Friday, July 07, 2006

And the winner is....

So this election post is a bit of old news at this point I'm afraid, Calderon has been declared the winner of the election by the independent election agency, the IFE. Obrador is most likely going to contest this result, the difference in the number of votes is less than one percent between candidates. A number of election irregularities have been reported and there is the possibility that the tribunal that reviews these will decide the election to be null and void.

The religious and media parallels to our own elections are also too similar to ignore. Calderon stated that the hand of god had declared him the winner (or some such nonsense) which reminded me of our own looney president who feels he was ordained by god to lead our country. I'm thinking he was called on by the devil to lead our country into hell but that is a story for another time. A number of Catholic priests also supported Calderon, another interesting mix of politics and religion like our own crazy system in the U.S. The two major television stations in the country favor the PAN, who conveniently pushed through a telecommunications bill about 3 months before the elections that cemented their current market dominance. Just as Gore and Kerry were lambasted by the so-called liberal media much more than Bush (don't believe me? there are statistics about the larger amount of negative coverage for the democratic candidates Vs. Dubya, if you want them i can get them), so has Obrador been villified on the airways. The fact that Obrador managed to maintain so much popular support despite his portrayal as a violent and irresponsible man is quite amazing Our hosts at the school interpret this unwaivering support to be a message from the people to the media and the government that they have had enough of the status quo. In fact, the vote for a this liberal left-wing presidential candidate is seen by some as a protest vote indicated by the fact that Obrador garnered 6% more votes than the PRD as a whole did in the senate races (in Mexico the vote for senate is cast for the party not for individual candidates).

Breaking news! Or rather the breaking insight of my instructor, Oliver. He was describing the legitimate ways of challenging the result and the illegitimate ways, and how these two avenues will work in concert. Obrador and his fellow party strategists will use the legal system to “legitimately” protest the election result, giving everyone the perception that they respect the system even though, as Oliver says, “nobody does”. As this legal challenge is occuring, various forms of unrest can be fomented and Mexico can potentially be immersed into a chaotic situation which induces the stock market to fall, the peso to be damaged and basically make the business climate very scary for investors. This fear will then induce negotiations in which a legitimate victory can be arranged for Obrador in order to stabilize the market and life in general. After Oliver explained this to me he walked off mumbling something about Machiavelli...

The PRI are also engaged in a bit of political maneuvering since they are the “definite loser” in this election. The PRI will visit both parties and essentially “sell” their votes to whichever party wants them and in return receive political protection. If Obrador had won the election by a wide (or larger than 1% anyway) margin it is widely believed he would have sent many PRIstas to jail to clean house. The PRI is still important within Mexico, they hold a number of governorships and want to protect these positions. For example, they could negotiate support from the victorious presidential party for the current, and very unpopular, governor of Oaxaca. Interesting stuff and again I think there are very important parallels with United States influence pedaling. Abramoff anyone?

Roach update: The big one has not been back but I did walk into the bathroom the other night and a mid-sized roach was crawling out of the drainage holes (you know the ones that are on the side of the basin, above the drain but below the lip to prevent flooding) and basically laughing at my stupid drain plugs. Jerk. So I have abandoned the drain covers all together with the realization that these little nasty bastards have been around for millions of years and any plot I hatch will no doubt be foiled by their superior survival skills which have been developed and perfected over millions of years of evolution

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