By Javier Rodriguez    from Mexico City    21 July 2012

The tenacity of the people’s social movement in defense of Mexico’s young democracy and dignity has x has begun to unravel the gigantic fraud in the post electoral conflict and possibly, it may be turning the tide against the return of the PRI. The links to the massive and illegal finances of the Enrique Pena Nieto campaign has surfaced with names of high level PRI operators along with fraudulent and phantom third party financial corporations involved in laundering campaign money for Enrique Pena Nieto’s July 1 presidential bid. And although the funding sources for the hundreds and perhaps thousands of millions of pesos laundered are not yet known, it is strongly speculated the Monexgate and the Sorianagate scandals, involving the massive purchase of bank debit cards to illegally influence votes favorable to the PRI and its candidate and to also pay for the huge electoral PRI operating machine, is drug money.

Unequivocally, the pressure has begun to boil on the PRI to the point that nervously, on Thursday July 19, the leadership had to admit the party’s financial relationship with Monex, however without revealing the sources of the money.  In order to begin to understand the national debate in Mexico today, it is fundamental that opinion makers, the media and all social activists ask “where did the Pena Nieto campaign funds that exceeded the constitutionally set spending limits by thousands of millions of pesos come from?  

Another key development heating the political climate this week, is the joint press conference that the presidents of both the left of center Party of the Democratic Revolution, the PRD and the conservative National Action Party, the PAN, staged to demand that the Federal Electoral Institute, IFE resolve the “triangulation” of financial resources that allegedly the PRI used through the same corporation Monex. The unified appearance on the national scene by presidents Gustavo Madero and Jesus Zambrano of the PAN and PRD respectively, calling on the Institute to investigate and clarify if “there was money laundering in Pena Nieto’s campaign” clearly took center stage in the national and international media, trumping the high level meeting between President Felipe Calderon and the virtual winner Pena Nieto held the day before at the presidential residence of Los Pinos. At this point, twenty days from the controversial electoral exercise, it is clear that the opposition has the upper hand in the battle for Mexico’s public opinion and at same time it is placing increasing pressure on the electoral authorities and the Pena Nieto forces who appear to be fumbling the ball. 

Since the July 1 elections the PRI and Pena Nieto have denied all the charges of egregious electoral irregularities made against them, including surpassing the $336 million campaign expenditure limits allowed as well as forcing and buying the vote by the millions. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the losing candidate of the Progressive Coalition, has stated that the PRI candidate overspent and exceeded the campaign limit by $4 billion 220 million pesos and that amidst this reality, the IFE authorities are amiss. To be more precise, the IFE, from the start of the recent three month campaign and on election day has covered up the corruption, and its non elected president, Leonardo Valdez Zurita, just stated publicly “the charges against the Pena Nieto campaign will not be concluded until 2013.” And that’s not all, surrealistically Valdez declared yesterday, “It has been demonstrated that the electoral process was clean and respectful of the law and the IFE has recovered the trust of the people,” La Jornada.  

Another important development enters the picture and this one comes from across the border. Adding his voice to the ongoing debate, on July 16, journalist and national news director Jorge Ramos, the second most influential Latino in the US, published his syndicated column titled “The Mexican Experiment.” Notably, he called for the invalidation of the July 1st election in Mexico, his home country. Blasting the corrupt process he wrote, “If Enrique Pena Nieto, the PRI candidate, reached the presidency buying thousands or millions of votes using the public treasury of the State of Mexico to promote his candidacy on television, we cannot maintain silence.  This violates the Constitution which demands free and fair elections. We should leave until the next presidential term, what we can denounce today. Instead of electoral traps, significant and exemplary change should be demanded so that fraud can never be repeated.”  The up to now conservative liberal Ramos has been the anchor at UNIVISION for close to thirty years and has authored several books on Latino issues in the US. The Spanish network controls 80% of the Latino audience in the US and in most of the large urban centers, like Los Angeles and New York, UNIVISION has higher ratings than rest of the networks, including all the English language venues. His risky entrance into the Mexico debate will send a clear and resounding message to all the mainstream Latino media outlets, including radio, newspapers, magazines and online publications, to not take a back seat in this historic battle. This in turn, will also send a significant message to the 50.3 million Latinos in the country to also protest the imposition of Pena Nieto. I say risky because Televisa, one of the key villains in this Mexican drama controls approximately 10% of UNIVISION stock and reportedly has just made a $5 billion investment in the network.   

At the same time Lopez Obrador and his brilliant campaign team, yesterday finally put its national plan and strategy in defense of democracy and dignity on the playing field, announcing that the campaign will organize peaceful and non violent national informational mass assemblies in over 175 cities ending in Mexico City, the Capital. The campaign will directly and on the ground, speak to and  inform millions of people on the relevant reasons to demand the invalidation of the July 1 election, calling for the designation of a temporary president and that new elections be held as called by the constitution. The campaign will also be accompanied by a national and international petition targeting millions of people’s signatures against the imposition, using also TV, radio and newspaper spots.    

Probably the most incisive and important development that arose this week comes from the ranks of the university student movement #YoSoy132. At a press conference held on Thursday one of the student leaders declared, ‘if the Supreme Electoral Tribunal certifies the elections and Pena Nieto is imposed “we maybe at the brink of a national social insurgence.” 

Lastly, the social movement, which just had a successful National Assembly against the Imposition of Pena Nieto in San Salvador Atenco, in Pena Nieto’s home state, will flex its muscle on Sunday July 22. As part of its own plan to force the political class to retreat, it has called for a national march in the hundreds of thousands, to be held in dozens and possibly hundreds of cities throughout the country to also demand the invalidation of the national presidential election as well as the democratization of the news media. In addition and pending approvals in their respective cities the movement will protest and symbolically take over all the Televisa sites in the nation. And more, if Pena Nieto is certified by Mexico’s Electoral Tribunal, the 300 plus organizations that make up the Assembly, consisting of some of the most experienced, largest and militant organizations and unions in the country,  to name a few, CNTE, the dissident 100,000 teachers union, the 10,000 electrical Workers Union of Mexico-SME, and the National #YoSoy132, will also stage political informational demonstrations during the September 15 and 16 national independence festivities, a national march on October 2 and on December 1, encircle  Mexico’s Congress to protest the sitting of Pena Nieto as president of Mexico.

Undoubtedly, in the battle for power and a new direction for Mexico, the stakes are high. However, at 102 years since the Mexican revolution, the struggle and proven sacrifice of Mexican people points to the old saying, “the show is not over until the fat lady sings.”  ZAZ, Javier

Javier Rodriguez is an independent journalist and a political and media strategist. He has been in Mexico for three months (out of five) and he is presently in Mexico City observing and writing about the presidential elections of July 1, 2012 and the post electoral conflict. Blog Larayueladejavier.wordpress.com, email bajolamiradejavier@yahoo.com.

Javier will be back in the US on Monday July 30, 2012 and will be available for interviews and presentations.