"Señor Blank-o" Wins in Mexico


Thursday, July 6, 2006

By Greg Palast

And the winner in Mexico's presidential contest is... Señor Blank-o!

The official count of the ruling party is: 36.38% for the ruling party and 35.34% for the challenger.

Or, to put names and numbers to it: The Bush-o-philiac candidate, Felipe Calderón, collected 402,000 more votes than Bush-bashed Andrés Manuel López Obrador. But the big winner was Mr. Blank -- the 827,000 ballots without a mark for president.

I smell something rotten... eau d'Ohio, vintage 2004. In that state, as in Mexico this week, the presidential "winner," George Bush, had victory margin smaller than the combined "undercount" (blank ballots) and rejected and mangled ballots.

Blank ballots are rarely random -- in the USA, nearly 88% were cast in 2004, notably, in minority areas, the result of bad voting machines. That is, Democrats' ballots "spoil" and "blank out" a heck of a lot more often than Republican ballots. What about in Mexico?

I intend to find out. As soon as I saw the "official" vote count, I booked a plane to Mexico City. I'll be there to tomorrow to join our investigators on the ground -- and to fill in the blanks.

And what about the "spoiled" vote -- ballots rejected, lost, mangled? Well, some are sitting in dumpsters in Veracruz State which is controlled by the old ruling PRI. (There's a darn good chance that the PRI, hoping to stave off its extinction, played a bigger role than Calderón's PAN in shoplifting votes from challenger López Obrador.)

In a prior missive, I noted that the Bush Administration, under the guise of a secret War on Terror contract, hired ChoicePoint Inc. to filch the voter and citizen files of Mexico. These are the same characters (the Bushes and ChoicePoint) who helped purge Florida's voter rolls of African-Americans before the 2000 race. Were the Mexican rolls "scrubbed" with Dubya's help? And what exactly was the International Republican Institute, the imperial arm of the GOP, doing down there? Shouldn't someone ask? Shouldn't someone investigate?

Too many uncounted votes, too many blocked voters, too many statistics missing from the official tallies to jump to the automatic conclusion of US mainstream media, that this election was Mexico's first "clean" vote. It may look clean and neat from the Intercontinental Hotel in Mexico City where reporters shuttle from bar to press conference. But sniffing into the garbage piles and ballot piles of Veracruz, it smells more like Ohio con salsa.

Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "Armed Madhouse."

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