What do these presidential elections all have in common: Mexico, 1988, US, 2000, US, 2004, Colombia and Peru, 2006 and the just concluded Mexican election on July 2? In each case, the outcome was "arranged" and known in advance before voters went to the polls. They're what economist and media and social critic Edward Herman calls "Demonstration Elections" - the characterization and title he gave his 1980s book analyzing and documenting sham elections in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Vietnam. Professor Herman is an expert, and although his book was written over 20 years ago, it's clear little has changed except for the added sophistication gained since then in the ability of officials to make elections turn out the way they wish. The same fraud occurs in many countries, and Professor Herman might have included many others besides the ones he chose but had he done so he'd have had to have written a book with no end.
With this sort of "democracy" in America, what could we expect south of the border where longtime Mexico observer and writer John Ross says the fine art of election theft was perfected. It certainly was in evidence on July 2 as that election just completed with final results announced on July 6 looked just like the one held there in 1988 when Cuauhtemoc Cardinas (son of the country's last leftist president from 1932 - 38) ran against the US choice Carlos Salinas of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that dominated Mexican politics as a virtual dictatorship for over 70 years until it lost the 2000 presidential election to current President Vincente Fox of the National Action Party (PAN). Both these parties represent wealth and power so it's of little consequence to the US which of them runs the Mexican political system.
In 1988, Salinas was declared the winner with 51% of the vote in an election Cardenas clearly won. To achieve victory, the PRI never counted the votes from thousands of voting stations, stole and burned the contents of selected ballot boxes, falsified voter tally sheets and falsely claimed computers tabulating votes had crashed and couldn't be restored for 10 days following the election by which time Salinas was declared the winner. Following the announcement, few people believed it, and hundreds of Cardenas' supporters were killed in political violence opposing it in street protests over the next few years.
At this time, there's no way to know what will happen next following the just-announced final vote count. After the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) reported the final count on July 6 showing ruling PAN candidate Felipe Calderon with a small but insurmountable lead, opposition candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) rejected the official count as "flawed." He called on his supporters to take to the streets in a mass show of strength on July 8 in both Mexico City's historic central square as well as around the country to protest the announced result and demand a ballot-by-ballot recount. At present, with 99.91% of votes counted, Calderon was said to have 35.87% of the votes to Obrador's 35.32%. But with the ruling authority in charge of the vote count, a miss, as they say, is as good as a mile, and that one-half percent difference is more than enough to likely assure another election theft.
The procedure going forward now is that the Federal Electoral Institute will submit the final vote count to the Electoral Tribunal for approval on Sunday, July 9. Lopez Obrador then has four days to present his case for a recount. The Tribunal, known as Trife, then has until September 6 to issue a ruling. The new president takes office on December 1 so it's possible the electoral challenge could change the result as now known. Trife has in the past reversed some local elections, but it's very unlikely it will reverse this one given the overwhelming pressure on it which in Mexico may include real and intimidating physical threats officials take seriously based on past history. Also, according to Mexico expert George Grayson of the US College of William & Mary, Virginia, the rules for the Tribunal's decision are vague - "It's going to be somewhat like the US election in 2000, where you have the Supreme Court justices voting without clear guidelines." If Grayson is right, look for lots of commotion and probable violence ahead but in the end the people of Mexico will again be denied their democratic right to elect the president of their choice - just the way it now is in the US. So much for democracy. In Mexico it's democracy, Mexican style which is the same way it works for their dominant northern neighbor - none at all.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.