Elections are hot in 2016. The campaign of racist demagogue Donald Trump is not just a U.S. spectacle but has grabbed worldwide headlines. One nation that Trump has used to grab headlines is Mexico.
Twelve Mexican states will hold elections for governor June 5, along with many mayoral races throughout the country. The results will be closely watched by both the Mexican and U.S. establishment as they could be a barometer of things to come in Mexico’s 2018 presidential election.
Amid great social strife in Mexico; state-sponsored violence; growing poverty and exploitation, these questions arise: How long can the Mexican ruling class maintain its rule? Will the upcoming elections throw out the long-standing, pro-capitalist elite party, the PRI? Can the more radical formation MORENA win, gain ground and shake things up fundamentally?
Or will the beleaguered, war-torn masses turn away from the elections completely and continue on another road altogether?
Whatever the outcome, the Mexican people merit the utmost solidarity from those abroad. A beautiful and rich nation full of wondrous culture and important resources, it has been plundered and robbed by imperialism far too long.
As has often been said, “Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the U.S.”
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Both the Financial Times and the Council of Americas, a think tank for corporate trade deals, recently wrote on Mexico’s upcoming elections, which indicates that industries that have profits at stake are paying close attention to all things Mexico.
The FT wrote on May 16 that “it is little surprise that nine out of 10 Mexicans have little or no confidence in political parties, while six out of 10 say they are not living in a democracy."
There are ample reasons why Mexicans have little confidence in the system.
Mexico has witnessed widespread electoral fraud on a number of occasions. The PRI and the National Action Party, both parties of the ruling class, have dominated the elections for decades. Attempts from the left to oust them have been thwarted by chicanery, corruption and fraud.
Especially notable was the theft of the presidency from Cuauhtemoc Cardenas in 1988, when a left formation broke from the PRI and gained tremendous mass support.
All indications were that Cardenas won that election. But despite the millions who converged on Mexico City to defend the election, the PRI was able to maintain the status quo and steal the results.
It was a precursor for what would happen to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, affectionally called AMLO — a founder of MORENA, when he ran in 2006. He too was robbed of the presidency, but this time by the PAN.
Fast forward to today when elections are taking place amid a case that became the final drop of water that led to an overflow of resistance.
In September 2014, 43 students were reported missing from Ayotzinapa, Mexico. The case of the missing 43 students became the catalyst for mass protests for the hundreds of thousands of Mexicans who have been killed, are missing, or who have been tortured or brutalized.
It was revealed once again that the Mexican state is not only incapable of addressing the aspirations of its people; it is the problem. It can manage to find an infamous drug dealer but cannot find out what happened to the 43.
After mass national and international pressure, the Mexican government finally agreed to allow a study by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights along with the Mexican Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts to look into what happened at Ayotzinapa.
The IACHR was welcomed by the families of the missing 43.
The body presented its findings on April 24. It said that the Mexican government “hid the truth at all costs and at the highest levels, including by torturing the majority of the key suspects and tampering with official evidence.”
Despite countless protests, appeals, demonstrations and worldwide outcry the Mexican government has done everything to cover up this atrocity.
Mexicans know that the case of the Ayotzinapa 43 is just the tip of the iceberg.
The New York Times wrote on May 26, “In the history of modern war, fighters are much more likely to injure their enemies than kill them. But in Mexico, the opposite is true. Mexico's armed forces are exceptionally efficient killers.
"The Mexican authorities say the nation’s soldiers are simply better trained … than the cartels they battle. But experts … say Mexico’s kill rate is practically unheard-of, arguing that the numbers reveal something more ominous. ‘They are summary executions. The Mexican Army kills eight enemies for every one it wounds,’ said Paul Chevigny, a retired NYU professor.”
“Not only is torture generalized in Mexico, it is also surrounded by impunity," said Juan E. Mendez, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture to the New York Times.
CNN reported on May 15 that according to the U.N., at least 26,000 people have disappeared in Mexico since 2007.
Some states holding elections on June 5 have stark realities.
Ciudad Juarez is in the state of Chihuahua, a PRI stronghold. Juarez is the scene of dire poverty brought on by the exploitative maquiladoras. It is also infamous for the “Women Of Juarez,” tens of thousands who have been maimed, raped, burned, killed and gone missing. In one year alone, 2010, Juarez had 3,000 murders.
The World Bank writes about Puebla and Oaxaca, “In 2013, 65 percent of the state of Puebla lived below the World Bank poverty line of US$2 a day. Some 67 percent of Oaxaca residents lived on US$2 a day in 2014.”
Mexico’s peasants have already been massively displaced by the North American Free Trade Agreement. Further destruction awaits them from the Trans Pacific Partnership — a pact the PRI is sure to do everything to implement, as it will fill its pockets as well as those of the multinational corporations.
The administration of U.S. President George W. Bush launched a plan for Mexico called the Merida Initiative, ostensibly to fight the drug war. The funding for that reached US$2.5 billion in 2015 under President Barack Obama. It is being used for repression and war against the people of Mexico.
Given all this—the repression, the corruption, the killings, the multinational corporations calling the shots-—do the Mexican people have any motivation to participate in the electoral process after every institution has failed them? Will the mass movements that are growing stronger every day in Mexico instead erupt and finally break free of the shackles imposed by imperialism and the corrupt Mexican elite?
That remains to be seen.
It is known now however that the Mexican people have shown incredible courage and resistance. They are organizing at record speeds on many levels.
The student and youth movements are in the streets, the workers are marching and carry out occupations throughout the country, unions are organizing despite the repression — all this shows that an independent movement is rapidly growing and that the failed Mexican institutions can only count on the U.S. government to bail them out.