La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Response to video presented by AMLO

As regular commenter, Jose, points out, the local precinct official in the video corroborates the IFE explanation that he was moving incorrectly cast ballots from one box to another, which is permitted by law. That seems reasonable. As Jose points out, the PAN has already questioned the credibility of other AMLO claims...suggesting if he'll stretch the truth with the video, why not others?

Given the heated passions and a tendency to not necessarily listen to reason in such circumstances, it's entirely possible that this point will be lost on many supporters of AMLO, who will continue to insist that it is suggestive of fraud.
Others will just shake their heads in disbelief that AMLO's camp will try to use any shred of impropriety to justify their claims of fraud. If AMLO's camp understood what the video depicted but chose to present it as otherwise, Lopez Obrador will lose a lot of credibility at home and abroad. (Ok...maybe only with those paying attention....)

As I said in the original post, it's not really easy to interpret what is happening in the videos, which makes them open to several interpretations. It's certainly not as obvious as the videos of Bejarano stuffing wads of money in his pants.

I guess I should add some translation to my comments regarding the phone conversations in the earlier post, too. A benign interpretation of the conversation between la maestra and the PRI governor of Tamaulipas would be that she was calling him to tell him that if he's willing to work with the PAN, he should let them know because they were assuming such PRI governors would stick with the PRI no matter what.

Presumably, the PRI realized early on July 2 that Calderon would win and was mobilizing to generate good will with the frontrunner in order to solidify their relationship for the future. Why Elba Esther was the person chosen to make such calls is another question (considering she's was expelled by the PRI to my recollection). [And the answer probably has to do with personal ties she may have to that governor or other folks in that particular state. Perhaps other PRIistas were calling other PRI governors in other states.]

Also, my phrase "get out the vote," I realize in retrospect, doesn't probably translate into the Mexican context well. In the U.S., parties regularly 'get out the vote,' by calling voters to remind them to vote, providing rides to polling places, and generally helping publicize when/where to vote. In the U.S., this is not considered undemocratic. But in the Mexican context, such activities sound too much like the old PRI machine at work to be viewed in the same light. In Mexico, 'getting out the vote' would imply coercion or at least buying of votes with food, drink, or other promises.

Are the recorded conversations smoking guns indicating widespread voter fraud at top levels in Tamaulipas? Probably not. I'm not sure the governor would even be the right person to call in the state if you wanted to buy an election.

Are the calls indiscreet? Yes, definitely.

Do they reveal the types of unsavory relationships common in politics? Yes.

Does Mexico have a monopoly on unsavoriness in politics? No.

posted by Michelle @ 5:19 PM,


At 7/13/2006 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comments are not compelling. I don't buy the rationale given by officialdom for this political partisan to be stuffing the box. More, he looks pretty guilty, like he knows he is doing something wrong.

Was this action legal? I seriously doubt it.

The reports of fraud are absolutely mind-boggleing--all the more reason that democratically-minded people insist on counting all the ballots and scrutinizing all the material.

Why is Calderon et al so insistent that a full recount not take place?--please, it doesn't take a partisan university professor to figure that out.

At 7/13/2006 8:38 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

The man in the video has been interviewed and explained his actions. I haven't seen evidence that the PRD rep at the polling place has come forward to dispute that.

Your comment regarding a 'partisan' professor must be regarding some other blog, because you clearly haven't read mine. If I were Mexican, I probably would have voted for AMLO...if only to give him a chance to prove his detractors wrong and show that the left can govern responsibly in Mexico.

At the same time, I don't approve of politicians (of the left OR right) trying to manipulate the public, IF that's what AMLO did with that video.

At 7/13/2006 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't approve of politicians 'trying to manipulate the public'--well, I guess you don't approve of politians as a class. Really, that is an absurd statement and, I hope, is not indicative of your discourse in your seminars.

The man in that tape clearly acted in an illegal fashion from the rules that I have reviewed, and the claims made by the Obrador team. Really, you shouldn't be so credulous toward PAN--given their very negative, deceitful campaign. Clearly this is an example of the traditional fraud perpetrated by the business classes.

Vote by vote, all the ballots should be reviewed. Legalisms and other crafty ways of avoiding a competent recount will only work to destablize Mexico.

It seems likey that they don't want a full recount because they believe that Obrador recieved more votes.

What is it about a US "Sam Nunn" sanctioned political science education in the US that makes the fundamental idea of democracy so hard to grasp. Too much shopping and viewing commercials from corporations--to much corporate influence in politics and the university? Could be.

No, Michelle, you are overly credulous when it comes to economic power and illegitimate power wielded by elite groups.

I suggest that you read more Noam Chomsky and start looking a little bit more critically at the discourse and jargon that suffuse your particular discipline. Freshman critical thinking is a good place to start.

There is nothing rightious or resembeling justice in what the PAN and the economic/media elites are trying to do in Mexico.

Question: do you believe that Bush was rightfully elected in 2000? How about Kennedy's critique of the Ohio shinanegans in 2004?

Yes, it is clear that elites hate a left populist--and they will do what it takes to maintain their illegitimate hierarchies of power and priviledge. Don't willingly (at least) allow your self to be indoctrinated. Read some of the discourse of the academics under the Nazis--it is quite chilling, self-deluding, and illogical.

The Mexican people are about to teach the world a lesson in authentic democracy. Question is--what will you willfully exclude from your conciousness so as to maintain the undemocratic status quo.

At 8/06/2006 1:41 AM, Blogger Chris Lawrence said...

I'm always amazed at my ability to quickly discern when someone is going to favorably cite Noam Chomsky just from the first paragraph of a lengthy screed.

I think I'll start calling it "Noamdar."


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