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La Jornada > Cobertura de "La otra campaña"

Nodos Comunes

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Rage One (blog)

lunes, mayo 22, 2006

Mexico Week In Review: 05.15-05.21 (ATENCO)

Mexico Week In Review: 05.15-05.21

Published since 1994, 'Mexico Week In Review' is a service of the
Committee of Indigenous Solidarity (CIS).  CIS is a Washington, D.C.
based activist group committed to the ongoing struggles of Indigenous
peoples in the Americas.  CIS is actively supporting the struggles
of the Indigenous peoples of Mexico while simultaneously combating
related structures of oppression within our own communities.

To request free searches of our news archive or to contact us
directly, write:

"Para Todos, Todo; Para Nosotros Nada"


On May 3, 4 and 5, a wave of police repression targeted a group of flower sellers in a local market in Texcoco Mexico, a community group that supports them and residents and bystanders. The flower sellers refused to move from the market. The police then brutally attacked in overwhelming numbers. As a result, one 14-years-old child was killed, one young university student is in critical condition, dozens of people are injured, hundreds are arrested and an unspecified number of people have disappeared.

All the detainees have denounced torture and abuses. Arrested women between 20 and 50 years old were brutally raped and tortured. Two weeks later, detainees have not had medical attention. Foreign students and observers were abused and illegally deported. Private property were stolen and intentionally destroyed by the police. The local and federal government have maintained a media campaign of misinformation in order to vilify the opponents, justify the repression and deny the torture, sexual abuses and rapes.

Families, friends, human rights activists and supporters of the jailed victims have held a series of demonstrations in several parts of the country and have denounced anonymous threats and intimidation from the government.

Italia Mendez, age 27
I was arrested in a private house in San Salvador Atenco, raided by the Federal Preventive Police. They stripped me of all my belongings and money. They forced me against the wall with my hands at the nape of my neck, struck my head with the nightstick. They held me up and in front of a camera they questioned me about my political affiliation, my address, my name and the names of my immediate family members. Subsequently I was taken from the house and seated on the sidewalk. There were many more people around me. I had to cover my head and face with my sweater, as they struck me repeatedly on the head with clubs and kicks in the buttocks and back. They caused a six-centimeter head injury.

"Minutes later they made me walk between two rows of police officers escorting the bus in which they would transfer us. They went on beating me all the way to the bus and inside there were many handcuffed people with their heads covered, stacked on top of each other. They placed me on top of the pile and later they dragged me toward the rear seat, there a policeman put his hand inside my blouse and he tore my brassier. Immediately, he put his hand inside my pants and he tore my panties s. I found myself on my stomach with my face covered, they pulled my pants down to the ankles and my blouse over my head. They hit my buttocks hard, shouting at me that they were going to rape me and kill me.

"Then a policeman shouted at me to call him "cowboy" and he struck my bottom even more violently, but now with his nightstick and he didn't stop until he heard me say what he asked. He then penetrated my vagina with his fingers and squeezed my breasts hard, then violently pinched my nipples. He invited another policeman to do the same and all the while they continued striking me. Later they invited a third person who they called boss, this last one penetrated me with an object and they threatened to rape me (intercourse). They put me above the penis of one of them and he rubbed himself against my buttocks while the other two police officers encouraged him to penetrate me with his penis, but he did not do it. They repeatedly struck me on my breasts and they struck m y stomach while they kissed me on the mouth. How I resisted! The punches were so hard that I would open my mouth so the policeman could put his tongue in my mouth.

"I was naked for the entire journey on top of two more people while a policeman traveled seated on my back and head. Until we arrived at the prison and they permitted me to dress and I was lowered down off the bus."

Norma Aide Jimenez Osorio, 23
"I was arrested on May 4, 2006, outside of San Salvador Atenco by the Federal Preventive Police. They beat me with a shield to throw me down, and once on the floor two police officers beat me with nightsticks and fists. Then they put me on my feet and made me run even though I had told them that the beating they gave me caused my right leg to fall asleep. They kept on beating me and a third cop joined them, punching me on the back. The others beat me with clubs. All three said they were going to rape me and kill me. They asked me questions and they beat me. The threatened to disappear me and they touched my genitals.

