Sunday, July 09, 2006

Why some people count and some people don’t 

Yesterday there was an enormous rally of more than 500,000 in Mexico City’s main plaza demanding a recount to see if in fact the announced results are accurate. Below are some images of the rally.

Watching this rally made me think of a very important and revealing difference between those demonstrating in Mexico and those who have demonstrated against the government in Venezuela.

If one reads some of the election observation reports on Venezuelan elections there is one thing that jumps out. In spite of the fact that the observers find Venezuelan elections to be transparent, without irregularities, the electoral agency co-operative, and the voting process among the best and most accurate in the world they repeatedly emphasize that the voting process is not trusted by an important segment of Venezuelan society. And that is true, the Venezuelan opposition doesn’t trust the voting process – though whether it does so out of conviction or political expediency is open to debate. But the key point is the complaints and fears of the Venezuelan opposition are duly noted and taken account of by the international press and observers.

Contrast this with the situation in Mexico. There has been no audit to verify the accuracy of the vote and it looks like there may never be one. Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans have demonstrated against this and its safe to say probably millions of Mexicans don’t believe that the announced election results are necessarily an accurate reflection of how people voted. Yet the EU has already given the election its Good Housekeeping seal of approval without noting there many Mexicans don’t trust the results. The international press had widely reported that the Mexican electoral agency, the IFE, is accepted by all as professional, impartial, and transparent. Suffice it to say there is probably a big segment of Mexican society that wouldn’t agree with that. But somehow the concerns and doubts of those millions of people are ignored.

I have thought about what could cause the disparity in the acknowledgement of the concerns of the Venezuelan opposition and the Mexican opposition. The answer seems very clear: If you are wealthy, own a big share of the media, speak English, and studied at places like Harvard and Oxford like representatives of the Venezuelan opposition have you get taken account of. When you are a movement of poor and working people who are maybe not so well educated and not multi-lingual like the Mexican opposition you simply don’t merit being taken account of. This is the very sad reality of the world and the E.U. and the media are a reflection of this reality. That should never be lost site of when analyzing world events.


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