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domingo, septiembre 10, 2006

Mexico Week In Review: 09.04-09.10


Mexico Week In Review: 09.04-09.10

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"


Defeated leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador rejected a
court decision awarding Mexico's presidency to Felipe Calderon,
insisting he will never recognize his rival's legitimacy and vowing
to create a parallel government from the streets. Calderon celebrated
his long-delayed victory by reaching out to the millions of Mexicans
who did not vote for him and calling on his main adversaries,
including Lopez Obrador, to help heal the nation's divisions.

Lopez Obrador's supporters threw trash at the headquarters of
Mexico's Federal Electoral Tribunal, whose seven magistrates voted
unanimously to declare Calderon president-elect. The decision
rejected Lopez Obrador's allegations of systematic fraud and awarded
Calderon the presidency by 233,831 votes - a margin of 0.56 percent.
The ruling cannot be appealed. "I do not recognize someone who tries
to act as the chief federal executive without having a legitimate and
democratic representation," Lopez Obrador told thousands of
supporters in Mexico City's main Zocalo plaza. "To hell with their
institutions," the former Mexico City mayor cried, to raucous
applause and chants of "Felipe, the people don't want you!"

Calderon, a member of outgoing President Vicente Fox's National
Action Party, was to meet with the president to begin planning the
Dec. 1 government handover. Always confident of his eventual victory,
Calderon has been quietly drawing up transition plans since just days
after the July 2 election. Lopez Obrador's supporters have said they
would block the handover. Calderon appeared confident and spoke
forcefully in an appearance before cheering supporters hours after
the court's decision was revealed. His backers pumped their fists in
the air, chanting "Felipe! Felipe!" and a mariachi band regaled him
at the end of his speech.

The 44-year-old former energy secretary and career politician
promised during his campaign to follow his predecessor's free-market,
pro-business policies to create jobs, keep the economy growing and
fight poverty. But his first public speech as president-elect was
dominated by overtures to his opponents, whom he implored to join him
in closing the huge class and political divisions that widened during
the long, nasty electoral campaign and the tense, two-month wait for
the court's ruling. "Being Mexican is always more important than
being a member of a political party," he said, adding that "closing
the door to dialogue is closing the door on Mexico."

Calderon announced three major initiatives aimed in part at winning
over those who didn't vote for him: reducing poverty, fighting crime
and improving the economy. "I want to express my recognition for
those who were my adversaries," he said. "Your proposals, the most
important ones, will be incorporated in the government's agenda. I
invite you to join forces to benefit all of Mexico."

In a late-night interview with Mexico's Televisa television network,
Calderon said he would take his time choosing a Cabinet, announcing
his choices "very likely in the hours close to the swearing-in"
ceremony Dec. 1. "I don't have any plans, at least at this point, to
speed up the naming of the Cabinet," he said, adding that he would be
looking for "honest people ... capable people, people who are loyal
to the (administration's) plan, and to Mexico." He reiterated his
willingness to work with Lopez Obrador. "I recognize that he has a
genuine concern for the situation of poverty in which millions of
Mexicans are living," Calderon said. "I invite him to translate this
concern into actions that benefit precisely these millions of
Mexicans," he added. "For now, this attitude (of resistance) does not
help in the least to overcome the situation of suffering and misery
in which the country's poorest people live."

But Lopez Obrador refused to accept Calderon's victory, vowing to
hold a national convention in which delegates would elect him as
Mexico's alternate president. "We are going to exercise our
sovereignty to construct a new government ... cast aside the
simulated republic and create a true, authentic republic," he said.

World leaders, including the prime ministers of Japan and Belgium and
several Central American presidents, congratulated Calderon on his
victory. The White House said Mexico's democratic institutions,
especially the Federal Electoral Tribunal, have proved themselves
"strong and capable of reflecting the will of the people of Mexico."
"We congratulate Felipe Calderon on his victory and look forward to
working with him and his team," the White House said.

Source: Associated Press: 09/06


Top electoral officials and judges are feeding doubts about the
outcome of Mexico's presidential vote by declining to release details
about a recount of 4 million ballots and by moving quickly to destroy
all 41 million ballots, legal experts said Friday. The seven judges
of the Federal Electoral Tribunal declared conservative candidate
Felipe Calderon president-elect Tuesday. But the tribunal's 300-page
ruling on the election left some experts shaking their heads.

John Ackerman, a professor of law at the National University of
Mexico, said the judges had made no attempt to investigate
improprieties in electoral financing and other charges made by losing
leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. The ruling also failed
to cite a single legal precedent in its rejection of a Lopez Obrador
bid to have the election annulled, Ackerman said.

