By Murciélago Alejandra
July 2nd, 2006, election day in México, the top two candidates couldn’t be more different, exact opposites I’d say… On one hand we had Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), the candidate running for an alliance of left parties and on the other one we had Felipe Calderón, running for the PAN (the party which held office at the time). Back then, opinions were truly divided, some wanted continuity, others wanted change, the results presented Calderón as the virtual elected resident by a narrow margin of 0.56%, there were reports of some irregularities back then, the opposition was not willing to accept this without an investigation of those irregularities, they demanded a recount (they are entitled to by law and obligated if they feel the process wasn’t a clean one), the organ in charge of the election refused claiming the process had been a clean one even though there were at least 44,000 voting stands (34%) that had shown irregularities. People, AMLO’s supporters were not too convinced either so they started protesting, taking the streets, things started to get heated up and to prevent things from getting out of hand, the left wing candidate convoked his followers to manifest peacefully taking over the “Zócalo” which is the large square with a Mexican flag in the middle, just outside the National Palace which is where the Federal Power is based. Thousands of people turned up and occupied it for some time. AMLO went on a hunger strike and many followed, he’d make daily speeches that got some media coverage at first but they mostly called him crazy and a danger to the nation.
Imagine now you applied for a job and everything went so well you were certain you were getting it, everything seemed to point that way, but then they call you just to let you know someone else took that position, someone whose qualifications were more suitable. That’s alright, it happens right? but weeks later you find out it’s the company owner’s nephew who was given the position, the one who didn’t even finish high school… I’d say at least a hissy fit’s called for, right? Well… you’d think… but the mexican media seemed to disagree in AMLO’s case, even though they were presenting evidence that should have at least been looked at.
Now, we fast forward to 2012, Mr. Calderón has done a great job, before him we were hungry, now, we’re hun- gry AND afraid to go out on the street. It’s election time again, AMLO’s running yes, again, only this time the PAN decided to throw away the election by nominating a woman who obviously didn’t stand a chance, and the PRI, the party that held the presidential chair from 1929 until 2000 nominates a pretty boy, a puppet, they had been building him up with the help of Televisa (they even got rid of his wife and found him a better looking one) since 2005, even before Calderón’s election. The PRI has always been known for not playing very fair but we thought since they were not in power anymore we had a chance to have a clean(er) election. Little did we know…
On election day, right after the closing hour, the media started giving numbers, based only on exit polls, those numbers showed the PRI candidate had 42% of the votes while AMLO was in second place with 27%, that’s a pretty big difference, discouraging, so much that the candidate for PAN came out right away to admit her defeat and congratulate the new president Enrique Peña Nieto. Ummm… shouldn’t she wait for official results? Evidently not, because the current president Felipe Calderón fol- lowed, funny thing, his unscheduled unannounced speech came up 2 seconds after AMLO came out to announce he would not recognize his defeat until the official results were pronounced and only if they found no evidence of foul play, oh yeah, totally blocking it! What were the TV stations to do but switch to the president’s official announcement. Too bad the country had to miss AMLO’s public announcement.
Now after EPN has been announced as our next president, many of us beg to differ, not led by a party or a candidate but by common sense, we’ve decided not to sit this one out, we’ve taken the streets, week after week we go out and peacefully march, simultaneously across the country, we gather in public squares and walk the streets of our cities while we still have the freedom to express our opinions and demand our rights, we are aware that the marches and protests themselves are not the solution but only a way to raise interest from the International Community, from real journalists, from people willing to dig a little deeper and expose this fraud, evidence of it keeps turning up making it unacceptable, hopefully the results of this fraudulent election will be rejected by other nations. In the meantime we will keep taking the streets every weekend, hoping many more will join. As a final observation, I just wonder, where are all those people who out of con- viction voted for EPN? I have not seen even one of them out there, who’s celebrating that appalling victory?