Silence on a Stolen Election

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Enrique Krauze ["Mexico: Democracy Under Threat," op-ed, Sept. 5] failed to mention a significant bit of the history of Mexico's governance: the elections of 1988, in which Carlos Salinas and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) conspired to undo the victory of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), the same party that claims that its candidate in the most recent election, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, was robbed of victory.

In 1988, as the computer vote count for PRD candidate Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas rose, the computers "went down" mysteriously. Much later, when they came back online, the count, equally mysteriously, favored Mr. Salinas, and continued to do so until the end. Mr. Krauze surely knows this, as does any Mexican who keeps up with political events. Why not mention it?

Non-Mexicans (in the United States, in this case), unaware of this, are likely to think that a modern state such as Mexico, a valued U.S. trading partner, could not possibly pull off such a brazen theft. If they knew about it, they might ask, "But didn't the United States complain? Didn't we impose sanctions, or fund some kind of civil-society revolt to defend democracy?"

And they would be surprised to know that no, the United States raised no objection. That was because the winner was the U.S.-backed candidate who was to put into high gear the neo-liberal plan to privatize the Mexican economy and, ultimately, its oil industry.

The PRD's charges of fraud in seeking to overturn this year's results look much different when viewed against this background.



© 2006 The Washington Post Company