Mexico lives in this Olympic summer Sunday an unprecedented and at the same time controversial popular consultation to prosecute the former presidents of the country that arrives after a very long long-distance race of many years in which the citizens have demanded to end impunity once and for all.
But it is difficult for the exercise to convince enough fans, as a high participation of 40% is needed to make it binding and many consider it unnecessary or even absurd to vote for crimes to be punished.
Many Mexicans got up early this Sunday to see the bronze of the Mexican Aremi Fuentes in weightlifting in Tokyo 2020 and few to go to the electoral college located in the well-known Plaza de la Cibeles, in the Roma neighborhood, a central middle-class neighborhood.
“I believe that the former presidents have to give an account of the management, good or bad, that they have done. I think what they did is visibly very bad and we are experiencing the effects now “Jaime Maldonado, 56, one of the neighbors who went to vote, explained to Efe.
This chemical engineer blamed the ex-presidents for the expansion of “violence and cartels,” and celebrated that for the first time in history, Mexicans are summoned to a popular consultation.
“It seems to me a very interesting and very important exercise. The situation in the country is the result of many years of abandonment of the classes in power, “he explained before continuing with his Sunday.
A HISTORICAL EXERCISE
The consultation was a promise of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who came to power in 2018 with the aim of eradicating corruption and promoting a more participatory democracy.
Initially, the consultation proposed to prosecute the ex-presidents Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994), Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000), Vicente Fox (2000-2006), Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) and Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018) for corruption, electoral fraud and the war against drug trafficking, among other evils.
But the Supreme Court modified the question to preserve the presumption of innocence and left a very open statement that asks Mexicans if they want to “undertake a process of clarifying the political decisions taken in past years.”
“Unfortunately, the Supreme Court changed the question, it became a bit ambiguous but it is a step forward that this opportunity is given. I hope that at least it is a historical judgment and it is possible to investigate the actions of the past ”, Beatriz, 38, graduated in Communication, declared after casting her vote.
The promoters of the consultation defend that the victory of ‘Yes’ will serve to open Truth Commissions that investigate the crimes of past administrations, while critics see it unnecessary to vote to enforce the law.
López Obrador has made the partridge dizzy with the consultation, since he called and promoted it, but he will not vote because his “strong suit is not revenge.”
In addition, the Government has not presented its plan to apply the result, so there is a lot of uncertainty in this regard.
Beatriz is in favor of “putting the president aside” on this issue and defends the consultation as an “opportunity” to pressure the Judiciary because “justice in Mexico does not apply.”
Carrying out this consultation is a real weight lifting, since the law requires participation 40%, that is, 37 million people, so that the result is binding.
The precedents are not very promising since last June’s midterm elections had a 53% turnout, which was a record.
That June 6, the waiting line was long at the school in the Plaza de la Cibeles, while this Sunday the neighbors came by droppers and all to vote for ‘Yes’.
In recent days, the ruling National Regeneration Movement (Morena) has accused the National Electoral Institute (INE), in charge of spreading and organizing the consultation, of boycotting it.
While the body has responded that it would have wanted to put more polling stations – there are 57,000 planned compared to the 163,000 of the midterm elections – if Congress had given it a larger budget.
“I think that more information has been lacking from the INE and the party”, Julio reproached after voting in the completely empty schoolyard except for the two ballot boxes.
In any case, this 62-year-old man, who voted with a mask as the covid-19 pandemic obliges, defended the consultation as a good process to “promote democracy and that they consider the voice of the people.”
Whatever the result and the participation, it is most likely that López Obrador will hang himself a gold medal on Monday and an admonition to the electoral authority.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.