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Pascarella, Palast: Stealing Mexico In Plain Sight

Stealing It in Front of Your Eyes


By Greg Palast in London
& Matt Pascarella in Mexico City
From GregPalast.com – Original URL
Monday 03 July 2006

EARLIER RELATED ITEMS:
Dispatches from Mexico City - Part 1
Dispatches From Mexico City - Part 2

Gore vs. Bush.
Kerry vs. Bush.
Lopez Obrador vs. 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 said 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 Mexican government, 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 Lopez Obrador's party has seen its candidates defeated by "blatant fraud" before. The change this time is that the fraud is simply less blatant.

*******

RELATED LINK

FOCUS | Confusion Grips Mexico Election

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/070306Z.shtml

Mexico's presidential vote was thrown into turmoil late Sunday, with both leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and conservative Felipe Calderon claiming victory as election officials announced that the two men were separated by a razor-thin margin.

*************

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 an award-winning reseracher and producer for investigative journalist Greg Palast. You can view his reports at www.GregPalast.com
If you are interested in Central and South American politics and its effect on the rest of the world, look for more dispatches from The Gringos Project.
You can also see here for photos from Mexico’s 2006 Presidential Election.

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