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2006-07-06

Subcomandante Marcos Says Zapatistas Received Reports of Electoral Fraud in Mexico Presidential Election

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Mexico’s presidential election is still too close to call as electoral authorities work round the clock to verify vote tallies from Sunday’s poll. Populist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador refused to accept preliminary results issued earlier this week alleging voter fraud. In a national broadcast exclusive, we air an excerpt of a radio broadcast with Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos who says he also received reports of electoral fraud. [includes rush transcript]

Mexico’s presidential election is still too close to call as electoral authorities work round the clock to verify vote tallies from Sunday’s poll.

With nearly 98 percent of the vote tallies recounted, conservative candidate Felipe Calderon holds a razor-thin lead over populist rival Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Both candidates have insisted they will win the election.

The Federal Electoral Institute says it expects to announce the result soon. As the final figures come in, the gap between the two candidates has narrowed to just thousands of votes out of a total of 41 million ballots cast.

Lopez Obrador refused to accept preliminary results issued earlier this week that gave Calderon a narrow lead. He alleged there had been "serious evidence of fraud", and said that if he lost he would call for a ballot-by-ballot recount. He said the initial results had "many inconsistencies" and his party claimed some voting places were counted twice while others were not counted at all. Lopez Obrador isn’t the only one alleging voter manipulation. Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos says he also received reports of electoral fraud. He spoke about the election in a radio insurgente broadcast in Mexico City on Monday.

  • Subcomandante Marcos, radio broadcast on July 3rd, 2006. Taped and translated by independent filmmaker Rick Rowley of Big Noise Films.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: In this national broadcast exclusive, this is Subcomandante Marcos. He’s speaking in Mexico City on Monday, translated by Rick Rowley.

SUBCOMANDANTE MARCOS: [translated] Good evening. You are listening to Radio Insurgente, the Voice of the Voiceless. We are here invading Radio 620, the music that came to stay. We want to pass on to you some information that the Sexta Commission has received. According to this information, there has been fraud in the presidential elections.

The Federal Election Institute, in complicity with the President, held a reserve of between one and 1.5 million votes to be administered in the benefit of the PAN candidate, Felipe Calderon. According to this information, in the afternoon between 5:30 and 6:00, there was a call from President Vicente Fox to Ugalde, the president of the Election Institute, asking him to change the information from the preliminary vote count, so that voting stations that benefited Calderon were entered first, and then the other votes were divided up. According to this information, the PRD candidate would have gone ahead of the PAN candidate by between one million and 1.5 million votes, but thanks to this trick, they have changed the results.

We have yet to hear what PRD and its candidate have to say. We are eager to find out what they have to say.

If you had any doubts and you watched television last night, you saw the president of the Election Institute, Mr. Ugalde’s message, and immediately afterwards, within fractions of a second, Vicente Fox responding with his message. It is clear that he knew in advance what the Elections Institute was going to say before it was made public by the Institute’s president. And according to our information, they agreed to commit this fraud and impose Felipe Calderon on us.

We are not part of the electoral scene, but for moral and ethical reasons, as Zapatistas, when we see something wrong we have to say it. And what we are seeing now is that they are committing a fraud up above us. You are listening to Radio Insurgente, the Voice of the Voiceless.

AMY GOODMAN: And that was Subcomandante Marcos in Radio Insurgente in Mexico City, translated by Rick Rowley of Big Noise Tactical Films. You can, if you are listening on the radio, as opposed to watching this on television, go to our website and also watch the broadcast at democracynow.org. Juan, the elections extremely close and could lead to massive protests this weekend.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And getting closer. Initially, the talk was of a 400,000 vote lead. Then it was a 250,000 vote lead for Calderon, and now into thousands of votes. Very, very close. And interestingly, the New York Times today reported that they observed some of the re-canvasing — it’s not really counting of the votes, but re-canvasing — of the tallies in a town of Northern Mexico, and in that particular district where the votes were being re-tallied, the officials opened ten ballot boxes, where there were irregularities, and in each one of the ballot boxes, the count was wrong. And according to the Times, most of the time the count was wrong favoring Calderon, not Lopez Obrador. So it was clear Lopez Obrador lost lots of votes in that one district, so that the possibility for the 130,000 voting places around the country is substantial in terms of a change, especially when you’re only talking about a few thousand votes separating them.

AMY GOODMAN: And there’s a question of millions of votes that haven’t been counted at all.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, although interestingly the election officials at first said they hadn’t been counted, and then said that, yes, they had tallied them, but they hadn’t included them in the count, and that’s how the tally went from a 400,000 lead for Calderon to about 250,000. So it’s very, very murky and unclear yet what the results will be, but it’s clear that the original tally was not accurate.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, of course, we will continue to follow this story.

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