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viernes, julio 28, 2006

Mexico Week In Review: 07.24-07.30


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, visit:

"Para Todos, Todo; Para Nosotros Nada"

NOTE: The newsletter will not be published next week. We will return
to normal publishing on August 6. --.ed


Federal officials have quietly closed a three-year inquiry into the
rape-strangulation of 14 women and teenagers in the border city of
Juarez, leaving relatives with little hope the killings will ever be
solved. The federal Attorney General's Office intervened in 2003,
promising it would try to solve cases plagued for years by
allegations of state police corruption and incompetence. Federal
prosecutors privately returned the cases to state authorities in June
because they didn't find evidence of a federal crime, according to
the Chihuahua state prosecutor's office. The federal Attorney
General's Office didn't respond to repeated requests from The
Associated Press for comment.

The victims' families weren't told the investigation had been closed;
they read it in the local newspaper. "It fills me with rage, with a
feeling of impotence, because they never investigated anything," said
Josefina Gonzalez, whose 20-year-old daughter's remains were found
with those of seven other young women in 2001. In addition to those
eight killings, federal authorities also dropped investigations into
the slayings of six teenagers, aged 15 to 18. They were among about
100 young women who were sexually assaulted, strangled and dumped in
the desert outside Juarez since 1993.

Relatives of the victims have long demanded President Vicente Fox do
more to solve the killings in the city of about 1.3 million people
across the border from El Paso, Texas. Police made many arrests, but
the killings continued. Movie stars like Jane Fonda and Sally Field
took part in a 2004 protest to demand justice for the victims. The
killings also inspired two as-yet-unreleased movies, including one
starring Jennifer Lopez. Over the years, police have suspected a
serial killer, gangs or even organ-smugglers in the deaths. But no
strong evidence has emerged to support the theories.

In Mexico, murder is a state, not a federal crime. But after the
victims' relatives said state investigators were inept and corrupt,
federal officials jumped into the investigation of the 14 killings in
2003 to see if there was evidence of a federal offense, such as organ
trafficking or organized crime. The federal government's involvement
in the 14 cases failed to pacify critics, leading Fox to establish a
Juarez-based special prosecutor's office in January 2004 to monitor
all investigations into the killings and look for possible gaps.
Guadalupe Lopez Urbina, the first special federal prosecutor assigned
to Juarez, recommended criminal charges against dozens of current and
former law enforcement officers for alleged negligence in handling
the cases. However, only two state investigators were charged with
negligence, and a judge later threw out the cases.

State officials claimed they solve the majority of female homicides,
but contended they lack the resources and training to deal with these
killings, which appeared related to one another. "In these cases, it
is evident that state authorities were incapable and unwilling to
provide justice," said Eric Olson, a Latin America expert at Amnesty
International USA. "It is then the federal authorities' obligation to
provide safety, security and justice for their citizens."

In January, the Attorney General's Office created a national
prosecutor for crimes against women headquartered in Mexico City. The
Juarez office became one of three regional offices. The same day the
national office was announced, federal authorities released a final
report saying the slayings of women in Juarez were not serial
killings and that the city was not even the most dangerous in Mexico
in terms of the killings of women. Critics say the Fox administration
is apparently washing its hands of the matter. "At this point our
best bet is to look for international justice," said Marisela Ortiz
of Bring Our Daughters Home, a group of victims' relatives. The
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights agreed in March to
investigate allegations that state officials planted evidence and
failed to go after the real killers. "We're back to square one, but I
no longer believe the killers will ever be found," said Gonzalez, one
of three mothers who filed the accusations with the commission. "If
there is no justice here, there will be divine justice."

Source: Associated Press: 07/25


Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), who lost the vote count to
conservative rival Felipe Calderon by a tiny margin, said in a
television interview that a rally on Sunday in Mexico City would show
his backers have the energy to keep up protests. "I am already
president. I won the presidential election. I am president of Mexico
by the will of the majority of Mexicans," Lopez Obrador told
Univision's "Here and Now" show, scheduled to be aired on Thursday.
"I think the people will not tire," he added. "We are going to beat
(our opponents) because the people are on our side."

AMLO, whose fraud allegations are being examined by Mexico's
electoral court, has torn into Calderon in countless interviews in
recent days. His rival has opted to keep a lower profile and set
about preparing his presidency. Despite strong rhetoric about a
"dirty war" against him, Lopez Obrador has kept protest rallies by
his backers peaceful. This week, supporters protested in the lobby of
an upscale hotel and lit hundreds of candles in the Zocalo square.
AMLO plans to announce a civil resistance campaign at a rally in
central Mexico City on Sunday as the next step in pushing for a
vote-by-vote recount. "We are not going to sit here with our arms
folded," he said in an advance copy of the interview made available
to Reuters.

Asked whether civil disobedience could include blocking roads and
taking over Mexico's international airports or highways, Lopez
Obrador said: "Everything that could mean civil resistance.
Everything that could mean defending the vote, defending democracy.
The limit is nonviolence."

