Prague Twin

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Standing Corrected

There are times when you slip up in life, and there are times when you fall flat on your face. Usually, when I do the latter, I usually tend to do it in all areas of my life at the same time. This is no exception.

I "reported" on Mexico's recent election. I've seen some bad posts, but this one takes the cake....

Somehow, in my haste and utter ignorance, I had confused the ruling PAN party with the ousted PRI who had almost surely committed voter fraud in the past. Furthermore, I was referencing the PRD when I spoke of the PRI. Anyone familiar with Mexican politics knows what a slap in the face that is to anyone associated with the PRD. My apologies.

So for the record....

PAN has never stolen any election that I know of. My charge that PAN stole this election is completely baseless and rooted in a false premise.

I deeply regret the disrespect I have show to good people like krizantah who have undoubtedly worked very hard to protect that "child in a crowded market," which I spoke of. Imagine how stupid I felt when I read this...

I was a president for a voting booth last Sunday, July 2nd. There was also a secretary and a counter (escrutador). We had at our table one person representing PAN, one from the PRI and 2 for PRD. They watched the whole process. Every citizen over 18 has an id, specifically for voting. The id has a picture, fingerprint, signature. birthdate and address. We had a list with a copy of the id´s of the people voting at our booth. Every time someone arrive to vote, we check his id, put a stamp over the copy we had, pounched his id at the date 2006. We vote the traditional way, paper and crayons, and we kept every paper. After voting averyone had his right thumb mark with a special ink. I knew a lot of the people who came to my booth, they are my neighbours. At 6 pm we closed the booth and the counting started. At our booth PAN won everything, by much. At 10:00 pm we packed all the documentation, sealed and signed everything and every party representative received a copy of the oficial papers with the final numbers. If they had any comments they could have writen them down and we should had to add them to the rest of the documents without any questioning. This didn´t ocurred. They all had cell phones and called their party headquarters to send the final numbers. At 10:30 I was at another address which was a center where the insitute gathered the documantation. We were like an army of presidents of voting booths all carrying the same white, heavy box with all the papers. We were all wet because on top of everything, it was raining. It was so much work, at 11 pm I had breakfast. I checked the numbers that we got in the internet, the IFE and the IEDF have them on their web pages and anyone can see the numbers gotten from each voting booth in the country. The numbers of my booth were correct. Ther is no place for fraud. This elections was carried out by the citizens.

I also want to thank Kvatch who writes blognonymous (which is a "must read" blog) for being the first to alert me to my grievous error.

What makes this especially painful for me is that in college, I wrote a paper on the corruption in the elections which at that point (1991) was endemic. I studied the Zapatista rebels and PRI's efforts to suppress their insurrections. I researched instances where the PRI had received 90% of the vote (in sealed boxes, 10 days late) from areas that were dominated by Zapatistas and historically had voted heavily for the PRD. These fraudulent practices were fairly obvious to any objective observer. As a result of this obvious fraud, a concerted effort in the 1990's led to Vicente Fox's historic 2000 election, and the downfall of the PRI.

Now to the explaination....

My course of study led me to break with politics and news from 1995 on, due to a severe case of disillusionment. I had literally avoided news for 6 years and even after 9/11 I tried to keep a distance from the reality of what was going on. At university I had looked the beast strait in the face and buckled under the pressure. I fled to Europe and pretended that everything was going to be just fine, even though I knew it wouldn't. Well, what could I do about it anyway? I'm nobody.

Eventually, the wall I put up came crashing down. It happened sometime between 9/11 and the invation of Iraq. (For someone who was obsessed with politics from age 10, it had to be a pretty thick wall to last 6 years). I wasn't actually "on my game" until sometime after I started this blog.

As an aside, the other day I met a Canadian girl who is studying law so that she can change the world (my original plan in life). She is committed (probably more than I ever was, hell, she's a vegan). She is dedicated to forest preservation (I had led a forest preservation program at Davis that focused on preserving the the Clayoquot Sound in Brittish Columbia. It was such a no brainer: they were literally using ancient trees from the last large stand of temperate rain-forests for pulp to make paper for phone books because most of the old trees had too much rot to be used for good lumber. The Canadian government who approved the land-use owned stock in the company that got the contract to cut the trees which would be illegal under U.S. law).

Talking with her about how the Clayoquot Sound had been saved renewed my faith in grassroots action and reminded me of Margaret Mead's classic quote....

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

The moral to the story is that one should never give up. It may be you who is the important piece of the puzzle that leads to the next great hurdle. Anyone who worked on Mexican voter reform which broke PRI's stranglehold on Mexican politics falls into this category.

