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Rage One (blog)

domingo, mayo 11, 2008

Mexico Week In Review: 05.05-05.11

Mexico Week In Review: 05.05-05.11
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"


Low intensity war waged against the Zapatista movement is spreading
to the medical sector. While medical authorities in Chiapas have
never provided first class treatment for indigenous patients, there
appears to be a coordinated campaign recently to deny medical care
for Zapatista support bases. In an April 27 article published in La
Jornada, journalist Hermann Bellinghausen documents a series of
recent cases in which Zapatistas were denied adequate medical
treatment at State hospitals, resulting in the death of at least one
patient. "In recent days, indigenous patients sent by Zapatista
[health promoters] from El Bosque, San Andres, Simojovel and Teopisca
have been mistreated or abandoned at the regional hospital in San
Cristobal," according to Bellinghausen. For example, "on April 25,
Miguel Diaz Perez arrived with acute appendicitis which requires
immediate surgery. Inexplicably, [hospital officials] made him wait
twelve hours." While medical attention has always been less than
stellar for indigenous patients, who often don't even receive clear
explanations for their illnesses - "why, they don't understand in any
case," according to one hospital official - the new attitude appears
to be a concerted attack on Zapatista support bases sent to State
hospitals when the cases cannot be treated in the autonomous clinics.

Source: Mexico Solidarity Network Weekly News Summary: 04.21-05.04


In a surprising move, the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) offered
mediated talks with the Calderon administration. In an April 24
communiqué, the guerrilla group suggested former Chiapas Bishop
Samuel Ruiz, author Carlos Montemayor, journalist Miguel Angel
Granados Chapa and anthropologist/activist Gilberto Lopez y Rivas as
intermediaries. All four accepted the initiative with the
understanding that the EPR would cease military actions during the
negotiations (this was part of the EPR's initial proposal) and the
federal government would move quickly to clarify the status of two
EPR members who disappeared nine months ago. The Calderon
administration responded with suggestions for direct talks
accompanied by "social witnesses." Interior Secretary Juan Mouriño
set several pre-conditions, including a permanent end to all guerilla
activity and talks that would not be limited to the disappeared
activists. In an apparent effort to derail talks before they begin,
PAN President German Martinez boasted the pre-conditions were
equivalent to surrender, leading many to wonder if the government was
serious about negotiations. In a later communiqué, the EPR also
suggested Deputy Rosario Ibarra, whose son disappeared during the
1970s dirty war. Ibarra is perhaps the most visible human rights
activist in Mexico and a close ally of former PRD presidential
candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. The Calderon administration
rejected Ibarra as a potential "social witness," largely because of
her close relationship with Lopez Obrador.

On April 26, federal officials arrested two Oaxacan police officials,
Commander Pedro Hernandez and Angel Cruz, who apparently kidnapped
two EPR members, Edmundo Reyes and Gabriel Cruz, on May 25, 2007, in
Oaxaca City. The EPR claimed government officials and/or the army
were responsible for the disappearances, and sabotaged a series of
important oil pipelines last July and September, demanding release of
their comrades. Until this week, officials claimed to have no
knowledge of the disappeared activists. According to testimony
offered by an employee of the Oaxaca Attorney General office, police
took the two activists into custody under an arrest warrant issued by
state authorities, but never presented them for formal investigation,
holding them instead for ransom. Their current disposition is
unknown. Hernandez and Cruz are well-known for kidnapping and
disappearing local activists involved in activities organized by the
Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO).

During the oil pipeline campaign, the EPR characterized the Calderon
administration as illegitimate and threatened an unending series of
armed actions until their comrades were released. In this context,
the recent communiqués can be understood as a response to changing
political conditions in Mexico. Calderon's recent proposal to
privatize Pemex appears to be headed for defeat, which may account
for the administration's quick, and relatively positive, response to
the EPR initiative. If Calderon's most important political initiative
is headed for failure, perhaps negotiations with the EPR can distract
the public while salvaging some level of legitimacy for an
administration under attack since its first days in power. From the
beginning, the EPR recognized the two disappeared activists as
members of the guerilla group while claiming their activities were
legal, perhaps trying to claim new political space, similar to that
enjoyed by the EZLN. EZLN leaders travel the country and hold press
conferences, while the EPR is a largely isolated armed movement with
highly secretive influence in limited rural communities in Oaxaca,
Guerrero and perhaps a few other states. They may be looking for
political space amidst a media frenzy that would certainly accompany
negotiations, in addition to seeing political gain from the release
of their kidnapped comrades.

Source: Mexico Solidarity Network Weekly News Summary: 04.21-05.04


On Apr. 28 Mexico's Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Board (JFCA)
ruled in favor of a nine-month old strike at Grupo Mexico's giant
copper mine at Cananea, in the northwestern state of Sonora. The
ruling, which is final, makes the job action legal. Previously the
JFCA had ruled against the strike--which was started by the National
Union of Mine and Metal Workers of the Mexican Republic (SNTMMRM)
over safety issues on July 30--and the government sent troops to the
mine in January. Grupo Mexico must now end the partial operations it
was carrying out at the mine. On Apr. 24 the company had threatened
to close the facility, as it is reportedly doing in the San Martin
mine in Zacatecas.

