The Political Lynching of Mexico's Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
Date: Monday, April 18 2005
The citizens of the world seem to be coming to a concensus that our social programs and human rights kind of democracy is being tossed aside for the "capitalist democracy". Only the corporations get to vote, to hell with our voices.'''''4Canada
Published on Saturday, April 16, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
The Political Lynching of Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
by Ted Lewis
Mexico’s fragile hold on democracy was dealt a serious blow last week when its House of Representatives voted to impeach and possibly jail the country’s leading candidate for the 2006 presidency. In 2000, when President Vicente Fox defeated the long ruling PRI party and its 70 year monopoly on power few, such as myself who was there as an election observer, would have predicted that five years later Fox would willingly join his old nemesis in a political shenanigan with such grave implications for Mexico’s democratic future and stability.
The target of the impeachment vote, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, was, until last Thursday, the popular center-left mayor of Mexico City. Then, just hours after he announced his intention to run for president to a rally of 150,000 supporters he was stripped of his mayoral immunity. Now he may face jail for allegedly ignoring a judge’s order to halt construction of an access road to a city hospital across a contested patch of private land. That a low level administrative dispute of this sort could be parlayed into an impeachable offense reflects the backsliding of Mexican politics under President Fox.
Fox, who was in Rome for the Pope’s funeral the day of the congressional vote, hailed the political lynching as a “shining example to the world of law and order in action in a democracy.” In fact, what it reflects is desperation by two conservative parties so lacking confidence in their own anemic candidates and records of failure that they feel obliged to stage a pre-emptive coup 15 months before the next presidential election. Their problem now will be that Lopez Obrador has consistently led presidential preference polls for the last 18 months and he will not fade away. He is an experienced and charismatic politician who knows how to take advantage of a fight like this. His response to Fox: "I am proud to be accused by those who deceived Mexico, who offered change, and then defrauded the public."