Saturday, October 28, 2006
Mexico, October 28th: Oaxaca.
The Calderon fans all seem to think that maledicta beats logic and fact. They spend their time dropping F-bombs instead of even attempting to make a decent case for their guy. That alone would be a big hint to me that Charles is right and they are wrong.
There have been wounded and dead from both sides of the conflict, most notoriously Jaime Calvo, a teacher who was openly against Sección 22 and APPO.
APPO is responsible for all of this, they took over Oaxaca disrupting transit, business and, ultimately, ordinary life, something most people appreciate. APPO created a situation in which people had to defend themselves, sometimes aggressively. It is moronic to think that you can invade people’s lives and expect them all to thank you, of course some people will arm and defend themselves, basic human nature.
Anyway, it is impossible to know which side killed Brad Will but it is possible to affirm that the setting was prepared by APPO and their intransigence. Blaming the Mexican Government as the murderer is simply wrong.
Did you knew that before this all ended in the death of Brad Will that APPO's people were searching house by house (Brad was with them 'documenting' everything but the funny thing is he wasn't seen with the camera turned on then), and in more than one case those APPO's kicked peaceful residents because "they looked like PRIist's".
What i would recommend you and everyone in this blog is that before you come and criticize MY country you try and fix your's first, get rid of all the racism in the government and all the people being murdered everyday just to keep on having "an american way of life".
F**k you man, are you crazy?
PINCHE GRINGO PENDEJO
Posted by Anonymous to Mercury Rising at 10/29/2006 07:45:46 PM
Not exactly the sign of someone willing to engage in reasoned and factual debate, is it?
As for anyone else who wants to post on Mercury Rising, I want to recommend that they read the rules of the site. We do, in fact, encourage vigorous debate, but we do not encourage abusive debate.
For the posters who haven't yet been banned, here are a few points:
1. Attacking the source is not political debate.
2. Recent developments include the arrest of five suspects in the Will murder. They include government workers, policemen, and a judge.
3. The murderers of Will were not acting lawfully. They were acting as vigilantes.
4. There have been people other than demonstrators who have been killed. Because there has been a breakdown in order, crime has exploded.
5. At least according to a look at El Universal archives, no suspects have been identified in the murder of Rene Calvo Aragon. If members of APPO were involved, they should of course be prosecuted. However, dozens of members of APPO have been murdered, kidnapped, and tortured. To pass over their deaths is hypocrisy.
6. Mercury Rising has followed this story for quite a while. If there are errors in our news aggregation, they will be noted.
No, but we must avoid discussing something over unverifiable sources when possible. Charles might as well blame the CIA, Al Qaeda or Punky Brewster. It's true that we must make our judgements based on limited information but let's not abuse. And directing the blame directly to Fox or Calderon is, once again, simply wrong.
>2. Recent developments include the arrest of five suspects in the Will murder.
I celebrate that. The reason they have been arrested is because now there is policemen to do it, not just an angry mob trying to lynch them.
> 3. The murderers of Will were not acting lawfully. They were acting as vigilantes.
Just like Batman or Spider-Man; taking ‘justice’ in their hands.
Hopefully no death will be passed by. Criminals must be brought to justice. I am not justifying a crime. I just did not like someone blaming my Government of killing Brad Will, for as much as I despise his sort, I do not want to see him or someone else killed.
It tolerated URO's violent repression of the demonstrators in June that brought on this crisis.
It tolerated operation of paramilitary death squads of the kind that shot Brad Will to death.
It is entirely logical to conclude that Fox's government is in collusion with Governor Ortiz.
Now, as far as interpretive skill, I would point out that you were wrong about identifying Will's murderers. I would also point out that if you are basing your moral judgments on Batman and Spiderman, you are not anchored in reality. My point is simply this: I have a lot of experience in interpreting data and a pretty good track record of predicting results. One of the reasons I am as good as I am is because I have no problem in admitting when I am wrong, nor do I refuse to learn from anyone.
But I deal in facts and logic, not in emotion.
2. Let's say yes, there were organised paramilitary groups operating in Oaxaca. How could Government (State or Federal) crack down on them if they were actually in APPO’s territory.
- Good evening APPO sirs. May I disrupt your gathering in order to capture those terrible ‘guardias blancas’? I promise my team of 20 PFP policemen will not touch you (or even see your faces), we only want to capture the bad guys…so if you let us work we will get them. If you hear some shooting, please don’t get alarmed. We will only be shooting at them; because of course we can perfectly distinguish the bad guys from the good guys – meaning you.
Operation of these paramilitary groups, if the word paramilitary can be used, happened by default, not by design.
