Welcome to the nightmare - Page 3

Can the man who stole the election actually govern Mexico?

Hundreds of AMLO's faithful tore down the barricades, tossed the usual rotten eggs and tomatoes at Calderon's entourage, battled Cardenas's state police and the elite Presidential military guard, and generally made the venue so unsafe that the wreath-laying had to be called off and the president-elect sped into a nearby locked-down convention center for a speech to a carefully-culled audience of "perfumados" (literally the perfumed ones.)

The draconian security measures at the convention center - sniffer dogs, metal detectors, pat-down searches - were not unwarranted. On the eve of Calderon's confirmation, in Michoacan's second city Uruapan, the capital of the state's "hot lands" where drug cropping accounts for the whole economy, a ski-masked commando burst into a local dance hall, forced the patrons to lie face down on the dance floor under pain of being Swiss cheesed by the automatic weapons they were waving convincingly, and carefully removed five severed human heads from black plastic bags which they artfully arranged in the center of the "pista" (dance floor) with the accompanying message: "the family does not kill for money. It does not kill women. It does not kill innocents. Those who deserve to die, die. Justice is divine."

This country has been visited by unspeakable acts of narco-terrorism in the months that Calderon has been blaspheming Lopez Obrador as "a DANGER to Mexico" (thanks Sasha for this observation). Such beheadings are now a regular feature of the cityscapes in Acapulco and Tijuana. Corpses are strewn in Baghdad-sized numbers each month in the rural outback of Sinaloa, Jalisco, Guerrero, Michoacan, and Chiapas. Judges are gunned down on their way to court at La Palma, Mexico's maximum narco-lockup - published reports speak of a "psychosis of fear" spooking the nation's judiciary. The brains of industry and the stock market are not immune from being splattered all over the street. Last week, the top official of a privatized customs agency part-owned by Fox's financial secretary Francisco Gil, was cut down by professional hit men on a busy Mexico City street as the end-of-the-administration chickens begin to come home to roost. La Jornada, the left daily, has even gone on "suicide" watch - officials often blow their brains out or sever their veins with box cutters at such moments in the Mexican political dynamic.

The TRIFE's confirmation of the stealing of the 2006 election has generated an avalanche of accolades for Felipe de Jesus - Bush and his crony ambassador Tony Garza were first in line to extend their congratulations all over again (they did so hours after the deeply flawed preliminary vote count came in July 2nd.) Spain's Rodriguez Zapatero and his pals at REPSOL were right behind, looking to get in on the ground floor of the fire sale of privatization Calderon has pledged for PEMEX, the once-nationalized state petroleum enterprise. The U.S. State Department's "democratic" answers to Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales, Alan Garcia and Oscar Arias, along with Salvador's fawning Tony Saca chimed in. Improbably, so did Nestor Kirschner - can Fidel and Lula be far behind?

But to my ear, the most appropriate toast to Felipe Calderon 's confirmation as the next president of this dangerous neighbor nation was one that was not sounded (at least not yet.) In 1994, after Ernesto Zedillo had finally relieved the reviled Carlos Salinas at the wheel of state, the still missing-in-action Subcomandante Marcos scribbled salutations to the new prez that began, much as does this chronicle, "Welcome to the Nightmare."

This past Sunday, Lopez Obrador's weekly packed-as-usual revival meeting in the Zocalo transpired parallel to Felipe Calderon's "victory" celebration, held appropriately enough in a bullring in an affluent district of the capital.