Mexico: Obrador’s election offers cautious hope for the working class

Andrés Manuel López Obrador celebrates his election victory

On 1 July broad left candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, widely referred to as Amlo, was elected as President of Mexico. With a sweeping victory of 53.19%, and the most votes won by a presidential candidate in Mexico’s history, Amlo brought his party MORENA (National Regeneration Movement) to power for the first time. The two other major contenders, Ricardo Anaya of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), and José Antonio Meade of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), received 22.28% and 16.41% respectively. Throughout the twentieth century Mexico’s presidency was largely under the control of the PRI, until 2000 when the PAN won the elections, and remained in power for 18 years. Amlo’s victory brings a welcome change. Sheila Rubio reports.

 

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Mexico: the state and its organised crimes

On 26 September students from a rural teacher training college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero state, went 77 miles to Iguala town to protest against discriminatory hiring practices. Such colleges are already the target of attack as ‘devil’s schools’ by the wealthy, who fear the education it provides to the children of the poor. The Escuela Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa has murals with Lenin and Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara and is known for its radical traditions. The Mayor, Mr Abarca, ordered the police to stop the students heckling a public speech given by his wife. So they killed them.

The police attacked the students, killing a five-year-old and a teenager that night and chasing the demonstrators; 43 were seized and forced into police vehicles. They were never seen again. Uproar followed as parents and friends demonstrated, demanding that the students be found. By 4 October searches had uncovered six graves in the area containing 32 bodies – although not those of the 43 students – revealing a horrific spectre of regular butchery. Next day hundreds of Ayotzinapa’s students blocked the main highway, demanding justice. As pressure grew on the Mayor and local police, Federal police were sent to Iguala to replace the local force.

 

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Mexico: massive protests against electoral fraud

Massive protests have taken place across Mexico at the massive fraud behind Pena Nieto’s victory in the 1 July presidential election. Standing for the Institutional Revolutionary Party, Nieto got 38.2% of the vote; his social democratic opponent, Lopez Obrador, got 31.2%, with Josefina Mota

 

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Mexico: masses battle to retrieve stolen election

FRFI 192 August / September 2006

On Sunday 16 July, more than one and a half million people flooded into the Zocalo square in the centre of Mexico City to demand a full recount of the 2 July presidential vote and restore the result to the rightful winner, Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). In a blatantly rigged election, Felipe Calderon of the pro-imperialist National Action Party (PAN) was declared winner by a margin of 0.58%, 243,000 votes out of 42 million cast. Now the masses will decide the result on the streets of Mexico’s cities in mobilisations which will terrify the Mexican ruling class and its allies in Washington. ROBERT CLOUGH reports.

This outcome was inevitable. The ruling class had tried everything to frustrate an inevitable Obrador victory. In March 2005, it attempted to prevent the popular Mexico City Mayor from standing as a presidential candidate by alleging public misconduct in widening a road to a hospital. Over a million people took to the streets and restored him to the ballot. During the campaign itself, the ruling class demonised Obrador as another Chavez, believing this would cost him support. Although Obrador’s politics are completely social democratic, as his campaigning slogan ‘For the good of all, the poor first’ suggests, even his mildly progressive programme presents a profound challenge to the neo-liberal order.

 

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Mexico: people challenge the state

FRFI 193 October / November 2006

On 16 September up to a million supporters on the streets of Mexico City declared Lopez Obrador as the legitimate President of Mexico, following the country’s Electoral Tribunal’s decision that the ruling class candidate Felipe Calderon had won the fraudulent 2 July presidential election. The Tribunal ruled for Calderon despite acknowledging that outgoing President Fox’s interference in the election had put it ‘at risk’; that transnational and national corporation- funded anti-Obrador commercials were illegal; and that Calderon, whose claimed majority was a mere 237,000 or 0.55%, had been awarded thousands of unsubstantiated votes.

Obrador and his PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution) have kept up mobilisations since the ruling class stole the elections. Gatherings of hundreds of thousands have taken place in Mexico City. Calderon is hounded wherever he goes and prevented from speaking at public rallies. The reasons for the massive support for Obrador and his anti-poverty message are clear. Of 44 million workers, only 22 million have formal employment; nine million have been forced to emigrate to the US to find work, and the rest are either unemployed or working in the informal sector in near destitution. Millions of farm workers face being thrown out of corn production because of subsidised US imports.

 

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Mexico: Class struggle intensifies

FRFI 194 December 2006 / January 2007

Mexico is in the grip of a social and political crisis exacerbated by July’s rigged presidential election. The victorious ruling class candidate, Felipe Calderon, will be inaugurated on 1 December amidst massive protests in Mexico City; the backdrop will be a terror campaign against the working class, indigenous people and peasantry in Oaxaca and Chiapas in the south of the country.

The protests have been called by the Democratic National Convention, an assembly of over a million people held on 16 September 2006 in Mexico City. The Convention also agreed that Lopez Obrador, the defeated socialist candidate, should establish a parallel government on Revolution Day, 20 November. Obrador lost the fraudulent election by 237,000 votes out of 40 million cast. The ruling class was never going to let him take office. Hundreds of thousands assembled in Mexico City on 20 November to celebrate Obrador’s inauguration as their president. Obrador pledged to continue the struggle against the ‘neo-fascist reactionaries’ of the Calderon government.

 

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Mexico: Repression in Oaxaca intensifies

FRFI 195 February / March 2007

Intense repression against the people of Oaxaca unleashed five days before the inauguration of Felipe Calderon as president of Mexico on 30 November has led to a temporary set-back for the mass movement organised by APPO, the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca. More than 200 activists were arrested and transported to distant prisons where they were subjected to beatings and other forms of torture. Dozens of others have been murdered. With the livelihood of millions of peasants threatened by subsidised corn imported from the US and three quarters of the population living in poverty, the new president wants to show the working class and oppressed of Mexico that resistance to his neo-liberal programme will be crushed without mercy.

The first attempt to crush APPO’s resistance at the end of October ended in failure as the risen people beat back a combined assault from marines and federal police. APPO has been demanding the resignation of Oaxacan state governor Ulises Ruis since the summer because of his brutality and corruption. During the first 15 months of Ruis’s administration 29 activists were assassinated. From June to October 2006 at least 18 were assassinated. In November the repression intensified, and over the two months to the end of December, 24 were assassinated (APPO statement, 30 December 2006). On 12 January, teacher Enriqueta Santiago was seized by paramilitaries and was later found dead, shot six times. The result is that for the moment APPO is in retreat, although it has called a ‘mega-march’ for 3 February.

 

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