Anatomy of a scandal foretold - Page 2

How was the Mexican election stolen? Let us count the ways
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On Sunday, July 2nd, Felipe Calderon and the PAN, aided and abetted by the connivance of the Federal Electoral Institute, Mexico's maximum electoral authority, stole the presidential election before the nation's eyes.

As mentioned above, Mexican elections are stolen before, during, and after the votes are cast. During the run-up to July 2nd, the IFE, under the direction of Calderon partisan Luis Carlos Ugalde, systematically tried to cripple Lopez Obrador's campaign. Venomous television spots that labeled AMLO "a danger" to Mexico were allowed to run, sometimes four to a single commercial break, for months on Televisa and TV Azteca despite an indignant outcry from Lopez Obrador's supporters. The IFE only pulled the plug on the hit pieces under court order.
In a similar display of crystal clear bias, Ugalde and the IFE winked at Vicente Fox's shameless, unprecedented, and unconstitutional campaigning for Calderon, and refused to intervene despite AMLO's pleas for the president to remove himself from the election.

One of the IFE's more notorious accomplishments in this year's presidential elections was to engineer the non-vote of Mexicans in the United States, an effort that resulted in the disenfranchisement of millions of "paisanos" living north of the Rio Bravo. Undocumented workers were denied absentee ballot applications at consulates and embassies and more than a million eligible voters were barred from casting a ballot because their voter registration cards were not up to date and the IFE refused to update them outside of Mexico. Untold numbers of undocumented workers who could not risk returning to Mexico for a minimum 25 days to renew their credential were denied the franchise the IFE was sworn to defend. The PRD insists that the majority of undocumented Mexicans in the U.S. would have cast a ballot for Lopez Obrador.

The left-center party has considerable strength in Los Angeles and Chicago, the two most important concentrations of Mexicans in the U.S. When thousands of legal Mexican residents from Los Angeles caravanned to Tijuana to cast a ballot for Lopez Obrador, they found the special polling places for citizens in transit had no ballots. The 750 ballots allocated to the special "casillas" had already been taken by members of the Mexican police and military.

In Mexico City, when voters in transit lined up at one special polling place, according to noted writer Elena Poniatowska, hundreds of nuns presumably voting for the rightwing Calderon displaced them and were given the last of the ballots.

Back in the bad old days when the long-ruling (71 years) Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) stole elections with impunity, most of the larceny took place in the polling stations --stolen or stuffed ballot boxes, multiple voting, altered vote counts -- but since national and international observers like the San Francisco-based Global Exchange became a regular feature of the electoral landscape here, such overt fraud has diminished and the cumulative number of anomalies recorded in 130,000 casillas July 2nd seemed insignificant when compared to the size of the victory Calderon was already claiming the morning after -- i.e. the John Kerry Syndrome, named in memory of the Democratic Party candidate's sudden capitulation in Ohio in 2004 for much the same reason.

Nonetheless, this "fraude de hormiga" (fraud of the ants) which steals five to 10 votes a ballot box, when combined with the disappearance of voters from precinct lists ("razarados" or the razored ones) can fabricate an electoral majority: The long-ruling PRI (which failed to win a single state July 2nd) was a master of this sort of "alquemia" (alchemy) during seven decades of defrauding Mexican voters.

During the build-up to July 2nd, independent reporters here uncovered what appeared to be IFE preparations for cybernetic fraud.