Peña Nieto

News and Analysis: Feb 11 - Mar 3, 2013

1 - GORDILLO IN PRISON, EDUCATION REFORM APPROVED
2 - EZLN NAMES NEW SUBCOMANDANTE
3 - SOBERING LABOR STATISTICS   

1 - GORDILLO IN PRISON, EDUCATION REFORM APPROVED

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Newly elected President Enrique Pena Nieto of the PRI is on a political roll, passing a groundbreaking education reform bill on Monday and arresting Elba Esther Gordillo, “president for life” of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE), the following day. The powerful leader of 1.5 million teachers is charged with stealing US$200 million from the union, which may be the tip of the iceberg. Gordillo reportedly spent US$1 million on a house on an island near San Diego, US$3 million at a single Neiman Marcus store, and US$17,000 on plastic surgery (of which the unflattering result is often referenced in the Mexican press). Her declared earnings on tax returns from 2009 to 2012 were US$88,000 per year. Every Mexican knows she is a criminal, especially the teachers, despite her recent deluded claim, “There is no one more loved by their people than I. I care about the teachers.” She should have been prosecuted years ago. Call it legal cover for a political decision.

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News and Analysis: January 7 - 27

224

1 - ANTI-POVERTY PROGRAMS?
2 - ZAPATISTA COMMUNIQUES OFFER NEW LESSONS
3 - PENA NIETO RESPONDS TO EZLN COMMUNIQUES
4 - ZAPATISTA SUPPORTER RELEASED FROM PRISON

President Enrique Pena Nieto announced a program last week to fight extreme poverty, following a recent trend in populist politics utilized early in administrations whose electoral legitimacy is in doubt. Carlos Salinas de Gotari of the PRI, who stole an election in 1988, announced his Solidarity program in the first week of his administration. Solidarity was an effort to convert the PRI’s historic corporatist politics to a more direct relationship between recipients and party by offering supplies for construction of schools, roads and other infrastructure if communities provided the labor. Salinas often delivered the money in person in highly publicized events. PRIista Ernesto Zedillo followed in 1994 winning less than half the popular vote, the first time a PRI candidate publicly recognized such a slim victory. Zedillo replaced Solidarity with Progresa, a poverty-fighting program of direct subsidies to the poorest families provided their children go to school. PANist Vicente Fox took power in 2000 with 42% of the vote. He immediately replaced Progresa with Oportunidades, another direct subsidy program but more extensively linked to social engineering, including mandatory birth control classes, with some experts reporting sterilization operations performed on uninformed indigenous women. In 2006, PANista Felipe Calderon stole an election with the help of political operator extraordinaire Elba Esther Gordillo. He immediately offered infrastructure programs for poor communities, a “70 and Over Program” that provides US$50 a month in assistance for the elderly (the idea came directly from his opponent in the presidential campaign), and continuation of Oportunidades.

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News and Analysis: December 10-23

211

1 - ZAPATISTA MOBILIZATION
2 - EDUCATION REFORM SCAPEGOATS TEACHERS
3 - PENA NIETO’S POLITICAL AGENDA
4 - WALMART OUTED AGAIN
5 - HSBC AVOIDS CRIMINAL PROSECUTION

Tens of thousands of Zapatista support bases occupied the cities of San Cristobal de las Casas, Las Margaritas, Altamirano, Ocosingo and Comitan early Friday morning in a peaceful and silent replay of the January 1, 1994 uprising.  An estimated 40,000 Zapatistas demonstrated an organizational capacity not seen publicly in several years.  Marchers carried signs demanding justice for Acteal on the 15th anniversary of the infamous massacre in which paramilitaries, supported by government troops, killed 45 indigenous members of Las Abejas.  Several weeks ago the EZLN promised a communique which would break a year-and-a-half-long silence.  On Friday Subcomandante Marcos published a short piece of poetry, but a more extensive document is expected in coming days.

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MEXICO NEWS AND ANALYSIS: NOV 12 - DEC 9, 2012

206

1 - PRI CLAIMS PRESIDENCY, AND FIRST VICTIMS
2 - FEDERAL POLICE IN CUSTODY FOR ATTACK ON CIA AGENTS
3 - LABOR REFORM PASSES
4 - CARTEL LEADER ACCUSES CALDERON ADMIN OF CORRUPTION

On December 1, Enrique Peña Nieto claimed Mexico's Presidency for the PRI, after the party was out of power for twelve years. The July election was marred by vote-buying and campaign spending that may have exceeded legal limits by five-fold. The PRI, known for its long history of corruption and institutional violence, also claimed its first victims during the swearing in ceremony when police severely wounded at least two protesters with rubber-covered metal bullets. Police also severely beat one senior citizen who minutes earlier was distributing free books to a line of officers. More than 100 people were arrested, many who were simply walking near the demonstration when police attacked. It appears that much of the property damage, broadcast amply over the mainstream media, was carried out by provocateurs working with police in an effort to discredit the massive demonstration. It was an auspicious start to a six year reign. 

