As it turned out, we arrived in Mexico City just a couple weeks after a controversial presidential election. The right wing candidate, Felipe Calderón, is claiming victory with a razor-thin margin of votes (36% to 35%).
However, the leftist candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (above center), is claiming fraud. As a result, he organized several giant protests in Mexico City, including one on Sunday, July 16, the last day we were in town. People came from all over the country, and some sources estimated that over 1,100,000 people were packed in to the city center.
Needless to say, walking around this area was interesting, but quite difficult at times. We never got anywhere near the stage where López Obrador was speaking.
Demonstrators streaming past the Palace of Fine Arts after the protest ended.
The large posters in the background are actually protest art. In the poster on the right, the right-wing candidate Felipe Calderón is dubbed "FECAL", which one could assume has the same meaning here as it would in the US.
This one says "NO to the f@#%ing fraud". Mexicans definitely aren't shy about profanity.
As of this writing (August 1, 2006), the controversy still hasn't been decided, as the Mexican Supreme court is still debating whether to authorize a complete manual recount of the votes, as López Obrador is demanding. López Obrador has also presented charges and supposedly evidence documenting thousands of irregularities during election day.
None of this comes as a surprise, since electoral fraud is nothing new in Mexico. For instance, it is widely acknowledged by everybody these days that the 1988 election was stolen by the then-governing party (PRI) for their candidate. And, it's worth noting that same party (PRI) ruled the country for (suspiciously enough) more than 70 years continuously.
Anyways, the electoral mess 2006 should be decided once and for all by the first week of September.
Meanwhile...this wraps up our Mexico road-trip! After Mexico City, we were pretty exhausted, fed up with searching for dog-friendly hotels, and anxious to see friends in the US, so we made a 2-day road-warrior marathon beeline to the US. For what it's worth, we crossed the border at noon on Tuesday, July 18, with absolutely no hassle whatsoever.
The yellow line roughly traces the route we drove from Guatemala to Mississippi.
Back to home page