AlterNet, August 2, 2006
Title: “Evidence of Election Fraud Grows in México”
Author: Chuck Collins and Joshua Holland
Revolution, September 10, 2006
Title: “Mexico: The Political Volcano Rumbles”
Authors: Revolution Newspaper Collective
Researchers: Bill Gibbons and Erica Haikara
Faculty Evaluator: Ron Lopez, Ph.D.
Overwhelming evidence reveals massive fraud in the 2006 Mexican presidential election between “president-elect” Felipe Calderón of the conservative PAN party and Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the more liberal PRD. In an election riddled with “arithmetic mistakes,” a partial recount uncovered evidence of abundant stuffing and stealing of ballots that favored the PAN victory.
Meanwhile, US interests were significantly invested in the outcome of Mexico’s election. Though neither candidate had any choice but to cooperate with the US agenda, important differences existed around energy policy, specifically with regard to foreign privatization of Mexican oil and gas reserves.
Though the energy sector of Mexico is already deeply penetrated by US capital, as it stands, the Mexican government owns and controls the oil industry, with very tight restrictions on any foreign investment. Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the fifth largest oil company in the world, exports 80 percent of its oil to the US. Sixty percent of its revenue ($30 billion per year) currently goes to the Mexican government, accounting for more than 40 percent of the Mexican government’s annual revenues.
Calderón promises a more thorough and streamlined exploitation of Mexico’s oil, demanding that Mexico remove barriers to private/foreign investment (which are currently written into the Mexican Constitution). Obrador, on the other hand, insisted on maintaining national ownership and control of the energy sector in order to build economic and social stability in Mexico.
In June 2005, Mexico signed an accord called Alliance for the Security and Prosperity of North America (ASPAN) with Canada and the US. The point was made that this accord would be binding on whoever became president of Mexico in the upcoming elections. Included in ASPAN is a guarantee to fill the energy needs of the US market, as well as agreements to forge “a common theory of security,” allowing US Homeland Security measures to be implemented in Mexico.
Five months later, in November 2005, an “audition” was held with Mexican presidential candidates before members of the US Chamber of Commerce in Mexico City. All candidates were asked whether they would open the energy sector in Mexico, especially the nationalized oil company, Pemex, to US exploitation.
Felipe Calderón received resounding applause when he answered that he is in favor of private investment in Pemex, and of weakening the labor unions. He also received applause when he stated that he supported George Bush’s guest worker program and that he agreed the border needed to be secured or militarized. Obrador said that he would not allow risk capital investment in Pemex—but hastened to add that other sectors would be opened to investment.
Calderón won the audition, Obrador was granted the role of understudy. Former US Ambassador to Mexico Jeffrey Davidow told Obrador, “If you win the election, we will support you.” But when Obrador appeared to be the front-runner in the election, PAN allied with forces in the US to launch a feverish campaign against him.
Though US laws prevent US influence in other countries’ elections, anti-Obrador ads airing on Mexican TV were designed by US firms and illegally financed by business councils that included such transnationals as Wal-Mart and Halliburton. US election advisers Rob Allyn and Dick Morris were contracted to develop a media campaign that would foment fear that Obrador, with ties to Chavez and Castro, posed a dangerous Socialist threat to Mexico.
Outgoing president Vicente Fox violated campaign law by making dozens of anti-Obrador speeches during the campaign, as the PAN party illegally saturated airwaves with swift-boat style attack ads against Obrador. Under Mexican law, ruling party interference is a serious crime and grounds for annulling an election.
While Obrador’s campaign and hundreds of independent election observers documented several hundred cases of election fraud in making their case for a recount, most Mexican TV stations failed to report the irregularities that surfaced. Days after the election The New York Times irresponsibly declared Calderón the winner, and Bush called to personally congratulate Calderón on his “win,” even though no victor had been declared under Mexican law. Illegal media campaigns combined with grand-scale fraud had had their effect.
Dominant forces in the US thus had a strong presence behind the scenes of the 2006 Mexican election. As a consequence, Washington looks forward to working with Calderón, who promises tighter (repressive) control and cooperation on all matters of interest to the US, in an accelerated plan to put Mexico more directly under US domination.
Mexico has thus been denied the democratic election of a president who might have joined Latin America in standing up to aggressive US neoliberal policies.