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Fraude Mexico 2006 — part 4 of 10

27 September 2008

Part 4 of the 10 part Fraude Mexico 2006 shows political tactics that are all too familiar to political watchers in the U.S.

Part 4 begins with a discussion of the “swiftboating” campaign (which attempted to link Lopez Obrador to Hugo Chavez and “caudillos of the early 20th century,” as Carlos Salinas says in an English-language speech) and what can only be described as “PACs” or special interest group advertising:  “Grupo Mexico” — privately funded by large business organizations and “Consejo Coordinador Empressario” (Business Coordinating Council) are both featured in the video.  “PACs” and outside advertising in elections were both technically illegal at the time, but the ads fell into a gray area, not covered specifically under the then-existing regulations.  After the election the ban on this type of advertising was strengthened (too late for Lopez Obrador, but an admission by the Elections Commission that these activities were tolerated during the campaign).

Mexican viewers would be familiar with the background of AMLO’s contention that bankers had it in for him… AMLO had been the most strident critic of government rescue packages for failed banks and investment houses — which allowed the top management to make a private fortune by the way.  (By the way, yesterday, I posted Thomas Black’s article from Bloomberg on the disaster this was for the Mexican economy and its implications for the U.S.). Lopez Obrador claims the bankers — and his campaign promise to investigate the frauds surrounding the bank bailout — were behind much of the negative advertsing and political intrigue.

AMLO’s feud with the banks took a slightly abusrd term when the District Assembly passed a minor regulatory bill relating to banks, which among other things required the banks to install bullet-proof glass around teller cages and, if they insisted on city policemen stationed at their branches, to pay for them.  The regulations were modeled on similar local codes from Italy and Chicago, but in Mexico City — given AMLO’s political attacks on the banks — were spun as an attack on capitalism.  This background isn’t part of the story-line, but would be known to Mexican political junkies.

What is presented in the story was AMLO’s objection to the Fox Administration’s willingness to charter a few new banks, run by families and business organizations close to the President’s party.  Banco Coppel, from here in Sinaloa (the Coppel family businesses go back to before the Revolution) is used as an example.

The election day line is at the Zocalo in the center of Mexico City.  Notice that ballots are paper (they’re actually on security paper, and printing plants have military guards around them while the ballot printing is going on), that voters have to show their credentials (and the voter rolls are updated in real time… which was quite an amazing challenge for Mexico in the 1990s, especially when you consider that there are disticts without electricity, and computer software/hardware was not as sophisticated at the time as it is now) and that the ballot boxes are transparent:  all designed to give the voters confidence that their ballots are being treated properly and the ballot boxes aren’t being stuffed.

Still… there are ways to cheat.  Esther Elba Gordilla was recorded calling the Governor of Tamaulipas discussing “creative” vote counting techniques.  The software desgined to produce the vote count was developed by Hildebrando — conveniently owned by Felipe Calderon’s brother-in-law.  Even worse, as Carmen Aristegui (sometimes of CNN, otherwise of several Mexican news organizations) discovered, the data included material such as the voters’ party preference, and was easily hackable.

Finally, there was “voter caging.”  The two elderly guys at the end of the segment were both given wrong voter information, and suspected it wasn’t by accident that they were sent to the wrong polls, or otherwise disqualified from voting.  How widespread this was is impossible to determine.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. MaryOGrady permalink
    27 September 2008 9:55 am

    The Conejo Coordinador Empressario?
    How big is that rabbit?

  2. 27 September 2008 1:57 pm

    Dwat that proofreader!

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