Official: The fraud is a fact.
Today, as it was widely anticipated, the Superior Tribunal of the Judicial Power of the Federation (TEPJF) declared Felipe Calderón, of the currently right-wing governing PAN party, elected as president for the 2006-2012 period. My regular readers will know that my political views are against his party’s, and that I completely oppose him - Of course, being consequent, in June I started, together with some friends, FeCal.org.mx, a site destined to show the incongruencies and incoherences in the official version - and that evolved to a site I am quite fond of, having good and deep analysis of the political situation. Of course, it is time now to redesign and think forward for this site, now that FeCal is no longer a candidate - but lets leave it aside for now. Today, we are mourning. We are not mourning an electoral loss - Wherever there is democracy, there are losers, and it might be right that we lost this time. Furthermore, in political systems such as ours, it is practically guaranteed that the majority of the citizens will lose (this means, it is terribly hard for any candidate to get over 50% of the votes - If Calderón wins with almost 35% of the votes, or if López Obrador wins by a similar amount, we will anyway have 65% of losers). But what we are mourning goes far beyond that: We lost faith in our electoral institutions, which we were so proud of a couple of years ago. They proved not to be serious, not to be adequate for a hard decision. Why am I saying this? Lets analyze a bit. First of all, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE)’s main function is to organize the federal elections, and to make sure they are run with neutrality. Since the early months of the formal competition (as the campaigns themselves started way too early and we Mexicans are sick of the eternal electoral climate), the IFE has not acted in time to stop a dirty campaign, made not only by the PAN party but by the nation’s President himself and by groups that, being privately owned, are said to be outside the reach of the IFE’s regulatory spectrum. The IFE’s general council should have been built with representants of all of the main political forces, but only PRI and PAN (which means, center-right and right wing) were represented. Secondly, over the last six years, President Fox seems to have made constant efforts not only to prove us all he is a complete fool and inept as a statesman (examples abound, there is no rush to prove Vicente Fox just cannot be trusted to run a country), but that his fight for democracy was nothing but a race for personal power. He took every oportunity he could to promote his party - while the Mexican law requires him to remain neutral during the electoral period. There are many proven examples of irregularities and corruption inside his cabinet (most notably those carried out by Josefina Vázquez Mota, who was in charge of all of the federal programs to fight poverty, and was the coordinator of Calderon’s campaign) leading to inject resources into the campaign. Yes, this should have been stopped by IFE as soon as they were detected - But it was not. And, thank you Mr. Fox, by doing this you severely undermined the respect there should be for the Presidential figure. Now, IFE’s role ends shortly after the elections. After that, it is TEPJF’s role to qualify the elections - To ratify they complied to the required equity, legality and certainty. Many of us had more trust in TEPJF than in IFE, mainly because of the series of personal and group connections that came up between IFE and the power groups. Most of us were quite vocal on the voto por voto, casilla por casilla front - Demanding from TEPJF to request to recount all of the votes. Having only 0.58% distance between the top candidates, with lots of statistical anomalities, with tons of reports of illegal tampering of the ballots, having a wide recount would surely make many among us believe and accept the results - Of course, the PAN repeated ad nauseam that the ballots had been counted and we should not go again over the same excercise, quoting all kinds of arguments that came from a too narrow interpretation of the law. And, in the end, too narrow was the response of TEPJF - Only 9% of the booths were reinspected, and not all of them were recounted. In fact, one week ago, they decided to discard over 300 appeals (this means, 300 requests for trial on a specific booth or on a whole district), without yet disclosing which appeals were they, on what basis were they discarded, what geographical areas did they impact, or anything. They nullified about 235,000 votes - And this number is quite scary, as it practically matches the official difference between the two lead candidates (244,000 votes before this partial recount, 233,000 after it). We can now state for certain that the difference between the candidates is smaller than the error margin. Today, with a very important portion of the country in doubt on whether their decision was legal and correct, TEPJF ratified Felipe Calderón as the elected president. This would be good news. I would like to accept Felipe as my president - Sadly, I cannot, just because all of the TEPJF’s principles were violated:
- Equity: The process didn't progress with equity. Illegal publicity was repeated over and over. Just as one example, the Presidency has had the equivalent of 24h a day of ads in the national electronic media for over six months - And IFE acknowledged it was used in a way that promoted the vote for their candidate. The final message was very subtly changed, many people were left unsatisfied, and... That was it. Andrés Manuel López Obrador was often protrayed as a puppet of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez, and there are still people who believe he was setting to create a communist regime in Mexico. Of course, this was also a direct result of what is now known as the hatred campaign that the ruling party and an important group of industrials pushed. So, no, we had no equity.
- Legality: Most of this posting has dealt with the ilegalities of the process, they are really not in short supply. The sad and alarming thing is that it was the TEPJF itself which commited the last and most important illegal acts.
- Certainty: In a strongly contested electoral scenario, I perceive this to be the sole most important principle. How many votes were cast for each of the top candidates? We have repeatedly stated that the difference between them is below the statistical error margin for a process where a million people counted the votes. And after last week's results where nearly 240,000 votes were discarded, the difference is objectively and undoubtely smaller than the error margin. Even if no fraud was made, people make mistakes, and it is too naïve to assume not even one out of each 200 votes was incorrectly accounted. And even if no fraud was done, not allowing the society to ensure the results of the process really match the reality is by itself a fraud. We will now probably never know if Felipe Calderón cheated, the same as we still don't know who won in 1988 and by how much. Then, official records say that Carlos Salinas had over 50% of the votes, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas almost 30% and Manuel Clouthier close to 20% - But both Cárdenas and Clouthier were sure they had won. And while Cárdenas (founder of the PRD, which now supports López Obrador) called off the civic resistence to start creating a strong political movement for future, PAN's Clouthier did exactly what his party criticizes López Obrador for. In fact, our president Vicente Fox was the Agriculture Secretary in Clouthier's parallel government. Only that Clouthier had a misterious accident some months later and died - giving way to the dark period of PRI-PAN concertacesiones led by Diego Fernández de Ceballos.
So… In short, what comes now? We are exhausted by this long process. As too many people, I just cannot accept the imposition of yet another fraudulent president. I had the hopes that Mexico had changed in the last 18 years - But it has not. We are still in a strong presidentialist regime, and we still don’t have hopes of getting a democratic government. If we do have a democraticly elected president, perfect, I will accept it. Of course, criticizing and keeping a close eye on his government, as I don’t think the social and economic principles they push, but accepting. But there are too many signs of a fraud, there are too many stinky bits in the decision. The stinkiest of them all, the refusal of their opportunity to shut us up. Is it better to have millions of angry citizens closing important streets and giving Mexico a bad name by writing about our trip back to the stone age than to allow for a legal recount? Is it too much asking giving some certainty to our elections? Is there any doubt we will keep fighting this imposition?
Carlos Morales 2006-09-08 20:34:03
Re: Official: The fraud is a fact.
What are really facts are: 1. the difference between both was less than 2 votes per box and 2.- in a lot of the boxes has more votes than the people who really voted on them.
if we know matter can’t be created, then we know those votes should have came from somewhere else, any of the posibilties are illegal.
Gunnar 2006-09-05 18:29:17
Re: Official: The fraud is a fact.
They were quite even, IIRC about 100,000 for PAN and 85,000 for PRD (and the rest for smaller parties), or something close to that. Yes, they cancelled each other out - Now, we still don’t know where in the 9% of reviewed booths did those discrepancies happen, and where did they happen to which side. We need transparency… Hopefully, that will come, although late. And hopefully, that will bring some peace back.