Putin, left, and President Peña Nieto Putin, left, and President Peña Nieto: designs on Mexican election?

Russian meddling is no joke: journalist

Potential conflict seen in Russian link to a member of López Obrador's team

The possibility of Russian interference in this year’s presidential election is no joke, Mexican journalist León Krauze wrote yesterday in the Washington Post.


Krauze’s warning of potential meddling from Moscow came one day after leading presidential aspirant Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO, posted a bizarre video to his social media accounts making light of unsubstantiated claims that he is receiving covert support from the Kremlin.

But Krauze argued in an opinion piece that humor is no way to attempt to defuse the allegations or to dismiss the prospect that Russia could influence the wider electoral process.

In a minute-long video, AMLO appears in the port of Veracruz and jokes that he is waiting for a Russian submarine carrying gold from Moscow.

The three-time candidate goes on to take lighthearted aim at a suggestion from a spokesman for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that the Russian government is somehow “involved” in his presidential campaign.

“I am now Andrés Manuelovich,” he joked before concluding the video by jesting that he doesn’t live from “el oro de Moscú” (gold from Moscow) but rather “del loro de Palenque” (from a parrot in Palenque), apparently referring to a pet bird he owns.

However, a potential conflict of interest in AMLO’s proposed team, the potency of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machinery and Moscow’s “meddling in over 20 electoral processes across the globe” means that the prospect of Russian interference is no laughing matter, Krauze countered.


“López Obrador needs to get serious and sort out a potential conflict of interest within his team before shrugging off any suspicion of Russian influence in his campaign and, crucially, his now likely future government,” he wrote.

AMLO unveiled his potential cabinet secretaries last month, announcing that eight men and eight women would become the core of his executive team should he win power. One of the flagged appointees was Irma Eréndira Sandoval, an academic who AMLO said would be given the job of fighting corruption in Mexico’s bureaucracy.

But Krauze pointed out that Sandoval is married to a fellow academic and enthusiastic AMLO supporter whom he describes as “an inconvenient partner” given his alleged proximity to the Russian government.

John Ackerman is a “frequent and trusted contributor to Russia Today,” Krauze wrote, describing the media outlet as “Moscow’s cleverly disguised propaganda machine.”

“Ackerman’s work on Russia Today dangerously reduces the degrees of separation between Putin’s regime and López Obrador,” Krauze wrote in another op-ed published Monday by the newspaper El Universal.

Krauze dismissed Ackerman’s subsequent defense of the Russian government-funded media organization, arguing that his attempt to compare the alleged Putin mouthpiece to the United Kingdom’s BBC or Germany’s Deutsche Welle was a “false equivalency.”

He also pointed out that Russia Today is now registered as a “foreign agent” with the U.S. Department of Justice, adding that U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster recently revealed “initial signs” of Russian interference in Mexico.  Leading American experts on Mexican politics share the same view, he wrote.

Krauze also charged that “given the Russian government’s ambitious and well-documented attempt to influence elections and destabilize even fully functioning democracies, the potential conflict of interest within López Obrador’s inner circle is anything but amusing.”

Instead, Krauze again suggested that AMLO take a different and more serious approach to address claims of Russian interference.

López Obrador “should offer absolute certainty . . . that no suspicious association exists within his team and his campaign,” he wrote.

Mexico also “must take every measure possible to avoid being the next guinea pig in Putin’s experiment in destabilization,” Krauze wrote, asserting that the country already has enough challenges and threats of its own to deal with.

Last year was Mexico’s most violent on record, the peso remains under significant pressure, a contentious NAFTA renegotiation process is under way and the country is still rebuilding after September’s twin devastating earthquakes.

Krauze concluded that “there is no place for ambiguities or shadows” in an AMLO presidency and that “the world knows very well what happened last time a country laughed off the possibility of Russian interference in a democratic process.”

Mexico will go to the polls to elect a new president on July 1.

