Mexico and the Stolen Presidency!
Mexico and the Stolen Presidency!
By Alayande Stephen
The present tide of political consciousness and radicalisation of Latin American has systemically taken its toil on the Central America Country, Mexico. This obviously underscores the stimulating anti-imperialist movements that have been sweeping across Latin America continuously in the last few years.
Mexico, which is country with over 107 million population, has witnessed massive upheaval in recent period. It will be recalled that the new wave of struggle started with the miners, teachers, hospital workers, and others in the run up to the elections. This eventually developed into a full-scale mass movement in the state of Oaxaca, where strike actions of the Teachers and later the Health workers culminated into a call for the resignation of the state Governor.
This titanic struggle was followed by the 2nd July Presidential election mass movement, where the right-wing Partido Accion Nacional (PAN), a replica of the Nigerian ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), candidate, Felipe Calederon was declared the winner of the Presidential election against the popular opposition leftist candidate, Andreas Manuel Lopez Obrador fondly called ALMO. The purported narrow victory of Calderon has been widely protested by over two million Mexicans since the announcement of the election results that took the country’s Electoral Tribunal two solid months to declare. Calderon claimed the victory by less than one percentage (1%) of the total votes of 41.6 million, winning with about 240,000 votes.
The mass movement led by radical populist party Partido de la Revolucion Democratica (PRD) and has ALMO as the symbol of the struggle demanded a full recount of all the votes, as against the partial recount of 9% of the votes allowed by the Electoral Court of the land, after continuous protest and pressure from the people.
With these daily protests and movement, the country witnessed the biggest mass uprising in the history of the country with over 2 million people fully participating. The uniqueness of the movement is the fact that tent city is built or erected in the Mexico City by the supporters of ALMO, thereby paralysing major economic and political activities at the capital city.
The tens of thousands in the tent city are unambiguous about their message, they all seem to be echoing “no more horrendous living for the Mexicans people amidst abundant resources, human and material”. the English newspaper the Times quoted, on Friday 8 September 2006, a 47 year old teacher ,Joel Cruz de la Torre “I am here to defend Democracy from the fraud that was perpetrated by Fox. Our representatives don’t represent us they represent the rich, they do not respond to the 60% of the Mexicans who are poor.”
Three-quarters of the estimated 12 million illegal migrants in the United States come from Mexico and Central America. Specifically, Mexicans make up 56 percent of the unauthorised US migrant population, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Roughly 10 percent of Mexico’s population of about 107 million is now living in the United States. About 15 percent of Mexico’s labour force is working in the United States. One in every 7 Mexican workers migrates to the United States. The current wave of migration began with Mexico’s economic crisis in 1982, accelerated sharply in the 1990s with the U.S. economic boom, and today has reached record dimension.
In 2005, Mexico received a record $20 billion in remittances from migrant workers. That is equal to Mexico’s 2004 income from oil exports and dwarfing tourism revenue. Even the United Nation report suggests that the money sent back by people living in the US to Mexico is the country’s biggest source of income after oil.
THE PEOPLE’S PARALLEL GOVERNMENT
The historic significance of the movement is that over 2 million Mexicans were on the street demanding good jobs and good government and justice. Lopez Obrador was declared the President on the country’s Independence Day anniversary (September 16) in Mexico City by the mass of the Mexican population who desire change, forcing Calderon and Fox to relocate the venue for the traditional Military march past and usual funfair that normally characterize the anniversary away from the capital. As early as 8am on the Independence Day, Mexicans had trooped out in hundreds of thousands to the Mexico Capital City to declare their candidate the “legitimate president”.
Supporters at the peoples mass congress on the Independence day massively voted to swear-in Lopez at a ceremony on Nov. 20, 2006 just days before Calderon swearing in ceremony. (December 1st 2006). Lopez Obrador said he would name ministers to his parallel government and that it would operate from voluntary donations.
Delegates at the convention led by Lopez also voted to support a boycott against some of Mexico’s biggest companies, which they believe backed Calderon’s campaign. They included the Mexican units of major U.S. firms such as the colossal retailer Wal-Mart and financial giant Citigroup (C.N).
The election sharply divided Mexico along class lines, with the vast majority who are poor working class elements in support of ALMO, while an infinitesimal percentage of the ruling oligarchy and their cronies crave for the suspension of the protest and a return of normalcy to the country.
However, fears of major unrest or violence have eased in recent days as Lopez Obrador has apparently opted for a conventional, diplomatic means to challenge Calderon rather than the continuous mass protests on the streets.
THE DANGER IN PARTIAL ROMANCE WITH IMPERIALISM
Earlier Lopez had declared, “Now begins a new period in Mexico â€¦ with the sovereign power of the people, we will undertake the changes and transformation that this country needs”. While the Mexican ruling class and other international ruling oligarchy dread with passion the possibilities of a Lopez becoming the President, Lopez himself despite his sloganeering against corruption and the US Imperialism, has pledged to work with business and will only take measure against corrupt elements.
One of the cardinal demands of Lopez during the elections is the call to renegotiate the NAFTA trade agreement with US. The significance of that is that there is a very high possibility of ALMO going the way of Lula of Brazil or Lucio Gutierrez of Ecuador, both who were elected on the strength of mass uprising against imperialism and neo-liberalism, only to blatantly betray the mandate, later in office.
Hence, total break from partial or full romance with any neo-liberal policies and pro-western influenced agreement is the correct strategy needed to consolidate the on-going struggle.
CORRECT STRATEGY NEEDED
More than before, the mass mobilisation already undertaken by the ALMO and his supporters are the tonic needed to sustain and consolidate the struggle. However, there is need to go deeper in terms of clear strategy. There is need to build a real structure based on the strength of a democratic committee of the trade unions, organisations in the communities, student movements, workers, districts, workplaces, schools, the military etc to give direction and focus to the struggle and make demands at given stages of the movement. The struggle must be built with working people armed with correct slogans and if necessary weapon to confront the likely attack by the Government military force. However, painstaking explanation and mobilisation should be carried out amidst the military section of the country to appreciate the need to support the struggle for it is the struggle to better the lots of the under-paid and poverty stricken millions of the society which include them.
The movement should aim at a coordinated one-day warning general strike to further send signal to imperialism that the masses have taken over. There must be international working class appeal not only to anti-imperialist neighbouring countries but also to the workers globally.
There is need for support and solidarity, rallies and protests to be carried out in other countries. This will stimulate and further embolden psychologically and physically, millions of Mexicans protesting, that they are not alone in the struggle
Of course it’s a laudable to have ALMO making radical declaration, including the boycott of the two neo-liberal multi-national companies, but such must be backed with the demand for the nationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy and resources of nature with democratic control and management by the working people themselves. Equally, a clear-cut anti-imperialist programme should be consciously placed in front burner of the demands.
In Mexico and other part of the Americas, it is imperative for the working class, together with peasants and others exploited by capitalism, to build a strong revolutionary mass based working people party, that is capable of defeating capitalism, landlordism and imperialism and enthrone workers and peasants’ governments run on socialist programme.
This should however serve as a step towards establishing a socialist confederation (or if possible federation) of Latin America.