Monday, July 10, 2006

GS(3) Thunderbolt 7-10-06: Will the Disputed Mexican Election Lead to Insurrection? Lessons for Mexico from the US, and Lessons for the US from Mexico

GS(3) Thunderbolt 7-10-06: Will the Disputed Mexican Election Lead to Insurrection? Lessons for Mexico from the US, and Lessons for the US from Mexico

By Richard Power

Associated Press must have gotten distracted over the weekend. It estimated that 100,000 supporters of Lopez Obrador protested the official results in the streets of Mexico City. The LA Times is reporting 250,000. Of course, it was probably more like 500,000…

Here is an update on significant developments, along with some lessons learned for progressives in both Mexico and the US.

Lawyers for leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Sunday turned in documented allegations of irregularities that they said cost him the July 2 presidential election, and a senior aide warned that Mexico faces an "insurrection" unless all 41 million ballots are recounted. The warning by Gerardo Fernandez Noroña, the campaign's chief spokesman, was the most explicit high-level threat that the challenger's struggle to overturn his razor-thin defeat could erupt in civil disobedience and violence...."The other road is insurrection," Fernandez said. "If the judges decide not [to recount each vote] we all have a problem — they, we and the country…. What has to be done to avoid this confrontation? Count the votes one by one … and if we lose, we will respect the result absolutely." The legal challenge came a day after Lopez Obrador summoned 250,000 supporters to Mexico City's central square, the first of a round of marches and rallies in support of a recount. He urged them to remain peaceful….
Richard Boudreaux and Carlos Martinez, Lopez Obrador Files Challenges, Lawyers for the leftist candidate in Mexico's presidential election seek a complete recount, Los Angeles Times, 7-10-06

For Mexican progressives, Ron Klain, one of Al Gore’s 2000 campaign lawyers, articulates lessons learned from the US election debacles of 2000 and 2004:

For Lopez Obrador, the clock is ticking loudly. If he wants to keep his candidacy alive, he must take decisive -- and quite divisive -- action. He must bring meaningful and documented claims of fraud in the election. He must call his supporters to the streets and question the legitimacy of the vote casting and counting process. He must demand that, notwithstanding Mexican law, every ballot be recounted, by hand, to ensure an accurate tally. Above all, he must reject any suggestion that Calderòn received more votes -- indeed, he must insist that any fair count would show that he is the rightful winner. This, of course, was not the playbook that Gore followed in 2000. The vice president rejected advice to do these things. Instead of claiming victory, he limited himself to suggesting that the result was in doubt -- and unknown -- until a "full and fair" count could be completed. He urged calm among his supporters and called off street protests by progressive groups and allies. He never, ever questioned the legitimacy of the institutions -- the courts or the canvassers -- responsible for the tallies, and he forbade his lawyers and operatives from doing anything of the sort. The Gore approach was dignified, responsible, reasonable -- and unsuccessful.
Ronald Klain, Don't Take the High Road, 7-9-06

For US progressives, Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, citizen journalists and activists in Ohio, articulate lessons learned from the Mexican struggle:

Lopez Obrador is saying in Mexico what the Democratic Party should have been saying in the United States since November 2000: WE DO NOT CONCEDE. And no Democrat should ever again be nominated for any public office without first pledging to guarantee a full and thorough recount, as is being attempted in Mexico….We need to take this message from Mexico: No Democrat can ever be nominated without making a firm, inescapable pledge to NOT CONCEDE until every last vote is hand counted and every electronic voting machine thoroughly dismantled, byte by byte, to root out fraud and manipulation. Ultimately, with no apparent way to fully secure electronic voting machines, there is no alternative to the universal use of hand-counted paper ballots.
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, The Democrats must now say "We Do Not Concede" in the U.S. as it's being said in Mexico, Free Press, 7-9-06


GS(3) Thunderbolt 7-7-06: Mexican Presidential Election Still in Doubt

GS(3) Thunderbolt 7-3-06: Greg Palast on the Case in the Mexican Presidential Election

Hard Rain Journal 6-28-06: NYU Law School's Brennan Center Reports E-Voting Software Attacks are a Real Danger

SPECIAL EDITION: “Until this issue is burning on the mind of every citizen” -- Words of Power Interviews Mark Crispin Miller

Words of Power #22: Election Fraud As Information Warfare, and a National Security Issue

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

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