 

The youthful and photogenic Peña Nieto claims to lead a modern PRI, but most Mexicans are not convinced. He won the presidency with 38% of the vote, hardly a mandate in a country where more than half the population lives in poverty. Peña Nieto inherits, and is likely to continue, economic policies that reflect worldwide declines during the neoliberal era, with 3.5% annual growth under former PRI president Ernesto Zedillo, followed by 2.2% growth under Vicente Fox, and 1.9% under Felipe Calderon.

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Mexico News and Analysis: October 1 - 7

1 - NEWS FROM THE OTHER CAMPAIGN166
2 - FEDERAL POLICE SUSPECTED IN CARTEL ATTACK ON C.I.A.
3 - FRIENDLY FIRE BLAMED FOR BORDER PATROL DEATH
4 - PROTESTERS PUT INCOMING PRESIDENT ON NOTICE

The Junta of Good Government in the northern zone of Chiapas issued an unprecedented third public denunciation of armed attacks, displacements, threats, robbery and intimidation directed against Zapatista support bases from the community Comandante Abel. Paramilitaries from the communities Union Hidalgo and San Patricio are responsible for the illegal activities. A detailed description is available at http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/.

2 - FEDERAL POLICE SUSPECTED IN CARTEL ATTACK ON C.I.A.
Federal police working for a major drug cartel are suspected in the August 24th ambush of two CIA agents working near Cuernavaca in central Mexico. Police apparently knew the agents worked for the CIA and specifically targeted them under orders from the Beltran Leyva cartel, according to knowledgeable Mexican and US officials. The attack on an armored SUV with diplomatic license plates wounded two CIA agents after hundreds of rounds from high-powered weapons were fired at close range, overwhelming some of the armor plating.

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MEXICO NEWS AND ANALYSIS: SEPTEMBER 3-23, 2012

1 - ZAPATISTAS UNDER ATTACK

2 - PENA NIETO DECLARED PRESIDENT
3 - NEW LABOR LAW
4 - MSN PROGRAMS

1 - ZAPATISTAS UNDER ATTACK
Over the past month, the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) denounced increasingly violent attacks by paramilitary groups, including the Regional Organization of Coffee Growers (ORCAO) and the misnamed "Peace and Justice." The attacks include the use of firearms, forced dislocations and invasions of autonomous Zapatista territory. In the community Comandante Abel, in the northern zone of Chiapas, the situation is critical, characterized by forced displacements, kidnappings and disappearances. The Zapatista Junta of Good Government in the region has tried to dialogue on numerous occasions to resolve the disputes, but the paramilitaries continue their attacks with the support of local and state government officials. The Network against Repression and for Solidarity (RvsR) calls on national and international civil society to mobilize in support of the Zapatista communities under attack, particularly Comandante Abel. 

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Mexico News and Analysis: July 9 - 22, 2012

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1 - DEMOCRACY IN MEXICO?
2 - HSBC BANK ACCUSED OF MONEY LAUNDERING
3 - CONGRESSIONAL REPORT CRITICIZES MEXICAN WAR ON DRUGS

In 1988, PRIista Carlos Salinas de Gotari stole the presidential election. PRD candidate Cuauhtémoc Cardenas was leading when ballot-tallying computers suddenly failed. Two days later, both the computers and the vote count were repaired, putting Salinas ahead. An irate and mobilized public looked to Cardenas, a former PRI politician himself and son of a popular 30s era PRI President, for leadership. Always the consummate insider, Cardenas refused to call for demonstrations and instead funneled popular energy into building the current PRD. Salinas assumed the Presidency with little additional fuss. He proceeded to become perhaps the most hated figure in Mexico over the past half century.

