Mexico City: terror scare as workers march

On Aug. 30 thousands of workers marched in Mexico City from the Angel of Independence to the central plaza, the Zocalo, to protest what they called the “anti-union and anti-worker” policies of President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, of the center-right National Action Party (PAN). The organizers, the National Workers Union (UNT) and the Mexican Union Front (FSM), timed the march to precede Calderon’s first state of the union report, to be delivered on Sept. 2. Police estimated the crowd at 20,000; organizers put attendance at 50,000. Despite several successful demonstrations, the UNT and FSM have repeatedly failed in their efforts to call a national strike against the government’s plans for more privatization and other neoliberal economic policies.

Also on Aug. 30, about 10,000 office workers and visitors were evacuated from the 56-story Torre Mayor on Paseo de Reforma in Mexico City—Latin America’s tallest building—after a homemade explosive device was found in a stolen car in the parking area. The Federal District (DF) searched the building after the building received an anonymous call about the explosive. According to the preliminary police report, the bomb’s damage would have been confined to the inside of the car if it had exploded. There were no immediate reports that any group had taken responsibility for the bomb. (La Jornada, Aug. 31)

On Aug. 31 hundreds of teachers in the rank-and-file National Education Workers Coordinating Committee (CNTE) protested Calderon’s educational programs and the role of Elba Esther Gordillo, who heads their union, the National Education Workers Union (SNTE), and is close to the government. Some 300 teachers rallied outside the Secretariat of Basic Education offices in Mexico City, which is headed by Gordillo’s son-in-law, Fernando Gonzalez Sanchez. “Out, out, out,” they chanted, charging that Gonzalez Sanchez’s “only commitment is the one he has to his mother-in-law.” (LJ, Sept. 1)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Sept. 2

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