Revolution #61, September 17 2006
Mexico: The Situation Continues to Sharpen
On September 5, the Federal Election Tribunal in Mexico officially declared Felipe Calderón of the National Action Party (PAN) to be President of Mexico, ruling against opposition challenger Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). The court ruled that while there were “irregularities” in the July 2 presidential election and clear interference in favor of Calderón by current president Vicente Fox, the PAN, and the business community, none of this interference could be said to have invalidated the results.
When the dispute around the elections exploded in early July, the Sept. 6 deadline for the Tribunal’s decision was looked to with anticipation as the day when the solemn court ruling would lay to rest the political crisis. It was hoped that AMLO’s supporters who have been blockading the center of the capital would pack up and go home and that the social unrest that has focused around this dispute among the rulers would dissipate. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Mexico is more polarized than ever. AMLO is not backing down, and September 16 could bring a showdown of some sort. It is very unclear what will happen.
In spite of all this, on September 6, Bush called Calderón and Fox to congratulate them anyway on the “solidity of the Mexican democratic institutions.” As if, on September 1, the night Fox was supposed to give his last address to Congress, there hadn’t been sharpshooters on the roofs above the Congress, nor tanks and thousands of troops in the streets, and opposition delegates from the PRD and the Partido de los Trabajadores (PT) hadn’t taken over the Chamber of Deputies in protest and prevented Fox from speaking! The reality behind the “solidity of the democratic institutions” was further demonstrated on Sept. 6 when, in order to attend his own ceremony at the Federal Election Tribunal, the new President Calderón had to be flown in by helicopter and sneak in and out of the court by the backdoor. Guarding the surrounding streets were 1200 Federal Preventive Police. Protesters pelted the front of the building with eggs. Clods of dirt quite appropriately hit the ex-minister of agrarian reform who was trying to make his way into the ceremony.
September 16, Mexican Independence Day, is shaping up to be a day when all of this could come to a head. AMLO has called for one million delegates to arrive from all over the country for a National Democratic Convention, fill up the streets in the City Center, and bring into official existence a new peaceful resistance movement. The military has stated that it will carry out its traditional parade in these same streets. The blockade of the City Center by AMLO’s supporters also continues. The Convention will possibly elect a parallel government complete with a “legitimate” president to “take possession” on November 20 or December 1. AMLO has laid out 10 resolutions that he has put before the Convention, including: whether to “recognize the usurper government,” whether “to name a President of Mexico, a head of the government in resistance or a coordinator of peaceful civil resistance,” and whether to create a permanent Assembly and elect a political council to direct it when it is not in session.
The struggle is sure to sharpen, and the expectations of the masses for radical transformation is very high. All eyes should be on Mexico in these next days.
For an in-depth analysis of the current developments in Mexico, see the coverage in Revolution #60: “Mexico: The Political Volcano Rumbles” and “Who is AMLO, What Is His Program, and Where Will It Lead?”
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