SEPTEMBER 1-14, 2008

1. ZAPATISTAS CALL FOR SOLIDARITY WITH ATENCO PRISONERS

Translation by El Kilombo Intergalactico

Zapatista Army for National Liberation, Sixth Commission of the EZLN
Mexico, September 11, 2008
To the companeras and companeros and companeroas adherents of the Sixth Declaration, the Other Campaign, and the Zezta Internazional:

To whomever feels addressed by these words:
Compas:

How about this "companeroa" term? For our part here we are thinking that this way we can resolve that problem of the @ sign, and go a little further. Because, as the deceased Elias Contreras always said, it turns out that... Well, I'm starting off a little muddled. Here we go again:

Compas:

First of all, receive Zapatista greetings. We are writing you all (todos, todas, y todoas) in order to talk a bit about what we're thinking, as comrades in struggle.

It is not one single thought, however, but rather several. Well, it is one thought but it carries many, that is, it's a complex thought. Mixed up, you could say. And talking about it and writing about it and discussing it with you all is how we accommodate it, how it comes out clear in the end. So we thought that we'd start first things first.

And the first thing is our companer@s who were unjustly taken prisoner those first days of May, 2006, in the savage repression against the people of San Salvador Atenco. While some have been freed, others remain unjustly imprisoned, among them the companero Ignacio del Valle, of the People's Front in Defense of the Land. And we name him not because we are forgetting or ignoring the rest, but rather because his case is emblematic of the injustice that is the institutional law in this suffering Mexico.

Well then, you all know more or less what happened, so what we want to talk about now is what we are going to do, as Zapatistas and with other compass that aren't Zapatistas but are part of the Other Campaign, that is, companeras, companeros and companeroas.

As of the first days after our companer@s of the Other Campaign and the People's Front in Defense of the Land were taken hostage by the federal government (then and now the National Action Party) and the State of Mexico (the PRI), and unjustly imprisoned, a small group of men and women of the Other Campaign set up a small encampment in front of the prison at Santiaguito.

Since then, with perseverance and without any recognition whatsoever, this encampment has maintained itself, first in front of the Santiaguito prison and later, when the prisoners were transferred, in front of the prison Molino de las Flores (also in the state of Mexico). Their demand is and has been that of all of us in the Other Campaign: freedom and justice for Atenco.

But there is more. Over the course of these more than two years, and in adverse conditions, this encampment has accompanied our prisoners and their families, assuring them that they weren't and aren't alone, that we have not been forgotten.

In these more than two years, dozens of our compas-prisoners have been set free. According to our thinking, this has been thanks to the mobilizations carried out in Mexico and around the world, to the committed work of their legal defenders, and to the tenacity of this small group of companer@s that, without any attention from the media (though with substantial attention from the federal, state, and municipal police that have not ceased to harass and threaten them), day and night they have raised the call for freedom and justice for Atenco.

In these more than two years, it's true that some have withdrawn their presence from the encampment. But there is a nucleus that has remained constant and it is this nucleus that is the assurance to our prisoners that our movement has not and will not abandon them.

As you all know, a few weeks ago that tragic farce that is Mexican legal justice dictated a new and outrageous sentence against our compas in Molino de las Flores Prison and in the high security prison La Palma (Almoloya), in the state of Mexico, adding a link to the already long chain of injustices weighing down our companer@s.

As of this moment, the EZLN made contact with the companer@s that have remained firm at the encampment, with some groups, collectives, and organizations who are adherents of the Sixth Declaration, and with some of those who were prisoners and have been released. We have had and have now the goal of re-launching the National and International Campaign demanding liberty and justice for Atenco, and of maintaining a constant bridge to our compas who are still prisoner so that they feel and know that here among us they are not forgotten.

We are speaking of, therefore, not just a few actions, as fleeting as the few lines that were written about this injustice, but rather something longer lasting, constant, and effective.

Among other things, and as a result of these contacts and counsels, a variety of individuals, groups, collectives, and organizations that belong to the Other Campaign, have convened the REINFORCEMENT, IN QUALITY AND QUANTITY, OF THE ENCAMPMENT AT MOLINA DE LAS FLORES, CONVERTING IT INTO A SPACE OF ENCOUNTER OF THE OTHER CAMPAIGN, IN ADDITION TO CONVOKING, AT NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEVELS, THE RENEWING OF THE CAMPAIGN TO FREE OUR PRISONERS.

