Among the dusty side streets and alleys of Ecatepec, Mexico, in a polling station at a nondescript elementary school, Karla Montes came prepared.
“I brought my pen, and I brought my cellphone to take a photo of my vote, so that they don’t alter it,” she said. “These have been my precautions.”
The young woman was just one of thousands of people that took the matter of fraud and corruption — mainstay occurrences in Mexican politics for nearly the past century — head on. Seventy-one years of rule under the Institutional Revolutionary Party were followed by 18 years of pendulum-swinging between that and the opposition National Action Party. Both have gridlocked the country in extreme poverty, profound inequality and deep-seated violence — and people are fed up.
It’s for this reason that the July 1, 2018, elections in Mexico saw an unprecedented mobilization against fraud and corruption — resulting in what is being deemed as a historic win.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or “AMLO” as he’s known, of the National Regeneration Movement Party was named president — a landslide win he secured after running for the third time, this time under the bold rallying cry, “against the power mafia.” Having run in the past two elections in 2006 and 2012 that were marred by countless irregularities, Lopez Obrador’s victory signals a major shift in the country, propelled forward by all those who marshaled against the country’s long-standing order.
Making Democracy “Real”
On the front lines of this mobilization has been the Scholar and Citizen Network for Democracy, known by its Spanish acronym RUCD, a coalition group that had been monitoring, denouncing and working to prevent fraud long before Election Day in Mexico.
“Corruption is a central pillar of political control in Mexico … that exists in all institutions and spheres of society,” John Ackerman, a law professor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and a member of the RUCD, told…