Mexico City. 2 July 2006.
PRD Press Center, Hotel Marquis, Mexico City. 6:48pm. Lopez Obrador has yet to make his appearance. The woman standing next to us quietly confides that she is hoping PAN will win. As she tells us this, a little boy stands in front of three cameras waving an AMLO doll. After hours of waiting, with no sign of the progressive candidate, we make our way through the entrance of the hotel and approach a barricade of security guards. We flash our PRD press credentials and the officers wave us inside.
Upon reaching the main press room on the second floor of the hotel, we see the initial PRD exit poll data. AMLO is up by 3% but there is still 2 hours to go before the official announcement from IFE, the electoral commission. At 10:14pm the PAN party President states, “There are some polls favorable to Obrador and some polls favorable to Calderon.” Yet he does not cite PAN’s own exit poll data, suggesting to many a sceptical journalist that PAN’s own polls show Obrador ahead.
Reports are coming in that the main square in Mexico City, the Zocalo (Obrador’s strongest front), is packed and the celebration party has already begun. But, still, no one knows for sure, and won’t for another 45 minutes. Immediately following IFE’s announcement, Obrador will address the massive press corp gathered in this room. We’re all exhausted and everyone wants him to come out, declare victory, and finish his speech so we can go to the party in the Zocalo.
We had started the day at 7am. Over coffee with John Gibler in the hotel restaurant, we received confirmation that the previous night’s meeting of La Otra Campana was a disappointment to many of the supporters of the Zapatistas. This was a sentiment we shared, as the majority of the evening seemed to consist of soap box speeches and people talking over each other in a docile chaos. We then tried to hunt down an internet cafe to post the previous day’s blog. We had no luck, as most of Mexico City was shut down for the election.