pass the legislation.

And I agree, globalization has opened an entire universe for us mexicans. AMLO supporters can have their own blogs where they get support from overseas. Even the EZLN has their own webpage. So it is completely incoherent for them to say that globalization is this great evil we must avoid. As a matter of fact, the NAFTA came in a time where we really needed an economic boost, just when the '94 crisis ocurred. If it weren't for the NAFTA the country would still be in recesion and recovering from the crisis. Whether it harmed our framers is a different subject, but it is undeniable that the NAFTA and our other free trade agreements had been greatly benefical for us. Example: the automovile and auto parts indistry.

Posted by: bunburina | July 18, 2006 01:52 AM

This has turned into a good, healthy and intelligent discussion, which is what Mexico needs. If Calderon can take office and carry out his promise to seek unity, this is the kind of discussion that will help build that unity.

If Calderon does become the new president, and I think I have made clear that that is what I believe should happen, then he has a shot at governing well. His party will have the most votes in Congress and, with a couple of dozen votes from the PRI and a few from smaller parties, he can get legislation passed.

If the TRIFE were to give it to AMLO he would govern with a little group of cuates and would have no chance of passing any major program unless it were something the PAN wanted passed. The PRD is in third place in the Congress and has no hope of getting more votes for its radical proposals.

This would be a good time for the rational people in the PRD to put a stop to this nonsense before AMLO brings them all down.

Posted by: Goyo | July 18, 2006 11:01 AM

bunburina: Of course you will find gethos in Germany and they have them in France and England and Spain and all over the continent, but you cannot compare New York city with Frankfurt, intead compare Seattle with Frankfurt and then you get a better perspective. But the Europeans like to speak about living standards because this is an issue where they get the upper hand since they don't have hollywood movies to expose all their poverty and shortcomings. The funny thing is, people presume what they can and ommit what they cannot presume. Europe cannot presume or even talk about technology because they missed the whole internet and telecommunications revolution, and you can see this today by simply looking at the semiconductors industry where the Europeans are almost absent. Same for software, they arrived late. Same for Nanotechnology, and the consumer and retail industries where Americans dominate and where already hundreds of American franchises are all over the European continent and the same happened in many other industries. That certainly does not speak about a higher living standard but rather a political system that sacrifices the future of a country subsidizing the living standards of its citizens and compromising the very future of their nations by not stimulating innovation and entrepeneuralship.

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 18, 2006 11:14 AM

Bunburrina, I was going write something along the lines of emptyboxes, but he basically beat me to it. I will add to what he wrote.

I do not think you can make a fair comparison between social stratification in the US and Europe (especially Northern Europe) for two reasons, the US's history of open immigration and its legacy of slavery. Both of these factors have, sadly, combined to create a semi permament underclass that you do not see in Europe because there are no descendents of slaves still dealing with the vestiges of this practice, and they have many fewer immigrants. So, comparing Hanover to New York is not really valid, due to the lack of immigrants and minorities in Hanover. A fairer comparison would be something like Montpelier, Vermont (99% native born white) to Hanover, and I personally would choose Montpelier, as there is more opportunity there.
Of course, immigrants do come to Europe, and we all saw how well they are integrated last fall in the Paris riots. European immigration levels, both legal and illegal are far lower than American ones. If they had to cope with the numbers of immigrants the US recieves, their societies would fall apart.

Considering the diversity of American society, I think they get pluses for simply not killing each other. Anything beyond that is a bonus.

Now, the question of where does one live better is seperate. That depends on who you are. If you are a 45 year old public employee in France who will retire in 5 years on a 100% pension, Europe beats the heck out of America (until the money runs out, anyway). If you are a recent university graduate looking for that first job, I would rather deal with America's sub 5% unemployment than say France or Germany (or, worse, Spain) where youth unemployment is over 25%, due to inflexible labor laws.

We are now way off topic, but one last topic. New York is FULL of young European university graduates, busily making more money than they would at home and paying the American taxman less than they would at home. On the contrary, who ever heard of young American graduates going to Europe for jobs or opportunity.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 18, 2006 02:21 PM

"This has turned into a good, healthy and intelligent discussion, which is what Mexico needs."

Hey Don Goyo, this is the best post yet! We agree to disagree or to agree freely and respect those that participate. We are just folks, not monsters on the left or the right. When we talk and discuss our ideas freely, they acquire unexpected synergies. Brainstorming. Trenched positions are like the old "finished product syndrome", no possibility for change or negotiation. I can't thank my niece enough for the wake-up call she threw my way about 20 yrs ago. (Jerry, don't you make a peep about my age or you'll see why I have this particular nickname!) She was about 11 or 12 at the time and what she said sure as hell hurt, but it started me on MY road to liberation. "Tía, you're just a bitter old lady that rants and raves all the time, you must be really unhappy. Don't you like anybody?"

When the passion of political debate becomes a closed loop, the foundation is laid for violence and grief. Violent words turn into violent acts and these can be turned inward to make personal life a frustrating hell, or turned outward to make life hell for the rest. AMLO's war has turned down that dead-end street of a shouted monolog; the last steps before the fan starts to distribute what's about to hit it and the loudspeakers blare out the Talking Heads' song 'Burning Down the House'. This morning Calderón got a good firsthand look as did those of us who saw it on TV. I want to be optimistic about this, but I can't seem to shrug it off. No dialog, no bridges to compromise, just the brink. Camacho & AMLO don't seem to give an airborne copulation for the poor, the first ones to suffer when violence breaks out.

In the late 80's I helped a gringo friend of ours do research for his doctorate, a book on the agrarian reform in central Mexico. There were just a few old guys left that had lived through that period, albeit as children, in the neighboring villages. The one comment that almost all of these people made was that the poor were the ones that suffered the most and the longest. Per capita income of Mexican peasants actually dropped after the Revolution and only reached pre-revolution levels many years later in spite of what the PRI myths have always promoted. The Mexican baby in the bath water better have a crash helmet on, because here it comes again, thrown out on his head. ¡Chin!

Got to go, need to find a way to help move a lot of artesanía that some of our Oaxacan friends are not going to be able to sell. Seems like the Irrational Left has attacked the Guelaguetza festival that helps out all these bourgeois, right-wing artesanos. Some of these poor fellows were saving up their wares since almost a year ago, this is social justice? Just like the poor businesses in the center of DF, too bad.

Posted by: K Vronna | July 19, 2006 12:02 AM

K Vronna: I am deeply saddened by well-fare and well-being of those poor artisans. I thank you and anyone else involved in any activity to promote and help these people.
And indeed I do believe this has been a most interesting blog experience.
I myself have to admit that I have been a little over the top in my arguments and assertions, perhaps driven by mixed feelings of frustration and anger over what is happening in my country, and by what I consider to be false allegations of fraudulent elections and an attempt from AMLO and PRD to blackmail the courts and the Mexican people.

Posted by: emptyboxes | July 19, 2006 09:37 AM

Antonio Perez-Ramos. We the poors?
Come on!, you are posting several blogs. You are NOT a poor. Poor people in Mexico have ZERO access to computers, not even mention Internet. So, don't come with that arguments. Are you living at Reforma now?

Posted by: Miguel | August 24, 2006 10:32 AM

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