Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Mexico City's Poor People's March

Here's what the encampment looks like: (Image by Alfredo Dominguez of La Jornada). Businessmen are of course frothing, claiming losses of 435 million pesos for day one of the sit-in. I wouldn't be surprised. Social peace has monetary value, something that people forget. If they were smart, the ones that are able should send their employees out with samples. It's not often that you get a customer audience of a couple hundred thousand people with nothing better to do than look at your products. If I know Mexico City, its real entrepreneurs, hawking hot corn on the cob and other goodies are ringing up the cash registers like never before. La Jornada editorializes that this conflict is not just electoral. Oaxaca was in crisis long before this, as was the miner's strike and Chiapas. Parts of the country are lawless, due to the drug mafia. Speaking of Oaxaca, shots were fired at a dance sponsored by a citizens's group at the Guelaguetza festival. Two suspects are believed to members of a local law enforcement group, while a third fled into the federal judicial building where he presumably did not expect to be arrested and tried. (Jornada link unfortunately lost; the title was "Disparos al aire detonan caos en baile de Guelaguetza;" 7/31/06) One of our readers brought to attention an AP article posted on MSNBC. I appreciate the link and am glad that the US press is noticing that parts of Mexico City just slipped out from under US control. But the article itself is a laundry list of lies. One example: The stock market is not down, as anyone can see. It has been volatile because the premature Calderon celebration was interrupted, but it has followed the general contours of the US market: a run-up through May, a crash in June, and gently rising in July. Another example: The story states that "Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his supporters won’t accept anything less than victory " In fact, they won't accept anything less than a fair count of the ballots. Finally, the article has a section on potential violence. The first sentence is "While Lopez Obrador has called on demonstrators to remain calm, the protesters say things could turn violent." After a paragraph of people saying fairly innocuous things, the article gives us an example of how a hardening of positions could lead to violence: a secretary, late to work, was standing outside a subway stop trying to figure out how to get to work. As far as I know, the subway is still running, so the answer would seem to be fairly obvious. Added: The sit-in covers 8.5 kilometers (presumably square kilometers, 3.2 square miles). For the first time in 40 years, the air in Mexico City may become breathable. In fairness to the indignant secretary, some train routes weren't usable for reasons that aren't clear to me. But the city government is attempting to open certain crossroads. I'm sure they'll succeed now that the business district is aware just how vulnerable they are to the poor people who they step on every day. It's very difficult for me to sympathize with El Universal, which moans about how this is one more catastrophe on top of water shortages, floods, crime, unemployment, homelessness, etc. when they could just count the votes and send everyone home with a handshake. AMLO is, whatever else you may think of him, a thoughtful tactician. Enrique Galvan Ochoa hasan OpEd on the snake lady. Basically, the use of the presidency to buy a successorship is not novel, having been pioneered by the PRI. Image from La Jornada
Another excellent post on the Mexican election fiasco.

Thank you.
I'm glad someone is reading it, Shrimplate. I am appalled by how few blogs are covering the Mexican election. Kos? Eschaton? Nope.

If Mexico falls apart we are in waaaay more trouble than if Iraq falls apart.
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