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Tape Revives Mexican Conspiracy Theory

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:26 pm    Post subject: Tape Revives Mexican Conspiracy Theory Reply with quote

This is currently front-page news in Mexico,
and has heated up the issue quite a bit:

Tape revives Mexican conspiracy theory

Recording backs losing presidential candidate's claim of plot against him

By DUDLEY ALTHAUS and MARION LLOYD - Houston Chronicle

MEXICO CITY — Claims by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador that a powerful cabal of politicians and the mega-wealthy have conspired to rob him of this summer's presidential election have long been dismissed by his critics as paranoia.

But the interrogation of a real estate developer, taped two years ago in Cuba and broadcast here Friday on a radio program, might well confirm the notion that just because a man could be paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get him.

On the tape, jailed businessman Carlos Ahumada alleges that several Mexican Cabinet ministers, a powerful senator from President Vicente Fox's party and former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari engineered the February 2004 release of other videotapes showing the developer bribing senior aides to Lopez Obrador......

"This confirms what Andres has been saying all along," said Rafael Hernandez Nava, a city legislator for Lopez Obrador's party, at a sit-in in downtown Mexico City. "It was a plot conjured up by (Diego) Fernandez de Cevallos (a National Action senator), by Salinas and Fox."

"It's a plot by the same rich people in this country who have always opposed Andres."


Meanwhile, this poll shows 60% in Mexico
City think the election was fraudulent:

- Many adults in Mexico City believe last month’s presidential ballot was not fair, according to a poll by El Universal. 59 per cent of respondents think the election was fraudulent.

Mexican voters chose their new president on Jul. 2. On Jul. 6, official results placed Felipe Calderón of the governing National Action Party (PAN) as the winner with 35.88 per cent of all cast ballots, followed by Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) with 35.31 per cent.

As the political temperature hots up,
Obrador plays it cool:

Mexico Bracing for Social Unrest

Tanks are deployed as the nation awaits a ruling on who won the July 2 presidential vote.

By Héctor Tobar, LA Times - August 20, 2006

MEXICO CITY — A line of armored vehicles awaits outside Mexico's Congress building. Most are brand-new and have never seen action. But many Mexicans wonder whether their menacing presence is a harbinger of this divided country's future.

Federal authorities deployed the tanks to prevent supporters of leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador from shutting down Mexico's legislature in a bid to pressure the Federal Electoral Tribunal to order a full recount of all 41 million votes in the disputed July 2 presidential election.....

Addressing a group of supporters Thursday, Lopez Obrador said Fox might use the military to clear the streets by force. The candidate said his backers would resist any effort to provoke a confrontation with the military.

"Do they think they're going to put a puppet president on the throne with the support of the army?" Lopez Obrador asked his supporters. "They're wrong. We are not going to give them any excuse to use force. We won't give them the pleasure of using their tanks."


Mexico News Roundup 8/20/06

And this puts it all in context:

'People power' is a global brand owned by America

The US and the western media back protests over controversial
elections when it suits them, but are silent over those in Mexico

Mark Almond - Tuesday August 15, 2006 - The Guardian

A couple of years ago television, radio and print media in the west just couldn't get enough of "people power". In quick succession, from Georgia's rose revolution in November 2003, via Ukraine's orange revolution a year later, to the tulip revolution in Kyrgyzstan and the cedar revolution in Lebanon, 24-hour news channels kept us up to date with democracy on a roll.

Triggered by allegations of election fraud, the dominoes toppled. The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, was happy with the trend: "They're doing it in many different corners of the world, places as varied as Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan and, on the other hand, Lebanon ... And so this is a hopeful time."

But when a million Mexicans try to jump on the people-power bandwagon, crying foul about the July 2 presidential elections, when protesters stage a vigil in the centre of the capital that continues to this day, they meet a deafening silence in the global media. Despite Mexico's long tradition of electoral fraud and polls suggesting that Andrés Manuel López Obrador - a critic of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) - was ahead, the media accepted the wafer-thin majority gained by the ruling party nominee, Harvard graduate Felipe Calderón.