We suggest that we rotate attendance at the encampment, promoting and participating in political-cultural activities in that space, and taking up the contacts that we had made in Mexico and the world to coordinate new activities in demand of justice.

With the National Network against Repression and for Solidarity (made up fundamentally by individuals, groups, collectives, and organizations of the Other Campaign), with the National Independent Union of Popular Organizations of the Left (UNOPII), and with Labor and Socialist Unity (UNIOS), and with various libertarian groups and collectives, as well as with companeras and companeros that have supported the Sixth Commission of the EZLN in the Other Campaign, we have agreed upon a calendar of participation and activities that are to begin this September 16th, 2008, on the third anniversary of our movement.

That is why we are writing you. To invite you to attend the encampment at Molino de las Flores Prison, and to participate in the activities to take place there, and to, in your own groups, collectives, and organizations, and in the local, regional, and state work units of the Other Campaign, to propose and carry out actions demanding liberty and justice for Atenco.

Companeroas, companeras, and companeros:

With this small effort we invite you to say, along with us, and to remind ourselves and everyone else, that WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN... not our prisoners nor those who have imposed this injustice upon them.

That is all, companeros, companeras and companeroas. Soon we will send you, on the Third Anniversary of the Other Campaign (that is, September 16 of this year), another convocation for an activity that perhaps will interest you.

OK. Cheers and may the other reaffirm its existence.

LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ATENCO!

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.


2. POLICE INFILTRATED BY CRIMINALS
To no one’s surprise, Interior Secretary Juan Mourino and Public Security Secretary Genaro Garcia announced on Wednesday that Mexico’s police are riddled with criminals.  The two cabinet members promised a new system of control that includes obligatory testing for all police.  Even the Federal Agency for Investigation (AFI, the rough equivalent of the FBI) turns out to be infiltrated.  Police took a highly respected AFI agent into custody this week for the kidnapping and murder of 14-year-old Fernando Marti, a case that has dominated the Mexican media since the young victim turned up dead several weeks ago.  Lorena Gonzalez, head of the gang that kidnapped Marti, was an active member of the AFI and was in the process of transferring to a new federal police force designed to clean up police corruption.

Despite growing mistrust for police among the general public and a national drug war that most Mexicans think is failing, the Calderon administration proposed a security budget this week of US$10.4 billion, a 39% increase over this year’s budget.  The lion’s share is destined for the Public Security Secretary, which would establish a new federal police force with a presence throughout the country.  Calderon described the plan as an attack on organized crime.

In related news, 25 bodies were discovered in Mexico State on Friday.  The carnage was apparently drug-related.  Officials denied that any of the dead were police, though they remained unidentified as of this report.


3. INFLATION GROWS, REMITTANCES DECREASE
Mexico’s inflation rate reached 5.6% in August, the highest in five and a half years, according to the Bank of Mexico.  Food led the way with a 9.6% annual rate of increase, followed by 7.2% for public transportation, and gasoline with 6.6%.  Gasoline prices, established nationally by the federal government, rose three times in the past week.  The basic food basket, used to compute the official level of poverty, exploded 7.3% on an annual rate.

Meanwhile, remittances sent by Mexican workers living in the US to families in Mexico shrunk by 6.9% in July, the largest decline since 1995.  Remittances registered declines in six of the first seven months of 2008, an indication of declining economic opportunities for immigrants north of the border.


4. WALMART LOSES SUPREME COURT CASE
The Supreme Court ordered WalMart, Mexico’s largest private employer, to end its practice of paying part of salaries in coupons redeemable only in WalMart stores.  The decision officially covers only one bold employee from Chihuahua who brought the case, but the transnational is expected to change its salary policies as a result.  The Supreme Court found that the payment plan violates the constitution, which outlawed “company stores” in 1917.  WalMart employs more than 150,000 workers in Mexico. 


5. PEMEX COULD BE THE WORLD’S MOST PROFITABLE OIL COMPANY
Pemex, Mexico’s national petroleum company, could be the most profitable in the world if the government altered its taxation policies to a more reasonable level, according to a report by Banamex, an affiliate of New York-based CitiGroup.  “By substituting the tax charges leveled against Pemex for the average taxes paid by the world’s ten largest petroleum companies, both public and private, Mexico’s state company would alter its financial status from a net loss in 2007 to a net gain that would make the company number one in the world,” according to Arnulfo Rodriguez and Esteban Jimenez, Banamex oil specialists.  The report became public in the midst of a fierce national debate over privatization of Pemex, favored by President Calderon but opposed by an overwhelming majority of Mexicans.