"I call on the candidate of the Right to accept a review of the voting records and a vote by vote recount."
Speech of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the second information assembly in Mexico City's Zocalo, Sunday July, 16th 2006
from La Jornada, published in Rebelion July 17th 2006
My deep thanks to all of you for your presence in this Second Information Assembly. With all my heart, many thanks to those of you who have come from different parts of the country marching, in an organized caravan or on your own account, in all those cases, of your own free will and paying the cost out of your own pockets.
There are citizens here from Aguascalientes, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Coahuila, Colima, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Durango, Estado de México, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Yucatán, Zacatecas and from the Federal District. You and I know that this effort is not in vain. The cause we are defending is of great historic importance for Mexico.
You are here not just to support one person, but to defend the right of a people that can never be given up, to elect its government freely. That is precisely why we ought to have the central object of our movement very clear. We are not only battling for the right to our legitimate triumph in the presidential election but for a higher cause, that of making democracy prevail in our country.
We cannot accept a regression, a retreat from democracy. In our country's recent political history, opening the space to be able to have free, equitable, clean elections has cost many sacrifices, including the lives of thousands of Mexicans.
We cannot accept that with illegality, money and tricks a privileged group wants to impose an illegitimate president. We cannot accept that the right of our people to a better life by democratic means be wiped out.
We cannot permit that they take away from us the right to hope. That is why, I repeat, the general objective of this movement is the defence of democracy.
In the use of our faculties and rights, we are applying to the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judicial Power to order the opening of the electoral packets and to carry out an authentic recount of the votes.
It is no accident that the slogan "vote by vote, box by box" has come from the people and has a good basis and solid reasons. I can inform you that as well as the hostile disposition of the IFE (1) during the electoral campaign, and the manipulation of the count systems and the inequity in the purchase of publicity in the communications media and the war of dirty tricks and the use of public programs and resources to help the candidate of the Right, and likewise the determined intervention of the President of the Republic, I can now tell you, and on top of all that, the results of the voting control records and the count were falsified.
For example, from the review we have carried out, 60 percent of the total number of 130,788 voting records have "arithmetical errors," in quotes, that is to say there are thousands of voting control records where the total vote plus the unused ballots is greater or less than the number of votes received, thousands of voting control records where the total vote is greater or less than the number of ballots deposited and thousands of voting control records where the total vote plus the unused ballots is greater or less than the nominal list, by 10.
I can clarify further: there are more than a million and a half votes that are not based on electoral ballot papers or, put another way, the voting control records do not reflect the true vote because they add up to more or to fewer votes than the votes actually deposited in the ballot boxes.
From our point of view, this explains, in good measure, why, when it was permitted to open some electoral packets and do a recount in the District Councils, cases appeared where the candidate of the Right, fraudulently, had 100 to 200 votes more than they should and ourselves up to 100 votes fewer than we should, according to the box.
All this evidence was duly presented in the dissenting appeal that we made to the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judicial Power. So this institution has the quantitative and qualitative elements to be able to order the opening of the electoral packets and that they be counted vote by vote, box by box.
I am absolutely certain that if a recount is carried out it will be shown that we won the elections of July 2nd cleanly, legally and legitimately.
From this public square I call on the candidate of the Right to act responsibly and accept without any excuses, a review of the voting records and a vote by vote recount of all the boxes in the country. If he argues that he won, he has no reason to say no. Who owes nothing, fears nothing. I suggest that he considers the fact that not all the water of all the world's oceans can wash away the stain of a fraudulent election.
I also remind him that Mexico, our great country, and its people do not deserve to have a spurious President of the Republic with neither moral nor political authority.
Furthermore I repeat: it is not good enough for our adversaries to take refuge in legaloid arguments, or arguments of lack of time or of a technical nature in order to refuse to open the electoral packets when what is at stake is the country's democracy and political stability No one should be afraid that an election gets cleaned up, resolved and accepted before the eyes of Mexico and the world.
Transparency is not much to ask for. We repeat every last one of our demands:
For the political, economic and financial stability of the country ... vote by vote, box by box!
To move on and leave behind the political culture of mistrust.......vote by vote, box by box!
So all we Mexicans can be at peace with our civic conscience and with our selves....vote by vote, box by box!
To contribute to social peace....vote by vote, box by box!
So money no longer wins out over the people's dignity and morale.... vote by vote, box by box!
So not one Mexican who voted on July 2nd is left feeling dissatisfied or insulted....vote by vote, box by box!
So the doors to democracy are never slammed shut.......vote by vote, box by box!
To hold up high the honour of Mexico....vote by vote, box by box!
To strengthen the institutions......vote by vote, box by box!
To keep faith with legality....vote by vote, box by box!
To banish irrational confrontation .....vote by vote, box by box!
To build reconciliation and unity among Mexicans....vote by vote, box by box!
While the Tribunal deliberates on our demand, I put for your consideration the following actions:
1. To reinforce the citizen camps located outside the 300 District Councils where the electoral packets are located. These camps are essential to avoid the illegal introduction or wihdrawal of ballots from the electoral packets The proposal is that these 300 camps turn into centres for decision making, information and communication in support of our cause where people from civil society, artists and intellectuals can meet and participate.
2. To carry out starting this week the first actions of civil peaceful resistance. For that purpose a citizen committee will be formed to decide what type of actions and in what circumstances they will be carried out in practice.
3. To celebrate the Third Informative Assembly on Sunday July 30th with a march like today's from the Museum of Anthropology and History to the Zocalo at 11 in the morning. We know that our adversaries are counting on, among other things, the demoralisation and exhaustion of our movement. We are going to show them once more that when they want to trample on citizens' dignity and rights and attack democracy there are always women and men of principle and conviction who neither weary, nor much less surrender. As Carlos Monsivais has said, “Anyone who only knows despondency and depression will never be worthy of pessimism".
All of those present and those who could not come, we ought to be proud of living these moments, so decisive for Mexico's public life.
I am convinced that not even with all the apparatus of the State, used menacingly, nor with all the money of a privileged elite, nor with all the manipulation that has been put into play will they be able to crush the free conscious and responsible will of millions of Mexicans. Let us not forget that we are millions of Mexicans ready to make our rights prevail. And this is the most powerful force.
I take this chance to acknowledge the leaders of the parties of the Coalition, the PRD, the PT , the Convergence and the networks of citizens and civil society for their fitting and faithful behaviour. We are living through times of definition and trial and all of us will know how to measure up to things.
As for my part, I again say to you: you can trust me that I am not going to betray the people of Mexico. Furthermore, I am convinced I am not alone, because we are all united.
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 Copyleft.
1. Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute