Last July 1, Mexico experienced one of the most important bourgeois elections in its history, not only numerically but also because of the great polarization, it generated in the country. About 89 million Mexicans were called to vote for more than 18,000 public posts, among governors, mayors, senators and local and federal congressmen – and for a new president.
By Jenin Villa Roja – CST youth (Mexico)
Of this number, about 56 million voted (around 63% of the total), since in Mexico voting is not mandatory. Based on the results of the quick count, the National Electoral Institute announced at 11 pm that the leading candidate of the presidential contest, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (MORENA) had won the dispute with more than 53% of the votes. Obrador’s opponents promptly accepted the defeat, casting aside the possibility of electoral fraud, a usual tactic to control the Mexican political system, widely used throughout the history of the country.
The success of the coalition candidate “Together we’ll make history” was overwhelming: López Obrador emerged victorious in 31 of the 32 Mexican states. This impressive electoral result is the result of a widespread despise of the working Mexican people against the failed political system, dominated mainly by the ruling party PRI (Party of the Institutional Revolution) and its opposition by the traditional right, PAN (National Action Party) in conjunction with the increasingly deteriorated PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution).
Morena is going to rule Mexico
The overwhelming achievement of AMLO, rather than symbolizing the approval of hundreds of thousands of Mexican workers demonstrates, in a distorted way, the desire to produce a radical change in this country. This is, the generalized feeling among people is to give the benefit of the doubt to a politician who has always presented himself as an anti-systemic social fighter. However, would a real and profound change be clearly possible based on a mandate from the MORENA leader?
Why did Mexicans choose MORENA?
The electoral victory of AMLO represented a vote of punishment to the governments of PRI and PAN, which have succeeded each other in recent years in a disastrous way. If the first had rigidly ruled the country for more than seven decades without interruption until 2000. When the second came to power that year with the promise of strong changes as a result of the “democratic transition,” chaos and uncertainty became evident. At the end of Vicente Fox’s term of office (2000-2006, PAN) the foreign debt had reached a record of 603 billion Mexican Pesos.
Only in the fight against organized crime, the war against drug trafficking, Felipe Calderón (2006-2012, PAN) deepened the country in its worst security crisis, with more than 30 thousand missing and thousands dead. He was also responsible for signing the “Frontera Sur” migratory project, militarizing the country and promoting the persecution of Central American migrants crossing Mexico to the US, arriving at the absurdity of planning to build a wall between our country and Guatemala.
The closure of the AMLO campaign filled the Azteca stadium
The internal disputes of the PAN generated doubt about the name of the candidate for this party. Among the possibilities were Margarita Zavala, the former first lady of Calderón, and Ricardo Anaya. Since Zavala was not considered strong enough for the contest, the second was chosen to represent the coalition “Por México al Frente.” This decision led Margarita Zavala to leave the PAN and attempt the presidency via the “independent” route, even if she had withdrawn before July 1.
The Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) tried to find a candidate among its own, but its main option, the head of government of Mexico City Miguel Angel Mancera was not enough to stand the dispute after the case of Marco Antonio Flores – the underage UNAM highschool student – victim of forced disappearance by the Mexico City police. The only alternative was to join the PAN and Movimiento Ciudadano in the coalition “Por México al Frente.”
Ricardo Anaya has been pointed out throughout his campaign not only as someone capable of betraying allies to achieve his objectives but also as a politician related to corruption. Anaya tried to project himself as a symbol of modernity and technology, but his clientage practices did not let him lie. Essentially, the allegations of money laundering marked the debates and left indelible marks.
The corruption scandal involving Anaya refers to the sale of an industrial property by a company belonging to his family. The accusation adds to its predecessors related to dubious transactions with respect to the construction of a party’s headquarters. Anaya has taken the first place in campaign expenses equivalent to 3.5 million a day, according to a research by the weekly Proceso.
A major defeat for the PRI
This election also represented a hard blow to the ruling PRI party, which not only failed to achieve any of the 9 gubernatorial disputes, as it will no longer be the largest parliamentary group in Congress but fifth, making it the worst defeat since 1929. The president in turn, Enrique Peña Nieto, ends his term with the worst evaluation of a Mexican president since they began measurements in the 90s. According to consulting firms Parametría and Consulta Mitofsky, EPN has an average support of 20 %.
This is due to the fact that his government was responsible for serious human rights violations, culminating in the forced disappearance of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa normalistas in 2014 and a significant worsening of the living conditions of workers. During his six-year term, the “Pact for Mexico” was signed, a package of structural reforms in the country that sharpens the strong process of privatization and surrender. Among them are the Educational Reform, which most resembles a labor reform, penalizing teachers for the situation of the educational system, and the Energy Reform, which has been dismantling the local energy industry to justify the entry of multinational oil companies and the purchase of refined oil from the USA.
The PRI’s decision to launch Secretary of Finance and Social Development José Antonio Meade as a candidate for the presidency was a desperate measure to present a character who could also sell as “anti-systemic.” The technocrat based his campaign on maintaining an image of a competent and honest official, without links to scandals and denying being a PRI member – he called himself a sympathizer. Meade had also had strong ties with the PAN, has been the secretary of Energy and Finance of Felipe Calderón. His name only arose when the other promises of the PRI sank, as were the cases of Aurelio Nuño (Secretary of Education associated with the Educational Reform and the tremendous repression of the teachers’ strike of 2016, resulting in the massacre of Nochixtlan), Luis Videgarray and Osorio Chong.
