A Desafuero that Provoked a Revolution in Mexico in 1910... or 2006?
Are we speaking of President Vicente Fox vs. Andrés Manuel López Obrador?
This is the true story of what occurred in Mexico in 1910, when President Porfirio Diaz used near-identical pretexts to remove Francisco Madero from the presidential election contest. Having eliminated Madero from the ballot box, Diaz went on to win the pre-fixed election of July 1910.
But four months later, by November 20 of that year, the Mexican people rose up in arms, led by General Emiliano Zapata, and the Mexican Revolution of 1910 toppled the dictator Porfirio Diaz.
Thats why todays communiqué by Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos (more of it translated, below), opposing the desafuero plot by Fox and friends against López Obrador, must be viewed in the context of Mexican history.
Mexican national journalist Ricardo Rocha takes a walk down amnesia lane, and recounts the historic parallels in his commentary today on Radio Formula Rocha reminds (and Narco News translates)
"The cry of 'no' to the desafuero has begun to be not just a bothersome refrain for the powerful but, rather, a serious warning about the social consequences that it would originate. It is now very clear that the protest would be as unavoidable as the dubiousness of the argument: the favored candidate among public preferences is eliminated from the contest for constructing a road to a hospital: bad news for Mexican democracy both inside and outside of this country.
"At the same time, a new species has developed between the fanatic Lopezobradoristas and the rabid AMLO-phobics: those who, little by little, are coming to an understanding that being against the desafuero doesnt necessarily mean being in favor of López Obrador, but, rather, in favor of democracy. More than an election ahead, what is in play is the legitimacy of that election. And to delegitimize it absolutely does not favor anybody. To the contrary, it would stain all who participate in it with suspicion. Who is going to trust a government elected under such conditions?
"The ad (against the desafuero signed by prominent Mexican intellectuals) and the popular reactions in the street and on talk-radio shows are a very redeeming civil reaction to what has been a foul-smelling and dark experience ever since the attack on the Mexico City governor began. 2006 should be decided at the ballot box, not in the entrails of a Power that seems to be of the conclusion that it serves its thicket of interests to impede the indispensable post-2000 democratic referendum.
"Regarding dates in history, it is worthwhile to make those forgetful interests exercise their memories a bit. My friend Virgilio Caballero sent me an article by professor Daniel Molina titled Who Killed Don Pancho Madero? The story is fascinating and should be very enlightening I reproduce, here, some fragments
'When the dictatorship learned, too late, that it would be defeated at the ballot box by Madero, it decided to take him out of the presidential race by inventing false charges and putting him, finally, in prison. This was done in April of 1910 to impede his attendance at the political convention of the anti-reelection cause. He was accused of invading private property, disobeying a judicial order, and illegally constructing a passageway to rob a shipment of guayule (a rubber and latex-producing plant). And when the accusation failed because it was ridiculous and unfounded, Madero, already a presidential candidate, was accused of protecting the orator Roque Estrada, who had made a speech considered defamatory against the authorities, from the police
'By eliminating the most popular candidate from the democratic contest through tricks, the dictatorship committed one of the largest and most stupid of its errors. For this is what precipitated the explosion of the Mexican Revolution: (Diaz and his team) ignored how the people felt, and underestimated the reaction that this attack would produce
(Madero said): 'Effectively, this is an incredible attack that has been committed against me, but it has served to definitively take the mask off those who govern us to exhibit them as vulgar tyrants and to cause total disrespect of them by public opinion ' (Francisco I. Madero: Epistle. Volume II, page 182.)
'Thus, the elections of 1910 occurred with the opposition candidate in prison and this is how Porfirio Dias was elected as president of the Republic. Since the charges against Madero were unsustainable, once the elections were over he was freed, although subject to house arrest in the city of San Luis Potosi. Madero succeeded in making a mockery of those who guarded him there, escaped to the United States, from where he launched his Plan of San Luis, calling upon the Mexican people to take up arms against the dictatorship and rise up, en masse, on the afternoon of November 20, 1910.'"
Now, in that historic context, read some choice words by Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, in his communiqué released last night:
The desafuero against the Mexico City governor would turn back the clock almost a century on the calendar. To be more precise: to 1910. It would mean, in fact, the anullment of the electoral path to come to power. Thats it. No more. Disrespecting and trashing the history of Mexico, the Presidents office is paternally using the judicial system and the political class continues with its stingy calculations to divine if the check will cover the ridiculous act that it will commit.
The desafuero is not only illegitimate: It is also illegal. When the government ministry, the presidency, the Supreme Court, the PAN, the PRI and that part of the PRD that became a business by appearing to be of the Left, announce stridently that the law is above all things, all they do is augment the public rancor that accumulates from below. The more ads, press conferences, and sophist speeches and declarations by the ministry of government and the presidency, the desafuero is still illegal and doesnt withstand the minimum legal scrutiny. It is no more than a trick. They know that the desafuero cant be sustained legally, but they also know that the spiders web of laws in Mexico can hide what is illegal behind laws. They already did this when they passed the indigenous counter-reform of 2001
"If they can take someone out of the presidential race, what stops them from putting anyone who opposes them in prison? After all, these are the laws: made for illegitimacy Its not just that the desafuero is, in the strictest sense, a preventative coup detat (as some have already called it) and that if 2000 put forward the idea that elections are the route to Power, 2006 will be the ratification that any means (listen up: any means) necessary are valid to achieve the ends
No, its not just about that. Its about an injustice. And every honest man and woman must oppose an injustice, and, in this case, oppose this injustice. We, the Zapatistas, not only oppose the desafuero, be it judicial or media-driven, that annuls the possibility that a man or woman can come to power by peaceful means. We also call on everyone to protest, at their own time, place and style, against this injustice. Whats more, Ill let you know that we are discussing the ways (take note: nonviolent) in which we will demonstrate to oppose this coup detat.
Of course we urge that these mobilizations clearly separate between what is repudiation of the desafuero and what is support for Lopez Obrador (the confusion between one thing and the other is owed, with all due respect, to the clumsiness with which the federal government conducts its campaign and to the already legendary opportunism of the PRD)...
"Does this mean that we support López Obrador and that we have forgotten the long history of betrayals and inconsequential acts by the PRD party? No. Its more than that. If the desafuero were against (First Lady) Marta Sahagun, we would also oppose it. The problem, I repeat, is not of personalities or political tendencies (after all, the Right has manyu faces and party symbols), but, rather, it is about history and political consequence .
"They have bitten the history and geography of this country. In the West and in the East, the Sierras Madres are two large scars that tell us: we are this. It would be so beautiful that something would unite the efforts that are made from below in the mark of these scars. Something that will connect Merida to Ensenada. Or better yet: La Realidad to Tijuana.
"I bid you goodbye now. I just remind you that, according to us, the view is longer when it is made from below and to the left.
"Okay. Good health, and if you ask me what color the flag from below waves, I would tell you, red and black.
"From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast..."
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
México, February of 2005
What more comment could be added to that? Other than that famous saying, Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it .
That, and an early hello to Washingtons Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who, lo' and behold, has scheduled a trip to Mexico City, her first to Latin America, eight days from now, on March 10.
Of course, Secretary Rice is very busy, much too busy to read the history books that might explain how the best made plans for coups detat, somewhere in a country called América, often go awry