Electoral Fraud and the Narco
The Narco News Bulletin
Meeting with Publisher
Narco News Replies:
Allyn's Letter to Narco News:
April 17, 1999
I read with interest your email
to me of last week.
You make some very, very good points, and I am taking them up
with our sponsors this week.
Can you and I possibly
meet during our next trip to Mexico this coming
Thursday? We will be coming down to release our first pre-election
Perhaps by then, I will
have answers to all of your questions. I will work this week
to explore whether we might be permitted to release the names
of our donors. In the meantime, I hope you will appreciate the
dilemma of our contributors, who retained us to work for transparency
in the elections process -- yet have a justifiable concern over
negative repercussions for their support of a project which those
in power will no doubt view as anti-government.
Let's talk directly as
soon as we can. I firmly believe, having read your bulletins
in the past, that you will see that we are on the side of the
angels in this matter.
Reply to Pollster
June 18, 2000
Dear Mr. Allyn,
Thank you for responding
to our letter of June 15th.
Since you have read my
reports in the past, then you know: I am not going to negotiate
with you or anyone. The facts, and how we report them, are non-negotiable.
So I respectfully decline
your invitation to meet whether in Mexico City, Dallas, Washington
This matter began in public
and will be settled here, in the open. The Mexican people have
clearly expressed that nothing more about this electoral process
should take place in the shadows. Their view guides us at The
Narco News Bulletin. In true democracy, obedience to the people
Furthermore, various Mexican
citizens have suggested to me that to accept your gracious invitation
would cast a shadow over the integrity of The Narco News Bulletin.
Even if you and I were to have a completely innocent, even productive,
sharing of views and information, there would be the appearance
For the purposes of this
letter, let me assume that you are sincere, and that you and
your clients are "on the side of the angels" as you
I bring your attention
column published this weekend by Jorge Fernández Menéndez of the
daily Milenio. He is a respected national level reporter
and author of the book Narcotráfico y Poder (1999
Rayuela). Here is a translated excerpt of his column of today
that reports directly on your project:
"In other nations
exit polls are very accurate, but in our case that is not so:
nobody guarantees that when the voter exits he says what party
he voted for to the first pollster that he meets. We have also
seen campaign publicity by the PAN party calling upon the voters
to say to the exit pollsters at the voting locations that he
voted for whatever party but not to tell the truth.
"To infer results,
thus, the exit poll doesn't work. It's worrisome, then, that
according to El Universal, a group of politicians and
businessmen "not identified because they could suffer reprisals"
(sic) have contracted with three US businesses to conduct and
exit poll because they don't trust the Mexican polling firms.
This is a double irresponsibility: First, because ethically whoever
contracts for this type of studies would have to show his face.
Knowing who paid for a study of this type can allow us to deduce
its direction. For example, and as one more fact: two of the
US businesses contracted were consultants of the campaign of
Roberto Madrazo: Are they still related with this faction? Second,
because, as we have said, the exit polls cannot be trusted to
give real results."
On this last point, I
also bring your attention to an article in yesterday's LA Times by staff writer James F. Smith,
reporting from the heavily militarized Oaxaca mountain region
SAN AGUSTIN LOXICHA, Mexico--The
aging peasant woman glanced nervously around this isolated mountain
village and furtively tucked inside her shawl the opposition-party
pamphlets she'd just been handed.
This is modern multi-party
Mexico, not the old Soviet Union. And she was merely holding
brochures of the Democratic Revolution Party, one of the two
main parties challenging the 71-year rule of the Institutional
Revolutionary Party, or PRI, in upcoming national elections.
So why was she so scared, even to give her name?
"This is a PRI
town," she muttered, not wanting to be overheard, "and
if we say we are from another party, problems can occur. We are
The "fear vote,"
especially among the 27% of the population defined as rural,
could help hand the PRI another six-year presidential term when
Mexicans go to the polls July 2.
Problems, indeed, can
and do occur for those who voice their opinion. Talk to the wives
and children of political prisoners from Loxicha who have vigiled
for the past year on the Zocalos of Oaxaca and Mexico City.
