News & Analysis

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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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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Periódico Comunitario del Centro Autónomo (nov 2012)

182

¡Lea nuestro nuevo periódico: edición 16 (nov 2012)!
1. Eventos del Centro
2. La política y la acción diferida
3. Que Pasa y Que Viene
4. ¡Fiestas! El trabajo del comité de eventos

La política y la acción diferida
El 26 de octubre tuvimos un taller en el Centro Autónomo para tratar de entender la "acción diferida" y ayudar a quienes piensan en considerarla como opción de regularización migratoria. Había unos abogados y representantes de la Alianza de Jóvenes Inmigrantes por la Justicia (IYJL por su nombre en ingles) para presentar una visión completa de la opción.

La opinión de IYJL es que la acción diferida es algo bueno, pero no es bastante. El país todavía necesita una reforma inmigratoria más amplia, con posibilidades de que los adultos, y todos los que no son elegibles para la acción diferida, puedan conseguir la ciudadanía. Aún si uno es elegible para la acción diferida, tiene que pensar en todo lo que la opción significa, pues no necesariamente es lo mejor para todos.

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Mexico News & Analysis: Nov 5-11, 2012

1 - LATINOS, ELECTIONS AND IMMIGRATION REFORM
2 - MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION CALLS "DRUG WAR" INTO QUESTION

1 - LATINOS, ELECTIONS, AND IMMIGRATION REFORM

175 Some Republicans are worried.  Only 27% of Latino voters supported Mitt Romney's presidential candidacy, and that number includes all the wealthy and historically Republican Cuban-Americans in southern Florida and New Jersey. Latinos accounted for 10% of presidential ballots and are the fastest growing segment of the electorate, leaving Republicans scratching their heads over their newly recognized "demographic problem."  Suddenly, the party of "self-deportation," increased border security, and overt racism is trying to "reposition."  Even right wing acolyte Sean Hannity of Fox News has "evolved" on immigration reform - only two days after the stinging national defeat.  Republicans and Democrats alike are rushing to see who can roll out the welcome mat for 12 million undocumented workers living in the shadows, though always with their own political fortunes in mind.

Within hours of the election, the "demographic problem" captured the attention of commentators and party hacks across the spectrum, but the mainstream analysis of this phenomenon is wrong on two accounts. First, the immigrant rights movement didn't suddenly become a force with Romney's election defeat, nor as a result of Obama's political machine.  In 2006, immigrants organized the largest public demonstrations in the history of this country. About 12 million people took to the streets protesting the draconian Sensenbrenner Bill that would have made undocumented status a felony. In 2009, a small but growing group of DREAMers began to come out of the shadows. Risking deportation to countries they hadn't known since they were small children, the DREAMers put a human face on undocumented status. This courageous group of youth deserves front row seats at the negotiating table, if comprehensive immigration reform is truly on the agenda. Their moral authority made this issue a subject of dinner table conversations, and a bunch of "Johnny-come-lately" politicians interested only in their own political hides should not be allowed to hijack it.

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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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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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The fight against foreclosures in Albany Park

171

 

Maria finds herself in a difficult position. After years of physical and psychological abuse by her husband, she filed for divorce. He wants to make life difficult, so the divorce is contested, though inevitable. They bought a home together ten years ago, with the Wells Fargo mortgage in his name. When divorce proceedings started, he moved out and quit making payments, while also prohibiting the bank from discussing the mortgage with Maria. Apparently privacy laws trump the right to a secure home for Maria and her daughter. Maria didn’t even know her home was in foreclosure until real estate agents began hovering around like vultures in a largely stagnant real estate market. By then, most of the legal processes were finished, and Maria, who speaks English as a second language, was at a loss to understand her options – or even if there were options. Now Wells Fargo – or Freddie Mac, whichever one claims ownership at the moment – wants Maria out. She wants to buy the house at the current market value, or perhaps even for a bit more, and she has the downpayment ready. But apparently Wells Fargo would prefer an eviction, with an eventual sale to a speculator for perhaps 70% of what Maria is willing to pay. This is the world of high finance in 2012, and Maria is not alone.

Linda’s husband beat her often and severely. To make things worse, he convinced their 13-year-old son it was alright to take a swing now and then when his mother didn’t obey him. Her divorce was completed in the midst of a vindictive foreclosure that may leave Linda and her son without a home, despite the relative wealth of her husband, who can afford the best attorneys, and who controlled communication with Bank of America, the mortgage holder.

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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