"They put me on a bus and laid me down on the floor telling me not to move, not to speak. My head was covered by my own sweater from the moment they arrested me and there they continued moving me around, they kept threatening to rape and to kill me. They forced me off the bus with punches and kicks and put me on the back of a truck where they beat my thighs without stopping with their nightsticks. My head was still covered, facing down. When I couldn't take it anymore I tried to cover my legs with my hands and they beat my hands until I took them away. Then he put his hand under my underwear and forcefully spread my thighs, sticking his fingers in my anus.

"After more death threats and kicks they took me from that truck back onto the bus, and made me sit in the last row and put my tongue in their mouths. At least four officers squeezed my breasts and pinched my nipples. At least three cops stuck their fingers, many times, in my vagina, while they insulted and beat me. Suddenly many other companeros and companeras began to be put on the bus and I could hear them raping and beating them all. They tortured us all the way until we arrived at the prison, where I had a lot of pain in my hands, on my hip, on my right arm, in my womb and on my legs, but they refused to give me medical attention."

Gabriela Tellez Vanegas, an 18-year-old housewife with two children. was waiting for a bus to take her home.
"The police saw me there and one said to me, "what are you looking at?" And another said, "put her on the bus because she's a loser." They began to hit me and asked my address, age, name; three of them took me aside because they wanted to keep kicking me and beating me with clubs. One of them grabbed my face. He put his fingers in my mouth and in my vagina and forced me to conduct anal sex. I spit his sperm out onto my white sweater. Another cop came and did the same. He grabbed my breasts and said: "This is very good and she's milking, right? Whore of a bitch! They took my photo with my eyes closed.

"Again they made me give oral sex, coming in my mouth and I spit it out on my sweater. A third one came and did the same to me, and I spit it on my sweater. He said that if I wanted him to help me I would have to be his prostitute for a year and he would come see me whenever he wanted to. They took off my sweater, refused to give it back to me. A fourth cop came, he put his hands on my vagina and breasts and wanted me to give him oral sex. Another one came and said, "Not now, man, because we've already arrived." They began to clean my pants and hands and gave me a cigarette to smoke. But I don't smoke or drink. And they took me down, with my eyes closed, to the Santiaguito prison in Almoloya."

To protest this outrage, see]

Source: 05/18


Human rights watchdog Amnesty International expressed concern about reports of police brutality during a violent protest earlier this month outside Mexico City, including allegations that officers raped seven female detainees and sexually abused 16 more. In a news release, Amnesty added pressure to the Mexican government to probe some the strongest accusations of police misconduct to have been made during President Vicente Fox's six-year term. "The investigation should be thorough and transparent, and there needs to be accountability for anybody found responsible for abuse, including those of high rank," the statement said.

Amnesty also expressed its "concern for the safety of 28 people who remain detained," and implored authorities to probe the alleged beatings of dozens of protesters and several journalists during the demonstration. Fox's office has promised justice in the case, and the Mexico State police department, which headed the operation against the protesters, has said it is probing its officers. But women's activists say an internal investigation is not good enough and international groups need to be involved. On Tuesday (05/16), a group of Mexican women's groups filed complaints with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. "How can we expect justice from the same people who carried out the atrocities," said Pilar Muriedas of the Mexican Women's Forum, which represents 20 groups. Among the women who claimed they were sexually abused but not raped were three foreigners -- two Spaniards and a Chilean -- all of whom were deported for allegedly violating the terms of their visas.

Source: Associated Press: 05/18


Mexico and four Central American nations condemned the US plan to build hundreds of miles of triple-layered fencing on its southern border, saying it would not stop illegal immigration. In a joint news conference in Mexico City late Thursday, the foreign ministers of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Mexico said that building barriers was not the way to solve problems between neighboring nations. "The position of Mexico and the other countries is that walls will not make a difference in terms of the solution to the migration problem," said Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez. On Wednesday (05/17), the US Senate approved a proposal to build 370 miles of triple-layer fencing along parts of the 2,000-mile border separating the US and Mexico. The Senate also agreed to give many illegal immigrants a shot at US citizenship.

