Photo: AP Photo/Marco Ugarte
If you’ve been in the Zócalo in Mexico City the past few days, chances are you’ve bumped into some angry Mexicans. Don’t blame it on any of your missteps though, Mexicans are angry at something much more important — they believe their election, resulting in a win for Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, is a fraud. Voting fraud isn’t the only thing Mexicans are mad about either, according to Forbes. Many believe the situation goes much deeper than simple government and electioneering corruption and claim the media is in on it too. It isn’t too much of a stretch to see why.
While thousands take to the Zócalo to voice their dissent, the Mexican media has largely ignored the protests, according to Fox News Latino. Odd, considering all of the international attention the events are receiving. This may be more harrowing and believable than the claims of mass voting fraud too.
According to Mexico’s Federal Election Institute (IFE), Nieto claimed the presidency with 38% of the vote, compared to his rival, Andres Manuel Lopez Obredor, whom received 31%. It may not see like a huge discrepancy, but 7% constitutes about 3 million people, according to the Washington Post. Even amid accounts of officials buying votes (offering food and cash) and miscounting ballots, altering and influencing 3 million votes would be quite hard to hide. And according to one Mexico city based political analyst, there was vote buying by all parties.
Of course, corruption and bribing of the IFE is possible. But, what’s more possible is that the media, including one of Mexico’s largest papers, El Universal, and the country’s two main TV networks, Televisa and TV Azteca (where most Mexicans receive their information), was paid to deliberately cast the PRI and Nieto in a favourable light in the run up to the election. American cables leaked by Wikileaks provide evidence of Nieto paying for favourable coverage as well, according to the Guardian.
Even with continued protests by hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, it appears the election outcome will likely hold. Obama has already called to congratulate Nieto on his victory and with the 3 million vote discrepancy between Nieto and his opponent, proving voting fraud was the cause of the outcome seems unlikely.
Don’t think the protests are for naught though. If they continue to grow, evolve, and organise their message, it can become an avenue for increasing transparency and accountability in government. That’s important, given that during the PRI’s 71-year presidential reign from 1929-2000, massive election fraud, corruption, repression, and a government resembling an autocracy more than democracy, became the norm.
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