3. I want to see URO sacked as much as you want, but there are ways to do things. How can we Mexicans build a modern democratic country if decisions are taken in the street and not in the courts? Don’t get me wrong, I am not a romanticist pretending law is so powerful it can overcome all obstacles. Sometimes street pressure must be exerted but APPO’s takeover of Oaxaca should have been dissolved a long time ago, pacifically or violently…why? Because it was violating other people’s rights, period. I am a Libertarian, and you cannot defend your rights by attacking other people’s ones.
4. You argue that it is entirely logical to deduct that Fox Government is colluded with URO, that didn’t need any deduction Charles, it’s in the Constitution: State and Federal Governments are meant to work together.
Federal Government is forced to support State Government, which is, until now, represented by URO. It is not up to Fox or the Executive power to decide for him to stay or not, not anymore (I’m from San Luis Potosi and I have memories of my early teenage years trying to learn the names of our constantly changing governors).
It is the Legislative power which must decide to sack URO, and it will ultimately happen; now even the PRI supports a recommendation for URO to resign.
5. Finally, you are a human (as far as I know) Charles, not a computer. As much as you want your brain is wired to include emotions and bias in your judgements, even if you try to ignore them. We are inherently emotional beings, and we must recognize that in order to reach truly objective conclusions.
P.S. Batman and Spider-Man were used sarcastically.
I'm terrible sorry for the murder of that journalist. Is really sad that this kind of things happen. Is really sad that a lot of innocent people dies for nothing. But also, is really sad that a person talk about something who only read on papers.
The troubles in Oaxaca are full of shit. By "full shit", i mean that is like a... piece of shit, covered with your favorite ice cream flavor. The real problem was Ulises Ruiz, but at this time, the real problem are those people who wants their piece of pie ($$$). Ulises Ruiz was only the trigger for this. I'm agree with those who think that Ruiz need to quit, but i'm also agree with the action that the goverment take with the "APPOs". Their going too far, and everybody here knows that, They aren't the students of Tlatelolco in the 68. They don't have guns. They don't take the city. They don't threatened to the parents who send their child to the school. why you don't say that?
The goverment is crap, but APPOs don't smell like flowers.
Sorry my English, sucks a lot, i know.
These particular paramilitary groups seem to have been organized either directly by Ruiz Ortiz or by local caciques. The guys who killed Will seem to have bee local talent. But some of the kidnappings, tortures, and murders used techniques reminiscent of those the US made famous in Vietnam and Central America. I think you're kidding yourself if you think the murderers, tortures, and kidnappings were the spontaneous actions of locals.
Had the federal government been acting to defuse the crisis, the proper time to respond was in June 14th, when Ulises Ruiz Ortiz used helicopters and tear gas against the strikers. They had plenty of reason to go in, from corruption to dealing with the handling of the strike as a constitutional issue.
And, no, there was no reason to be polite. Governor Ortiz is a criminal, and was well known to be one. That's the reason hundreds of thousands of people joined the protestors. Ruiz Ortiz's adherents and the police and other government employees who carry out orders they know to be illegal are also criminals. You talk about the duty of the legislature-- this was the duty of the Attorney General. If the federal government had intervened when it should have, back in June, they would have gotten the cooperation of the protestors.
Law only exists as long as all sides are upholding it. It's wonderful to be a libertarian. I regard myself as one. But to be a real libertarian means to be an advocate for the weak, so that they are never placed in the position where the law is merely a tool by which the powerful abuse the powerless.
>the US made famous in Vietnam and
I knew someone would ultimately blame the CIA or some shady US agency.
>Had the federal government been
>acting to defuse the crisis, the proper
>time to respond was in June 14th
Sure, just 3 weeks before Presidential elections. Let’s send the message that decisions are made on the street and that you can mob out an elected official. Let’s give AMLO more BS to throw at anything that’s moving.
>this was the duty of the Attorney General.
No Charles, URO is protected by some stupid legal thing called ‘fuero’. He cannot be prosecuted for any crime unless the Congress takes his fuero away. We don’t have a system of checks and balances as most truly democratic countries do (well, the US is working its way out of such system).
>If the federal government had intervened
>when it should have, back in June, they
>would have gotten the cooperation of
Now you are kidding yourself. Initially it was a teachers’ strike to get better salaries (by the way they “work” 200 days a year but get paid 484 not bad ahh, and in the last five years they have got 26% in salary increases). But soon it was taken over by groups with vested interests, social organizations that used to receive money from the government and got cut off. APPO became a headless, amorphous thing…had URO been sacked, they would have just increased the demands.
>Law only exists as long as all sides are upholding it.