José Antonio Meade, representing the incumbent PRI, and Ricardo Anaya for a National Action Party (PAN)-led coalition look set to join López Obrador of the National Regeneration Movement, or Morena, on the ballot.

Source: The Washington Post (en), El Universal (sp)

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  • Mike S

    Seriously doubt if Putin is that interested in promoting ALMO in Mx election. The US and NATO member elections, yes- but not much to gain picking a winner in Mx. But they certainly are capable. Putin had high motivations for getting Trump elected:

    First Putin had a big grudge against Hillary. Putin term-limited out of the Russian presidency after 2 four-year terms as per the Russian constitution. Putin promoted a stand-in puppet in his place (Medvedev) who then appointed him Prime Minister which in Russia is more like our Sec of State job. During the 4 years Medvedev was the stand-in president, Putin manipulated the duma to change the constitution and get rid of term limits. Hillary cried foul and when he ran in 2012, she strongly spoke out against his re-election. Putin held a real grudge against her for that and did everything he could to ruin her 2016 presidential bid. Putin will probably stay in power for 36 years when all is said and done. His opposition seem to have untimely deaths.

    Russia is the world’s biggest oil and gas producer. Putin is scared to death of green/clean/renewable energy. Trump called climate change a hoax and campaigned for fossil fuels…all music to Putin’s ears. Trump campaigned for diminishing NATO- more music to Putin’s ears. Trump approved of Putin’s Syria military adventure- music to Putin’s ears. Trump said little of supporting the Ukraine and even proposed lifting our economic sanctions on Russia over that- more music to Putin’s ears. Trump campaigned of revoking NAFTA and Putin saw that as damaging US economy long-term. Trump regularly praised Putin as a great world leader. And finally, Putin had a tape of Trump with some prostitutes doing perverted things i.e. the perfect blackmail item. Did Trump directly collude with Putin- doubtful but possible. I think Putin was as surprised as Trump over his victory. But boy did his ship come in. Trump has shown little interest in looking into Russian meddling. The Russian are all over social media and internet comment and fake websites and hacking and promoting racial and immigrant rancor.

    • IT-Worker-Since-1990

      Putin’s goal is to undermine any and all democratic election processes. Mexico qualifies.

      • Mike S

        Putin’s goal is to undermine his chief rivals and that would be the US first, and our NATO democratic allies second. He see fostering racial divisions and bigotry in the US as part of that goal. He sees stresses between our allies as lessening our role on the world stage and benefiting Russia. He knows that democracies with strong freedom of speech guarantees are very vulnerable to covert conspiracy theories and mis-information that can play on fears and set sub-groups in a diverse society against one another. The best antidote is an educated society of critical thinkers. Sadly too many Americans are gullible and don’t have those skills. So yes in a way countries that promote democracy and freedom of speech are a threat to his autocratic leadership model. We seem to have a president who resonates with Putin’s world view.. I don’t think Mexico is very high on his target list and AMLO is no Trump. Maybe he thinks an AMLO election would worsen relations between MX and the US and hurt both economies? Kind of a reach but something worth watching. The old KGB officer is a chess player.

        • IT-Worker-Since-1990

          They have already interfered with elections in 27 countries since 2004. Search for “Alleged Russian political meddling documented in 27 countries since 2004” and you will get an idea of what we know. While it is “alleged”, I can tell you from experience working in IT security for the US government that it is true.

          Russia is pushing wedges throughout the world between countries to increase instability. This will enable them to be perceived as the “strong” country and be turned to for help. Further, the divides it creates with these actions will undermine the faith people have in their country’s elections. Lack of faith in elections leads to autocratic governments.

          • Mike S

            I certainly agree with all that. What’s troubling is Trump’s seemingly indifference toward mounting a robust defense against Russian meddling. We don’t want to go on witch-hunts but we need to get a handle on this pronto.

          • GOPerson

            Maybe Trump is working on exposes Obama’s meddling in different countries elections and the 2016 election. Ditto, Hillary.

