Mexico Theater

Zapatista political prisoners launch hunger strike

Marking their completion of 10 ten years in prison, the two accused Zapatista collaborators being held at the state prison in Tacotalpa, Tabasco, began an indefinite hunger strike July 10 to demand their liberation. The prisoners, Angel Concepcion Perez Vazquez and Francisco Perez Gutierrez, say they are also demanding the release of the peasant protesters detained in May at the village of San Salvador Atenco in Mexico state, and all political prisoners in the nation of Mexico. A group of Chol Maya campesinos have also launched a permanent vigil outside the prison in support of the prisoners. Release of the Zapatista political prisoners is a key demand of the Zapatista National Liberation Army. (La Jornada, July 11)

Mexico: Calderón declared victor; López Obrador pledges challenge

From the New York Times, links and annotation added:

MEXICO CITY, July 6 — Felipe Calderón, a conservative former energy minister, won a narrow victory in the race for president today after election officials finished their official tally, but his leftist rival vowed to go court and demand a recount.

Mexico: more police arrested in Atenco case; protests continue

From the Mexican news agency APRO, June 27, via Chiapas95 (our translation):

Toluca- The first penal judge based in Tenang del Valle formally brought charges against 13 of the 21 police detained by the Mexican [state] prosecutor in the Atenco case.

Reuters: Zapatista demands "forgotten"?

This Reuters story that ran in the Washington Post June 19 (online at Chiapas95) is typical of the hegemonic mainstream media line (north of the border, at least) that the Zapatistas have shot their wad and are forgotten. (Amazing that we periodically have to be reminded like this that they are forgotten.) Cynically, the piece mentions nothing about the conflict over San Salvador Atenco or the labor unrest in Oaxaca—struggles which have assumed center stage in Mexico, and have been thoroughly integrated into the demands and mobilizations of the Zapatistas' national tour, the "Other Campaign." Contrary to this story's implication, the Zapatistas' "demands" were never just about indigenous autonomy. That was but the first of several "dialogue tables" planned in the long-stalled peace process. The government's intransigence in approving these first accords (on indigenous autonomy), meant that the subsequent "tables"—on agrarian reform, education, labor and general democratic rights—have languished for nearly ten years now. Nor were the accords on indigenous autonomy only about Chiapas state—they were meant to apply throughout Mexico. The piece does, however, raise the important point that, while the Zapatistas now occupy the public eye in Mexico City, their stronghold of southern, impoverished Chiapas has been paradoxically forgotten—even as violence escalates there.

Oaxaca: police attack striking teachers

In a pre-dawn raid yesterday, Oaxaca state police with helicopters, tear gas and firearms evicted several thousand striking school teachers from the plantón, or ongoing protest encampment, they had been maintaining for two weeks in Oaxaca City's central plaza. Witnesses said police fired and the crowd, and local radio reports claim two dead. Two police officers were being held hostage by teachers, state officials said. (Reuters, June 14) Mexico City leaders of the National Coordinating Body of Educational Workers (CNTE) also claimed two teachers had been killed in the attack, and six "disappeared." (El Universal, June 15) Oaxaca Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz denied in an official TV and radio address that any teachers had been killed. (Notimex, June 14) Police also destroyed the equipment of Radio Plantón, a micro-station that has been continuously transmitting from the plaza. (Indymedia Mexico, June 14)

Political violence in Chiapas, risk of famine seen

The Indigenous Rights Center (CEDIAC) in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, is demanding an investigation into the assassination of Tzeltal Maya campesino Sebastian Cruz Lopez, accused by state police of belonging to a gang which held up cars on the Palenque-Ocosingo highway, but according to witnesses killed at his home in front of his family in Chilon municipality. Another campesino was also said to be killed in the operation, and ten more imprisoned, including five minors. (La Jornada, June 3)

Teachers' strike, political violence in Oaxaca

80,000 striking teachers marched in Oaxaca City June 2 to press their demands for better wages and a reorganization of the state's education system, marking the largest mass mobilization in the city's history. In addition to a large state police presence, a contigent of 500 elite Federal Preventative Police were dispatched to the city for the rally. (La Jornada, June 3) "The governor has sounded the drums of war, but we will not be intimidated," said Enrique Rueda Pacheco, secretary general of Section 22 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE), speaking of Oaxaca's Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. (La Jornada, June 4)

Marcos does Televisa, DF cops gird for repression

It was heartening to see a picture of Subcommander Marcos in the New York Times May 10, even if it was on page 12. The masked Zapatista leader sat down in a Televisa studio for a nationally-broadcast interview May 9, as the political crisis sparked by violence at the village of San Salvador Atenco, just outside the capital, continued to escalate. Politicians of all stripes are baiting the rebel leader as a demagogue and extremist, even as the press continues to portray him as a washed-out has-been. Pretty funny. An excerpt from the Times story:

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