We Have Enough Strength To Make Democracy Prevail!
“We Have Enough Strength To Make Democracy Prevail”
Speech to a crowd of 200,000 in the Zocalo, Mexico City
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, published in Rebelión, 10-07-2006
Translated by Toni Solo
Friends and citizens all, women and men of good will.
First my thanks for your presence in this first assembly to provide information on the presidential elections of July 2nd past.
I think most of us here and many others who could not be here knew that it would not be easy making democracy prevail in our country.
We know we are confronting a politically and economically powerful group that is used to winning at any price without moral scruples of any kind. The country does not really matter to them, much less the suffering of the majority of Mexico's people. Their only purpose is to maintain and increase their privileges.
It has been precisely the dominance of this group, of this rapacious minority, that has brought our country to ruin and made it into an ocean of inequalities with more economic and social differences than when Morelos (1) proclaimed that both opulence and indigence should be reduced.
It is they who truly conspire against democracy because they oppose real change. It is they who defend the ruling anti-people, sell-out economic policy that has only served to bring the country to economic standstill, unemployment and the emigration of millions of Mexicans who, out of need, have had to leave the country and their families in order to seek work on the other side of the frontier.
It is they who have been left with the nation's enterprises and goods. They who are planning to privatize the oil and electricity industries. They are the ones who have turned the government into a committee at the service of a small handful. They who now want to impose as President an inconditional flunkey, a stuffed dummy to ensure they can pepetuate their corruption, who will guarantee them their corruption, influence trafficking and impunity.
Naturally, this group sees its interests threatened when we propose and defend an alternative project for the country, capable of creating a necessary new legality that our country urgently needs, a new economy, a new more worthy way of doing politics, a new social settlement with less inequality and more justice.
This is our project, that we will defend under any circumstances. This people needs a genuine change. And it's not merely a matter of the Presidency, as I always maintained during the campaign, the Presidency is important but the fundamental thing is to change our country and that's why we are here and why we are going to be here as long as necessary.
As the extraordinary Mexican writer Fernando del Paso put it here, from long before the elections and you can confirm that because you supported me, backed me, defended me, that's why this group tried with the disqualification (2), to strip me of my political rights and prevent my name appearing on the electoral ballots.
That's why I agree with Fernando del Paso, it is not just the day of the election, not just the injustice of July 2nd and the following days, this comes from a long time before. During one of the most ruthless anti-democratic onslaughts anyone can remember in this country, it was this group that launched sinister slander against me and the fascist propaganda which stated I was a danger to Mexico. There was plenty of defamation in the campaign, there was everything, plenty of dirty war. They bought radio and television spots to defame us with impunity, they spent billions of pesos in the campaign that far exceeded what the law allows, they used public institutions and resources to favour the candidate of the Right.
There's the proof in the recording that we just listened to. What is a Secretary of Communications doing on a Monday during working hours carrying out political work for a candidate of the Right? He has no business doing so.
This morning I held a conference with foreign journalists and one of them, very sceptical, said to me, "But what then has changed in Mexico? That no progress has been made in the area of democracy?" I think he must be listening now and must have heard the recording. These practices come from long ago, chat with a governor to tell him at noon on election day : “now's the time to set the operation in motion and sort things out”.
And what does that mean? It means votes for the candidate of the Right and against us. It means fraud to state it clearly. Vicente Fox, quite openly and regardless of presidential status, dedicated himself to attacking us and has ended up as a traitor to democracy.
As if that were not enough, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), which ought to act impartially, turned itself into a pendant of the party of the Right and gave itself wholeheartedly to the electoral sham. It's enough to indicate that on Wednesday, just as they did on the Sunday, they rigged the information and counting system. And although they knew from beforehand what the result was going to be, the whole day long they used the television to make known the supposed district electoral totals, playing with, insulting, trampling the hopes of millions of Mexicans.
Of all this we have categorical proof. That's why tomorrow we are going to impugn the election in the Federal Electoral Tribunal. We are going to demonstrate, so no doubt remains, that the ruling principles of accuracy, legality, independence, impartiality and objectivity established in Article 41 of the Political Constitution of the Mexican United States have been violated.
We are going to ask that the elections be made clean. We are going to ask for a count vote by vote, box by box. The electoral packets should be opened because there is convincing evidence that they stole our votes to favour the candidate of the RIght.
I can tell you that despite resistance of the electoral officials, where it was possible to open the packets and count the votes we were able to prove that the candidate of the Right consistently had more votes and ourselves fewer votes than what had really been obtained.
Furthermore, it is obvious that this revision will decide the definitive result even without accepting that the figures show a difference of barely half a per cent.
The argument that there is no time or that there is no way to recount the votes is unsustainable, I just argue that beyond the technical arguments and the legaloid reasoning lie democracy and political stability.
I can also tell you that in due course we will approach the Supreme Court in accordance with Article 97 of the Constitution to ask it to exercise its power to investigate events that constitute a violation of the public vote and the illegality of the whole process.
In sum, so everyone is clear, in accordance with the law, the electoral process has still not finished, the assessment of the election has scarcely begun. So no one can proclaim themselves President or even call themselves President-elect. The congratulations of foreign Presidents are pure humbug.
We are sure that we won on July 2nd despite all the anti-democratic practices. And we did it with the free, conscious vote of the citizenry, we didn't hand out construction materials, or food, nor did we buy votes, nor did we strike shameful deals with the same old political chiefs as always. That is why we are going to defend our victory.
If we count vote by vote, we can overthrow the result given by the IFE. It's impossible for them to impose themselves when they themselves have recognised that we won three of the five electoral areas of the country and that we won 16 states, including the most populous.
