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101.44, According to ancient Mayan texts, we are approaching the end of the 13-year “period of darkness” between the end of the Mayan Fifth Sun and the beginning of the uncertain Sixth, an interim during which dramatic realignments of consciousness will, or will not, prepare mankind for a golden age. I reported the presidential election in 2000, which saw the historic win by Vicente Fox and the National Action Party, or PAN. Many young Mexicans brimmed with hope after the PRI was toppled. Older Mexicans were more cautious, and more cynical. “The rich always get richer, and we stay poor no matter who wins,” an old man who shined shoes in the Reynosa Plaza told me. Being young myself at the time, I shared the younger generation’s enthusiasm and hoped it meant that new leadership would finally begin addressing Mexico’s endemic corruption and crushing poverty. Almost a decade later, the old PRI party bosses are back with a new slogan: “Proven experience, new attitude.” The most likely hope for reform, the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, had its worst showing in 18 years. Three years ago, PRD candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador nearly won the presidency. Many Mexicans still attribute his loss to PAN candidate Felipe Calderon to election fraud. Since then AMLO, as many Mexicans refer to Obrador, has traveled the countryside preaching to loyalists, but offering few workable solutions for the myriad problems facing his country. The PRI’s most recent sweeping win shocked President Calderon’s PAN party and the PRDa shock that still ripples through the countryside. In the small town of Teportlan, an hour west of Mexico City, the PRD lost the mayor’s race for the first time since the PRI was toppled in 2000. Political activists from the PRD and other parties have united in opposition to victorious PRI candidate Gabino Rios Cedillo. On a recent Sunday morning, cars mounted with loudspeakers circulated through Teportlan encouraging citizens to rise up against Rios. One commonly aired accusation is that Rios paid voters from 500 to 1,500 pesos \(approximately $50 to $150 in U.S. dolRios, the owner of a construction supply store, is also rumored to have provided roofing materials to the most impoverished voters \(only to take them The losing PRD candidate, Jose Maria Medina Bocanegra, alleged that ballot boxes had been tampered with and that some valid ballots had not been counted. The PRD and other parties asked the federal election committee for a recount. “We are asking the government for a clean election this time,” Medina told me. Medina said he would like to see peaceful change, but many are too angry to watch and wait while the slow wheels of Mexican bureaucracy turn. I decided to return to my friend’s mystical explanation for Mexico’s problems. According to the ancient Mayan texts, Mexico and the rest of us are transitioning between worlds. The post-2012 world of the Sixth Sun is up for grabs. It could amount to apocalypse or a huge leap forward. Either way, it will be, the prophecies say, no more and no less than what we choose, now, to make of it. AUGUST 21, 2009 TEXASOBSERVER.ORG 31