Mexico: US ignores violence, protests and endorses vote

Protesters against electoral fraud pick ballots up off the ground.

The US government issued a congratulatory statement on June 9, praising the Mexican people after June 7 elections, despite large protests and boycotts held by activists and teacher unions across the nation.

The elections were marked by violence, but the US Department of State considered the process democratic, saying: “We congratulate the people of Mexico for exercising its democratic right to vote and choosing its leaders.”

The congratulation comes despite an emergency warning issued by the US embassy in Mexico to its citizens four days before the vote. The warning said: “Mexican elections are scheduled for Sunday, June 7 … Demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Protesters may block traffic on roads, including major thoroughfares, or take control of toll booths on highways.”

Several people were killed before and during the electoral process, and more than 180 people were arrested in connection to fraudulent practices, violence or disrupting the polls.

In the south-western state of Oaxaca, tensions continued on June 8. Protesting teachers released a video showing the clashes with police on election day. Human rights groups reported local teacher Sandra Danielle Herrera had been forcefully disappeared by the police in Oaxaca. Relatives and friends reported Herrera had called them from a local police station before losing contact completely with her.

Meanwhile, relatives of a teacher killed on election day by federal police are blaming the government for his death and are demanding justice.

The US Embassy had explicitly expressed its concern over the situation in Oaxaca in its emergency warning. About 10,000 US citizens live in or visit the state every year.

“Protesters have reportedly taken control of a gasoline distribution centre and gas stations in Oaxaca, which is currently causing a fuel shortage for private vehicles,” it said as protests against the elections were held throughout the state.

Activists and social movements demanded the suspension of the elections in their various states, saying that links between local authorities and drug cartels would not allow a legitimate result. Oaxaca was one of the most affected during Sunday's election, with the Mexican military taking control over the city.

The Obama administration has consistently backed the Mexican government headed by President Enrique Pena Nieto. “It's time to recognise new realities, including the impressive progress in today's Mexico," Obama said during a visit to the country in May.

[Compiled from TeleSUR English.]

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