I want to list what was won and recognised as such although we won in many other places and they are not recognising it, but of what the IFE recognises we won in the states of Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacan, Mexico State, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, the Federal District, Morelos, Nayarit, Zacatecas and Baja California Sur.
I want to take advantage of this opportunity to make a respectful call to the members of the Federal Electoral Tribunal and of the Supreme Court of Justice. I call on them to evaluate carefully the historic significance of the decision they will have to take.
I also call on the Mexican Army, the fundamental institution and guarantee of our sovereignty, that they permit no intrusion into the district seats holding the electoral packets.
I also address myself respectfully to the communications media of our country and I ask them respectfully not to close down their information spaces and not to give in to the pressures they are under from the federal government and our adversaries.
I want to put to you right now the following actions that we can take if you think it appropriate.
1. Carry out a national march for democracy from Wednesday next from all the electoral districts of the country to Mexico City. I repeat, because communication is not easy and it is better to take advantage of the assembly so that everyone knows what going on. I'll repeat: the proposal is a national march for democracy from next Wednesday on, starting next Wednesday from all the country's electoral districts to Mexico City. Do we agree?
To this end, I call on the political leaders of the parties of the Por El Bien de Todos Coalition, the leaders of the Partido de la Revolución Democratica, of the PT, of the Convergencia, who, thank goodness, have acted correctly, have been up to the challenge. I call on all the leaders of all the parties of the Por El Bien de Todos Coalition as well as our candidates for deputies and senators, for governors, for municipal presidents, for local deputies and likewise all citizens interested of their own free will in the fate of our democracy, to help us immediately organize and participate in these activities.
I make a special invitation to atists, intellectuals and writers to participate in this citizen's mobilization, talking, expounding, exchanging points of view with people.
These mobilizations will be carried out making use of our individual guarantees not to affect the rights of third parties. I do underline: we do not want to affect the general citizenry, one is not talking about closing down highways, this is a peaceful movement and we are never going to fall for provocations and play our adversaries' game. We have sufficient strength to make democracy prevail just by means of peaceful demonstrations. We are not going to fall for any provocation. I repeat: let's not let ourselves get provoked, don't let's play our enemies' game, this has been and will go on being a peaceful movement.
2. I also propose to you that on Sunday July 16th, a week tomorrow, we carry out a second information assembly and we again meet here in this Zocalo of Mexico City. What do you think if each one of us commits ourselves to inviting at least 10 others for the Sunday of July 16th? But since I know that you are going to meet that commitment, I also propose to you that we not only meet here, but also march from the Museum of Anthropology to the Zocalo of Mexico City. Do we agree? Sunday, 11 in the morning. All right?
3. I call on the information committees to help inform all the citizens of the country and to counter the strategy that our adversaries have already begun, to confuse and discourage citizen participation in favour of democracy. We have to form these information committees and do it in a free and voluntary way so that people are constantly kept informed in case, though I doubt it, even in the event that the communication media block us we will have direct communication. What do you think? Permanent information.
4. It is something symbolic but very important: we must again carry, as we did during the disqualification, the tricolour crest, as a sign of the struggle for democracy in Mexico.
I ask you that we stay united and that you have confidence in me. I will maintain as always my principles and convictions which I consider to be the most important thing in my life. I am not going to betray the people of Mexico.
As you will understand, this goes beyond my role as a leader. At stake is not to permit a regression from democracy. If we permit the impostion of fraud, that is going to be a regression. That is why Vicente Fox's position is so unsettling, that he becomes President thanks to democratic progress and when he is in power he turns into a traitor to democracy.
We cannot accept that a group of invented interests impedes the free exercise of an effective vote. Democracy is indispensable if we want to live in a Mexico of justice and dignity. And we are going to defend democracy.
I want to thank you with all my heart for your support and backing. You know that I took a chance, as usual, I took a chance calling this meeting just on Thursday, today is Saturday, we have no resources and look at the response. Thank you very much
This is a movement of free women and men, self-aware and of good will, that is why we are going to triumph. We are going ahead, my friends, with much determination and also with joy because we are defending a just cause, we are defending the right of Mexicans to freely elect their government. We will go ahead , we have to defend our alternative project for the nation. it gives me very much pleasure, it fills me with pride, I said it in the closing meeting of the campaign, that in this movement every social class participates, many from the middle classes, many professional people, but the core of this movement and I don't want anyone to feel excluded, what sustains this movement is our ordinary people, our poor people.
We are going ahead. Many thanks. Before anything else, do you approve this proposal to go ahead in this way? Because people have been asking us, what can we do, we want to help, well, here there are already tasks to do. Do we agree with that to start with? Don't let's worry, tehere is time and this movement to make democracy prevail will go on growing Raise your hand those who agree with th eproposals.
Many thanks, with all my heart, many thanks. This is what supports us, backs us, what allows us to continue fighting and I repeat, don't have the least worry, I am not going to betray your confidence. We are going ahead until our purpose of making democracy prevail triumphs. Thank you with all my heart, will all my affection, lovingly, many thanks.
1. Jose Maria Morelos Pavon, 1765-1815, a hero of the independence struggle against Spain. Benito Juarez decreed the establishment of the State of Morelos in his honour in 1869.
2. The disqualification Lopez Obrador refers to was an unsuccessful attempt by the right wing parties to exclude him from the electoral race on spurious legal grounds.
Translated from Spanish into English by toni
solo, a member of Tlaxcala ( www.tlaxcala.es), the network of
translators for linguistic diversity. This translation is