The court opened ballot boxes and recounted 4 million votes, but did
so only to determine whether there was evidence of outright fraud --
and declared that it had found none. The actual tallies from the
recount were not released to the public. "The tribunal is explicitly
preventing us from seeing what actually happened in the partial
recount," Ackerman said. "The result of all this is that we don't
have certainty about the election." A spokesman for the Federal
Electoral Tribunal said the judges would not comment on their ruling.
He said no more information will be released on the recount.

The Federal Electoral Institute, known in Spanish by the acronym IFE,
denied a request by Ackerman, the investigative magazine Proceso and
others to have access to the ballots. By law, ballots are destroyed
after an election is certified as official. But the law does not
stipulate when destruction should be carried out. Irma Sandoval,
director of the National University's Laboratory for the Study and
Analysis of Corruption and Transparency in Mexico, said the request
for the ballots was made through Mexico's fledgling public records
act. That law grants access to any document not covered by privacy
and national security restrictions. "The IFE denied our request
because they said the ballots are not documents," Sandoval said of
the independent body charged with organizing Mexico's elections. "The
ballots are printed by the government. But the IFE said that at the
moment a citizen marks the ballot, it's no longer a document. It's a
very metaphysical argument."

The writers Elena Poniatowska and Carlos Monsivais, who both
supported Lopez Obrador's presidential bid, also joined the petition
seeking access to the ballots. Sandoval said she and others
requesting access to the ballots are considering filing an appeal to
the Supreme Court to keep the IFE from destroying them. The IFE's
move to reject the request led Sandoval to compare this presidential
election to 1988, when the government of Miguel de la Madrid burned
ballots rather than allow a recount that might have proved leftist
candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas' allegations of fraud. "All of the
reforms we've had since 1988 have been designed to bring the left
back into the electoral process, and now the left is on the street,"
Sandoval said, referring to protests by Lopez Obrador's supporters.
"If the IFE proceeds with the rushed and premature destruction of the
ballots, then the comparisons to 1988 will be more than apt

Source: Los Angeles Times: 09/09


A leftist candidate won the governor's race in Mexico's volatile
southernmost state of Chiapas, edging out a hopeful backed by
President Vicente Fox's party by about 6,300 votes, electoral
officials said. Juan Sabines, of the Democratic Revolution Party, won
553,270 votes, compared to 546,988 for Jose Antonio Aguilar, who was
running with the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which controlled
Mexico's presidency from 1929 until 2000, Chiapas' electoral council

Institutional Revolutionary officials said they would challenge the
results of Aug. 20 election before the Federal Electoral Tribunal,
the country's highest electoral court. "We are confident that the
courts will annul this election given all the challenges and
documentation of irregularities," said Roberto Dominquez.

Aguilar, a 56-year-old former federal senator, was supported by Fox's
conservative National Action Party in a last-minute alliance to try
to defeat Sabines, a 38-year-old former Tuxtla Gutierrez mayor.
Aguillar has claimed the election was tainted by government meddling,
vote buying and other irregularities.

Source: Associated Press: 08/27


On Aug. 31 about a dozen armed and masked people blocked the highway
from Oaxaca city to Guelatao in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca
and passed out two communiques which according to the Mexican daily
La Jornada were from the rebel Democratic Revolutionary
Tendency-People's Army (TDR-EP). The Spanish wire service EFE
reported instead that the armed individuals were members of the
Revolutionary Popular Army (EPR), from which the TDR-EP split in
2000. The literature demanded the removal of the state government,
headed by Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, a central demand in a
three-month-old protest of striking Oaxaca teachers and their allies.

On Sept. 1 a leader of the Oaxaca teachers, Enrique Rueda Pacheco,
suggested that the appearance of a supposed rebel group was a set-up
by the state or federal government "to contaminate and make more
complicated" the situation in Oaxaca. Some participants in a
"megamarch" of tens of thousands strikers and their allies in Oaxaca
on Sept. 1 derided the idea that they were linked to rebel
organizations. One group of marchers carried an effigy identified as
an "urban guerrilla from Huatulco" (a region in southern Oaxaca)
armed with "high-caliber rocks." But the EPR has been active in
Oaxaca state in the past. Aug. 28- 29 was the 10th anniversary of its
first big military operation, in which up to 15 people died in
Guerrero and Oaxaca, including several in Santa Maria Huatulco. The
EPR marked the anniversary with an Aug. 26 communique warning of a
possible return to military action as the "ultimate recourse."

