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"Mexicans, to the shout of war!": Obrador Zocalo rally info; another set for July 16

About a quarter of a million people chanting "Fraud! Fraud!" jammed Mexico City's Zocalo. --- The crowd chanted, "Strong, strong!" when Obrador stepped to the microphone and declared IFE "played with the hopes" of millions of Mexicans by rigging the vote total. Thousands chanted back: "You are not alone!" Obrador told the rowdy but nonviolent he would present allegations of fraudulent vote tallies to Federal Electoral Tribunal and demand recount, ballot by ballot. He stopped short of calling for civil disobedience, eliciting groans from demonstrators when he asked them not to block highways. "This is a peaceful movement, and we are never going to allow ourselves to be provoked by our adversaries," he said. Seconds later, he called for nationwide marches starting Wednesday converging on Mexico City from all over Mexico--for another rally, next Sunday, July 16, as the seven-judge panel weighs appeal. The crowd raucously yelled back: "What time?" Obrador to take it to Mex Supreme Court to throw out election IFE "results" as well.

After López Obrador left the stage...the crowd lingered. Someone started singing the national anthem, and countless voices joined in its rallying cry: "Mexicans, to the shout of war!" (line from the anthem)...Many in the crowd said they were ready for a fight if Lopez Obrador did not prevail. "To the death!" shouted Maria Irene Ramirez, a 53-year-old retired railroad worker from Hidalgo state...."We are ready to do whatever is necessary," said Belasario Cruz, 32, a farmer from Tabasco. "We are tired of the rich having everything and the poor having nothing."...."This is 1988 all over again," says one man..."They did it to us then but they won't get away with it this time."....Mauricio Marmolejo, a PRD supporter, says he would allow Mr Calderón's victory only over his [own] dead body....[A] group of people are growing visibly angry.
"We reject the fraud that was forced on the Mexican people," shouts Ernesto González Ramos, a poorly dressed man with a clenched fist and a face full of fury. "How can they say that it was a victory for democracy? It is an insult for me, my family and my country."

Obrador publicly alleges in rally that IFE rigged computers before election to ensure half-percentage point "virtual reality victory" for the unpopular loser, Calderón.

The electoral institute will cede control of election to Mexico's special elections court, which has until Sept. 6 to decide whether to certify IFE "virtual results."

Another independent action is an opposition coalition has sprung up, "Por el Bien de Todos", which is preparing to challenge the district count of votes to elect the President of the Republic, former governor Ricardo Monreal said.

And Calderon is already talking about dissolving Mexico and merging with the U.S. and Canada on cue...




Contender Alleges Mexico Vote Was Rigged
Populist's Plan for Legal Challenge Ignites Boisterous Crowd at Massive Rally in Capital

By Manuel Roig-Franzia
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, July 9, 2006; A01

MEXICO CITY, July 8 -- Downtown Mexico City swelled Saturday with the accumulated frustration and rage of the poor, who were stoked into a sign-waving, fist-pumping frenzy by new fraud allegations that failed populist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador hopes will overturn the results of Mexico's presidential election.

López Obrador ignited the smoldering emotions of his followers Saturday morning, alleging for the first time that Mexico's electoral commission had rigged its computers before the July 2 election to ensure the half-percentage-point victory of Felipe Calderón, a champion of free trade. In a news conference before the rally, López Obrador called Calderón "an employee" of Mexico's powerful upper classes and said a victory by his conservative opponent would be "morally impossible."

López Obrador added a new layer of complexity to the crisis by saying he not only would challenge the results in the country's special elections court but also would attempt to have the election declared illegal by Mexico's Supreme Court. That strategy presages a constitutional confrontation because according to many legal experts the special elections court is the only body that can hear election challenges.

Calderón was declared the winner Thursday and has begun publicly presenting his plans for Mexico, even though López Obrador has refused to concede. European Union election observers have said they found no significant irregularities in the vote, and many Mexicans appeared to accept Calderón as their next president.