          • Mike S

            Well, the Trump cult knows for sure 3 million illegal aliens voted for Hillary, Obama wire tapped Trump’s condo, Obama was born in Kenya, and Trump has brought back thousands of coal mining jobs. You sound very informed- you must follow, Hannity, Limbaugh, and Alex Jones.

          • GOPerson

            I do not have cable so no Fox News, can’t get Limbaugh on computer and who is Alex Jones?

          • Mike S

            Alex Jones is Trump’s good friend who has a radio talk show out of Texas that mostly spouts absurd conspiracy theories. He is similar to Michael Savage but more successful. The guy would be an utter joke if it weren’t that the hard-right in this country believe in his unhinged delusions. He is an inspiration to Sean Hannity. Trump believes half his fantasies. A truly mentally disturbed man but a popular political right-wing pundit.

          • IT-Worker-Since-1990

            I used to work for the Federal Government in IT Security and know the answer of why we haven’t provided proof of what Russia has done; it has to do with capabilities. When you have to use a “national intelligence means” as evidence, you can compromise the source. The question becomes is the source more important than the intelligence it gathers.

            I know for a FACT that we had caught a spy. He gave a foreign government plans to a nuclear weapon warhead. The method that enabled to gain the intelligence was felt to be more critical than the loss of an obsolete weapon design. The guy walked.

            Enter Snowden. The media releases a few slides Snowden gave them but not all because some of the others give just too much information in their eyes.

            Now it is time to put on your thinking cap.

            I will give you a hint on how to figure out what we have, how we got it and what it probably means by citing public sources to review. This is to avoid breaking any national security laws I have to abide.

            Look up “Project ECHELON” on Google. You will find it was a late 1960s effort to monitor all communications coming out of Warsaw Pact countries. Look at the information that Project ECHELON gathered, the types of sources it was able to monitor and the capabilities.

            Next, look at the Snowden slides paying close attention to the maps and places things took place. Look at where the main points of surveillance took place, what kind of data was “skimmed” and how big of a data channel it was connected. Think to about what a “man in the middle” attack would be. Man in the middle attacks get keystroke by the keystroke information on any data that crosses its path.

            Finally, read the story about the “Utah Data Center” by Wired Magazine. Look at the visualizations and think of them in regards to the Snowden slides and Project ECHELON. In the Utah Data Center article, it states that the total storage capabilities of the center is 10 times that of what is currently used on the Internet. The visuals also show direct connections between the data center and some of the fastest supercomputers in the world. It also shows connections to the main “pipes” of the Internet that Snowden says the NSA was able to “bug”.

            What kind of data could have been captured? Would the government wish to release the information? The final person in the chain of command on whether something is classified or not is the President. Would he want what we found released to the public?

          • Mike S

            That’s all fine and interesting for the people in the intelligence community. My understanding of the Russian election meddling is a little different. Putin put together a group of hundreds of full-time internet trolls in Moscow who studied American politics and the fissures in American society like race, religion, gun control, wealth inequality, immigration, abortion, homosexuality…all the hot-button issues. They also understood all the right-wing conspiracies floating around about the Clintons.. These trolls then worked 24-7 to discredit Hillary and create rancor and division in the American electorate by using Facebook, twitter, and comment sections like this one to spread their poison. Hacking the DNC and turning that embarrassing information over to Snowden to slowly leak out was child’s play. They likely covertly sent money to many anti-Clinton conservative organizations like the NRA. In short, they did everything they could to elect Trump and spread confusion and fear in the electorate. The 3 primary American intelligence agencies back this up. How effective it was is hard to determine. But if Hillary won the popular vote by 3 million and Trump won the electoral college by 50,000 votes out of 13 million in just 3 states…it looks like that might have been the difference in the election. We need to strongly counter this type of meddling.

