Thursday, October 16, 2008

Zapatista! Mexican Army Attacks Civilians (Article)

And so this week's story: The Mexican Army Attacks Civilians in the Indigenous Town of Xoxocotla. Its a well developed, detailed and long article getting to the essence of the current situation, by Gregory Berger. Perhaps it is very clear what is at hand today, in light of the information above, with some excerpts from its concluding section..

"Helicopters flew overhead and shot tear gas into private homes, most of which were filled with small children... Houses were raided by police and soldiers, and men taken and beaten in front of their families. There are reports of at least 70 missing persons, of whom only 20 have been officially "arrested."

"Hundreds of scared and angry residents emerged from their homes to tell stories of their shock and rage. Many were shocked at the participation of army troops, tanks, and helicopters. 'Why are they sending the army out against us?' Cried one woman. 'We aren't criminals. The President says he is using the army to fight drug traffickers, but he is using it against poor indigenous people.'.. How is it that even as Mexico remembers the 40th anniversary of the Tlatelolco massacre that the army has been allowed to turn its weapons against its own citizens once again?... Despite serious allegations of fraud, Felipe Calderon was sworn in as President of Mexico in December, 2006... Soon afterward Calderon increased the role of the Mexican Armed forces in Mexican society by announcing that the armed forces would be used to conduct a new heightened war against drug traffickers... From the outset, critics claimed that Calderon never intended the army's presence in the Mexican countryside to serve as an anti-narcotics force, and that his aims were in fact twofold: To leverage his ability to serve out his Presidential term in light of massive calls for his resignation before his inauguration, and to legitimize the use of the armed forces in domestic affairs as a means to repress Mexico's abundant social movements... The repression in Xoxocotla this week overwhelmingly supports this hypothesis... Recently, the U.S. Congress authorized 400 million dollars in funding to provide support for the Mexican military in its 'war on drugs' in a package known as 'Plan México' or 'The Merida Initiative.'.. Declassified documents from the U.S.' National Security Archive have established evidence of Washington's participation in the Tlatelolco massacre. In 2008, once more, the U.S. is helping to arm the Mexican military to attack its own citizens."

The whole incident emerged from a self-organized effort on the part of the indigenous people to protest on behalf of teachers and the townspeople of Xoxocotla united in a common struggle to stop the rapid privatization of public resources. They are trying to halt:

"... a new set of educational reforms they say would open the doors to the participation of private capital in the public education system ...desperately trying to save the aquifer which feeds its municipal water system from being sucked dry from private condominium developers who skirt local zoning laws."

We have to keep the international activist spotlight on the Mexican elite and their counterparts to the North so something truly new may survive, not allowing to happen what happened to the Mayans and then the greater population of Mexico since the 16th century.

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