Some 300 primary and secondary school students and their mothers occupied the municipal auditorium in the conflicted Mexican village of San Salvador Atenco Aug. 5, holding the municipal president Pascual Pineda Sanchez captive for eight hours. The protesters accuse Pineda of failing to fund the municipal scholarship and school lunch program, even while ploughing funds into a generous retirement package for himself and the 10 town councilors. (La Jornada, Aug. 5 via Chiapas95)
In the summer of 2002, Atenco’s municipal government was ousted in a popular uprising after the councilors had signed off on a plan to cede village lands for a new Mexico City airport. (See WW4 REPORT #60) In December 2003, following negotiations, the People’s United Front in Defense of the Land (FPUDT), the group that led the uprising, allowed Pineda, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and a new council to assume power. (El Universal, Dec. 2, 2003) The FPUDT and Pineda’s official government have since co-existed uneasily, with sporadic outbursts of violence. The FPUDT has led the recent wave of protests in Atenco.