Despite labor's apparent victory at Cananea, Mexico's union movement
is "pulverized" through lack of unity, Autonomous National University
of Mexico Workers Union (STUNAM) leader Agustin Rodriguez told the
daily La Jornada during May 1 celebrations in Mexico City. The unions
held three separate marches in the capital, the largest by the
National Workers Union (UNT), the main independent labor federation.
Under the formerly ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI),
the federal government sponsored the May Day marches, and tens of
thousands of workers would carry signs reading: "Thank you, Mr.
President." The government of President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, of
the center-right National Action Party (PAN), did not sponsor the May
1 events. The evening before, Labor Secretary Javier Lozano Alarcon
held a meeting with union leaders; after shaking their hands he
reportedly wiped his own hands with antibacterial cream.

Source: Weekly News Update- Nicaragua Solidarity Network Of Greater
New York: 05/04


The acting chief of Mexico's federal police was shot to death,
highlighting the risk officials face as drug traffickers fight back
against a crackdown. Edgar Millan Gomez was shot nine times early
this morning as he was returning to his home in central Mexico City,
said Javier Ortiz, a spokesman for the Security Ministry. One person
is being held in connection with the crime. The assassination is the
latest in a series of murders of Mexican police officials, mostly
spurred by drug violence. President Felipe Calderon has increased
pressure on the cartels that funnel narcotics to the U.S. by
dispatching thousands of troops and dedicating more police to the
issue after violence related to trafficking killed more than 2,500
people last year. "The government has to increase security for public
officials: They are targets," said Jorge Chabat, a political science
professor at the Center for Economic Research and Teaching in Mexico
City. "I don't think it will change the government's overall
strategy, because it's working."

A Mexico City district police chief was the target of a bomb that
exploded near the city's police headquarters in February, and police
in the states of Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Baja
California have also been attacked. Saul Pena, who was to be named as
one of five police chiefs in Ciudad Juarez on the border with Texas,
died yesterday after being shot leaving a police station in the city,
El Economista newspaper reported. The report said he was the 20th
police official to be killed in the city this year.

"Mexico will strengthen its frontal assault on crime," Calderon's
office said today in a statement expressing condolences for the
police chief's death. Two of Millan Gomez's bodyguards were wounded
in today's shooting and are recovering in a hospital, Ortiz said.
Millan Gomez was named acting chief of the force last year, and had
previously worked for the federal investigative agency. Millan Gomez
helped capture kidnapper Andres Caletri in 2000, and to break up
several kidnapping rings, the security ministry said.

Calderon's approach to drug crime contrasts with that of his
predecessor Vicente Fox, who focused on arresting leaders of large
drug cartels, a strategy that led to turf wars between the gangs
without reducing the flow of drugs into the U.S. By focusing on
disrupting the day-to-day operations of the cartels, Calderon has
threatened the traffickers to the point where they are willing to
attack public officials, Chabat said. Mexican drug traffickers are
the biggest suppliers of cocaine to the U.S., according to the Drug
Enforcement Administration.

Source: Bloomberg: 05/08


Mexican President Felipe Calderon said the country was sick and tired
of rampant drug violence after five high-ranking policemen were
killed in less than a week. "We have to come together to confront
this evil, we Mexicans have to definitively and categorically say,
'That's enough!'" Calderon said. "We can't accept this situation, we
have to take back our streets." He spoke after attending the funeral
of regional commissioner Edgar Millan, one of Mexico's top federal
policemen, who was murdered on Thursday by hired killers waiting for
him at his home.

Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and federal
police around the country to bring powerful drug cartels under
control, but the army has failed to reduce spiraling violence. More
than 2,500 people were killed in drug related violence in Mexico last
year. Another 1,100 people have died so far this year as the drug
gangs battle each other and security forces.

The Mexican media said Millan was targeted by professional killers
hired by the powerful Sinaloa gang because of his leading role in the
arrests of the cartel's gunmen. "I know that organized criminals are
reacting like this because they see that we hurting their operations
and breaking down their structures," Calderon said. Hours before
Millan's funeral, Esteban Robles, a senior detective in Mexico City,
was gunned down in front of his apartment shot seven times in the
head, neck and chest. Two other senior policemen were shot in the
capital in recent days and drug hitmen killed Saul Pena, a top police
officer in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas.

Source: Reuters: 05/09


Thousands of white-clad people marched silently Sunday (05/11) to
protest a surge of drug-related violence in a Mexican city across
from Texas where the No. 2 police officer was shot dead. The crowd of
several thousand students, church leaders, businessmen and
politicians walked for about four miles (six kilometers) across
Ciudad Juarez to a park near a border crossing, breaking the silence
in a burst of speeches, dancing and singing.

More than 200 people have been killed so far this year in Ciudad
Juarez. The city of 1.3 million across the border from El Paso,
Texas, is home base for the powerful Juarez drug cartel. The
assassination of police director Juan Antonio Roman Garcia on
Saturday came despite the deployment of more than 2,500 soldiers and
federal police to the city and surrounding Chihuahua state in March.
"We need to unite against this," said Julian Ochoa, an architecture
student at the march. "I hope we achieve something."

An increase in drug-related homicides, shootouts, kidnappings and car
thefts near the border prompted U.S. State Department to warn
Americans last month of rising violence in the region, though it
stopped short of advising against travel here. On Saturday, police
arrested six suspected gang members after a gunfight in the northern
state of Sinaloa. One of the six, Alfonso Gutierrez Loera, 25,
identified himself as a cousin of suspected Sinaloa cartel chief
Joaquin Guzman, according the Public Safety Department. Gutierrez
Loera and another suspect were wounded in the shootout.

Source: Associated Press: 05/11

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: 05.05-05.11

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