Or an alternative moral: you might make a total ass out of yourself on your own blog because you were not paying attention when important things were going on..... and that is not cool. Nope, not cool at all.

Blog on everyone. It is a learning process for all of us.


  • Hey man it's ok,, I remember that I once confused the Sunni's for the Shiites, and I'm still catching hell for it.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 5:03 PM  

  • As you should be.

    As much of an idiot I can be, I could never make that mistake.

    I'm still waiting for a response on Hamden by the way.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 6:16 PM  

  • I'm not trying to say you are a bigger idiot, I'm just saying, well, I'm an idiot sometimes too, just a different kind of one.

    You ever hear of the PRD?

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 6:17 PM  

  • You have clearly become more hostile toward me since you have learned my true identity. I think I will have to reinvent my writing style and create a new alias so that you will be more objective with me.

    As I also have been politically active for a very long time, and pay attention to what happens beyond my southern border as it does affect my family and me, I am well aware of what the PRD is. (A turd by any other name would stink as bad)

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 7:49 PM  

  • PT, a mea culpa from me too. This issue has been flashing my radar and personal diversions are distracting me.
    I should have noticed.

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 8:57 PM  

  • Sorry Arch,

    I'm not trying to be hostile. That is why I wrote the second comment. Sorry about that.

    My point was no one is perfect.


    No worries. I don't expect my readers to edit and fact-check for me as a rule, but it is nice when they do.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:40 AM  

  • Whoa, such the mea culpa. No worries. I wasn't trying to be snide.

    I actually know very little about the PRD, but having been raised on the Texas/Mexico border right across from Ciudad Juarez, the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) has been a fact of life for 30+ years. They are strong in the northern states, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Sonora and have controlled Ciudad Juarez more than once.

    I wouldn't be surprised if there are local and regional elections that least, manipulated by the PANistas.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:22 PM  

  • So tell me then, if we are difernet kinds of idiots, what kind am I and what kind are you?

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 6:18 AM  

  • At our booth about 490 citizens voted. When we were counting the ballots there was a president (me), a secretary, a counter (escrutador) a person representing the PRI, another person from the PAN and 2 from the PRD. So we were 7 people counting de decision of 490. The counting cannot be done by a machine. For instance, I once thought that someone had given his vote to the PAN but in fact he had marked 2 political parties so it was an annuled vote. Another example, a citizen marked a very small cross under the PRD logo, it was supposed to be over the logo, the 7 of us decided that it was an honest mistake and it was really a vote for the PRD. I wonder, how could a recount be more effective and sincere than this procedure? How can you pay and army of millions of people to recaunt the ballots? When Mr López was the major of Mexico City, he was considering the possibility of building a 2nd floor over the express way. He told us that he needed the residents´ opinion and that he was going to do whatever the people decided. We have had earthquakes here and we are going to have more, so I voted against the consruction of the 2nd floor, I lost a whole Sunday doing it. Monday morning Mr López anounced that the majoroty of people have voted against the 2nd floor but because not a lot of people voted it didn´t count, so he went ahead a built that monstruosoty! ......If Mr López doesn´t trust how the citizens count the ballots I myself don´t trust his "democracy."

    By Blogger krizantah, at 3:23 AM  

  • Kvatch,

    Thanks again for pointing it out. I know you weren't trying to be snide. I am a big fan of accuracy so I feel like a TOTAL IDIOT. I'm getting over it slowly.


    I don't mean you are an idiot, I just mean that we can both be idiotic sometimes. You know that my main complaint with your view is that you have such a strong opinion on what should be done in Iraq, but had little knowledge of the ethic makeup of the country (and you know the other reason why that is poor form on your part, but that can stay between you and me.)


    Thanks for your comments. There is no substitute for firsthand knowledge. Keep up the good work.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 5:06 PM  

  • Arch,

    "No need to get excited," the thief he kindly spoke. I think that you would not be successful in attempting to obscure your style and therefore the creation of a new alias would avail you naught. Remmeber that the context in which you would respond is still confined. You might be more successful if you created another alias and kept responding as Arch Stanton.

    I need some help here. 20 or more years ago I read a sci fi short story. A master criminal has escaped to a world, largely covered w/ water, in which no one appears in public unless he is wearing a mask. There are several hundred maskd from which to choose.

    An unmasked body is discovered in the water. A government functionary arrives to apprehend the criminal who he believes to have assumed the identity of one of three men--the guy whose body was found in the water.

    He questions the servants of the three men and determines the identity of the crimoinal b/c recently that man has altered his pattern of masks.

    I no longer recall the author or the title of the story. If anyone knows either, please post it. PT, if it is posted, please e-mail it to me . Thanks,


    By Anonymous Tony Sokolow, at 8:57 PM  

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