What is happening in Mexico?, or A story about dignity and illusions of democracy
It is a nation with more than 8 million people without any official employment, and more than 44% of the entire population without any medical security. This excluded portion of the society has the option of whether paying a private praxis (for which most of them have not enough money) or... dying. According to the official figures of the Mexican government (gathered through the national census carried out in 2005), the poorest families have a monthly income of some 20EUR. This means that, if an average Mexican home counts 4.1 members, they receive less than a quarter EUR per person per day. This could be observed as a curiosity only if the fact that 52% of the Mexican population is classified by international standards as to be living in conditions of poverty and 30% of it as living in conditions of extreme poverty is to be ignored. This last 30% can be described by the mentioned daily income.
In contrast to latter, only 11 Mexican families possess a fortune of 36 billion USD, or the equivalent to the 65.2% of the yearly income of the almost 25 million Mexican homes. Moreover, it results embarrassing that the third wealthiest man on Earth (according to Forbes Magazine) happens to be Carlos Slim Helú, a Mexican with a 30 billion dollar wealth.
From this brief radiography it is possible to deduce that we are talking about a country with serious issues concerning the wealth distribution. The same Mexico that supports a reduced oligarchy which carries out a terrible exploitation of the labour force and the Mexican people (or peoples, if we are talking about the indigena world) in general, as well as the natural and energetic resources to be found on Mexican soil (it cannot be ignored that after Venezuela, Mexico is the second most important provider of oil to the USA). This oligarchy is conformed by the economically solving class (drug dealers included) and the political class just as well (included here, can be found the leaders and members of all officially registered political parties, without exceptions). The two classes, together (or the single upper class), carry out national policies directed toward the fortification of their own class condition and their retention of the political and economic power, manipulated and strongly influenced by the plutocratic unilateral political and economical power established in Washington. The things get even worse if we are to take into account the profound sense of classes and racism present in the Mexican society directed mostly against the native "indigena" population, the blacks, the gays, and any other minority beyond the reach of the economic globalisation or beyond the influence of the so called catholic "good manners". This issue becomes specially absurd if observed from the standing point of the reduced European-phenotype-elite (a characteristic common to most of the post-colonial societies).
This socially volatile cocktail has had a natural consequence in the form of social movements which have been appearing and then been forced to disappear once and again all through the recent Mexican history. These movements have been fighting for their constitutional rights, better living standards, land or the ecological conservation of country's natural resources. Many of them have been assimilated by the different governments (mostly through institutionalised labour unions and their corrupted leaders who gladly accepted different positions within the government structures or ridiculous amounts of money) or used later on as assault groups, through political manipulation and bribe. The difficult movements or those consequent with their ideals have been persecuted or destroyed by means of assassination, torture or physical disappearances of their members -followed these by tactics of the so called "low-intensity" war-. These tactics are continued to be used by the Mexican government until today.
At the beginning of this year, the 22nd section of the National Union of Educational Workers of Mexico (SNTE), located in the federal state of Oaxaca, organized a series of mobilizations as means of refusal of the government's decision to ignore their demands for better salaries and higher benefits. The mobilizations derived in a state wide strike, which consequently led to the establishment of a permanent demonstration in front of the state government building in the Oaxaca capital. The main demand of this movement was and still is the resignation of the current governor of Oaxaca, Ulises Ruíz Ortiz, member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido de la Revolución Institucional, PRI), a corrupt politician well known for his "strong-hand" repressions and connections with the local political and other mafias who has been governing through the establishment of a terror-state directed against his political opponents and the social movements in general (and the election fraud that brought him to the Oaxacan government in the first place).
All of this was happening in the shadows of the political farce in which turned the mexican federal election celebrated in July, this year, at the end of which two candidates claimed their victory. These two politicians confronted each other in a sort of 19th century like fight between liberals and conservatives, belonging both of them to the same oligarchic class, although conserving some important differences in the way they were proposing the public funds should be distributed, as well as in the conception of their future social policies. The big election fraud perpetuated by the fraction of the Mexican oligarchy inclined towards privatisations and sales of Mexican companies and its natural and energetic resources for banana-prices to foreign companies (in contrast to favouring the local capitalists -in any way, always forgetting the poor), imposed as a winner the candidate supported by the ultra-catholic fraction of the conservative National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional - PAN), Felipe Calderón Hinojosa. All the media were focused on what was happening in the Mexican capital, where the power ambitions of the confronted parties were reaching incredible heights, forgetting the problems growing in Oaxaca and elsewhere.
The 14th of June, the Ulises Ruiz government decided to repress the magisterial movement established in the very down-town of the Oaxacan capital, using the local police. This resulted in the first dead, dozens of wounded and dozens of arrested. The movement, instead of retreating, grew up. The People’s Assembly of the Oaxacan Towns (Asamblea Popular de Pueblos de Oaxaca - APPO) decided to support the teachers and joined the demonstration.
The federal government was much more worried about the presidential succession than for the Oaxacan situation, defending the position that stated the vulnerability of the just elected Calderón Hinojosa in case the PRI-governor of Oaxaca was forced to resign due to organized social-resistance pressures. The message which could be delivered in that case would be that a peaceful popular movement is able to overthrow a government. It was thought then that if Ruíz would fall, Calderón would be the next to follow. The Establishment could not accept Ruiz's resignation.
Discretional killings of the movement leaders began in Oaxaca, organized by the local government. The Mexican parliament emitted an official notice that in Oaxaca there still existed a governmental structure, although the state was out of control. The APPO and the teachers ignored the local powers and organized a parallel system of representation and parallel government instances.
With time, the Oaxacan (still official) government organized small groups of policemen and military troops dressed like civilians who had orders to provoke the movement members, confront them and even kill some of them if necessary. Within the movement, insurrection elements started to be noticed. The federal government continued to hesitate and basically, do nothing to solve the conflict.
On Friday, the 27th of October, the violence escalated to the point where several movement members resulted assassinated, together with the IndyMedia reporter from New York, Bradley Roland Will. Many resulted wounded. The next evening, the federal government (under the explicit pressure of the USA Ambassador in Mexico, Anthony Garza) sent police forces to recover the city of Oaxaca. 3,100 (some report 4,500) troops in helicopters and anti-riot tanks entered the state capital, launching water mixed with chemicals and tear gas to the people. The APPO members and teachers fought back with sticks, stones and available artefacts.
Apparently, the final pole on that day was of three confirmed (probably 7) dead, several dozen wounded and around 70 people arrested. The city is still taken by the militarised police (PFP) elements.
The movement sent a letter to the federal government demanding: 1) the militarised police to leave the city of Oaxaca, 2) the 70 detainees to be released from the local prisons where they have been beaten, and 3) the resignation of the still governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.
The violence, human rights violations, corruption, death, or even plans similar to that applied by the USA in Colombia, as well as the edification of an incredible wall on the border with the USA are no answers to the profound social problems of Mexico (which are not only Mexican problems). Dialogue, respect, social justice, ecological conservation: these are the key solutions for solving such tremendous problems.
The police must leave Oaxaca! Ulises Ruiz must resign! The political prisoners must be released!