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. 

The Network calls for public actions on September 30 to demand an end to paramilitary attacks and respect for the Zapatista's autonomous processes. Please send photos or other documentation of your actions to the RvsR at redcontralarepresion [at] gmail [dot]com. The Network is also promoting US$10 "solidarity bonds," with all proceeds going to the five Juntas of Good Government. Solidarity bonds are available from the Mexico Solidarity Network via our email and phone above. Para reportes completos en espanol: http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/


2 - PENA NIETO DECLARED PRESIDENT
To no one's surprise, but to the dismay of much of the country, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) unanimously anointed PRI candidate Enrique Pena Nieto as the next President of Mexico at a September 7 press conference. The IFE managed to overlook millions of dollars in vote-buying, PRI campaign spending that may have been six times the legal limit, and PRI coordination with Televisa, part of Mexico's television duopoly that controls most programming in the country, to guarantee a PRI return to power after 12 years of PAN presidencies. Runner-up Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and the PRD fought a losing battle to overturn yet another incidence in a long string of corrupt presidential elections - at least four of the last five. Pena Nieto will don the presidential sash on December 1 in a formal ceremony that promises to draw massive protests from students and workers.

Pena Nieto named a transition team that includes mostly stalwarts from his campaign apparatus, but also a few surprises. Apparently sensing the demise of her own party, former Mexico City Mayor Rosario Robles of the PRD joins six other women on the 46 member team. Luis Videgaray, Pena Nieto's closest confidant and an MIT graduate, heads the team and is likely angling for the position of Interior or Finance Minister. In a clear example of political payback, Roberto Campa, one of Elba Esther Gordillo's closest confidants and the 2006 presidential candidate of her Panal party, holds a prominent role in the transition. Gordillo may be the most powerful - and among the most corrupt - political figure in Mexico as head of the 1.3 million teacher's union. Alfredo Castillo, former Attorney General of Mexico State, where he gained infamy for covering up the Atenco police actions that resulted in two murders and at least 30 cases of sexual assault by officers, is also part of the team.

3 - NEW LABOR LAW
As a parting shot in his long-running feud with organized labor, lame-duck President Felipe Calderon is pushing for a "comprehensive" labor reform before he leaves office on December 1. President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto supports the bill, perhaps so the PRI doesn't have to take full responsibility for a set of labor laws that anger both the independent and official unions. The new law would replace the 8-hour work day, one of the most important victories of Mexico's revolution, with "flexible" part-time work, split shifts and subcontracting. Apparently the current US$4.30 per day minimum wage is too much for the capitalist class to stand. It would make truly democratic unions nearly impossible to organize, and would virtually outlaw strikes. And it would force the official unions to open their books, probably revealing hundreds of shell locals that exist only on paper for the benefit of a few corrupt union bosses. The bill is on a 30-day legislative fast track that would allow passage before Calderon leaves office and, conveniently, with little time for debate.

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