With all this talk about Iran’s election fraud and twittering requests to paint your profile picture to “green”, I can’t help but feel like I have been down this path before with Mexico. Non-Mexicans might not be aware that there were charges of election fraud back in that country’s 2006 election. This would not be surprising being that it was pretty much passed over or blacked out by the in-English media here in the U.S. Granted, back in 2006 there was no twitter craze like we got right now and so we didn’t have Mexicans twittering away up-to-the-minute updates like their Iranian counterparts are doing right now. However, even then, I wonder if the election fraud in Mexico would be covered by the news media like it is being covered with Iran right now. I mean, God forbid that the news media in this country would actually portray the Mexican people as actual human beings, fighting back against the oppressive powers-that-be.
Speaking of, last September at the Los Angeles Latino Film Festival, I was fortunate enough to catch a film that documented the election fraud that took place in the 2006 Mexican elections. The movie was VERY well attended and the people that watched it were definitely, like me, passionate about this subject. I believe that for many Mexicans both living abroad and IN Mexico, this fraud will never be forgotten. Prior to the movie, there was an older couple that came with a banner chanting “es un honor estar con Obrador!” (it IS an honor to stand with Obrador!”) [the Presidential candidate of the progressive coalition]. Then during the film there was a lot of applause for Obrador and a lot of booing for Mexico’s “traitors”: Vicente Fox (former Mexican President), Calderon (current Mexican President), and Salinas de Gortari (also former Mexican President). At the end of the film, the film’s director answered some questions from the audience and he was thanked many times for putting this film together. It was truly emotional.
What was more touching, perhaps, was Obrador’s words during the film. He is, for the first time, seen without the filters of the Mexican mainstream media that manipulated his words to make him look like a crazy left-wing radical. Obrador explains his reasoning for protesting, along with admissions of his mistakes, and declarations of ultimately being a pacifist. What was most inspiring was his refusal to accept the fraud travesty. He himself explains that to become an opposition party and accept the false results would be to tacitly support the fraud itself. He declares that in order to do something about it, everyone needed to change their mindsets: hence the protests, hence his current grassroots organizing efforts, hence his ongoing claims to the Presidency. For those of us that are U.S. citizens, one can’t help but admire his courage because that could not, unfortunately, be said for how Gore and Kerry reacted. Gore and Kerry both accepted the arguably fraudulent results at the culmination of their electoral campaigns. One wonders what could’ve been if Gore and Kerry had been more forceful in their challenges or lack-thereof to the electoral results.
For a recap of what happened in the 2006 Mexican elections, I encourage to check out the following piece that I was able to pull out from my personal 2006 archives over at Project Economic Refugee from:
Wednesday, July 12th, 2006
I remember being so excited about the Mexican elections because it looked like Mexico was going to get a President that was going to truly work for the people (something that had not happened in decades) rather than by just the corporatist elite. Then I watched with amazement something that was all-too familiar to me: the series of events that almost exactly mirrored what happened here in the U.S. in 2000 and 2004. It was eerily too much of a coincedence: people being kicked off voting rolls, demonizing the non-right wing condidate as some sort of leftist radical, the media declaring that the people had “voted their values” (yes I actually heard this in the Spanish speaking media), numbers being flipped in the ballots and in the digital vote count to favor the right-wing candidate, the supreme court ruling for a partial vote count but not the entire one, finding evidence of fraud and yet still deciding in favor of the right-wing candidate, etc. Truly and utterly disgusting.
Yet, I’ve seen time and again how the non-Latino population of the U.S. will, in a very ignorant manner, ask angrily something similar to this: “well if the Mexican people are so damn desperate that they have to flee their own country, why in the hell do they NOT do something to fix their own government instead of coming here?” Obviously, they are not aware of the myriad of things that many millions of courageous Mexicans have tried to do throughout history to improve their own conditions. Point in case, is the uprising of protests that took place in 2006 when election fraud was apparently perpetuated to install a right-wing President to continue the NAFTA-like economic policies that can very much be argued have contributed to the ever-increasing explosion of Economic Refugees coming over to the U.S.
All in all, Fraude Mexico 2006 is a superb film that is a MUST-see that documents what happened in the Mexican elections in 2006.
Here’s a story on when the film was preparing to open:
Also, check out the following review of the film; it appeared back when this film was already released in Mexico:
In addition, this film should serve as a reminder here in the U.S. of the chilling prospect of, once again, election fraud and voter suppression tactics in past and future Presidential elections. For an article on what has been going on already here in the U.S., check this out:
By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet.
Posted September 11, 2008.
By Steven Rosenfeld .
Posted September 18, 2008.
Finally, you may ask yourself “this is terrible, but what can I do about it?!!!” Well, for starters, you could join the “Steal Back Your Vote” project:
It’s a 24-page downloadable graphic guide -an investigative comic book.