Electoral Pourdown

I just came back from voting both for federal and local elections. There hasn’t been a single sunbeam today, and at least here in Mexico City we have our very own electoral downpour in the most literal way. I’ve been out checking different spots where people are voting, and was pleased to see so many people getting in line to have their saying despite of cold and rain. However, the reports coming in from the rest of the country are far from being positive; there has been word of violence, of vote coercion, of voting stands sacked and/or blocked, and a big number of other democratic disgraces.

This reassures my worries expressed on one of my past posts: that the election could easily be corrupted. Well actually, that already happened and I have no doubt about it; I guess my concern today is that this is going to affect the result of the election. It’s just so sad to think we have an electoral system that’s very well designed but that it doesn’t because no one really protects it from being tampered with. Not even the institutions created for that. The EPN-Televisa media scandal is no such thing here in Mexico, and despite of all the coverage done in The Guardiannot a single institution has done something about it.

The other big scandal, also by EPN’s party, has been the distribution of so-called gift cards from a bank called MONEX, likely intended to either buy votes or give financial aid to coercion skims. Appropriate complaints were maid by the other two important parties (PAN and PRD) both at the Electoral Federal Institute (IFE) and the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office for Electoral Crimes (FEPADE), and at least the PAN partie demanded that the MONEX account from which the plastics were being funded was frozen until the day after July 1st and further investigations could be done. The authority held an inquiry and concluded that the account was indeed being used for ilegal financing, but as it (allegedly) couldn’t be proved that this unauthorized budget would be used to buy or coerce voters, the account was not frozen and further inquiries will be made only after the election process is over. That is, until the ilegal money may and probably will have irreversibly affected the election. (You can read some more about it here)

So today, just as the weather, the election has been gloomy, and does not promise a single sunlight in the horizon. The sky cried all over us today, and it’s been the saddest election I’ve been witness of. To think about it only makes it worse because it reminds me that today should be a public festivity. We should be celebrating our obtained right and obligation of deciding what to do with our country, the only one we’ll have, the one we should be looking out for. But perhaps the gloominess is not so bad, maybe today we have been given a taste of our own medicine. People need to start realizing that democracy is not getting out on one day every six years to cross out a sign on a paper. That’s only a small part of what we should be doing.

The #YoSoy132 movement was enormous, but it seems like it  wasn’t enough or it didn’t have enough time.  Not that it’s its fault, because it’s only a reflection of the stupor on which the mexican electorate stood for the most part of the last term. If everything we hope does not happen our job will be to spread the knowledge and the awareness. On the other hand if everything, or at least some, of what we hope actually does happen, our job will be exactly the same.

P.S.

I found a nice blog to read more about mexican elections, check out The Mex Files and its post “Democracy Interrupted?

Also, I’m so glad to have been recipient of littleprince68‘s generousity, who nominated this still very new project for the The Versatile Blogger and Sunshine Awards.

Countdown to hell

At what point does writing stop being a hobby and become an obligation? At what level should you care? Did I leave the car door opened?… These are the kind of questions I have tried to keep myself busy with, but it’s becoming quite difficult so I resorted to my very last way out: Science Fiction. However, after watching Alien and halfway through Aliens (for the non-initiated that’s the second part of the saga) I had to accept that poor acting and jalapeño popcorn just weren’t gonna cut it for me.

Fact is election day is this Sunday, and I’m not the least bit excited, maybe because I’ve been busy freaking out about it. We got a lot to loose, and some very dark people have a lot to gain from whatever happens on that day. The once (and hopefully not soon to be) State party PRI has been caught over and over again in nasty stunts to get voters, and you’d have to be quite blind no to see all the different ways that is election has become tainted, and still experience has shown us mexicans that no matter how filthy and election is proven to be, results will be upheld.

In fact, I’d dare to say there hasn’t been one clean federal election in Mexico’s history. Not that every single one of them has been a fraud, not obvious ones in any case. No, what I mean is that there’s always the ghostly figure of vote buyers, of threats against uneducated people to make them vote a certain way, of endless tricks and obscure possibilities to make and election’s result tilt a specific way, as you can see here or here.

Still not everything’s lost, and hopefully the left wing candidate has learned his lessons from last election and has acquired a better defense mechanism against such threats… it’s just sad that he has to. There’s an incredible amount of problems to be solved immediately in Mexico, and it would be kind of relieving another huge one on our backs.

*You can also further your reading a bit more here

Overwhelmed

Tired of my ocasional but not uncommon complaints about all the different ways I feel sick, my mother said one thing I sure didn’t want to hear: “You should go get a general check-out”, to which of course I acted as if I hadn’t heard a thing. Not that unexpectedly, I now get to be nagged about this topic every now and then, even when I’ve been forced to keep all my ailments to myself.

Though I would indeed love the headaches and cramps and all of my weirder achaques to go away, I think I’m just not willing to do what it takes for them to do so. And no, I haven’t just tapped the center of my self-knowledge to realize this, but I got to be laughed at (one of the possible reactions I usually get when I forget to translate my thoughts into outer-world language) when after another unwanted motherly exhortation I simply added I would at the very least wait until election day is over AND I’ve come to terms with the result, whatever this may be (btw, that took about four years with last election).

So, after being momentarily puzzled about the laughter I provoked, I thought maybe I should take political matters out of my head for a day or two, and what do I get? Bam! Working on the-thesis-that-must-not-be-named like I hadn’t for weeks. Surely, that lasted until right about now, but still, it oughtta mean good news right?

Aaanyhow, today I woke up and realized that election day is only a week away, and we’re only four days away (thank you sweet lord!!) of stop being hammered with spots and adds and campaign lies promises, and that is supposed to be good news. Except it isn’t.