Source: Weekly News Update- Nicaragua Solidarity Network Of Greater
New York: 09/03


According to Andrea Black, coordinator of the Detention Watch Network
(DWN), at least 45,000 people attended an immigrant rights march and
rally in Washington, DC on Sept. 7. ICE Arrests "Aliens" in Roswell,
NMIn a statement issued for the rally, DWN said: "The fight for
immigrant rights is not just a fight 'for' legalization, our fight is
against deportation, our fight is for all immigrants' right, our
fight is for real comprehensive immigration reform." "If we can't get
this Congress to pass fair immigration reform now, we'll elect a new
Congress in November that will pass it," Sen. Edward Kennedy (D- MA)
told the rally. Newsday of Long Island, New York, reported that
10,000 people marched in Washington. The Washington Post reported
attendance at "fewer than 5,000." The We Are America Alliance of
immigrant rights groups billed the march as a post- Labor Day
demonstration to show Congress that undocumented workers still want
an immigration reform bill that would allow them to work in the
country legally. "I will say honestly that we continue to be amazed
that people come by the thousands in spite of raids against
immigrants," said Deepak Bhargaba, executive director of the Center
for Community Change, which helps fund and organize the alliance.

While the crowd rallied on Sept. 7, the Senate passed a $470- billion
defense spending bill for fiscal 2007 that includes $1.8 billion for
the National Guard to install 370 miles of fencing and 500 miles of
vehicle barriers along the southern US border. The Senate bill will
have to be reconciled with the $428-billion defense spending bill the
House passed in June.

More than 200 immigrant rights activists gathered at the Texas
Capitol in Austin on Sept. 7 to honor those who have died crossing
the border. "We wanted to bring it back to the actual people, to
being human, to say that no human is illegal. We all have a right to
be here. We're supporting all immigrants," said activist Silky Shah.

The Sept. 7 rallies followed demonstrations for immigrant rights in
at least 17 cities on Sept. 4, the Labor Day holiday. Some 4,000
immigrant rights supporters rallied at the state Capitol in Phoenix,
according to organizers' estimates. Police said the event drew about
1,000. The Arizona Republic estimated attendance at 2,000, with about
50 counter-protesters. AP reported the crowd size as 900, and said
the counter-protest drew 100 people.

Local police estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people attended a Sept. 4
immigrant rights march in San Francisco, sponsored by the Regional
Unity Coalition for Immigrant Rights. Another 2,500 people marched in
neighboring Oakland, while 8,000 to 10,000 people turned out in
nearby San Jose. According to AP, about 400 people marched in Los
Angeles on Sept. 4. Several hundred people marched in Sacramento and
about 400 marched in downtown Fresno.

More than 1,000 people rallied at MLK Memorial Park in Seattle
following a two-mile march through the city for immigrant rights and
against war. "We're looking to renew the civil-rights movement," said
Jorge Quiroga, of El Comite Pro-Amnistia General y Justicia Social,
which organized the march. "It's about social justice. This march is
a call for solidarity."

In Texas on Sept. 4, according to AP, about 500 people marched to
Dallas City Hall, and a similar-sized crowd attended a Houston rally.
[AP 9/4/06] The Militant newspaper, published by the Socialist
Workers Party, said 1,000 were at the Houston rally. The Militant's
crowd figures for other cities were close to those cited in
mainstream news reports.

In Milwaukee, the traditional Labor Day union parade was combined
with an immigrant rights march, and more than half the crowd appeared
to have been mobilized by the Labor Council for Latin American
Advancement and Voces de la Frontera, a local workers advocacy
center. Among the 3,000 to 4,500 participants were a number of
politicians, including Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett and Wisconsin
governor Jim Doyle. At least one union--the 1,900- member Local 75 of
the Plumbers and Gas Fitters--boycotted the march over the immigrant
rights theme. "You're looking at the face of America in 40 years,"
said Jerry Kopczynski, a freight company driver from Franklin.
"People don't get it. This is the American worker right here, no
different than the Irish or the Poles."

A four-day march from Chicago ended Sept. 4 at the Batavia office of
Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) with a rally of about 3,000 people
according to Gabe Gonzalez, Midwest regional organizer for the Center
for Community Change. The police's crowd estimate was 2,500. The
Chicago Tribune said 2,000 people attended the Batavia rally, and
about 250 marched the entire 45-mile route. About 150 anti-immigrant
counter-protesters showed up at the Batavia rally.

About 1,200 people marched on Sept. 4 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
According to the Militant, hundreds rallied in Dubuque, Iowa, and
about 200 marched and rallied in Newark, New Jersey. According to
the National Immigrant Solidarity Network, marches or rallies were
also scheduled to take place on Sept. 3 in Pittsburgh; on Sept. 4 in
San Diego; and on Sept. 7 in Trenton, New Jersey.

On Sept. 8, about 75 people took part in an "Immigrant Rights are
Worker Rights" rally in Chicopee, Massachusetts, organized by the
Anti-Displacement Project, Jobs with Justice and the Pioneer Valley
AFL-CIO Central Labor Council.

Source: Immigration News Briefs: 09/09

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: 09.04-09.10

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