Guatemalan Foreign Minister Jorge Briz said major immigration reform in the United States was the only way to stop the wave of people heading northward. "All of us are looking for a comprehensive migratory regulation so that millions of Latin Americans can continue working in and supporting the United States economy," Briz said. Earlier Thursday, Mexico's Foreign Relations Department sent a note to the US State Department outlining the nation's concerns about the proposed barrier. Honduran Foreign Minister Milton Jimenez said he expected several South American and Caribbean countries to join Mexico and the Central Americans in issuing a joint declaration on the matter soon.

In December, the US House approved a bill to build a fence about twice as long as the one approved by the Senate. The House plan sparked a wave of criticism from Latin American leaders, with Mexican President Vicente Fox comparing such a barrier to the Berlin Wall. Fox reiterated his criticisms on Thursday. "Building walls, constructing barriers on the border does not offer an efficient solution in a relationship of friends, neighbors and partners," Fox said in the border city of Tijuana. "We will go on defending the rights of our countrymen without rest or respite. With passion we will demand the full respect of their human rights."

On the border with Arizona, bedraggled migrants who had been turned back by the border patrol said that more fences would not keep them from crossing but only make smugglers charge more money for the trip. "I had to leave my three children, walk for three days in the desert, and now I'm here with more debts than ever," said Edith Martinez, a 40-year-old from Oaxaca who walked back over the border bridge to the Mexican town of Nogales. "Now I have to work in the United States to pay my debts from the trip."

Source: Associated Press: 05/19


President Vicente Fox has brought openness to government during his tenure but has failed to resolve lingering human rights problems, an international rights group said. Human Rights Watch applauded Fox's promotion of a freedom-of-information act but said in a report that the president failed carry through on an investigation of so-called "dirty war" crimes and proposals for wide-reaching justice reforms. "Part of the fault lies on President Fox himself," Human Rights Watch Director Ken Roth said at a news conference. "He did not show the presidential leadership that was needed." The group also complained in its report that discussions of human rights have been "totally absent" from the campaigns of the top three presidential contenders.

Mexico's two major human rights problems, the report said, are abuses by law enforcement authorities and the so-called "dirty war" against leftist activists, hundreds of whom were killed, jailed or vanished without a trace in the 1960s and 70s. Presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar later said the government "welcomes the report and reaffirms its conviction and commitment to continue working to respond fully to its observations and suggestions." But he said "we don't share" the report's observations about the "dirty war" crimes investigation. "We believe that we have done the work that we had proposed to do," he said. Special Prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo, appointed in 2002 to lead the investigation, recently completed a final report that has not yet been released. The government announced that his office would be permanently closed after the report's presentation.

According to a leaked draft of the report, the most brutal human rights violations allegedly occurred during the 1970-76 administration of President Luis Echeverria. Carrillo's investigation led to a few arrests but his office has largely failed in its effort to bring government officials responsible for past crimes to justice. Human Rights Watch recommended that instead of closing the office, the government should appoint a "truth commission" to work with it in a continuing investigation. The Human Rights Watch report also said that Mexico's democracy remains "tied by the laws and institutions it inherited from the old regime."

Source: Associated Press: 05/18


Let's get a couple of things straight about the immigration speech President George W. Bush unreeled Monday night from the Oval Office. His address had nothing to do with actual border policy and everything to do with domestic electoral politics.

The real mission of the 6,000 National Guard troops he has called out is to quell the rebellion on the president's right flank, the flaring mutiny of his own conservative base. Indeed, if the president were being honest, the mobilized troops would be taken off the federal payroll and moved onto the books of the 2006 national Republican campaign. They certainly aren't going to be stopping illegal immigration. Most of the Guard will be unarmed. They will be barred from patrolling the border itself, as well as from confronting, apprehending or even guarding the undocumented. The troops will be given solely behind-the-scenes, low profile, mostly invisible tasks of pushing paper, driving vans and manning computers. Bush could have saved the taxpayers a load and sent a few battalions of Boy Scouts to do this job.