López Obrador's approach pairs legal maneuvers with mass public pressure. On Saturday, he gave a mega-display of street power, drawing an estimated 280,000 people into the city center on a humid, drizzly afternoon, according to a Mexico City government estimate.

The crowd chanted, "Strong, strong!" when López Obrador stepped to the microphone. The former Mexico City mayor then declared that the electoral commission had "played with the hopes" of millions of Mexicans by allegedly rigging the vote total. Thousands chanted back: "You are not alone!"

López Obrador also told the crowd that he was organizing a march to the capital Wednesday from all over Mexico, including states hundreds of miles distant.

"This is, and will continue to be, a peaceful movement," he said. Seconds later, he announced another mass rally, this one for July 16, at which the crowd raucously yelled back: "What time?"

During his 40-minute address, López Obrador stressed Mexico's class divide, accusing "powerful interests" of trying to deny democratic freedoms to "us, the poor." The crowd, which spilled into side streets off the square and may have been the largest of the presidential campaign, chanted, "Presidente, Presidente!"

Blaring kazoos competed with the thump and boom of massive speakers blasting salsa rhythms and a Spanish-language homage to López Obrador set to the tune of the American pop song, "Love Is in the Air."

López Obrador had called his followers into the large downtown square, the Zocalo, the backdrop for generations of Mexican revolutionary fervor, to lay out his long-shot case for overturning Calderón's apparent presidential victory. But he got more than that: He got a moment of mass catharsis, an outrageously loud, communal venting.

"The Mexican people are awakening," said Martín García Trujillo, a farm laborer from the state of Michoacan who had left at midnight for the six-hour bus ride to the capital. "We know Andrés Manuel won. They just won't let it happen. We can't take this anymore."

López Obrador wants a vote-by-vote count, which would require opening sealed vote packets from more than 130,000 polling stations. Electoral commission officials have sided with Calderón's strategists, who argue that the law does not allow for the packets to be opened unless tally sheets attached to the packets appear to have been altered. López Obrador said that only 2,600 vote packets were opened Tuesday and Wednesday during a marathon official count, which shrank Calderón's lead from 400,000 votes after a preliminary vote to 230,000.

Thousands of López Obrador's supporters, many of whom had marched across the city for hours, chanted "Voto por voto, casilla por casilla" -- vote by vote, polling place by polling place -- as they streamed into the Zocalo on Saturday. Many entered the square waving the yellow flags of López Obrador's Democratic Revolutionary Party, or PRD.

Street vendors hawked T-shirts bearing the now-ubiquitous cartoon depiction of López Obrador's face next to the word "Smile." Speakers screamed, "Vote by vote!" as their images flickered across a huge screen suspended above the stage.

x "They stole this from us," said Concepción Myen, 68, a lifelong Mexico City resident who is unemployed. "This is the worst thing that can happen to Mexico."x

Myen personifies the López Obrador target voter. She is a senior citizen and said she had looked forward to the monthly pensions López Obrador promised. She is also a single mother, who struggled to raise her child alone, and said her life would have been much better if the aid program López Obrador had vowed to give single mothers had existed when she needed it.

The anger on display in the square grows from decades of perceived indignities and a sense of persecution by a succession of ruling parties. García Trujillo, the farm worker from Michoacan, recalled feeling the same anguish in 1988 when the PRD candidate, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, lost a presidential race that many international observers have said was stolen by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. He said he felt the same rage two years ago when outgoing President Vicente Fox's administration unsuccessfully attempted to impeach López Obrador, who was then the mayor of Mexico City.

Now García Trujillo's anger is directed at another institutional power, Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute, which has a stellar international reputation but is accused by López Obrador of "manipulating" the results.

The electoral institute will cede control of the election to Mexico's special elections court, which has until Sept. 6 to decide whether to certify the results. Calderón has not waited for the elections court, and neither have world leaders. He accepted congratulatory calls on Friday from President Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. But López Obrador cautioned against such formalities, saying, "Right now, there is no president-elect."