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NEWS AND ANALYSIS JULY 2 - 8, 2012

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1 - PRI STEALS ANOTHER ELECTION
2 - REMITTANCES INCREASE IN MAY
3 - CALDERON VETOES CRIME VICTIM COMPENSATION LAW

The PRI is back, suborning Mexico’s already limited democracy with a not so subtle mixture of the most up-to-date digital vote-buying techniques and well-worn old school practices to re-install last century’s “perfect dictatorship.”  Remember 1988, when a mysterious “computer malfunction” saved PRI candidate Carlos Salinas de Gotari from certain defeat?  Salinas became perhaps the most hated man in Mexico when, in 1994, he handed a bankrupt country and the pending “tequila crisis” to another PRI President, Ernesto Zedillo.  While that election may have been technically clean, the real contest was decided months earlier when populist PRI candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio, in some ways the anti-Salinas, was assassinated during a campaign stop, almost certainly the result of internal party struggles, though the case was never solved.  In 2000, former Coco-Cola president Vicente Fox captured the “voto util” (useful vote), a popular response to 70 years of PRI corruption that was really a vote for “anyone else.”   Then in 2006, PAN candidate Felipe Calderon called on former PRI operator extraordinaire Elba Esther Gordillo and a stacked Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) to manipulate returns and guarantee a presidency marked by six years of death – 55,000 and counting – in a failed “war on drugs.”  Reload to 2012, and another parody of democracy that will likely give the PRI’s Enrique Pena Nieto, a cute but largely vacuous “new face of the party,” yet another perverted presidential victory. 

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News and Analysis: June 25 - July 1

1 - MEXICAN ELECTIONS MARRED BY FRAUD
2 - US SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS KEY ANTI-IMMIGRANT LAW
3 - WTO RULING FAVORS MEXICO

Exit polls released late Sunday night show PRI candidate Enrique Pena Nieto winning Mexico’s presidency, with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the PRD finishing a surprisingly close second, and PANista Josefina Vazquez Mota a distant third.  CNN, Parametria, and Mitofsky exit polls all showed Pena Nieto with about 41% and Lopez Obrador with about 32%, though a “quick-count” based on a sampling of returns from across the country showed a closer race, and the actual returns gave Pena Neta 38% with Lopez Obrador close behind at 33%.  Vazquez Mota was quick to concede Sunday evening, while Lopez Obrador will wait for the official vote announcement on Wednesday and may contest the election after reports of widespread fraud. The PRI reportedly offered pre-paid supermarket cards worth up to 1,000 pesos and millions of boxes filled with food or cheap electro-domestics in exchange for votes.  Vote-buying was particularly widespread in Mexico State, where Pena Nieto served as Governor, and Veracruz, with some reports of as many as a million votes purchased in Mexico State alone.  Pena Nieto reportedly spent up to five times his legally allotted campaign fund, with massive private donations from businesses looking for influence in his administration.  And he enjoyed a virtual lock on news coverage by Televisa, the largest of two national television networks.  His wife, Angelica Rivera, is a popular soap opera star on the network.  

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NEWS AND ANALYSIS MAY 21 - JUNE 10, 2012

1 - NEWS FROM THE OTHER CAMPAIGN
2 - STUDENT MOVEMENT QUESTIONS RULING CLASS LEGITIMACY
3 - WALMART INVESTIGATION WIDENS
4 - FOUR ARMY OFFICERS IN CUSTODY  
5 - AMBASSADOR CRITICIZES GUN RIGHTS ADVOCATES 
6 - TWO JUDGES UNDER INVESTIGATION 
7 - MSN PROGRAMS: Contact msn at mexicosolidarity dot org or (773) 583 7728   

1 - NEWS FROM THE OTHER CAMPAIGN

Thursday afternoon, fifteen armed agents from the Tlaxcala Attorney General arrested Hector Perales Malacara, a leader of the Consejo Nacional Urbano y Campesino (CNUC), and five street merchants from Huamantla. Malacara was charged with blocking a roadway, a federal offense that can result in long jail terms and is often used by authorities to prosecute leaders of popular organizations. CNUC quickly mobilized supporters in both Mexico and the US, and Malacara was released on US$1,000 bail that same evening. The charges stem from an incident in Huamantla, one of the main market centers in Tlaxcala, in which the mayor tried to dislocate dozens of street merchants from a traditional market. In reality, Malacara's only "offense" was taking photos of the police action.

* Teodulo Santos Giron, one of the leaders of the land recuperation movement in Ostula, Michoacan, was assassinated this week. Inspired by the Zapatistas, the Nahua leader spent the last 18 years struggling for land rights and autonomy against drug cartels, mining companies and speculators. He was kidnapped in the community of La Ticla on Tuesday and his body was discovered on Wednesday.

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