          • IT-Worker-Since-1990

            Yes, we have what you described – keystroke for keystroke. We also have the hacking conducted by Fancy and Cozy Bear groups on the SVR’s behalf. Again, keystroke for keystroke.

      • DreadFool

        silly you, Mexico elections are a Monex affair, in case you were asleep since _1990

        • IT-Worker-Since-1990

          I understand that fully. Russia can still work on influencing the elections via planting stories that place a target on their intended victim. They can also put monies into the hands of selected individuals that will enable help destabilize the country.

          • DreadFool

            Mexico has been destabilizing itself since it’s foundation, the Russia phobia is out of control, let’s buy into more important conspiracies, like neo-colonialism and vaticanism, for example…

    • GOPerson

      All BS.

  • el Gallinazo

    Since Mr. Krause wrote his article in the Washington Post, which is essentially Mr. Besos’ personal blog, Mr. Krause is obviously a tool of the USA by the same standard he used in his article, and should not be taken seriously. Mr. Besos’ Amazon only reports a profit due to the contribution to his books by the CIA for computing services, amounting to USD 500 million per year.

  • Güerito

    Here’s John Ackerman’s response to the delusional speculations from Trump’s NSA Chief and those in the government paid (PRI) Mexican media lapping it up:

    “I conclude by pointing out that if Putin were really interested in intervening in the Mexican elections in order “to weaken the West and to discredit democracy,” he would not support López Obrador, but the sitting authoritarian regime led by President Enrique Peña Nieto. As I have documented elsewhere, over the last five years Peña Nieto has sunk Mexican institutions, destroyed democracy, and allied with Donald Trump.

    If Russia really wanted to create chaos south of the Rio Grande, the best strategy would be to support Peña Nieto in his bid to impose his successor, José Antonio Meade, by any means necessary, not by supporting López Obrador´s struggle for free and fair elections.”


    León Krauze’s opinion piece is properly ridiculed here:

    “Mexican news anchor León Krauze, who started his career as a sports journalist and has written four books on the history of Mexican football, has taken upon himself the duty of spreading these claims uncritically.

    Mexican intellectual, Marco Cancino, head of Mexico City-based consultancy Inteligencia Pública, called McMaster’s assertion “just speculation […] The point is that Washington hasn’t provided any solid proof for this.” It’s a sad state of affairs when intellectuals are having to point out to their peers what should be obvious to everyone.

    Mexican media asked Marco Baños, a representative of Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE), how likely it is that Russia could ‘hack’ the election. The reply was that, in terms of information technology, it was extremely unlikely. Regarding the possibility of either a cybernetic attack or propaganda messages: “In all honesty, we do not have any evidence that any of the presidential candidates are receiving this type of support.”

    This directly contradicts Krauze’s contention that “even the INE” is aware of Russia’s meddling in Mexico, although “(for now) they are not talking much about it.” Was he implying ‘insider knowledge’ that they would soon be induced to talk about it?

    As a Mexican, I find McMaster, Ghitis and Krauze’s assertions comical because Mexicans don’t need help from abroad when it comes to ‘interfering’ in Mexican elections. Historically, most if not all of presidential elections have suffered from some degree of fraudulent practice in favor of the incumbent party, the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI).


    See also:

    How to Hack an Election: Andrés Sepúlveda rigged elections throughout Latin America for almost a decade. He tells his story for the first time:


    (how Latin American right wing hacker team aided EPN in 2012 presidential campaign)

    JJ Rendón Is Violating The Mexican Constitution and Election Laws:


    (how Mexican based Venezuelan PR guru is currently aiding PRI in attacking AMLO)

  • BB

    So many people with opinions on what Putin’s philosophy is.

  • Patsy Lowe

    Krauze lives in Los Angeles and I think he is taking a page out of Hillary Clinton and Obama’s playbook, indulging in the new McCarthyism regarding Russia. Leon’s mother is a Polish born Jew. When there was trouble in Venezuela there was a Jew in the woodplie. zionist Jews are interested in world wide disorder.