News and Analysis

Mexico News and Analysis: October 15-21

173 1 - ZAPATISTAS AGAIN UNDER ATTACK
2 - SEVEN FEDERAL OFFICERS ARRESTED
3 - GORDILLO RENEWS POWER BASE
4 - POLICE RAID TEACHERS COLLEGES

The Zapatista Junta of Good Government in Oventic denounced escalating provocations against Zapatista bases in the community of Jechvo in the highland region north of San Cristobal de las Casas.  The complaint revolves around PRI and PRD leaders in the area prohibiting Zapatista support bases from accessing water. See enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx to read the denouncement.

2 - SEVEN FEDERAL OFFICERS ARRESTED
Seven security officials, including three members of an elite federal organized crime unit, were charged this week with providing the powerful Sinaloa cartel with information on the timing of raids and the progress of investigations, according to Cuitlahuac Salinas, head of the organized crime unit.  One of the accused worked previously at the Supreme Court and another was reportedly close to Attorney General Marisela Morales.  Cartels may spend as much as US$12 billion a year buying politicians and security officials.  Corruption among high ranking officials is nothing new.  In 2008, the head of the organized crime unit, a former General vetted by the US before he was appointed, was accused of taking $450,000 a month from the Sinaloa Cartel.

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Mexico News and Analysis: October 8 - 14

169 1 - ZAPATISTAS CONDEMN ATTACKS BY PAN AND PRD MILITANTS (http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/)
2 - CARTEL LEADER KILLED – MAYBE
3 - BORDER PATROL KILLS TEENAGER IN MEXICAN TERRITORY
4 - POLICE AND MILITARY TORTURE INCREASING IN MEXICO
5 - SENATE PASSES MONEY LAUNDERING BILL
6 - LABOR REFORM RUNS INTO OBSTACLES

The Junta of Good Government in La Realidad, located in the southern canyon region of Chiapas, issued a public condemnation of PAN and PRD militants affiliated with CIOAC Historico, a group of coffee-growers, for attacks against Zapatista support bases in ejido Guadalupe, municipality of Las Margaritas.  The public denunciation follows a series of escalating incidents in Zapatista communities in different parts of Chiapas that include armed attacks, land displacements, and imprisonment of Zapatista supporters.  Increasing public condemnations by Zapatista authorities in recent months coincide with official indifference or support for the attackers at the federal, state and local levels, leading to a potentially explosive situation.  The Mexico Solidarity Network calls on the political class in Mexico to end its war of attrition against Zapatista communities.

2 - CARTEL LEADER KILLED – MAYBE
The Mexican Navy killed the leader of the notoriously violent Zeta cartel last Sunday night, then lost the body when armed men stole it from a local funeral home early Monday morning.  The blunder left many Mexicans wondering exactly who was killed.  Navy officials claimed they didn’t know Heriberto Lazcano, aka Lazca, was the victim until checking fingerprint databases. However, US officials knew the identity before the body disappeared, leaving Mexican officials looking incompetent at best.

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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: August 13 - 26, 2012

1 - ZAPATISTA NEWS (www.enlacezapatisa.ezln.org.mx)
2 - EGG SHORTAGE THREATENS NUTRITION
3 - U.S. EMBASSY VEHICLE ATTACKED BY FEDERAL POLICE
4 - DISPUTE OVER WIRELESS FREQUENCIES TURNS POLITICAL
5 - SUPREME COURT LIMITS APPLICATION OF MILITARY LAW
6 - ELECTION DISPUTE CONTINUES
7 - WALMART LAUNDERING MONEY AND EVADING TAXES

-The Junta of Good Government in La Realidad denounces land theft, attacks and provocations by government authorities, the Green Party and the PRD. 
-The Junta of Good Government in Morelia denounces an armed attack by members of ORCAO on August 2. The Regional Organization of Coffee Growers of Ocosingo (ORCAO) is affiliated with local PRD leaders.

2 - EGG SHORTAGE THREATENS NUTRITION
Egg prices are spiking at double the levels of only a few weeks ago as Mexicans face a shortage of their most important source of protein. A June bird flu epidemic in Michoacan- the heart of the country’s egg industry -wrought havoc in Mexico’s egg markets, with a kilo now priced at more than US$3. Mexicans typically consume 350 eggs per person per year, the highest consumption rate in the world. As the Calderon administration struggles to replace more than 11 million chickens slaughtered to control the flu epidemic, low-quality imports from the US and Central America are beginning to enter the market, often at usurious prices.

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Mexico News and Analysis: July 9 - 22, 2012

97

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

94

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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News and Analysis: April 30 - May 6, 2012

1 - MAY 19 DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH ZAPATISTAS
2 - ANTITRUST COMMISSION BUCKLES BEFORE CARLOS SLIM
3 - WALMART UPDATE
4 - MEXICO APPROVES COMPENSATION FOR CRIME VICTIMS
5 - NEW BI-NATIONAL POLICE ACADEMY OPENS IN PUEBLA
6 - POLITICS OR SOCCER?

The Mexico-based National Network against Repression and for Solidarity called for coordinated protests on May 19 in solidarity with the Zapatista movement.  While the Zapatistas continue to build autonomy and resist neoliberalism, the Chiapas state government of Juan Sabines Guerrero has implemented a strategy of low intensity warfare.  Zapatista communities are under constant attack, particularly the community of Nuevo Paraiso in the Garrucha zone of Chiapas.  The National Network demands an end to the war against zapatismo.  Zapatista communities are not alone!  An attack on Zapatista communities is an attack against all of us!  The Mexico Solidarity Network is a member of the National Network against Repression and for Solidarity, and strongly supports the call for action.

Friday, May 18 at 2PM:  The Centro Autonomo de Albany Park convenes a march in front of the Mexican Consulate in Chicago.

Saturday, May 19 at Noon: The Centro Autonomo de Albany Park calls for educational fliers and a march in the Latino barrio of Albany Park.  Meet at the Centro Autonomo, 3460 W Lawrence Ave, at noon.

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News and Analysis: April 23 - 29

1 - NEWS FROM THE OTHER CAMPAIGN
2 - WALMART SCANDAL REVERBERATES
3 - U.S. WEAPONS FLOOD MEXICO
4 - UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRATION DECLINES

On April 24, the Junta of Good Government in the Zapatista caracol La Garrucha published an open letter criticizing attacks on the Zapatista community Nueva Paraiso by neighboring communities affiliated with local politicians.  The attacks began last October and include land invasions, armed attacks, destruction of forests and cropland, and stealing crops.  Damages are estimated at nearly US$40,000, a small fortune for a campesino community struggling for existence.  The Junta accuses local, state and federal authorities of organizing the attacks.  These kinds of attacks against autonomous communities have been increasing in recent years.

2 - WALMART SCANDAL REVERBERATES
WalMart and its allies in the business press and ruling class did their best this week to rescue the transnational corporation from an embarrassing, illegal, and potentially costly scandal.  Mexico’s ruling party first tried to ignore the US$24 million bribery scandal that made WalMart the country’s largest private employer.  On Monday, President Felipe Calderon claimed that if the accusations are true, it would be a local matter since bribes for construction permits would have been paid to municipal and state officials. 

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