I've spent oodles of hours and days on the border over the last five years, having multiple contacts and visits with the Border Patrol, and I've yet to bump into a single one of the 350 National Guard members already deployed on the border. Of course, "sending troops to the border" sounds great - if you are among those who actually believe there is a technological or military fix possible for our busted - out immigration policy. That's what Bush is hoping, at least: that conservatives who are fed up with him, especially on what they see as his failure to stop the human tide of poor people washing across the desert, will be revitalized by the manufactured fantasy of crew-cut, uniformed young Americans standing shoulder-to-shoulder from Yuma to El Paso.

Chances are Bush's border move will be no more successful than his management of the war in Iraq or his response to Katrina. The close-the-border faction of his own party is highly unlikely to accept Monday night's sop. They know, just as the governors of New Mexico and California know, just as local law enforcement on the border knows, that Bush's gesture is but a photo-op political stunt. They want the border closed, period. And their political representatives in the House-the Sensenbrenners and the Tancredos-are showing no signs of softening their resistance to both a guest worker plan and a legalization path for the illegals already here. And even those who bought the get-tough portion of the president's speech also heard him endorse "comprehensive immigration reform" and a "temporary worker program," i.e. precisely the sort of measures scorned and denounced as an "amnesty." So much for placating the right. Likewise, as I wrote before the speech ("Bush Bull: Troops on the Border"), Bush's dispatch of troops-no matter how empty and symbolic-contains enough reality to rankle the more liberal forces in the pro-immigration coalition.

In short, the president has now managed to alienate himself further from his own base as well as from some of his more reluctant and expedient allies on immigration. Heckuvajob, Dubya. Bush's plan may, however, provide short-term benefit to some very nervous and endangered Republican House incumbents, offering them short-term political cover. But the longer-term risk seems enormous. A growing number of Republican strategists know that the Latino vote will loom ever more crucial in deciding which party will command governing majorities. And they are worried that the long-term damage of the president pandering to the anti-immigration forces could be devastating.

What a media spectacle was whipped up, by the way, over this totally forgettable speech. CNN treated the speech with all the gravitas of the launching of a manned mission to Mars, complete with a countdown clock and rolling all-day coverage. With boundless shamelessness, the all-news network ensconced the sputtering Lou Dobbs as one of its color commentators for this artificially constructed event, something akin to having asked George Wallace to objectively narrate the Great March on Washington. I don't fault Dobbs, a modern-day Ted Baxter who has found a lucrative niche as CNN's resident Minuteman. But, please, let us heap industrial amounts of shame on the babbling Wolf Blitzer, who repeatedly deferred to Dobbs as if the latter was the font of all authority on this issue. A phalanx of reporters will now head to the border, seeking to file feature stories on newly arrived Guard members. And one can expect the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense to accommodate the media spoon-feeding. The safe bet, though, is that this speech, in spite of the cable hype, will soon evaporate into the mists of memory.

The truth be told, the totality of Bush's speech was rather reasonable. Stripping away the political theatrics and the empty phrasing, and putting aside the undue emphasis on deployment of the Guard, the president did endorse the sort of bipartisan reforms proposed by a coalition stretching from John McCain and the Chamber of Commerce to Ted Kennedy and the Service Employees International Union. And he called directly on both houses of Congress to finally agree upon and pass a bill that reflects that consensus. Problem is that Bush should have been speaking out forcefully in favor of these moves ever since he raised comprehensive reform as a priority in his 2004 State of the Union speech. Unfortunately, he hid under his desk on this issue for the last two years. Only after the right wing of his base rebelled and only after the pro-immigrant movement blossomed in the streets-that is, only after the White House was completely overtaken by events-did the president act. And as usual, it was too little, too late.

Marc Cooper has reported on international and domestic American politics for dozens of publications, and is Senior Fellow for Border Justice at USC Annenberg's Institute for Justice and Journalism. He is the author of several books, including a memoir about his time as translator for Chile's President Salvador Allende and surviving the 1973 military coup.

Source: 05/15

The above articles were originally published and copyrighted by the listed sources. These articles are offered for educational purposes which CIS maintains is  'fair use' of copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

end: Mexico Week In Review: 05.15-05.21

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