Obrador's Supporters Hold Vigil in Mexico City A Mexican election court has confirmed the victory of conservative candidate Felipe Calderon over leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in the nation's disputed presidential election. But the ruling has failed to stop protests and accusations of election fraud. Lopez Obrador's supporters have set up a tent city in Mexico City's central square, vowing not to leave until the ruling is reversed.
NPR logo

Obrador's Supporters Hold Vigil in Mexico City

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/6067988/6067989" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Obrador's Supporters Hold Vigil in Mexico City

Obrador's Supporters Hold Vigil in Mexico City

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/6067988/6067989" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

This is DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Chadwick. Coming up: from New Guinea, the secret of the poisonous birds. First, we want to update you on the wilds of Mexican politics. Felipe Calderon has been declared president-elect in Mexico after this summer's very close election. Still, the left is very unhappy. There have been a series of protests, and with the inauguration still a couple of months away, things feel unsettled.

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports from Mexico City.

Unidentified Man #1: (Speaking foreign language)

Unidentified Man #2: (Speaking foreign language)

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO: In Mexico City's main square, the Zocalo, dozens of people wait in line to register for Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's national convention, set to take place on Independence Day, September 16th. As they hand over their voter registration card in order to get a pass for the event, some of the queue angrily converge around a visiting reporter.

Unidentified Woman #1: (Speaking foreign language)

Unidentified Woman #2: (Speaking foreign language)

Ms. ROSELISA SAYARIA(ph): (Foreign language Spoken)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Roselisa Sayaria says we will not allow this man to govern.

Ms. MARIA DE LA FAY SANTABANYEZ(ph) (Protesting Mexican election): (Speaking foreign language)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We will continue with civil disobedience, says Maria De La Fay Santabanyez. We will stop paying taxes. We will stop doing a great many things, she says. And maybe it will stop being peaceful.

Around them are tents covered in slogans and the names of states that have sent representatives to help with the sit in.

(Soundbite of pots being scrubbed)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Inside one of the shelters housing residents from the state of Morelos, two portly women scrub pots in a basin of dirty water. There's a makeshift kitchen where people eat and wooden pallets on which people sleep. Few of those taking part in the protest today stay here full time. Rather, they come up for a few days and then go back home to work.

Polls show that a majority of people in Mexico believe that Lopez Obrador should end his protest and accept the official result of the election. Still, Mexico's a country with a long history of unrest due to terrible inequality. Right now, there's a countrywide miner's strike and a violent teacher's strike Oaxaca.

And it seems that groups with other agendas are uniting under Lopez Obrador's banner. That could surely spell trouble for Calderon. Sitting at a table in the tent is Raymundo Perez(ph), a confectioner from rural Morelos. He believes that there was electoral fraud. But, he says, that's not why he's following Lopez Obrador.

Mr. RAYMUNDO PEREZ (Lopez Obrador supporter): (Through translator) In my region, there is high immigration, which was never a problem before. There is no financial credit for farmers, there are no jobs, there is rising drug addiction and a terrible education system. What other manner of expression is there than this?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Right now, Lopez Obrador and his party are trying to figure out what comes next. Gerardo Fernandez Noroña is a strategist for the leftist. He says the plan now is to self-declare Lopez Obrador president at the convention on the 16th.

Mr. GERARDO FERNANDEZ NOROÑA (Strategist, Lopez Obrador): (Through translator) He will have a seat in government, where he will carry out his political functions. This will be a government in resistance, fighting the usurper so that the usurpation ends. There will be effectively two presidents, and we will never dialogue with Calderon or make an agreement. Nothing.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: For his part, the official president-elect says that the door will always be open to Lopez Obrador and his supporters. But Calderon also warned his rival in a press conference this week that he will not be deterred.

President-elect FELIPE CALDERON (Mexico): (Through translator) Be certain that I will take possession of the presidency and the Republic.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: While Lopez Obrador's broader support seems to be waning, even those who are not necessarily in his camp still have questions about the election itself. A group of academics and newspapers put in a request to the electoral authorities to conduct a citizen's recount, similar to the one that took place in Florida in 2000. This week, that request was denied. Sergio Aguayo is a political analyst and democracy activist who is part of that group.

Mr. SERGIO AGUAYO (Political Analyst): For me, that's another irregularity that gives credence to the belief that something is rotten in Mexico. That something smells.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Aguayo says that it seems that things are now moving from a period of political trouble to outright social conflict.

Mr. AGUAYO: And that has created an extremely complex situation, an embrollo, from which I don't know how Mexico is going to get out.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR News, Mexico City.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.