After López Obrador left the stage Saturday, the crowd lingered. Someone started singing the national anthem, and countless voices joined in its rallying cry: "Mexicans, to the shout of war!"

---
 link to www.washingtonpost.com

Mexican national anthem
 http://www.inside-mexico.com/anthem.htm

250,000 rally against Mexico's vote results
Candidate Lopez Obrador to present fraud charges today in presidential ballot
By Richard Boudreaux
Originally published July 9, 2006

MEXICO CITY // About a quarter of a million people chanting "Fraud! Fraud!" jammed Mexico City's central square yesterday to back leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's bid to overturn his narrow electoral defeat with court appeals and mass marches.

Lopez Obrador told the rowdy but nonviolent crowd that he would present allegations of fraudulent vote tallies to the Federal Electoral Tribunal before today's deadline and demand a recount. He called for nationwide marches that would converge on Mexico City for another rally next Sunday as the seven-judge panel weighed his appeal.

"There is convincing evidence that they took votes away from us," Lopez Obrador said. "We are certain that we won on July 2, and we are going to defend our victory."

Many in the crowd said they were ready for a fight if Lopez Obrador did not prevail. "To the death!" shouted Maria Irene Ramirez, a 53-year-old retired railroad worker from Hidalgo state.

Yesterday's huge gathering, summoned on two days' notice, marks a critical point in what so far has been a peaceful challenge to the official result of the election, which gave governing-party candidate Felipe Calderon a [artifical] winning margin of 244,000 votes out of 41 million cast.

...

But yesterday, he stopped short of calling for civil disobedience, eliciting groans from demonstrators when he asked them not to block highways.

"This is a peaceful movement, and we are never going to allow ourselves to be provoked by our adversaries," he said.

The crowd filled the vast downtown square, the Zocalo, and spilled into surrounding streets.

Mexico City police, subordinate to a government run by Lopez Obrador's Democratic Revolution Party, estimated the crowd at 280,000 people. Notimex, the semiofficial news agency of the conservative-led federal government, said slightly more than 200,000 people were present.

The challenger's party, known as the PRD, bused in party loyalists from around the country. Organizers said they came from 18 states as distant as Chiapas, on Mexico's southern border, and Southern Baja California.

They turned the Zocalo into a sea of yellow party flags and banners with slogans such as "No solution means revolution." They blew noisemakers, set off fireworks, and sang the national anthem.

Most political analysts say Lopez Obrador's campaign faces an uphill battle.

The European Union has said it found no evidence of major fraud or irregularity in the preliminary count last Sunday and the official count that ended Thursday.

Calderon, the candidate of President Vicente Fox's National Action Party, said Friday that he was not worried about a legal challenge to the election because irregularities found in the initial count were minor. He said he opposed a full recount.

Richard Boudreaux writes for the Los Angeles Times.

 link to www.baltimoresun.com

Meanwhile...

Felipe Calderón said Friday...he will work closely with Washington.... [Both] President Bush [and] President Vicente Fox...called to congratulate him... U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza praised the election as "free and transparent." [Yep, you can certainly see right through it:] Calderon said wants the NAU: wants to "launch a program, with the U.S. and Canada, called 'For Our Land,' to generate projects..." Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper...also congratulated Mr. Calderón.

Obrador's Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, had urged that foreign governments withhold recognizing Mr. Calderón, whose election is being challenged by that party's candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
 link to www.dallasnews.com

Mexico candidate to press for recount
Staff and agencies
08 July, 2006


By MARK STEVENSON, Associated Press Writer 6 minutes ago

MEXICO CITY - Leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called on a huge crowd of supporters Saturday to keep peacefully protesting as he went to court to challenge what he called his fraudulent electoral defeat.

The ruling party's Felipe Calderon can't be declared president-elect until the electoral court weighs allegations of fraud or unfair campaign practices. The court has until Sept. 6 to declare a winner.