Of course I want some candidates to stop telling me why I should vote for them when I know I won’t. Of course I want other candidates to stop telling me to vote for them because I know I will! My decision was taken months ago and nobody scared me into it, which is what most of these people try to do and that’s the kind of votes most of this campaigns prey on.

However, the only thing I can predict for sure is that on July 2 there will be chaos. It can be happy chaos, or it can be angry, violent chaos. And the odds don’t look too good for different reasons. First of all, very few can honestly say they trust those odds, no matter what candidate or party they support, and that’s the same story for the institutions that are supposed to protect us mexicans from yet another fraud, nobody can honestly say they’re not vulnerable.

Secondly, and this is the reason that provokes my biggest concern, there could actually be a clean election and that could also mean we’re screwed. It’s been proven that the most the most educated people in Mexico, have supported AMLO; universities, colleges, academic institutes, and almost every intellectual leader have claimed their support the left party candidate (not his party though, but that’s another bedtime story I’ll save for later), and that should mean something very big for society. Not that they’re votes are more important than the ones coming from popular sections of the population, not at all. In fact it’s  just the other way around. However, when such a chunk of a society is backing one same candidate, and this chunk happens to be the most informed in the country, no matter its size, it should mean something, because these people should be leaders in their communities.

Quite sadly this is not the case… the real leaders are soap actors and their TV stations, journalists who act like soap opera characters, and millions of plastic box cases in which these people say and show what they were bought and paid to. These are the real opinion leaders, and the other section of society who is strongly persuaded of the dangers of EPN winning the election may write and talk and march all they want, and it will still be a miracle if they’re able to reach the millions who can’t open a newspaper, the ones who do but do’t go beyond the headlines, and specially the ones who trust Televisa and TV Azteca to tell them what’s happening, what’s good and what’s bad…and what they should be afraid of. The mystery is how many of those people really exist, how many will we be able to reach before it’s too late.

Sure, there are polls and surveys and all kinds of democratic measuring instruments, but it’s not likely that anybody would ask or respond honestly to questions like “Are you unable of forming a political opinion by yourself?”, “Do you believe everything you hear if the TV says so?”, and so on. So we can’t really know how many of these guys are really out there, and it looks that that number could make the difference on this election.

I’ll further my thoughts later on today, ’cause right now there’s a cat plot to keep me from working, and one gets eventually tired of pushing kitties away from the keyboard and erasing their mindful contributions off the screen.

Why #132 now?

The #132 movement has burst into mexican political scene for a little more than a month now. On June 9th, two weeks ago, I was an active part of it. Me and other tens of thousands of mostly young people marched against many things, because we are very angry…and very scared of what may happen on our election day, July 1st. The presidential candidate and known repressor Enrique Peña Nieto and the tight hold that Mexico’s main TV stations keep in the destiny of Mexico could be called the main two banners of the movement. However, the underlying reasons for a bunch of angry college students to turn into tens of thousands flooding the main avenues of Mexico City are many, quite many. I will try to explain mine here.

Our generation has watched our parents’ money disappear before their eyes, has seen killings that become bloodier and bloodier, and has watched the distance between classes become one of the widest in the world; all of our lives we’ve been told that we are in crisis, that our currency is devaluating; we grew up listening to after-dinner conversations about false elections, politicians who ripped us off and ended any possibility of development. Then, after 72 years of this ongoing situation lead by a State-party, we got a chance of hoping for change in 2000. Yes, it was a right-wing opposition, but still nobody cared, we had gotten the thieves out of our pockets, right?

What actually happened is that this clown-president practically shouted “haha, gotcha!” in our faces. Now, for me, and I guess that for most of the people involved in the #YoSoy132 movement, this wasn’t our first election, we just sat in the background and watched the show of the campaigns unfold in front of us. And what we saw was our families, neighbors and fellow mexicans get ripped off, because no matter if they had supported president Fox or not, they had all believed something was about to change.

For the next election it was quite different, me and a lot of other participants in the movement got to vote for the first time. And hell no, we weren’t about to vote por the same Party again, or the one before it, so we supported the next best option, the leftish Party PRD, but specially, very specifically, we voted for its candidate, Andrés Manuel López O. It was an election that literally divided not only the country but entire families, and up to this date it is a very risky thing to talk about whether there was a fraud or not (since we obtained absolutely no proof against it by our institutions). Against all our hopes, AMLO lost to Fox’s Party.

And that’s when the fun really began. The new president decided to declare a war against drug trafficking in our territory. Not that it was a particularly bad idea, except for the fact that he did it just days after becoming head of State without having ever mentioned it during his campaign, spending who knows how much money in this task, and… oh yes, I almost forgot, turning Mexico into a living horror for millions of mexicans. And that is without even mentioning  things such as the blatant corruption or the never ending constraint of the State industries by Televisa and TV Azteca, the above-mentioned TV stations.

All of these while our people, our very families and friends, together with most of the population, were being deeply misinformed, if not viciously mislead. How? Well, for example, by selling the idea of a “new” PRI, the old State-party, as if a handsome-not-so-old face could make us forget that behind it are the exact same people whose very own hands drove Mexico back to its ruins, all while filling their pockets with the Nation’s treasury. There is quite a lot to say about this deceitful pretty face, but I’ll leave that for another time.

I’m no expert in politics, but hopefully I learnt something at my dearest UNAM other than to grab a table at a packed cafeteria; I learned to think, to observe, and to analyze my surroundings. And what I see is devastating, and it doesn’t seem to have a happy ending anytime soon, if you’re not on the right side of the scale that is… I feel like am carrying not just my anger and my humiliation, but the one suffered by many generations before me, with the difference that I have tools that they didn’t have, and an access to information that they couldn’t get… that’s quite a responsibility not to do something. And I’m sure tens of thousands, if not millions, of young mexicans feel the same way I do.