August 28, 2006
The recount of the tabulations at 375 localities that were challenged is not completed yet, but it appears that the final vote tally will not change much. The Federal Electoral Tribunal said that Felipe Calderon's margin had dropped by 4,000 votes, which pales in comparison to his overall lead of 240,000 votes. The final decision must be rendered by September 6. Apparent loser Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is planning a massive demonstration on the country's day of independence, September 16. See CNN.com. Though full-blown chaos is still possible, it is at least a reassuring sign that Mexico's electoral authorities are resisting political pressure to conduct recounts across the board, focusing only on cases where there are clear signs of irregularities.
Meanwhile, the long standoff continues in Oaxaca, although it is becoming less of a labor action and more of a political mobilization. Pressure on Gov. Ruiz to resign is increasing, even as sympathy for the teachers wanes as the new school year begins. CNN.com reports that the teachers' strike is having a devastating effect on the tourist industry in Oaxaca, inflicting "terror" upon people who live or visit there.
Today's Washington Post had an in-depth background story on the desperate plight of young teenagers from Guatemala who have been rounded up by Mexican border guards and sent back home. This tragedy will go on and on as long as political leaders in Latin American countries are let off the hook for failing to reform their own laws and practices so as to create the same kind of opportunity in their countries that exists here. Impossible? All it would take is a critical mass of clear-headed thinking and courage on the part of citizens in Latin America as well as the United States. Ironically, when Americans tolerate illegal immigration -- whether out of greed for cheap labor or noble, charitable sentiments -- it only provides a "cushion" in in Latin American countries. The steady flow of dollars from the North allows those countries to maintain their self-defeating policies, thereby perpetuating the status quo of misery, alienation, and (occasionally) fabulous if shallow wealth.