MEXICO ELECTION XV – Pictures of discontent

Tens of thousands of people are marching through Mexico City in protest at the result of the Mexican general elections, which appear to have propelled the PRI, and their candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, back into power.

A partial recount of the vote has not appeased the YoSoy132 movement, at the centre of the latest demonstrations. as the march goes on towards Mexico City’s enormous central ‘Zócalo’ square, here is a selection of the signs from recent post-election marches in the city.

Enrique Peña Nieto has denied that his party bought any votes but that allegation, along with media manipulation and voter intimidation are the three main problems that the protest movement has with the president-elect.

An ignorant public always elects an ignorant government

‘Peña Nieto has the right not to read my work. He does not have the right to be an ignorant president. Yours, Carlos Fuentes’

Carlos Fuentes, one of the most successful Mexican writers, passed away in May. But before that he found himself caught up in the presidential campaign after Enrique Peña Nieto incorrectly said that one of Fuentes’ books, ‘La Silla del Águila’, was written by another Mexican author, Enrique Krauze. The president was criticised heavily and Fuentes himself said a lack of cultural awareness was a big enough failing to disqualify Peña Nieto from the top job.

Mexico did not win – corruption did

This is a reference to the slogan Peña Nieto had emblazoned on the stage behind him during the acceptance speech he made on Sunday night – ‘Ganó México’ (Mexico won)

‘The revolution will not be Televisa-ed’

This girl’s placard refers to the allegations (which the PRI denied and which Televisa have also rebuffed) that the latter, Mexico’s biggest media company, gave favourable coverage to Peña Nieto and waged a smear campaign against his left-wing rival, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in return for cash.

‘The only fight you lose is the one you abandon’

MEXICO ELECTION XIV – Students on the march

Mexicans appear to have returned the PRI to power in general elections. This blog is covering the results live from inside the country

On Monday 2 July, the day after the former autocratic political behemoth, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, was seemingly put back into power in Mexico (many vote recounts have started after “irregularities” were found), thousands of members of the #YoSoy132 protest movement massed just off Mexico City’s grand Paseo de la Reforma boulevard ahead of a march against the election results, in particular the voting in of Enrique Peña Nieto to the presidency.

Alert! Alert! Watch what is coming: the student fight for Latin America

Mexico without the PRI, Mexico without the PRI

Supporters of the #YoSoy132 movement give their thoughts

MEXICO ELECTION XIII – An organised outcome?

Mexicans appear to have elected the PRI’s Enrique Peña Nieto to the presidency, alongside many state and local victories for the party. This blog is covering the results live from inside the country.

These men and women held impromptu debates in the Zócalo, the massive central Mexico City square, last night, as the polls were closing across the nation. They were not too happy about what they saw as the fixed outcome of the elections, even saying that, as a passer-by, I was a “witness and an accessory to this lousy fraud that is happening”.

And also the people have to organise themselves and go out, in all sectors of society, to fight for their rights, even if Andrés Manuel López Obrador wins the presidency. Be they students, peasants, workers, retired, mothers, women, everyone has to fight for their rights so that politics does not get a hold on those who will become the new MPs and senators, for they are people who have got to where they are in an obscure way. The people have to organise themselves on every level and fight, nothing more.

The people are asleep, they are still in bed, they have stopped waking up. Without our young protesters from the YoSoy132 movement, listen up we will be like slaves once again. We will be talking behind the oven, behind the mattress…but you know what friend? Listen to me please, I have a right to be heard, you have spoken, listen to me please, listen to me please, nothing more than a right to speak. You have to sort yourself out. Go on, go on. No he needs to sort himself out. Continue, continue! Only if he gives me permission…Continue, continue! Years ago, friends, the Mexican people stopped speaking to each other…this disunion that we have, in families, in neighbourhoods, in other places…it is time, friends, to awaken our consciences and we will all go together as our friends were saying, we will go together with the Mexican people to awaken and bring the country forward. Thanks a lot.

MEXICO ELECTION XI – Polling station and YoSoy132 camp

Voters outside a polling station in Tlatelolco neighbourhood, Mexico City

Official banners that hang outside each polling station

The #YoSoy132 movement’s main camp underneath the Monument to the Revolution

Huge YoSoy132 banner in square in front of camp

Message on banner in front of the YoSoy132 camp

‘We are all one’ message on YoSoy132 banner

‘Politicians – we are watching you’ – YoSoy132 food tent

MEXICO ELECTION VIII – Upset still on the cards

Tomorrow, on Sunday 1 July, Mexico will hold a general election. This blog is covering the vote live from inside the country

If you were to use the opinion polls alone to choose a winner then Enrique Peña Nieto would have romped home even before he officially declared his candidacy. But if you look wider and harder it is possible to catch glimpses of hope for those wishing to knock the former Mexico State governor from his perch. Speaking with a woman last night in Jilotepec, she rubbished the telephone polls, saying that she never gave an answer when prompted by a calling pollster because “el voto es libre y secreto”. Her actions flew in the face of her own advice, as she told me of her belief that the parties know who has said what in each house and they “will punish you subtly if you say you will not vote for them, by cutting your electricity for example”.

Another woman I spoke to also wrote off the voter surveys. She is a PRD local activist though, so it does serve her party to maintain the hope that the race is still open and that their presidential candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador or AMLO, can still land Los Pinos tomorrow. But she accused the PRI of ‘acarreando’ its ‘supporters’, and that is an allegation I have heard a few times over the past days, even in the traditionally PRI, or priísta state. ‘Acarrear’ roughly translates as bussing people to your rally to inflate the numbers. In Jilotepec I am told all the PRI gives you in return for being driven to their meetings is ‘a sandwich and a piece of fruit – and the people only go because they want some free food’.

The PRD activist glows as she describes the big campaign closing events of last Wednesday. She says the governing party’s candidate, Josefina Vázquez Mota, filled the 49,000-seater Guadalajara Chivas football stadium of people who attended of their own accord. She denounces Peña Nieto for filling up national Aztec Stadium in Mexico City, which can hold 110,000 people, with ‘supposed supporters who were bussed in for free’. And she then visibly lights up as she recounts the PRD event. AMLO filled the capital’s massive central square and many side roads as well with more than one million people, all still believing that the man affectionately known as ‘Grandpa’ can swipe the presidency from under Peña Nieto’s nose. She firmly denies the PRD would ever ‘acarrear’.

She says many of the protesters in the #YoSoy132 movement have yet to decide who to choose. The activist gets excited by her own calculations – saying that the race is not over and that there could still be one of the biggest surprises in political history tomorrow. However, I found one reservation that some students in Mexico State have about their colleagues and the #YoSoy132 campaign. They are worried that the movement is being manouevred by hidden vested interests working behind the scenes. That may be true; with anti-PRI pro-PRD interests being the most likely to be involved in any such allegations.

But Mexican politics has functioned in a similar way before and even here in such a príista place the actions of the PRI in its 70-year rule as an autocracy – when election results were massaged – are not quickly forgotten. Some quarters see the coronation of Enrique Peña Nieto as imminent and inevitable and it is still likely that he will win. But you cannot deny that there is simmering belief that the PRI can be defeated once again, even if such a result is unlikely. Hasta mañana.