Financial markets, which are rooting for Calderon to be president,
are keeping a close watch on tensions in Mexico, which slid into
political crisis when Lopez Obrador contested the ruling party
candidate's 0.58 percentage point win. Lopez Obrador says vote counts
were manipulated at some 72,000 of the country's roughly 130,000
polling stations. He told Univision that tally sheets included some
1.5 million votes that were not backed up by voting slips. He said
President Vicente Fox and Calderon were behind the fraud, as well as
"bandits" within the IFE electoral institute that ran the election.
"President Fox has been saying openly for two or three years to
anyone who will listen that there is no way I am going to be
president. He had a hand in everything," he said.

Lopez Obrador is a former Indian rights activist who blocked oil
wells in his home state of Tabasco to protest pollution and who led a
560-mile (900-km) march to Mexico City after losing what he said was
a rigged state election in 1994. This week, he wrote to Calderon and
challenged him to agree to a vote-by-vote recount that both would
respect. Calderon rejected the offer, insisting the election was

Source: Reuters: 07/26


Gunmen attacked Oaxaca's university radio station, authorities said,
the latest incident in a wave of confrontations and protests that
have driven many tourists out of this historic Mexican city.
Assailants fired rounds into the station's windows while it was
on-air, the Oaxaca state government said. Nobody was hurt in the
attack. Witnesses said the attack was carried out by at least 10
masked assailants.

The station has supported a wave of protests aimed at ousting Gov.
Ulises Ruiz, who is accused of rigging the 2004 election to win
office and of violently repressing dissent. Teachers union head
Enrique Rueda, one of the protest leaders, accused Ruiz of being
behind the attack. "[Ruiz] has always responded to popular protests
with aggression, threats, repression and authoritarianism," Rueda
said. However, Ruiz's office condemned the attack and said the state
government was trying to negotiate with the protesters.

Dozens of protesters, including teachers, students and leftist
activists, guarded the station armed with sticks and stones. The
protests erupted in late June after police attacked a demonstration
of striking teachers looking for a wage increase. Since then,
thousands of demonstrators have camped out in the center of Oaxaca,
spraying buildings with revolutionary slogans, smashing hotel windows
and building makeshift barricades. The protests have paralyzed one of
Mexico's top cultural tourist attractions, where visitors normally
browse traditional markets for Indian handicrafts, hike ancient
pyramids and stroll along cobblestone streets to sample mole dishes.
Tourism is down 75%, costing the city more than $45 million,
according to the Mexican Employers Federation. Business leaders have
asked the federal government to intervene.

Source: Associated Press: 07/24


The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and the narco-traffic
in Chiapas "are factors that affect the national security," says an
internal document of Superior Center of Naval Studies (CESNAV) of the
Secretary of the Navy. Developed for students of national security,
high command and officers of the Navy of Mexico with the
participation of officials with the rank of captain of the Navy,
colonels of the Army and high-level functionaries of the secretariats
of Exterior Relations, Government, Communications and Transport and
the Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN) the paper
warned that the state of Chiapas confronts "threats and weaknesses"
that affect not only that entity but the entire country.

Contrasting the frequent assurances from President Vicente Fox that
"the issue of the EZLN is practically a thing of the past" and that
stability and the rule of law have been secured, the course
participants were told, "the isolation of the EZLN is a factor of
tension and violence." The material, developed last May is the result
of a visit to Chiapas, at the beginning of this year, where the
governor of the entity, Pablo Salazar Mendiguchia, the commanders of
the military zones and region, as well as the commanders of the Naval
bases in the state, were all interviewed.

[T] he document, obtained by La Jornada, outlines several threats to
the "social filed," such as: "The absence of a solution to the
problem of the EZLN could give rise to a new conflict; the
possibility exists that the EZLN intends to obtain resources via its
links to organized crime, and the recognition that the foreign factor
influences in great or small part the rest of the indigenous

With respect to the "military field", the analysis affirms that the
operations of the armed forces in the terrain has been characterized
"by the exercise of the rule of law and cooperation with national
institutions in the struggle against new threats to the national
security particularly the narcotraffic, organized crime and illegal
migration) and support of the civil population in cases of disaster."
Nonetheless, the document takes note of "weaknesses" to the military.

It notes that the equipment of the armed forces "is insufficient and
inadequate" due to lack of resources to obtain equipment of the
quality and quantity needed "in comparison to that available to the
narco-traffickers." It states "the majority of the operations that
have been realized in support of the Prosecutor General of the
Republic (PGR), the National Institute of Migration (INM) and the
Public Security" have caused a "diminution of personnel en operations
stipulated to the armed forces by the Constitution."

It asserts that while "the EZLN and the narcotraffic in the region
are factors that affect that national security, so are meteorological
phenomena which are periodically presented and cause damages to the
civil population, such as occurred with Hurricane Stan." Taking stock
of the fundamental themes underlying the social problems, the text
indicates that "the inequality between indigenous and urban
populations; the increased in organized delinquency thanks to the
growing presence of Maras Salvatrucha (gangs made up largely of
Central American immigrants), as well as the impacts of
meteorological phenomena," generate particular problems.

In this context, the future commanders of the Navy of Mexico and the
civil functionaries of the federal government are forewarned that
"foreign groups could use the violation of human rights in the state
of Chiapas as an argument for interference."

Source: La Jornada: 07/24

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: 07.24-07.30

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