Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Article excerpt

Mexican Elections Hold a Lesson for US

Regarding "Mexicans Say Si to Real Democracy" (July 8), this vote is indeed historic. It has begun to wipe away the cobwebs that have clouded Mexico's electoral process for the past century. As a group that has organized international observers to monitor Mexico's elections for several years, we'd like to pay tribute to the unsung heroes in this victory: the hundreds of civic organizations, such as the Citizens' Movement for Democracy and the Civic Alliance, that have worked tirelessly to rid the system of corruption and level the playing field.

These groups and the tens of thousands of citizens they mobilized took great personal risks to monitor past elections and denounce the countless examples of fraud they uncovered. They fought for an end to the partisan nature of the Federal Electoral Institute that oversees the elections. They demanded more equal access to TV and radio - outlets previously monopolized by the ruling PRI. They led campaigns to advise voters of their rights to a free and secret ballot. Their persistence has paid off. We in the United States have much to learn from these citizen groups. We have let our own system become hijacked by monied interests. We have allowed our campaigns to become superficial media shows instead of intense debates at all levels of society. It is no wonder that millions of Americans are so cynical or uninterested that they don't even bother to vote! After decades of deriding Mexico for its electoral charades, it's time we learned from our neighbors how to take back the reins of democracy. Like the Mexicans, we must build a strong grassroots network of citizen groups to get money out of politics, use the airwaves to educate, not entertain, and create an atmosphere in which a true multiparty system can flourish. Medea Benjamin San Francisco Director, Global Exchange Effect of NATO expansion Regarding the opinion-page article "Going to War Over Warsaw" (July 3): No matter what commitments the US government makes now, it is not likely in the future to engage in a war that would be against its own national interests. …

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