Despite the PRI’s efforts to pose its candidate as a “defender” of the country against the “dangerous populism” of AMLO, it was confronted with the spread of Meade’s errors. His silence on the diversion of resources from the Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL) revealed his complicity since agencies under his control have been starring in major corruption scandals. Among them, there is the question of the Master Scam, which consisted of the deviation of more than 7,600 million pesos in irregular contracts in several secretaries and dependencies of the federal government.
These elections were also marked by an intense participation of independent candidates. Some were politicians from the parties of the regime, who quit in order to be able to run, as the cases of Margarita Zavala and “El Bronco”. However, social movements activists made an attempt to promote an alternative candidacy, as was the case of María de Jesús Patricio, the spokesperson for the National Indigenous Council (CNI), supported by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). According to the rules of the INE, aspiring independent candidates would have to collect a minimum of 800 thousand signatures throughout the country to validate their presence on the ballots. Although Marichuy was the winner in legitimate firms, only Margarita and “El Bronco” achieved INE approval, although several complaints of signature fraud have been registered.
Although the electoral fraud that could take away the victory from Obrador predicted by many did not happen, these were the bloodiest elections in the history of Mexico. According to the observation mission of the Organization of American States (OAS), at least 103 office seekers were killed in 25 states, apart from telephone threats that led some candidates to quit. 46 candidates and pre-candidates were killed along with 43 officials and former municipal officials and other officials of political parties. On the day of the election, assassinations were reported in Michoacán, Chiapas, Guerrero and Puebla, as well as theft and destruction of ballots, shootings and fights near polling stations, and threats to party representatives and polling station officials. Therefore, the vote was suspended in at least 13 polling places.
Before the date of the elections, electoral packages were stolen in Oaxaca, Veracruz and Tlaxcala. However, the national media closed the election day with at least 130 dead. The acts of violence were perpetrated even against politicians of the ruling PRI and so far there are no answers about those responsible for the crimes. Finally, faced with the severe weakness of the parties of the regime, with its main figures involved in political scandals or corruption, apart from being linked to the mismanagement that caused popular anger, AMLO appeared as “the lesser evil”.
Who is Andrés Manuel López Obrador?
Originally from the State of Tabasco, “El Peje” began his political life as a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the 80s. He was a delegate of the National Indigenous Institute (INI), working with the Chontal communities, Mayan peoples in his state of birth.
As head of government of Mexico City (2000-2005, by the Democratic Revolution Party, PRD), established measures such as a universal pension for the elderly in Mexico City, a system of delivery of free school supplies to students of basic education, subsidies to single mothers and free medicines for the vulnerable population, becoming a beloved figure to some of the most oppressed and exploited. However, His conservative nature was present by not supporting the legalization of abortion in the city, although this demand was becoming increasingly evident.
AMLO had already contested the presidency in 2006 as the standard bearer of the Coalition for the Good of All, formed on that occasion by the PRD, PT and Convergencia (now Movimiento Ciudadano) and 2012 with the same parties brought together the Progressive Movement. In his first attempt, he suffered an electoral fraud that gave the victory to Felipe Calderón (PAN).
Despite the marches that took the streets of the country, AMLO controlled his supporters by betting on the legal way – that is to say, after all, he encouraged his supporters to accept the result instead of affecting the “stability” of the country. Aware that he would hardly be the PRD’s bid for an upcoming presidential election, given that he also failed to win in 2012 and that many of the votes obtained in his two attempts were his and not the party’s, AMLO decided to form a new one, the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) in 2014. Many of the MORENA leaders have been part of the PRI or PAN.
What can we expect from his six-year term?
The clues to López Obrador’s government were revealed in his speech to the militancy at the Hilton hotel after the announcement of his victory. Moving away from any comparison with the idea of a “radical left” politician who would turn Mexico into a “socialist dictatorship like Venezuela,” Obrador promised to carry out a national reconciliation because it would work for all.
With the shining slogan on his back “I will not fail you”, AMLO promised that there will be a democratic State of law, that will respect the constitutional guarantees and human rights, will rescue agriculture, giving priority to the indigenous communities, as well as establishing a relationship of mutual respect with the US government, apart from eradicating corruption, one of his main campaign promises.
On the other hand, contrary to declaring the abrogation of the Energy Reform, he will revise contracts to check irregularities, committed himself to guarantee fiscal and financial discipline, giving autonomy to the central bank, a free-floating of the currency, free trade and maintain control over expenses.
That is the central explanation of the fact that, this time, the traditional electoral fraud practiced by the PRI and the PAN was considered dangerous and unnecessary. In fact, another less visible and more perverse fraud was practiced: the president-elect will have a government, deputies and senators, mostly recycled from the PRI, PAN and PRD. That is, they changed the central figure so that everything remains under the control of the local and U.S. oligarchs. The government will change but, regrettably, the “mafia in power” will remain, the colonial looting of energy and natural resources and the territorial dispossession of Mexico will continue.
As we said before the election, we do not trust or vote for any of the candidates. But we do trust fully in the strength of the mobilization of millions of workers, poor peasants, indigenous peoples and other massive exploited and oppressed sectors. Once AMLO has won, we will accompany the experience of the people of Mexico with this government, although recent experiences such as those of South America, Greece, the Spanish State, among others, tell us that hope will turn into disappointment.
Our commitment as Workers Socialist Current and LIT-CI (IWL-FI) is to continue as up to now, unconditionally supporting all workers and popular struggles for their just demands.