Friday, September 01, 2006

Letter to the SF Chronicle (unpublished)

To the Editor:

Re “Angry Days in Mexico” (editorial, Sept. 1): Having spent the last three months traveling through Mexico as an investigative reporter for KPFA, I feel the need to question some of the editorial board’s assertions. Such as the claim that Lopez Obrador “has run out of legal ways” to contest the elections, “so he's starting to seek illegal ones.” It’s not exactly an untrue statement (although I haven’t anything suggesting that the PRD candidate is urging people to break the law), but the underlying assumptions betray the naivety of this political stance: if the law doesn’t work, if elections can be (and historically have been) fraudulent, then staying within the “legal” loses all meaning.

Then there’s the claim that Lopez Obrador is actively seeking violent confrontation because it’s the only way to boost his ratings “just as a violent teachers' strike in Oaxaca has soured the public on that state's governor.” The teachers’ strike, however, was entirely peaceful, until the government sent shock troops to batter, evict, and arrest them. The violence in Oaxaca comes from the state, as it does in Mexico City, where police have attacked and evicted peaceful PRD protesters in front of the government palace. It would be worth keeping this in mind when thinking about the electoral crisis in Mexico.

Daniel Nemser

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