Twenty-four years after staging a bloody uprising in Chiapas, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) emerged yesterday to offer its support for the indigenous presidential aspirant known as Marichuy.
The Zapatistas’ leader read a pronouncement from the EZLN general command, reiterating the rebel group’s backing for the independent candidacy of María de Jesús Patricio Martínez.
“We will help and we will support the comrade Marichuy with the Indigenous Government Council [CIG],” Subcomandante Moisés declared in front of hundreds of supporters and visitors in the Zapatista community of Oventic, Chiapas.
He urged the CIG to organize a national tour for its spokeswoman in the lead-up to the July 1 election, even if she hasn’t reached the number of signatures required to run as an independent candidate.
“That [Marichuy’s candidacy] is not the fight, that’s not what’s going to organize us. We have to listen to each other, get to know each other and see what path to follow,” the leader said.
Subcomandante Moisés added that since Marichuy had announced her intention to run for president, many people had mocked her and said that “she doesn’t know how to govern.”
He went on to take aim at the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which has long dominated the Mexican political landscape, and the National Action Party (PAN), which governed federally from 2000 to 2012.
“What have the PRI and PAN governments given us? Have they not carried out massacres, frauds and bad decisions?” the rebel leader asked.
He also said that in the 24 years since the EZLN launched its armed revolt — coinciding with the introduction of NAFTA on January 1,1994 — political organizations, activists, leaders and intellectuals had failed to reveal “another way to defeat the system of death and destruction that is capitalism.”
“The Zapatistas are not embarrassed to support Patricio Martínez in her quest to register as an independent candidate for president of Mexico . . .” he declared.
Marichuy as well as other independent candidates, including Margarita Zavala, Jaime “El Bronco” Rodríguez and Armando Ríos Piter, continue to face an uphill battle to reach the required 866,593 signatures of support, including 1% of voters in at least 17 of Mexico’s states.
The newspaper El Universal reported yesterday that Rodríguez had so far only achieved the threshold in five states, Zavala in four and Ríos Piter in just one.
Meanwhile, José Antonio Meade, Ricardo Anaya and Andrés Manuel López Obrador are virtually assured of their places on the July ballot, representing the incumbent PRI, a PAN-led coalition and the Morena Party respectively.
The winner, predicted the Financial Times last Friday, will be Meade.
With the PRI’s well-oiled political machine behind him, Meade “could prove unstoppable” and given Mexico’s one-round-only election system, “30% of the vote might be enough” to secure him the presidency, the newspaper said.
The declared pre-candidate quit as finance secretary in late November and immediately announced that he would seek the presidential nomination for the ruling PRI.
However, the Times did recognize that he faced a difficult task to defeat López Obrador, also known as AMLO, who has consistently led polls, saying “he will have to convince voters that they can trust him after he put up petrol prices by 20% overnight [last] January” in the so-called gasolinazo.
It also said “he will have to reveal himself as his own man, not just a clone of an unpopular government that has failed spectacularly to rein in rampant corruption and crime.”
Meade has remained untainted by corruption scandals that have plagued the Peña Nieto-led administration, and also served as a cabinet-level secretary in the PAN-Felipe Calderón government, raising hopes that he can attract voters from across party lines.
However, if opinion polls are correct, there is still a lot of ground that he will need to make up in the six months before Mexico votes in the only poll that really matters.
A December poll by public opinion firm Parametria placed López Obrador in a commanding lead with 31% of the vote, followed by Meade with 20% and Anaya with 19.