Although Mexico's election authorities rejected López Obrador's demand for all 42m ballots to be recounted, the partial recount of 9% indicated numerous irregularities. But no echo of indignation has wafted to the streets of Mexico City from western capitals.

Maybe Israel's intervention in Lebanon grabbed all the attention and required every hack and videophone. Back in 2004 CNN and the BBC were perfectly able to cover the battle for Falluja and the orange revolution in the same bulletins. Today, however, even a news junkie like me cannot remember a mainstream BBC bulletin live from among the massive crowds in Mexico City. Faced by CNN's indifference to the growing crisis in Mexico, only a retread of an old saying will do: "Pity poor Mexico, so far from Israel, so close to the United States."

Castro's failing health gets more airtime than the constitutional crisis gripping America's southern neighbour, which is one of its major oil suppliers. Apparently, crowds of protesters squatting in Mexico City for weeks protesting against alleged vote-rigging don't make a good news story. Occasionally commentators who celebrated Ukrainians blocking the main thoroughfares of Kiev condescend to jeer at Mexico's sore losers and complain that businessmen are missing deadlines because dead-enders with nothing better to do are holding up the traffic. Ukraine's Viktor Yushchenko was decisive when he declared himself president, but isn't López Obrador a demagogue for doing the same?

The colour-coded revolutionaries of the former Soviet Union had a pro-western agenda - such as bringing Georgia and Ukraine into Nato and the EU - but in Latin America radicals question the wisdom of membership of US-led bodies such as Nafta and the WTO. The crude truth is that Washington cannot afford to let Mexico's vast oil reserves fall into hands of a president even half as radical as Venezuela's Hugo Chávez.

But didn't the western observers certify the Mexican polls as "fair", while they condemned the Ukrainian elections? True, but election observers are not objective scientists. The EU relies on politicians, not automatons, to evaluate polls. Take the head of its observer mission, the MEP José Ignacio Salafranca: as a Spanish speaker in Mexico, Salafranca had a huge advantage over many of the MEPs in Ukraine who draped themselves in orange even while en mission - but he is hardly neutral. His rightwing Popular party is an ally of Calderón's Pan party, which is in power in Mexico. Calderón was immediately congratulated by Salafranca's colleague Antonio López-Istúriz on the "great news".

The days of leftwing fraternalism may be over, but the globalist right has its own network, linking the Spanish conservatives, American Republicans and Calderón's Pan party - and they provided the key observer. To paraphrase Stalin: "It doesn't matter who votes, it matters who observes the vote."

Salafranca has a track record as an election observer. In Lebanon's general elections in 2005 he had no problem with the pro-western faction sweeping the board around Beirut with fewer than a quarter of voters taking part and nine of its seats gained without even a token alternative candidate. "It is a feast of democracy," he declared. His mood changed when the democratic banquet moved to areas dominated by Hizbullah or the Christian maverick General Aoun. Suddenly, "vote-buying" and the need for "fundamental reform" popped up in the EU observation reports.

Unanimity on the scale seen across Lebanon suggests that the cedar revolution - despite the hype - did nothing to promote real democratic pluralism. Hizbullah's hold on the south is the most controversial aspect of the sectarian segmentation of Lebanese society, but everywhere local bosses dominate their fiefdoms as before. Similarly, more scepticism about Ukraine's revolution would have left people better informed than the orange boosterism that passed for commentary 18 months ago.

But Mexico is different because it is so under-reported. The cruel reality is that "people power" has become a global brand. But like so many global brands it is owned by Americans. Mexicans and any other "populists" who try to copy it should beware that they're infringing a copyright. No matter how many protesters swarm through Mexico City or how long they protest, it is George Bush and co who decide which people truly represent The People. People power turns out to be about politics, not arithmetic.

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