Greg Palast on the July 2 Mexican elections
Dispatch from Mexico City:STEALING IT IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES
Matt Pascarella in Mexico City, Greg Palast in London
Monday, 3 July
Gore v. Bush. Kerry v. Bush. Obrador v. Calderon.
As in Florida in 2000, as in Ohio in 2004, the exit polls show the voters voted for the progressive candidate, but the race is "officially" too close to call.
But they will call it -- after they steal it. Reuters News agency reports that, as of 8pm Eastern time, as voting concluded in Mexico, exit polls show Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the "left-wing" Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) leading in exit polls over Felipe Calderon of the ruling conservative National Action Party (PAN).
We've told you again and again: Exit polls tell us how voters say they voted, but the voters can't tell pollsters if their vote will be counted. In Mexico, counting the vote is an art, not a science -- and Calderon's ruling crew is very artful indeed. The PAN-controlled official electoral commission, not surprisingly, has announced that the presidential tally is too close to call.
Calderon's election is openly supported by the Bush Administration.
On the ground in Mexico City, our news team reports accusations from inside the Obrador campaign that operatives of the PAN had access to voter files which are supposed to be the sole property of the nation's electoral commission.
We are not surprised.
This past Friday, we reported that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had obtained Mexico's voter files under a secret "counterterrorism" contract with database company ChoicePoint of Alpharetta, Georgia. (See BUSH TEAM HELPS RULING PARTY “FLORIDIZE” MEXICAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION)
The FBI's contractor states that, following the arrest of ChoicePoint agents by the Mexicangovernment, the company returned or destroyed its files. The firm claims not to have known collecting this information violated Mexican law. Such files can be useful in challenging a voter's right to cast a ballot or in preventing that vote from counting.
It is, of course, impossible to know if the FBI destroyed its own copy of the files of Mexico's voter rolls obtained by Choicepoint or if these were then used to illegally assist the Calderon candidacy. But we can see the results: as in the US, first in Florida then in Ohio, the exit polls are at odds with "official" polls.
In November 2004, US Republican Senator Richard Lugar, in Kiev, cited the divergence of exit polls and official polls as solid evidence of "blatant fraud” in the vote count in Ukraine. As a result, the Bush Administration refused to recognize the Ukraine government's official vote tally ... which proves once again that Republicans are incapable of irony.
The foreign mainstream press has already announced, despite the polling discrepancies, that Mexico's elections were fair and clean -- which would be a first for that country where Obrador's party has seen its candidates defeated by "blatant fraud" before. The change this time is that the fraud is simply less blatant.
Watch for our video reports from Mexico City at www.GregPalast.com to be carried on Democracy Now!, with Amy Goodman, this Wednesday, July 5. Rick Rowley, in Mexico City, contributed to this report.
Matt Pascarella is North American producer for GregPalast.com. Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "ARMED MADHOUSE: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal '08, No Child's Behind Left and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War."