Interview with Andres Lopez Obrador of Mexico


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Special 071706 AMLO

July 17, 2006
Interview with Andres Lopez Obrador of Mexico
"I am going to fight to the end"

(Note: The following is an interview originally published, in Spanish, in La 
Jornada of Mexico City on July 13.  It was subsequently translated and published
in the English language edition of Daily Granma, the official newspaper of the 
Communist Party of Cuba.  The following translation is unedited.)

In a La Jornada newspaper interview published on Thursday, presidential 
candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he is "totally determined not to 
permit a retreat of democracy in Mexico."

Lopez Obrador heads a coalition that believes it won the Mexican presidency in 
the July 2nd elections. They have formally contested the results which gave a 
0.6% victory to governing National Action Party (PAN) candidate Felipe Calderon.

"We won¹t let them squash the hopes of millions of Mexicans. That would mean a 
backtracking to other periods thought to be overcome, when power circles elected
the country¹s leaders instead of the people," said Lopez Obrador.

The Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) candidate pointed to a second 
reason for contesting the vote: "If Felipe Calderon wants to impose himself in 
the way we¹ve seen so far, through fraud and a hate campaign against his 
opponent, it¹s not hard to imagine how he would govern: without legitimacy, 
without scruples, without morals, without principles," added the former mayor of
Mexico City.

Some powerful groups, including some media, have asked him to accept the results
issued by the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE in Spanish). Lopez Obrador 
responds: "If I do what they want, I would be throwing away not only my 
political capital but my dignity and my principles. I am not the type of 
traditional politician prone to yielding and debasing himself."


Lopez Obrador said that at this Sunday¹s mass rally at the Zocalo Square in 
Mexico City, the second such gathering since the elections, he will announce 
strategies to fight the electoral fraud, which will be submitted for the 
approval of those present.

The battle will not be easy --he emphasized-- because we are up against an 
entire State apparatus. "But have no doubt, I am going to fight to the end so 
that the democratic gains are not erased."

"I have faith in the people. Our main defense is the consciousness of the 
citizenry. Independent of the misinformation campaigns, manipulation and the 
dirty war, they will not be able to erase the fact that the elections were 
fraudulent as the voting results announced by the Federal Electoral Institute 
differ from the will of the voters on July 2. We have shown it and we will 
continue doing so, because every day more evidence of the electoral fraud is 
being discovered."

"That¹s why are demanding that the ballot boxes be opened, that there be a new 
recount, and people understand that. The slogan "vote by vote, polling booth by 
polling both did come from me. It came from the people. When I was planning this
in the Zocalo there were already signs. This is a movement that has leadership, 
but it is a movement where the people mark the rhythm and the intensity."


"When the outrage occurred they said the three powers had already decided and we
had no hope, but the people took charge and put things in their place. It¹s 
true, the campaign against us is very strong, but the people are committed to 
defending democracy. Something that motivates me is that when [last] Thursday 
morning I called for a rally, two days later on Saturday, people turned out at 
the Zocalo Square. I am confident that the people are going to respond."

Does it seem that the onslaught against you is greater now?

"Yes, but the people are not stupid. If something has changed in these last 
years it is the mentality of the people. The elections were proof of that. It 
was all staged for us to be overwhelmed with the fear campaign and all the money
spent on radio and television ads. The people turned out to vote and we won the 
election even with the entire State apparatus, the Business Coordinating Council
and other privileged sectors against us. That should have been enough to squash 
us. But it wasn¹t, and even on Election Day they had to use fraud, falsifying 
the vote tally sheets.

"If the people respond and the movement for democracy is consolidated we are 
going to triumph. I have not the least doubt. This would mean defeating the dark
campaign in the media and the entire State apparatus, which is lined up to 
discourage, confuse, terrify and make anti-democracy prevail."

Lopez Obrador repeated that the person responsible for deceiving the Mexican 
people is President Vicente Fox Quesada, and for that reason he called him "a 
traitor of democracy."

"It¹s an offense, an act of treason, to reach the presidency and instead of 
advancing, give up what had been accomplished. I am not going to shrug my 
shoulders. I can¹t do it, because I have convictions and a sense of history."

In a televised interview (Tuesday evening) you said you will go as far as the 
people decide. What does that stance mean?

"In this process we are going to use democratic methods and all the decisions 
are going to be made after consultation. It¹s going to be the people that decide
each step. Even on the most difficult issues we are going to find a mechanism so
that every action is agreed upon by a majority and in that way the people define
the course, rhythm and depth of the movement. It won¹t be only the leader¹s 

"This puts aside the idea that the people won¹t stop at anything and act 
violently, which is irrational. I have confidence in our supporters, who are 
mature, very aware, and very politicized. The key is guiding it in a democratic 
way and making sure that the decisions to be made are well thought out."

Are there risks of confrontations with members of Felipe Calderon¹s National 
Action Party (PAN), due to the anger among their supporters?

"That must be avoided. We are going to continue insisting on that. I said in on 
Saturday and I am going to repeat it this Sunday. The people are going to 
understand that we can¹t fall into a provocation. If the people demonstrate 
peacefully it will be something extraordinary. So then, why fall into 
confrontation and insults? Why get mad? Let others get upset. We have reason on 
our side so, calmly, we are going see what the people think."

Lopez Obrador says the ability to respond to the July 2 fraud is different than 
the one back in 1988.

"Now there is more social organization. I think that¹s an element in our favor. 
The media isn¹t as closed, despite what we are seeing. In 1988 the blockade was 
total; there was far less space for expression and a less aware population. 
Another factor is that we have greater political representation, something 
normal after 18 years."

His adversaries maintain that the PRD structures and the coalition erred on 
Election Day by not having representatives at a large number of polling booths.

"I believe that yes we made mistakes but that that was not the deciding factor. 
We didn¹t act perfectly, there were errors, but that was not the deciding 

He also discarded the version circulating in the radio, TV and print media that 
his coalition was over confident and didn¹t plan for a possible defeat.

"No, we were organized as best we could. Those who participated should be 
recognized for confronting the State power structure as they did. I don¹t know 
if my destiny is to be president or not. But I have no doubt that I will fight 
to the end so that the country¹s democratic spaces are not eliminated."

What¹s the end?

The future will tell. We will not allow for imposition or for undemocratic 
methods to establish an illegitimate government that was not elected by the 

Do you trust the Federal Juridical Power¹s Electoral Tribunal?

"I believe in the people, I have always believed in the people. I would like to 
see the institutions of my country act with honesty and integrity. However, it 
isn¹t a straight jacket, you must understand that the institutions are in the 
hands of people that may have principles and honesty and also others that don¹t 
act in such a manner."

Would you give the tribunal a vote of confidence?

"A vote of confidence, no, because the institutions are in very bad shape. We 
are going to wait for the results. I hope the magistrates act honestly."

(Version of the interview published in the Thursday edition of La Jornada)


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