News and Analysis

Mexico News and Analysis: June 6-12

1 - NEWS FROM THE OTHER CAMPAIGN (http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/)
2 - U.S. ASSAULT RIFLES INCREASINGLY AVAILABLE IN MEXICO
3 - FORMER CHIAPAS GOVERNOR ARRESTED FOR MISUSE OF FUNDS
4 - PRISON HUNGER STRIKE IN CHIAPAS ENDS
5 - CARAVAN FOR PEACE ARRIVES IN CIUDAD JUAREZ
6 - ALABAMA INITIATES ANTI-IMMIGRANT LAW

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No Mas Sangre
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Other Campaign
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Fast and Furious
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Corruption
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Immigration

Mexico News and Analysis: May 30 - June 5

1 - INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION CRITICIZES FAILED "WAR ON DRUGS"

2 - CARAVAN FOR PEACE CONDEMNS VIOLENCE AND CORRUPTION

3 - PRI LEADER ARRESTED IN TIJUANA

4 - PEMEX SUES US COMPANIES FOR ILLEGAL OIL IMPORTS

5 - OBAMA CHANGES CHARACTER OF IMMIGRATION RAIDS

6 - RENE ARCE SWITCHES TO PRI

7 - CHIAPAS "MODEL CITIES" QUICKLY DISINTEGRATING


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Counterinsurgency

MEXICO NEWS AND ANALYSIS MAY 23-29, 2011

1 - NEWS FROM THE OTHER CAMPAIGN
2 - OBAMA TO NOMINATE MEXICO AMBASSADOR
3 - WTO RULES AGAINST U.S.
4 - NO TELEVISION STATIONS FOR CARLOS SLIM
5 - ARIZONA SHERIFF FACES IN-HOUSE CORRUPTION
6 - MEXICO DECRIMINALIZES UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRATION

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Arizona
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Other Campaign

News and Analysis: Jan 28 - Feb 10

228 1 - SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST SME WORKERS
2 - PEMEX EXPLOSION MAY LEAD TO PRIVATIZATION
3 - LAST MINUTE AGREEMENT REACHED ON TOMATO TRADE
4 - MARCOS ANNOUNCES AUGUST GATHERING IN CHIAPAS
5 - OBAMA ADMINISTRATION VETOED PREFERRED DEFENSE SECRETARY
6 - UNPRECEDENTED WEALTH CONCENTRATION 

On January 30, Mexico’s Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision against the Electrical Workers Union (SME), ending all legal avenues for SME workers to recover their jobs.  About 16,000 SME workers, from a total workforce of 44,000 plus 15,000 retirees, maintained a struggle to recover their jobs after former President Felipe Calderon orchestrated the closing of Central Light and Power (LFC) three years ago in an effort to destroy one of Mexico’s most active unions.  The judges ruled Calderon was not responsible for the closure of the state-owned company, despite the fact he ordered the federal army to occupy LFC installations and expel all SME workers.  The Justices' ruling overturns a lower court decision.  The judicial debacle follows closely on the heels of another defeat for labor with the passage late last year of a regressive labor reform law.
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agriculture
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narcotrafficking
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US imperialism
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wealth concentration

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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Zapatista Communiques

News and Analysis: December 24, 2012 - January 6, 2013

215

1 – ZAPATISTAS PUBLISH COMMUNIQUES
On December 30, the EZLN issued a formal communique outlining their broad strategic focus for the immediate future and two public letters, representing the movement’s first public comments in a year and a half.  The declarations follow historic silent marches by 40,000 Zapatista support bases in five major population centers in eastern and northern Chiapas on December 21.  The declarations are available in Spanish and English at http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/

The communique opens with a brief review of Zapatista successes over the years: “we have significantly strengthened and improved our living conditions. Our standard of living is higher than those of the indigenous communities that support the governments in office, who receive handouts that are squandered on alcohol and useless items.”  For a movement that passed quickly in the early 2000s from du jour to passé in the mainstream media, casual followers of Zapatismo may find this claim surprising.  But after institutional politics were largely closed off to the movement by the passage of a toothless version of the San Andres Accords in 2001, Zapatismo turned inward, focusing on self-implementation of the Accords.  The results are impressive – autonomous self-government, a primary and secondary education system that covers the entirety of Zapatista territory, and a self-financed medical system recognized for its efficacy, even by opposition party members in Chiapas.  Slowly but surely, Zapatismo has become a sustainable force focused on the basic needs and political organization of tens of thousands of indigenous families.

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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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Elba Esther Gordillo
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WalMart
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money laundering

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 & Analysis: Oct 29-Nov 4

WHY IS MEXICO ABSENT FROM US ELECTION DEBATE?
This coming week, about half the eligible voters in the United States will participate in a quadrennial exercise in limited democracy by electing 435 Representatives, one-third of the Senate, and a President - all wealthy, mostly white and male, and inevitably beholden to one sector of the capitalist class or another. Political commentators recently noticed that, aside from a few brief mentions of migration and Latino voters, Mexico has not been part of the electoral debate.  Why ignore our neighbor to the south? 

Well, from the perspective of the US capitalist class, Mexican affairs are very much in order, thanks largely to sitting President Felipe Calderon and his National Action Party (PAN).  For the past six years, Calderon has been a loyal minion, defending free trade agreements, maintaining a neoliberal economic agenda by cutting social spending and sustaining a relatively balanced budget, waging an increasingly violent “war on drugs,” and acting as US surrogate in Latin American political circles. Occasionally the US will step over a line that even the PAN can’t overlook, generating a few carefully measured words from Calderon, almost always delivered to the Spanish-speaking media - for example, when the Border Patrol murders Mexican citizens, not an uncommon occurrence.  But for the most part, US authorities say jump, and Calderon responds with “how high.”  Mexico’s political wagon is hitched securely to the US capitalist class, and as a result, Mexico boasts some of the wealthiest capitalists in the world, while more than half the country lives in poverty. 

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News and Analysis: October 22-28

174

1 - INCREASED MIGRATION SIGNALS IMPROVING JOB MARKET
2 - LABOR REFORM STAGNATES IN CONGRESS

An increase this year in migration from Mexico to the US, reported by a bi-national study led by El Colegio del Norte and the University of Southern California, indicates an improving US employment market, at least in low wage jobs.  For the past several years, the political class boasted of migration at a standstill after decades of increases, attributing the decreases to beefed up border patrols.  Migration declined from 2008 until the end of 2011, then reversed trend in the first two quarters of 2012.  Data is collected by the Border Survey of Mexican Migration, which relies on interviews with undocumented migrants, both those heading north and those returning to Mexico.  Migration dynamics often prove to be a leading economic indicator, in that migrant workers begin to respond to economic changes before they are fully realized in the economy.  In this case, the indication is that US employers are looking for cheap labor, perhaps below minimum wage in some sectors, as an anemic recovery slowly begins to take root.

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