Mexico’s general election: Dirty war vs. people’s concerns

Presidential candidate for AMLO alliance, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, speaks at rally.

BY CLAUDE BRUNELLE

On July 1, general elections are being held in Mexico in which a total of 3,400 positions are to be filled. These include the president; 128 senators (96 to be chosen through direct vote and 32 from a proportional list); 500 elected representatives (300 to be elected by direct vote and 200 from a proportional list); and nine states will elect a governor. The remaining 2,762 positions represent mayors and councillors of cities and villages throughout the Mexican Republic.

A record 17,000 candidates have put themselves forward for election. The record number of positions to be filled at this particular historical juncture makes this election very significant.

For the Mexican people, this year’s general election is taking place within a most difficult political, economic and social context. Over 60 per cent of the Republic’s population lives in poverty. Their level of insecurity has never been greater: more than 200,000 deaths have occurred over the past 12 years, thousands have disappeared and even more aggressions have been committed. Based on human rights defence agencies, each minute of the day 11.7 women are the victims of either aggression, violence or assassination attempts, with seven dying each day. The youth have also not been spared, with thousands of disappearances and assassinations in the country’s most politicized regional zones. Organized criminal groups and criminal cartels linked to the Mexican state continue to grow.

While Mexico’s GDP has increased by 2.1 per cent, salaries have fallen by 3.5 per cent. The level of impunity with regard to all types of crime combined within the country stands at 98 per cent. The level of integration of the economy to that of the U.S. has never been higher. Mexico, the lead producer of corn, has become an importer of corn from the U.S., which is also the case with beans. Energy “reforms” brought in by the current President Peña Nieto have allowed for the privatization of oil, with large monopolies such as British Petroleum now setting up shop within the country. A litre of gas now costs almost as much as it does in Montreal, and Mexico has become an importer of oil and refined gas.

Since the pre-election campaign began, the Mexican presidency has received visits from former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and current U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.

Although each of their meetings with Mexican officials was held behind closed doors, the respective statements of both governments expressed the determination to continue collaboration between the countries with regard to security and immigration. All the U.S. spy agencies have set up shop in the downtown area of Mexico’s capital. U.S. clandestine military bases exist in many of the Republic’s states. Thousands of Mexicans continue to be deported from the U.S. to Mexico. The trade in arms and drugs on each side of the border is controlled by U.S. agencies which use the pretext of illegal immigration to justify impunity. President Trump recently sent the National Guard to the Mexican border.

Bearing all of this in mind, how can one not imagine the great concern of the U.S. and the oligopolies they serve over the results of the Mexican election?

In the face of this situation thousands of Mexicans are resisting, fighting and demonstrating each day so that their rights as human beings be respected to live in security and within economic conditions that provide for a dignified life. The concern of the Mexican people in this election is to find a way to elect those who may be able to bring about a break in the system of impunity, corruption, privatization and integration into U.S. imperial interests. In doing so they find themselves victims of the greatest pressure to prevent them from focussing on their real interests.

It is common practice for the various parties of the rich to have at their disposal an entire arsenal of measures to buy the votes of Mexican citizens. This can range from a bag of groceries to construction materials, or from intimidation to assassination. In the face of the growing interest of the Mexican people to elect the AMLO alliance to the presidency of the republic with Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) for president, the cartel parties in the service of the oligarchs continue to increase their ads, announcements, statements and videos filled with lies, in order to create a psychosis of fear amongst the people and prevent them from voting for AMLO. Each and every day of the electoral campaign the people are subjected to a multitude of contradictory messages from the four candidates vying for the presidency against AMLO and López Obrador. It is a feat for people to think calmly about who is best suited to serve their interests.

The aim is to create a huge impression on the workers and people as to who to vote for on July 1. Based on information from news agencies controlled by the monopoly media, the fight is between the alliances of Partido Révolucionario Institucional (PRI), Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) and the and the independent candidate, on one hand, and AMLO, on the other. Why such hysteria and concern vis-à-vis the possible election of AMLO to the presidency of the Mexican Republic?

The PRI and PAN alliances, along with the independent candidate, are concentrating all their actions against the possible election of AMLO as president of the Republic. AMLO is presenting a nation-building project centred on the priority of developing the national economy and against the privatization of public services. But this does not amount to a revolutionary project. It is not against the capitalist system or foreign investments. Its thesis is that it can ensure the development of education, health care and the production of goods each year which serve the people. It seems that at this time the general interest of the Mexican people resides with the AMLO alliance’s Juntos Haremos Historia (Together We Will Make History). According to recent national and international polls, the presidential candidate López Obrador is leading with 46 per cent of the intended vote, 20 points ahead of his closest rival Ricardo Anaya at 26 per cent, and Jose Antonio Meade is at 20 per cent, and El Bronco at two per cent. Margarita Zavala who has now dropped out was at five per cent. These percentages have been the same since the pre-campaign, and there is just a month-and-a-half to go to the election. This is the third time that AMLO is running for the presidency of the country. In 2006 and in 2012, even though it looked like AMLO would win the election, a process of fraud prevented it from taking the presidency of the country. This led it to constitute its MORENA movement into a political party, and create party constituencies in all of the Republic’s cities and villages. It presently has two million active party members.

What is clear from the present campaign is the great concern amongst the Mexican people over the future of their nation and a determination to sort out how to move forward. There is also great anger amongst the workers and the entire people towards the parties and the media because they are not dealing with their concerns. Instead, they continue to fight amongst themselves as to who can tell the biggest lie about the others or who can create the greatest fear by screaming the loudest about an impending apocalypse if the people do not submit to the interests of big capital.

Information

A total of five candidates are running for President of Mexico. Three of them are leaders of alliances: Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), for Junto Haremos Historia comprised of MORENA in alliance with Partido del Trabajo (Mexico) and Encuentro Social; Ricardo Anaya of Frente por el Futuro, comprised of Partido Acción Nacional (PAN), in alliance with Partido de la Révolución Democratica (PRD) and the Movimiento Ciudadano; Jose Antonio Meade for Todos por México comprised of the Partido Révolucionario Institucional (PRI) (the present party in power) in alliance with Partido Verde Ecologista de México (PVEM), and Nueva Alianza PANAL; and one independent candidate, Jaime Rodriguez Caldéron, nicknamed El Bronco, representing a dissident section of PRI in the north-eastern part of the country. Margarita Zavala, the wife of former PAN president Felipe Calderon, dropped out.

Of Mexico’s 127 million inhabitants, some 90 million will have the right to vote on July 1. Of that number, 30 per cent are between the ages of 18 and 35, making the youth a key factor in the election.

Source: TML Weekly, May 19, 2018 – No. 19

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