LOPEZ OBRADOR CITES JUAREZ'S CHALLENGE
`The People That Wishes
To Be Free, Shall Be So'
by Gretchen Small
As the tumultuous Mexican election battle escalated, the LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM) introduced a new flank on Aug. 10: a message of support for Andrés Manuel López Obrador's civil resistance movement to secure a full recount of the July 2 Presidential election, sent by that heroine of Dr. Martin Luther King's civil rights struggle in the United States, Amelia Boynton Robinson. Recalling the trials endured by Dr. King's movement before justice was finally won, Mrs. Robinson urged Mexicans to take heart from the long battle waged by their own Abraham Lincoln, President Benito Juárez, to drive foreign invaders out, and restore Mexican sovereignty.
"If Benito Juárez in the 1860s could rescue Mexico from the claws and jaws of France, England, and Spain, Synarchists, France's Emperor, and other enemies within and without, certainly in this modern time, you can do likewise," she wrote. "As citizens of Mexico, fighting for a just cause, please don't let your great hero Benito Juárez down."
The news that a fighter from Dr. King's movement who today continues her fight for justice alongside U.S. political leader Lyndon LaRouche, not only supports their cause, but honors Juárez, is provoking startled interest within the civil resistance movement of Mexico.
López Obrador has repeatedly invoked the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King, and it is to Juárez whom he most often turns as the referent for the quality of leadership he, and those with him, require in their difficult effort to wrest Mexico's sovereignty out of the claws of the synarchist foreign financiers today.
López Obrador put this most beautifully on Aug. 5 in concluding his daily address to tens of thousands in Mexico City's central plaza, the Zócalo: The powerful interests who are determined to maintain the status quo "may have the money, the power; but we have what's most important: the backing of the people. There is a phrase with which I want to end my remarks, a phrase of the President of Mexico whom I most admire, who still governs through his example, President Benito Juárez. He said: 'The people that wishes to be free, shall be so" (emphasis added).
On Aug. 5, Mexico's Federal electoral court rejected López Obrador's demand for a vote-by-vote recount of the ballots of every polling station, ordering instead a recount of only 11,839 of the almost 13,500 polling stations, a piddling 9% of the polls. The court thus attempted to uphold the validity of the general election, even as it reprimanded the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) which ran the election count, for failing to order recounts of those 11,000-plus polls itself, where the discrepancies between vote tallies, total ballots issued, and voters registered were egregious. Mexican law requires IFE officials to recount ballot boxes on the spot when there are "obvious errors," and these were obvious indeed.
The reprimand put the lie to the Fox government and its PAN party's labelling of the recount demand as "anti-democratic," because it dares question the infallibility of that "institution above suspicion," the IFE. Yet, the court refused to permit a general recount, willfully ignoring the fact that similar egregious "errors" had been documented at 61,000-plus other polls, in an election decided by only 243,000 votes.
López Obrador denounced the decision as "legally flimsy," and reiterated that Mexicans would not be satisfied with a "tenth of democracy." Upping the ante, López Obrador took up again the fundamental issue which lies behind the crisis: an economic policy which benefits only a few, and leaves millions to starve.
"Behind each vote, there is a citizen, a human being hopeful that justice reign in our country," López Obrador stated on Aug. 7. "We are going to maintain this civil resistance as long as it takes, and now it is not only going to be a demand for the recount of votes.... We are going for the transformation of our country, and this is going to happen one way or the other. We are going to change that reality of injustice and oppression which has done such harm to our country."
The next day, he released an open letter to the people of Mexico, explaining the reasons for the campaign of civil resistance. He called upon people to leaflet the letter across the country, and take it "house by house" in Mexico City, to cut through the media lies that the movement is violent and merely directed to putting one man in office, rather than bring justice to Mexico.
"In the last election, we in fact faced a very powerful group of privileged people, who are the ones who actually rule in Mexico," his letter explains. "To them, our alternative concept of the Nation is unacceptable. They don't want, in any way, for there to be a change in current economic policy, and much less that the general welfare of the majority of Mexicans be assured.... To allow them to impose their will means accepting ... that a few are going to continue to decide, in accordance with their own interests, the fate of the majority of Mexicans.... They want us to silently accept inequality, poverty, unemployment, migration, starvation wages, unavailability of space for youth in public universities, approval of a value-added tax on food and medicines, privatization of social security, of electricity and of the oil industry, and to allow them to deal a final blow to millions of producers, with the free import of corn and beans from abroad. In sum, if they impose their will, there will be no remedy for the ills of many Mexicans."
'We Shall Overcome'
Despite rain, the number of people camped out in the streets of Mexico with López Obrador is growing. The camps are better organized, and intellectual ferment is spreading. Despite their small numbers, the LaRouche Youth Movement is gaining fame within this situation, as "the people with something different to say." Their banners at the Zócalo rallies introduce an international, and an unexpected intellectual dimension. One called upon López Obrador to "Be Brave like [Argentine President Néstor] Kirchner, and Wise Like LaRouche;" another, declaring that "LaRouchists Fight Against Fascism and Globalization. Forge an Alliance Among Nations," cited the poet Friedrich Schiller's maxim: "Raise the Common Man to the Moral Ideal."
Classes on the street comparing Juárez' actions and President José López Portillo's (1976-82) battles to save the country by a debt moratorium, to the devastation wrecked by other Presidents who in similar circumstances paid the debt, flow seamlessly into classes on Greece's Peloponnesian War. Fights have raged over whether taking up arms, or spreading the idea of man presented in Schiller's Aesthetical Letters, can actually change society and the state.
With Amelia Robinson's message in hand, the LYM chorus has been teaching Mexicans the anthem of the U.S. civil rights movement, "We Shall Overcome," with new Spanish lyrics.