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Rage One (blog)

martes, febrero 16, 2010

Mexico News and Analysis

Mexico News and Analysis
Produced by the Mexico Solidarity Network
February 8-14, 2010

1. Zapatistas clash with paramilitary group

2. Popular mobilizations in Ciudad Juarez

3. Army assassinates youth in Guerrero

4. SME calls for general strike and civil disobedience


1. Zapatistas clash with paramilitary group

Zapatista base communities and members of the paramilitary group Opddic clashed on February 6 over possession of Bolon Ajaw, part of the Comandante Ramona autonomous municipality and an ecological reserve where the Agua Azul waterfall is located. Opddic reported 12 of their members wounded during the confrontation. The Junta de Buen Gobierno clarified the incident several days later in a communiqué that accused Opdicc of attacking residents of Bolon Ajaw with guns and destroying part of the local church and a private home. Uncontrolled shooting by Opddic left one of their own members dead and several others wounded, plus one injured Zapatista who suffered a bullet wound in the stomach. None of the Zapatistas carried arms during the confrontation. The Zapatistas took seven members of Opddic into custody, but they were released unharmed several days later. The Junta de Buen Gobierno has requested a dialogue on several occasions with government officials and Opddic to resolve the ongoing dispute, but so far the requests have fallen on deaf ears.

2. Popular mobilizations in Ciudad Juarez

Thousands joined a march in Ciudad Juarez on Sunday demanding the removal of President Felipe Calderon, Governor Jose Reyes Baeza and Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz, plus a popular referendum on the presence of the army. Anger and desperation continued to grow in light of the murder of 15 teenagers two weeks ago by gunmen affiliated with drug cartels. Initially Calderon accused the youth of links to organized crime, but quickly retracted his statements, leaving the families distressed. Luz Maria Davila, mother of two students killed on January 31, led the animated march, one of the first large public demonstrations against government efforts to control violence in this beleaguered border city. Perhaps the most popular chant was, "Juarez is not a military base, remove the army from the city!" Despite the presence of nearly 10,000 federal troops, violence is spiraling out of control. The army has come under increasingly harsh criticism for ineptitude, apparent links with some cartels, house searches without warrants and brutal treatment of innocent civilians.

Earlier in the week, Davila refused to shake the President's hand during a brief appearance in Juarez to announce new security strategies. Calderon requested the participation of Juarez residents in fighting crime, but then laid out detailed plans developed by the army and members of his cabinet that include 2,500 new troops and federal agents.

Governor Beaza inexplicably called for moving the State government from Chihuahua City to Ciudad Juarez, a purely symbolic act. His proposal was defeated by the State Congress.

3. Army assassinates youth in Guerrero

Army troops murdered an 18-year-old boy, Juan Alberto Rodriguez, on Saturday in the Sierra region of Guerrero after demanding 50,000 pesos so they could continue a drunken binge. Francisco Javier Martinez was also beaten by troops, led by Lieutenant N. Manzanares, but survived to tell the story. About 8:30 in the evening, troops forced the young men into a Hummer where they were severely beaten until they lost consciousness. The troops stole their money and cell phones, them dumped them on the side of the road, where Martinez died. After the incident, Lieutenant Manzanares threatened community members in the area, saying he was well connected in the army and was the ruler of the region. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident. Community members in the Sierra region of Guerrero regularly report army abuse and human rights violations.

4. SME calls for general strike and civil disobedience

On Saturday, the Electrical Workers Union (SME) in conjunction with striking mineworkers called for a general strike and civil disobedience in response to the Calderon administration's labor policies. SME is struggling to recover 44,000 jobs lost when Calderon closed the government-owned Central Light and Power (LFC) last October, while the mineworkers suffered a blow from the courts this week after striking at the Cananea mines for two and a half years. The situation at Cananea is particularly tense after a federal court supported a move by Grupo Mexico, owner of the mine, to end its relationship with the union. Mineworkers braced for army or police intervention at the mine entrance. Labor attorney Arturo Alcalde called the court decision, "brutal. We are witnessing a cleansing operation by the federal government in support of Grupo Mexico, but the most depressing thing is that the Federal Courts supported this monstrosity. I have been a labor attorney for 40 years and I've never seen such a grotesque decision from a judicial point of view. It's a gross maneuver that will do away with the union, the collective contract and the strike and, as if this wasn't enough, it will dismiss the workers with only minimal indemnification."

Meanwhile, the Federal Electrical Commission (CFE), another government-owned entity that took over LFC operations, began to install new electrical meters that would force consumers to pre-pay for electricity, much like pre-paid cell phone cards. The move is apparently an effort by the Calderon administration to head off an expected consumer boycott of electrical bills to protest rapidly rising charges and in support of SME.

In related news, the wall of a canal crumbled in the southwest part of Mexico City leaving thousands of homes drenched in sewer water. Officials blamed the break on excessive rainfall, but many experts noted the canal is emptied by massive pumps that have been sporadically without electricity since the closure of LFC. Flooding also forced officials to shut down the Mexico City-Puebla highway for nearly a week.



