Mexico’s President Vicente Fox, trying to put a good face on things as he leaves a bitterly divided country as his legacy, boasted to a meeting of businessmen at the National Chamber of Industry that the crises of Chiapas and Atenco were essentially resolved, and that the Oaxaca crisis would be soon. He asserted that the new Mexico City airport opposed by the Atenco farmers would be built. (La Jornada, Oct. 24) Regarding Chiapas (a conflict Fox had pledged to resolve “in 15 minutes” on the campaign trail in 2000), presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar Valenzuela asserted, “There has been no act of violence in Chiapas in six years.” (Milenio, Oct. 25)
Meanwhile in Chiapas, the Fray Bartoleme Human Rights Center announced Oct. 23 that its offices had been broken into overnight. Nothing was taken, and the organization called it an act of political intimidation. (La Jornada, Oct. 24; all sources via the Chiapas95 archive)
There have, of course, been numerous acts of political violence in Chiapas over the past six years. Just over the past six months, we have seen violent evictions of peasant land occupations, reports of torture in the state prisons, and growing internecine attacks between rival campesino organizations, a fruit of the government’s divide-and-rule strategy. As for Atenco, over 200 arrested protesters remain behind bars, considered “political prisoners” by the town’s land committee, which remains intransigently opposed to the airport proposal
See our last posts on Chiapas, Atenco and the struggle in Oaxaca, and Mexico’s general political stalemate.