Election monitors from the European Union said they found no irregularities in the count. Calderon says the vote was clean and has taken congratulatory phone calls from President Bush and the leaders of Canada, Spain and Colombia, among others, despite Lopez Obrador's plea for foreign governments to hold off on recognizing the result.

He provoked groans of disappointment when he told the crowd of more than 100,000 packing Mexico City's central plaza not to block highways during the marches.

The likelihood of continuing demonstrations suggests just how difficult it will be for Calderon to unify Mexicans, many of whom believe the nation has yet to overcome the decades of institutional corruption and fraud that kept its leaders in power.

Lopez Obrador took direct aim at President Vicente Fox , accusing him of conspiring with Mexico's autonomous elections agency, known as IFE, to engineer a Calderon victory.

Lopez Obrador said Fox had betrayed the Mexicans whose outrage over repeated election fraud swept him into power in 2000 after 71 years of single-party rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

Lopez Obrador has millions of devoted followers who believe only he can help Mexico's poor and downtrodden. Most of his supporters come from Mexico City and poor southern states, while Calderon's strength is in Mexico's industrialized north.

The crowd in Mexico City's famed Zocalo plaza would accept nothing less than victory.

Smaller demonstrations were held Saturday in Tijuana on the U.S. border and San Cristobal de las Casas in the south.

Many traveled all night to arrive at the Zocalo, joining a sea of yellow, the color of Lopez Obrador's Democratic Revolution Party.

"We are ready to do whatever is necessary," said Belasario Cruz, 32, a farmer from Tabasco. "We are tired of the rich having everything and the poor having nothing."

There were no immediate reports of arrests or violence.

Lopez Obrador must walk a tightrope in coming days. If he appears too radical, he risks hurting his party and its chances in the next presidential elections in 2012. If he appears too moderate, he risks disappointing his core supporters.

Political analyst Oscar Aguilar predicted that he will never concede defeat.

"Once the election results are certified, he will open a permanent campaign of criticizing the government," Aguilar said.

 link to www.localnewsleader.com

Fury builds in Mexico as defeated side cries fraud

By Adam Thomson in Mexico City
Published: 7/7/2006 | Last Updated: 7/7/2006 17:10 London Time

On a normally tranquil street corner opposite the campaign headquarters of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico's leftwing candidate in last Sunday's presidential election, a group of people are growing visibly angry.

"We reject the fraud that was forced on the Mexican people," shouts Ernesto González Ramos, a poorly dressed man with a clenched fist and a face full of fury. "How can they say that it was a victory for democracy? It is an insult for me, my family and my country."

This week's vote was meant to draw a line under what has been one of Mexico's most closely fought and intemperate elections. Instead, allegations of foul play, combined with the razor-thin margin of victory - Mr López Obrador lost out to the centre-right Felipe Calderón by 0.58 per cent - have polarised the country and fuelled fears of a wave of violent street protests.

On Thursday morning, hours before the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) declared Mr Calderón the winner, Mr López Obrador said he would challenge the election result in court, and called on Mexicans to congregate in Mexico City's huge Zócalo. ...

Mr López Obrador's language was unusually prudent: he referred to his planned protest as "an assembly" and said that he and his Democratic Revolution party (PRD) would "act responsibly". But calming many of his supporters could prove difficult.

Mauricio Marmolejo, a PRD supporter, says he would allow Mr Calderón's victory only over his dead body - and those of many Mexican men. "We will take this to its ultimate consequences even if the streets turn to rivers of blood," he says, stabbing the air time and time again with his finger.

People such as Mr Marmolejo, who travelled from the Pacific state of Nayarit to the capital to join the protests, are convinced that Mr Calderon's victory was simply the latest in a long line of rigged elections.

In many ways, that perception is not surprising. For decades presidential elections in Mexico were decided long before people went to the polls, with the Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI) ruling the country for 71 consecutive years before finally relinquishing power in 2000.

