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domingo, julio 16, 2006

Mexico Week In Review: 07.10-07.16 (selected notes)




(This posting includes the above listed entries, click here to view the full review)

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 view newsletter archives, click here.

"Para Todos, Todo; Para Nosotros Nada"


Claiming fraud robbed him of the presidency, leftist candidate Andres
Manuel Lopez Obrador led hundreds of thousands of marchers through
Mexico's capital Sunday (07/16), demanding a full recount in the
disputed election apparently won by his conservative opponent. The
Roman Catholic Church canceled Mass at the downtown cathedral as
protesters overwhelmed the massive central plaza and spilled for
blocks down nearby streets. Bands played, firecrackers boomed and the
leftist party's yellow banners waved in the breeze. Police officials
from the pro-Lopez Obrador city government said many as 900,000
people took part. On the ground, the crowd appeared to be much
smaller, though still vast.

Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor, is demanding a full
recount of the July 2 election -- vote by vote, rather than relying
on polling-place reports from election night, as is usual. "To defend
democracy, we are going to be begin peaceful civil resistance," a
stern-faced Lopez Obrador told cheering supporters.

In official returns, Felipe Calderon of President Vicente Fox's
conservative National Action Party led by about 244,000 votes -- just
0.6 percentage point -- though by law, he cannot be declared
president-elect until an electoral court deals with challenges to the
election. Lopez Obrador's Democratic Revolution Party has appealed to
overturn the official count, alleging illicit government and
corporate help for Calderon, ballot stuffing and other
irregularities. National Action has also filed its own challenges,
seeking to stretch Calderon's tiny vote advantage. Calderon say there
is no legal basis for a complete recount. He is building a transition
team and planning a nationwide victory tour.

A carnival atmosphere prevailed Sunday, with grandmothers dancing to
the beat of hand-held drums, teenagers tossing firecrackers and a
naked bicyclist with anti-fraud messages painted on his body weaving
through the crowd. Chants of "Hold on, Lopez Obrador, the people are
rising up!" echoed from the crowd. Dogs wore yellow and black scarfs
representing the leftist party. Lopez Obrador supporters compared the
vote to the fraud-stained 1988 election lost by leftist candidate
Cuauhtemoc Cardenas and said they were ready for a long struggle. "We
could be here six more years," said Xochitl Luna, a 43-year-old
unemployed secretary, referring to Mexico's presidential term. "In
1988 we were ready to take up sticks and stones," she said. "Today we
are prepared to fight with ideas."

Some marchers called for boycotts of American products, claiming U.S.
multinationals illegally helped financed the ruling party candidate's
campaign. Fox ended the Institutional Revolutionary Party's 71-year
stranglehold on the presidency in the 2000 election and top Lopez
Obrador adviser Ricardo Monreal said the July 2 election means that
Mexico's fledging democracy is already faltering. "If another abuse,
another (electoral) theft is confirmed," he said, "Mexico will never
have clean elections again."

Despite calls for peaceful demonstrations, Lopez Obrador adviser
Manuel Camacho said the country might be ungovernable if the Federal
Electoral Tribunal -- which has until August 31 to review appeals
alleging fraud -- doesn't order a total recount. Lopez Obrador has
promised to keep convening massive marches until a vote-by-vote tally
becomes a reality. "We will go to many more protests. We will never
tire," said housewife Judith Lopez, who took a six-hour bus ride from
the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz to march.

Support for the former mayor has reached cult-like proportions in the
capital, with devoted followers lighting votive candles outside his
campaign headquarters to keep his presidency hopes alive. "He is the
most marvelous man in the world," said Eugenia Leal, a 70-year-old
retired school teacher who collects a pension thanks to a city
program instituted by Lopez Obrador. "I'm willing to follow him from
here to the death, or wherever he orders." The dispute threatens to
further divide Mexico along geographic and class lines. Lopez Obrador
won in the mainly poor southern states, while Calderon swept most of
the more-affluent north and northwest. Lopez Obrador may never
recognize Calderon as a legitimate president, setting up six years of
sparring and protests that could threaten Mexico's political and
economic stability. The stock market and currency have swung widely
in recent weeks amid the electoral uncertainty.

Source: Associated Press: 07/16


Marking their completion of 10 ten years in prison, the two accused
Zapatista collaborators being held at the state prison in Tacotalpa,
Tabasco, began an indefinite hunger strike July 10 to demand their
liberation. The prisoners, Angel Concepcion Perez Vazquez and
Francisco Perez Gutierrez, say they are also demanding the release of
the peasant protesters detained in May at the village of San Salvador
Atenco in Mexico state, and all political prisoners in the nation of
Mexico. A group of Chol Maya campesinos have also launched a
permanent vigil outside the prison in support of the prisoners.
Release of the Zapatista political prisoners is a key demand of the
Zapatista National Liberation Army.

On the first day of the vigil outside the prison, the peaceful
protesters were threatened and harassed by a group of obviously
drunken men who were said to work for the Tacotalpa municipal
government, who hurled verbal abuse such as "a chingar a su madre
zapatistas, aqui manda el PRI" ("rape your Zapatista mothers, here
the PRI rules"--a reference to the Institutional Revolutionary Party
political machine that still holds power in the state).

Source: 07/13


Tequila may have blurred the memory of many a drinker, but the Agave
fields that produce it won't soon be forgotten after UNESCO put them
on its list of World Heritage sites. Residents of Mexico's
mountainous Jalisco state toasted the addition of their blue-tinged,
Tequila-producing Agave landscape to the list of places "considered
to be of outstanding value to humanity," in the words of the UN
cultural agency's Web site. "We are very emotional," said Yadira
Gaytan, the assistant mayor of the town of Tequila in Jalisco state.
"There is a lot of joy among people here because we have been waiting
for this for a long time."

The cactus-like Agave plant, which is native to the area, is grown in
abundance around Tequila to meet the world's thirst for the fiery
liquor. The sprawling blue fields make for an impressive spectacle,
even from overflying passenger jets. Located about 70 kilometers (45
miles) northeast of the city of Guadalajara, the town of Tequila is
packed with breweries and cantinas, and most of its 60,000 residents
work in the spirits industry or in its spillover tourism sector.
Gaytan predicted that being a World Heritage site would bring more
visitors and investment to the region.

Source: Associated Press: 07/13


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: 07.10-07.16

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