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Mexico 2012: AMLO up in polls; dismantling the authoritarian state?

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Message Kenneth Thomas
31 May 2012

31 MAYO.  La Reforma reports this morning:  "AMLO closes gap."  Nieto down 4,  Obrador up 7 points.  Four points separate AMLO from the lead.

Long-term observers experience a wave of hope,  then skepticism typical of those living under media control.  Elections in Mexico end in tears for those who dream of democracy,  and who can believe this?  

29 MAYO.  A guest commenter on TV Azteca 13's Sunday evening talk opens discussion of coverage of YoSoy132:

"It's not like,  in the Federal District today,  the governor or mayor controls the media and can stop the coverage.  It's not like,  in the other Mexican States, ... [where] the governor has control of the mass media.  In this sense,  those are authoritarian regimes."

Long-term observers did a double-take.  Was this man committing suicide?  Six years ago,  that kind of statement might have been met with a bullet.  Six years ago,  TV Azteca wouldn't have run it.  They'd have cut the plug.

For the next two hours-- Azteca interviewed politicians,  authors,  academics and others about media control in Mexico's states.  

Suddenly,  what the 132s had done,  became clear.  By protesting about media control,  by simply demanding that it end,  -- they'd made it possible to talk about it.

30 MAYO.  Paseo de la Reforma.   The US Embassy is surrounded all day by several hundred elite Federal Police,  toting machine guns.  AMLO supporters march late in the evening.  Public transport is diverted.

1 JUNIO. Major protest planned by YoSoy132s, beginning in Zocolo Plaza.

ESSENTIAL BACKGROUND.  Twenty-five years ago,  Mexico City was a city in decline:  crumbling infrastructure,  dark streets,  and rampant crime.  In the intervening years,  PRD rule has restored the city,  renewed the downtown,  adopted a no-tolerance policy towards crime,  and established broad guarantees of civil rights and tolerance.   One might well call this an oasis of democracy,  amid authoritarian regimes,  and the first lever for moving Mexico towards democracy.

ANALYSIS.  The primary struggle today is between authoritarianism and democracy.  The 132s protests have opened a crucial door-- but which doors lead to democracy,  and where they lie,  remains unclear.

Prognosis for clean,  fair election and transition to democracy:  still unknown.  

This is a brief.  More detailed analysis of the electoral and political situation will appear as possible.
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Kenneth Thomas works as an IT consultant and techologist and lives between Nashville, Ghent, Prague and Mexico City. He speaks German, French, Spanish, some Dutch of the Flemish variety, a smattering of Hebrew and other languages, and when (more...)
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