We are mobilizing to Mexico. Here’s why.

The Progressive International dispatches a high-level delegation to Mexico City amid rising threats of interference in Sunday’s presidential election.
At the invitation of the National Electoral Institute (INE), the Progressive International will dispatch a high-level delegation to Mexico this week to observe Sunday’s elections amid a rising threat of external interference in the country’s democratic process.

On 2 June 2024, Mexico will host the largest electoral process in its history. Nearly 100 million Mexicans will vote across the country's 32 states to elect more than 1,000 local legislators, 628 congressional representatives, 18,000 municipal offices, 9 governors, and one president. 

The impact of these elections will not only be felt in every corner of the country. Under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico has become a regional leader on issues such as Colombia’s peace process, Cuba’s embargo, and Central America’s migrant flows. The integrity of Sunday’s election will thus be critical to the future of the entire hemisphere.

In recent weeks, however, the observers from the Observatory of the Progressive International have noted increasing threats to Mexico’s democratic process — raising the alarm that motivates the present observer mission to the country.

The first of these threats relates to the security of the candidates themselves. The present electoral process has been marked by threats, kidnappings and armed attacks by organized crime that have resulted in the assassination of around 40 candidates for public office and the resignation of 500 candidates.

These attacks threaten the basic right of the Mexican people to a free and fair election. Yet they have been amplified in their aftermath by a targeted campaign of disinformation waged by corporate media outlets both domestic and international. These media have accused, without evidence, the government of President López Obrador with orchestrating this violence — despite the fact that the governing MORENA party has registered the highest number of political assassinations since the campaign began.

This campaign of defamation started long before the launch of the formal electoral process. In February, a series of US outlets — including ProPublica and the New York Times — published nearly identical stories that sought to imply a direct connection between the campaign of President López Obrador and financing from the country’s drug cartels, contributing to a rising tide of disinformation across the country.

The threat from traditional media has been matched by an even greater campaign of information manipulation on social media. On the platform X alone, hundreds of thousands of posts from digital bots have been registered from countries like Spain, Argentina, and Colombia that seek to spread disinformation to the Mexican electorate. Evidence suggests that this campaign is connected to entities of the Atlas Network, with a long track record of electoral interference across Latin America. 

The tools deployed by these ‘digital mercenaries’ reach far beyond the realm of media alone. In Mexico’s most recent presidential election in 2018, Israeli software companies deployed malicious software to spy on journalists, activists, and opposition candidates. According to recent revelations by a consortium of investigative outlets, 15,000 Mexican phone numbers were targeted for surveillance between 2016 and 2017, the two crucial years leading up to the 2018 presidential elections.

Today, these insidious tactics to interfere in Mexico’s democratic process combine with outright threats of foreign invasion. In the past year alone, multiple sitting US representatives, senators, governors and presidential candidates have introduced legislation and made formal declarations of their intention to undermine Mexico’s sovereignty with an armed US intervention. These threats contribute to a climate of fear and intimidation that harm the integrity of the present democratic process. 

In the face of these diverse and dangerous attempts to interfere in Sunday’s election, the Progressive International has been invited by INE to bring a high-level delegation to the capital city in order to help safeguard the constitutional right to a free, fair, and transparent electoral process, as voters prepare for the historic possibility of electing the country’s first woman president for six years to come.

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