Mexico Solidarity Network study abroad programs are accredited at the undergraduate and masters level by the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, one of Mexico's most prestigious public universities. Hampshire College and SUNY-Albany are the US schools of record and provide official transcripts. For more information, see or call 773 583 7728.

Spring 2010, January 31- May 8: Study in Chiapas, Tlaxcala and Mexico City, focusing on the theory and practice of Mexican social movements, including indigenous movements, campesino organizations, and urban movements. The 14-week, 16-credit program includes intensive Spanish language courses and alternative study options for native Spanish speakers.

Summer 2010, June 6 - July 17 (applications due by Mar 31): Zapatismo: Context, dynamics and practic." Study the context, theory and practice of the Zapatista movement in Chiapas. The six-week, 8-credit program includes intensive Spanish language and alternative study options for native Spanish speakers.

Summer 2010, June 20 - July 31 (applications due by Mar 31): "Urban housing movements and rural campesino movements." Study the practice and theory of some of Mexico's most important living social movements, including the Frente Popular Francisco Villa Independiente in Mexico City, the largest housing movement in Mexico, and the Concejo Nacional Urbano y Campesino, based in Tlaxcala. The 6-week, 8-credit program includes intensive Spanish language and alternative study options for native Spanish speakers.

Summer and Fall Research Programs - Students work as volunteers with some of Mexico's most important and dynamic social movements, including indigenous movements in Chiapas, campesinos in Tlaxcala, urban housing movements in Mexico City and community based movements in Ciudad Juarez. See for details and applications.

Fall 2010 and 2011 - A full program of study abroad options is available, including 14-week, 16-credit Spring and Fall semesters, and special Summer programs. See for details.


ESL and Spanish Literacy classes: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings. Classes utilize popular education strategies to increase conversational English capacity and basic reading and writing skills in Spanish. Computer classes Thursday and Saturday. Community medical clinic Friday evenings. Video night every other Friday.

The Cleaning Power Cooperative is organized by immigrant women working to secure stable and dignified employment.

Cultural events and political workshops include immigrant rights, dance, guitar, jewelry-making and more.

For a full schedule of cultural events and political workshops, contact the Mexico Solidarity Network at 773-583-7728 or visit


Contact to schedule an event in your city.

February 14-27, 2010 (West coast): "Human rights in Chiapas, featuring Victor Hugo Lopez, Communications Coordinator at the Fray Bartolome Human Rights Center." The human rights situation in Chiapas has deteriorated rapidly in recent months, including an attack on a lawyer from the Fray Bartolome Center in September. As popular organizations wage peaceful struggles against paramilitary violence, tourism projects that will displace campesinos, and illegal land takeovers, the Fray Bartolome Center is one of the few reliable sources on human rights abuses. Under attack from paramilitary groups, local PRI affiliates, the army, and state and federal governments, the Fray Bartolome Center produces daily reports on human rights, defends cases in court and supports indigenous communities under attack. A representative of the Fray Bartolome Human Rights Center will discuss the current human rights situation and prospects for political changes in 2010.

March 1-8, 2010 (New York & Pennsylvania): "Ciudad Juarez - Women, maquiladoras, narco-trafficking, and neoliberal dynamics along the border." Veronica Leyva, a native of Ciudad Juarez, will talk about the definitive neoliberal city - Ciudad Juarez. Her discussion will focus on the impact of neoliberalism, especially maquiladoras and narco-trafficking, with a special focus on gender. She will also discuss the impact of 8,000 federal troops who have occupied the city since March, 2009. Laura is a founder of ALDEA, a community based project offering alternatives to maquiladora employment and community development on the south side of Juarez.

March 12-19, 2010 (Tennessee & the Carolinas): "The Honduran Coup d'etat" with Carlos Euceda, a native of Honduras. Carlos spent much of last Fall in Honduras during the events surrounding the coup. Carlos is currently a community organizer with the Mexico Solidarity Network.

April 11-18, 2010 (Michigan & Ohio): "Immigration: Stories of struggle in a neoliberal economy" with leaders from the MSN's Centro Autónomo. Immigrants tell their stories and argue for comprehensive immigration reform.

April, 2010 (Georgia & the Carolinas): "Ciudad Juarez - Women, maquiladoras, narco-trafficking, and neoliberal dynamics along the border." Veronica Leyva, a native of Ciudad Juarez, will talk about the definitive neoliberal city - Ciudad Juarez. Her discussion will focus on the impact of neoliberalism, especially maquiladoras and narco-trafficking, with a special focus on gender. She will also discuss the impact of 8,000 federal troops who have occupied the city since March, 2009. Veronica is a full time staff person for the Mexico Solidarity Network in Juarez and organizes study abroad programs and special educational programs.


Develop markets for artisanry produced by women's cooperatives in Chiapas and make public presentations on the struggle for justice and dignity in Zapatista communities. For more information, contact

Mexico-US Solidarity Network | 3460 W. Lawrence | Chicago | IL | 60625

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