Mexico's Latest Insurgent Revolt
Too many variables to predict what is in store for the country's future
Part 2 on the meaning and relevance of the 16th of Sept.
Published on LatinoLA: September 22, 2006
As of Sept 16th of this year -- Mexican Independence Day -- Mexico now has two presidents... and the nation is quiet. Actually, for the moment, Mexico has one official president, and two incoming ones; an official president-elect, and the "legitimate president of Mexico."
Also, Mexico now has two governments (in-waiting) and two republics. One can even say that Mexico has always consisted of two nations -- one for the benefit of, EuroAmerican elites and their allies and the other one consisting of its brown Indigenous masses.
This has always been the history of Mexico. Yet, Mexico today finds itself in unchartered waters. On Sept 16th, more than 1.25 million delegates of the recently concluded democratic national convention branded the July 2 presidential election as illegal and named Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, of the PRD (Partido de la Revolucion Democratica), as the legitimate president of Mexico. They also denounced the incoming president, Felipe Calderon of the conservativePAN (Partido Accion Nacional), as an usurper, the victor of a
fraudulent election. While Obrador and his supporters are expected to mount a peaceful resistance campaign, he is scheduled to take the reins of a 'new republic' on Nov. 20 -- another symbolic date as that is when the nation celebrates its 1910 Revolution.
Meanwhile, current president, Vicente Fox, (morally tainted by his interference in the July 2 presidential election), is so weak that he had to skip town to do the traditional Grito de Dolores in Guanajuato -- a major acknowledgement that the moral power of his office has shifted from under his feet.
The stage is thus set for Dec. 1 when Fox's party colleague, Calderon, will then become Mexico's 73rd official president. (Obrador's supporters will at that time also attempt to impede his ascension). At this point, Mexico will then be split in two... unless some other development impedes this unprecedented and radical scenario.
For instance, Fox could declare the "new republic" to be illegal and order the military to seize Obrador and the other insurgent leaders. (His supporters would not take this sitting down).
Or... akin to people power in the Philippines of a generation ago, perhaps Obrador's supporters will lay a moral siege on the presidential palace -- vowing not to leave until Calderon abdicates.
Another scenario is that Fox -- who has been relatively quiet thus far, will not do anything, allowing Calderon to militarily put down this incipient, though non-violent, insurgency.
In any of these scenarios, another force -- the Zapatistas and the nation's Indigenous movement -- could descend upon the capital and decisively tilt this moral and political battle in favor of the insurgents. The Zapatistas have thus far stayed out of the entire
electoral fray, instead mounting La Otra Campana -- a campaign that seeks to create a Mexico that will never again exploit or take advantage of the nation's Indigenous populations.
The one other possibility is that Obrador's supporters may simply be permitted to function as a non-violent national opposition movement. Because the nation is seemingly evenly split (Out of 41 million votes cast, Calderon won but by 240,000 votes), indeed, it is the military that may either have the final say -- or trigger a wide-scale revolt.
The question on everyone's mind is: how did it get this far?
For this, we have to understand the close 1988 election. Obrador and his supporters feel that one election was already stolen. In 1988, during the count, the election computers mysteriously crashed for several days. Cuauhtemoc Cardenas of the PRD had been ahead, but when they came back online, Carlos Salinas of the ruling-PRI emerged victorious.
That's partially why Obrador and his supporters do not simply accept the suspect results. He of course has said all along that if there were a complete recount, he would abide by the results. The nation's electoral body refused that, thus, the standoff.
Also, the 1994 Zapatista rebellion is in the backdrop, with its leaders proclaiming at that time that never again would there be a Mexico without Indigenous peoples (Nunca Jamas un Mexico sin nosotros) and that women can never again be remanded to secondary status.
With all these dynamics at work, there are too many variables to predict what is in store for Mexico's future.
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The only thing that is certain about Mexico at this historical juncture is that the meaning of the 16th of September continues to not only have relevance today, but it is very much alive. The 16th continues to be -- not about claiming Spanish/Hispanic roots and
donning big sombreros and throwing gritos at beer industry-sponsored events (as is now customary in the United States), but about a 500-year daily struggle in which Mexicans everywhere continue to fight not just for their independence (from Europe and now the United States), but also for peace, dignity and justice.
Gonzales/Rodriguez can be contacted at: XColumn@gmail.com or 608-238-3161. Our columns are posted at: http://hometown.aol.com/xcolumn/myhomepage/