Sunday, July 8, 2012
Chanting "México sin PRI," "si hay imposición habrá revolución," and "Peña entiende, no eres presidente" -- among several more colorful chants -- some 200,000 protestors marched yesterday in Mexico City from El Angel to El Zócalo, decrying another round of fraudulent elections masquerading as "democracy."
A few protesters marched with signs in English, including "Tell everyone around the world that democracy in Mexico is a fraud!"
More photos from la "Mega-Marcha"...
Thursday, July 5, 2012
There is a long line at the baggage drop off. I am silently angry that I didn’t leave earlier. I start to mess with my hair because I am nervous, tired, and disgustingly hot. I try to fumblingly hold on to my bags and fill out papers for my entry to Mexico. In the mist of being nervous and nauseous, I notice two little boys. I find them really adorable with their cowboy hats and paisa look. I soon see that they’re at the verge of tears. Maybe, they are as frustrated with the long lines and having to wake up early as I am.
Two hours alter, I see the same two children crying, as we are to board the plane—they are alone. For some reason, I want to hug them, ask them what is wrong, and tell them everything will be fine. I want to cry and I don’t know why; I start to create stories about these boys. Immigration stories of torn families come to my mind because unfortunately they are too familiar. It finally hits me, I am transferring all the feelings of the recent deportations in my life to these boys.
These two boys remind me of two boys I know who were ripped away from their home due to the deportation of their mother. Their mother was deported for a minor traffic violation and unpaid parking tickets. As a consequence, the two boys had to fly alone to a country that they didn’t know to be reunited with her. I begin to wonder how did they fill out this paperwork and if they were confused. They do not speak Spanish that well. What will be of their education? I start to think of all of the educational and economic opportunities that they will miss out on even though they are US citizens.
But most importantly, the woman who was deported was my friend. She is a single mother who worked incessantly so her kids could have a better life in the United States. She motivated me to attend a university like Yale. She used to pick me up from school and take me to college counseling appointments, community college, performances, and any place that helped me enrich my education. I remember crying a couple of times in her car when I felt frustrated or stressed. She always encouraged me to pursue higher education and pacified me. For last five years of my life, I have probably spent more time with her than with some of my family members. It finally hits me that I don’t know when or if I’ll ever see her again. I suddenly find myself crying quietly in the back of an airplane heading to Mexico. I feel like a child again crying in her car again. However, this time she is not there to make it better. I don’t think any immigration statistics or politician can rationalize what I am feeling. This is the sad truth of immigration.
Saybrook College 2015
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Nobody was surprised, really, when Enrique Peña Nieto emerged "victorious" from Mexico's presidential elections, held July 1. When the Instituto Federal Electoral announced at 11:30 p.m. that night that EPN was the likely winner, with around 38% of the vote, I wasn't shocked -- just filled with dread.
After all, during his six years as governor of the Estado de México, EPN accomplished quite a bit:
With that kind of track record, I don't even want to think about what the next six years will bring. I am sure, though, that whatever EPN "accomplishes" as Mexico's next president-turned-dictator, he will provoke some serious misery. But let's not get ahead of ourselves -- EPN won't take office for several months.
So for now, we would do well to think about the lies, distortion, and violence surrounding the supposedly "democratic" elections held July 1.
Here are some reasons many mexican@s ya están hasta la madre:
Unheralded violence at the polls. I spent election night in Ecatepec, a city of 2 million outside Mexico City, in the Estado de México. Ecatepec was highly militarized on election night: soldiers guarded polling stations, helicopters flew low overhead, the municipal police was out in full force. But the military's presence on election day did little to keep organized crime (often with links to the PRI) away from the polls. The next morning, newspapers reported on armed robberies of ballot boxes, some of which resulted in the deaths of would-be voters. The picture below is from the state of Coahuila. Bonus points for getting the Yale reference.
Alarmingly prevalent electoral fraud. According to PRD candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, of Mexico's 143,000 voting booths, 113,855 reported irregularities -- almost 80%.
Brutal repression. On election day, many attempted to report irregularities to the Instituto Federal Electoral (IFE). The federal government responded by stationing hundreds of riot police in front of the IFE offices:
As if police intimidation weren't enough, many of those who denounced electoral fraud have been disappeared. For instance, in the Estado de México, student activists from the movement #YoSoy132 were kidnapped, including a student who had recorded PRI members buying votes. And on Twitter, many say the spokeswoman of #YoSoy132, Andrea González, was kidnapped in Mexico City this week.
Media lies. In its election-day coverage, The New York Times said nothing substantial about the obvious and well-documented electoral fraud and the violence at many polling sites. Instead, they reported, "There were also reports of security problems at some sites," which hardly approximates the violent reality of election day. By neglecting to cover the PRI's serious manipulation of electoral processes, the New York Times left readers with the impression that the Mexican electorate democratically elected EPN. Ultimately, as a friend of mine pointed out, the international media has reported fairly accurately on the near-coup in Paraguay last month. But by continuing to portray electoral processes in Mexico as "democratic," the media is merely perpetuating a farce.
Obama. As the Mexican paper La Jornada reported, not only did Obama call EPN to congratulate him on his electoral "victory," but the White House issued a statement congratulating Mexicans on their highly democratic voting system: "una vez más, han demostrado su compromiso con los valores democráticos mediante un proceso electoral libre, justo y transparente." Mentiras, mentiras y más mentiras...
To close with a ray of hope, here are some photos from Monday's 15,000-person march in Mexico City denouncing the outcome of Sunday's elections.