Nor is Loxicha an isolated
case. Fear is imposed in heavily militarized areas like Chiapas,
Oaxaca, Guerrero, Tabasco, Campeche, Veracruz, Hidalgo and the
nation's most populous state of Mexico that is distinct from
and surrounds Mexico City (states in which, if there were free
and fair elections, the ruling party would lose handily).
I need not remind you
that the PRD party has lost 600 members to political assassination.
The PAN party has lost some of its leaders to suspicious deaths
as well. How does one conduct an accurate poll in an ambience
of violence, fear and state repression? How would you possibly
go about exit polling, for example, in the "low-intensity
war" zone of Chiapas?
Assuming, again, that
you and your clients are sincere advocates of true democracy,
you have undertaken a very complex and difficult task.
You say, Mr. Allyn, that
on Thursday of this week you will release the results of your
latest poll. That will tell a lot. We have a very good sense
of which sectors of the population - indigenous, rural and, for
reasons stated above, opponents of the ruling party throughout
the nation - have not been fully measured by the polls. We will
view your first poll through that informed lens.
How can it be, for example,
that the polls - almost all of them driven by financial and partisan
interests - have placed one candidate with under 25% of the vote
and yet he has consistently drawn record crowds in every city
to which he has traveled? In the past four days, 140,000 Mexicans
attended this candidate's public appearances. I'm not making
a statement in favor of that candidate - we don't endorse candidates
or parties at The Narco News Bulletin - but rather am making
the observation that the mercenary polls have clearly not measured
the true level of support for that candidate.
So please do inform us
of the time and place of your press conference in Mexico City
on Thursday, so that we can make every effort to send a correspondent.
As for the larger issue
of your "Democracy Watch" project:
Given the public relations
disaster that has already occurred within Mexico regarding your
project (http://www.narconews.com/www.a-roba.punto.com.html), you might consider the following
1. Reveal the donors and other involved parties or
shelve the project altogether.
2. Have a certified accounting firm that has access
to all contracts, bank accounts and other information verify
the facts of who is behind your project.
3. Remove the company of Penn and Schoen from the
project because they were consultants to PRI candidate Roberto
Madrazo, who, the day before yesterday, endorsed Francisco Labastida.
There are also grave questions about that firm's lack of professionalism
in the November 1999 PRI primary, and the sources of money of
the campaign in which they worked.
The Narco News Bulletin
hereby serves notice: the double standard of ethics by US political
consultants who engage in behavior in Mexico and Latin America
that would never be tolerated in the United States will not stand.
4. Accept no participation from the banking industry.
According to the Canadian auditor's report on the Fobaproa bank
bailout scandal in Mexico, every national bank was implicated.
You will find more details on the relationship between Fobaproa,
drug money laundering and the funding of political campaigns
in our recent
reports in Narco
5. You must guarantee absolutely no participation
by the US Embassy, the State Department, the Democratic or Republican
Parties, or any other institution that has already endorsed the
electoral process as fair and transparent. These organizations
have zero credibility on this matter. Some of them are sending
"observers" to Mexico precisely to participate in the
cover-up of electoral fraud.
6. Seek credible Mexican organizations to participate
in and guide the project.
There are credible Mexican
companies such as The Rosenbleuth Foundation, which offered the
most accurate results on the
1999 state elections in Guerrero and, in fact, has paid a high price for its honesty,
having been fired by TV Azteca. Obviously, if they are already
involved on behalf of any party or candidate they would have
to be disqualified. They have also done work for Mexican civil
society such as auditing the nearly 3 million votes cast in the
March 21, 1999 consulta for peace in Chiapas. We have not seen
them on our radar screen since.
To be crystal clear: I
don't know anybody in the Rosenbleuth firm - if I did, I would
not recommend them because that would constitute a conflict --
but their work has been credible in the past and it seems like
you could use some leads at this point.
If you are looking to
meet with anyone it should not be me but, rather, credible members
of Mexican civil society and election-watch organizations from
inside the country such as Alianza Civica and the leading human
Again, points 2, 3, 4,
5 and 6 are entirely dependent on the first: you must reveal
the funding sources of your project.
We will watch with great
interest your project's response in the form of deeds.
To borrow a turn of phrase
from the late A.J. Muste:
There is no path
The Narco News Bulletin