One of the most infamous examples of perceived foul play came in 1988 when the highly popular Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, one of the founders of Mr López Obrador's PRD, lost out to the PRI after a controversial breakdown of the computer system used to calculate votes.

For millions of Mr López Obrador's supporters, this week's election triggered memories of that defeat. "This is 1988 all over again," says one man with wild curly hair and a mouth full of silver crowns. "They did it to us then but they won't get away with it this time."

Outside the campaign headquarters of Mr López Obrador, people wave photocopies of hand-written lists of names they claim were either prevented from voting, because there were not enough ballot slips in their polling stations, or were simply "removed" from the electoral register.

Marlen Martínez, who volunteered to be one of the PRD's representatives at a polling station in La Roma, says she witnessed foul play. There were at least 10 dead people on the electoral register," she says. "I know that because my grandmother was on the list and she died years ago."

Manuel Camacho, a PRD congressman and one of Mr López Obrador's principal strategists, believes the only way to allay suspicions of fraud is to order a manual recount of all the votes cast on Sunday. "We would accept the result of a manual recount," he told the FT this week. "They should open up all the ballot boxes."

But Mr Calderón, a 43-year-old former energy minister in President Vicente Fox's current administration, says opening up the boxes would break electoral law and could invalidate the entire election. In an FT interview this week, Mr Calderón said that a full manual recount was "totally out of the question. Not only that but it is illegal."

Most legal experts agree, though some argue that the constitution is flexible enough to allow a recount, given the exceptional circumstances. The problem for Mr Calderón is that he faces the prospect of taking office on December 1 with millions of voters believing that he did not win fairly.

In the meantime, many Mexicans believe that Saturday afternoon's rally in the Zócalo could be just the first - and, perhaps, most peaceful - manifestation of growing social unrest.

 http://www.euro2day.gr/articlesfna/17233022/

Mexican Opposition To Challenge Results

Mexico, July 7 2006 (Prensa Latina) - Opposition coalition "Por el Bien de Todos" is preparing to challenge the district count of votes to elect the President of the Republic, former governor Ricardo Monreal said.

The nonconformity judgement to be presented to the Federation Judicial Power Electoral Court (TEPJF) is to include convincing evidence that at least 50,000 polling boots were altered or their numbers substantially modified, he said.

President Vicente Fox's permanent interference in the electoral process, the campaign against candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and the illegal intervention of the Business Coordinating Council will also be denounced.

Monreal, who was Lopez Obrador's campaign aide, ratified that they will ask the relevant authority to order a vote by vote count of the more than 130,000 polling booths set up countrywide.

However, he ruled out any citing of the so-called "abstract cause" to demand the cancellation of the elections.

He strongly criticized IFE General Council's performance, particularly its adviser-president Luis Carlos Ugalde, accusing them of negligent, partial, illegal conduct.

He said that by releasing results of vote count in 300 constituencies, a TEPJF prerogative, Ugalde carried out an unofficial action which went beyond his legal power.

What IFE General Council should have done was to receive the papers, wait the four days needed for political parties to promote non conformity judgements, and then send everything to court.

We reject IFE's negligent, partial ["democratic performance art of calling out projections"--then fixing the vote totals later to fit the projections] behavior, Monreal insisted.

He also considered that IFE has been reduced and turned into "an appendage to the Ministry of Interior."

Monreal advised government candidate Felipe Calderon, as well as the Accion Nacional Party, religious associations, international bodies, business groups, and state and municipality governments not to proclaim nonexistent victories.

 link to www.targets.org
By Any Means Necessary 11.Jul.2006 13:40

Northwest Citizen

We must be aware that the control of the Mexican government is now in the hands of the paramilitary. These groups of mercenaries include the Green berets and soldiers of fortune from other countries such as Germany, Canada and Great Britian and are under the control of the US government. This is somewhat the same gang of thugs that tried to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs.
They can not allow democracy to flourish at their southern border.
By any means necessary.