From my POV, in this you are terribly wrong. Just because you someone does not uphold the law, it doesn’t mean I am allowed to break it. In this case you have just justified the supposedly paramilitary groups: URO broke the law therefore APPO breaks the law (which by now is inexistent) therefore guardias blancas break the law (which is twice inexistent).
There is a law and you must abide to it, if the law is wrong, change it. That is the true spirit of Democracy.
>But to be a real libertarian means to be an advocate
>for the weak, so that they are never placed in the
>position where the law is merely a tool by which
>the powerful abuse the powerless.
You keep kidding yourself. You think APPO is protecting the interest of the weak? The powerless? Come on! You think Flavio Sosa (who had nothing to lose from the teachers’ strike because he sent his children to private schools) is a weak social leader. Do you think Rueda is just a powerless teacher trying to improve the lives of his likes? They are both part of the local nomenklatura and they are both using really weak people as shields.
If you consider yourself a Libertarian. Do you approve APPO’s stand? Do you approve them to deprive people from the livelihoods?
It is certainly not my desire that Mexico should enter a state of general civil unrest. Every crisis in Mexico spills over into the United States and harms us. It is, however, my conclusion that the elites of Mexico have so completely forgotten their role of leading society, of upholding law by behaving with genuine respect for the law, that breakdown is becoming inevitable. It won't be right if people turn to violence. But when there is no justice, it is eminently foreseeable.
You point out correctly that there are separations of power between state and federal governments. But Governor Ortiz is so incredibly corrupt that the Mexican legislature just symbolically voted for the fuero-- and everyone has known this ever since the computers went down in his last election. The Attorney General could have exposed that corruption to the public and made things so hot for Ortiz that he'd pack his bags himself. But the Attorney General is also an ineffectual leader.
The Founders of the United States did not believe that any leader would be an angel. They rather assumed that all leaders were potentially devils. They saw politics as a dynamic system in which one interest group would keep another in check. Whether APPO's leaders are, for the purposes of this discussion, good people or not is irrelevant. They represent popular anger against economic stagnation, cronyism, and a loss of hope in the future. The people who were on the barricades in Oaxaca voted for them with their bodies.
It's sad that so many people's livelihoods have suffered. I have, in fact, pointed this out in other posts. But this is why every person has a stake in making sure that everyone feels part of the system, that everyone has a chance to prosper. When people feel shut out, they can only make their feelings known through violence.
It was John Kennedy who said that "Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable." The present generation is not as wise as his.
I totally agree with this, our National Constitution establishes too. And it also establishes mechanisms to do so.
>Every crisis in Mexico spills over into the United States and harms us.
This is the essential difference Charles, for you it is something going on south of the border with consequences such as having to deal with more illegal immigration. For me it is a tragedy happening in my neighborhood with very personal and tangible consequences.
>Whether APPO's leaders are, for the purposes of this discussion, good people or not is
>irrelevant. They represent popular anger against economic stagnation, cronyism, and
>a loss of hope in the future.
They do not represent anything but just another set of interests, APPO leaders are as corrupt, cronies, and responsible for economic stagnation as URO. Flavio Sosa himself received a ‘salary’ of 15K USD per month, Rueda has a 3.8-acre property with swimming pool and a 2500 sqft house. The only reason they are there and not in URO’s side is because they had been left out of the rain in his government.
They got the teachers’ support because even when they were on a strike they were getting paid full salary plus ‘productivity’ bonuses and holiday bonuses. What is the incentive to go back to work? How curious the teachers’ stand softened just 4 weeks of not getting paid.
Hard to believe right?
What they did and they are doing is use popular anger for their own political gain: just as Bush did in 2004 and Ariel Sharon did back when he paid a visit to Al-Aqsa some time ago. It is what some politicians have been doing since there’s money in politics…meaning always.
>"Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable.”
And for this both parts are equally responsible, APPO was not willing to negotiate…saying URO must go and refusing to discuss options is not negotiation.
And it also applies both sides…APPO made impossible a pacific change…forcing the government to make use of its inalienable right to force. As far as I know there have been 2 direct and one indirect deaths as consequence of PFP incursion…that’s a lesser evil than the 14 deaths during APPO’s rule.
I respect your opinion and your experience, and appreciate your interest in my country. But you are experiencing events trough a computer screen, you are doing a 10,000 feet high reconnaissance, for me it has a whole different meaning…I am in the ground.
The key questions that have to be answered in order to understand events are:
1. How is it possible that a group of protestors held off the power of the state?
2. Why is it that so many people from so many walks of life joined the strike and continue to resist the PFP presence?
3. What forces in Mexican political life that normally don't work together joined forces in the strike?
A good analyst, whether on the front lines or at 10,000 feet, draws data from any source, remains skeptical of all sources, and pieces together the puzzle by seeing which pieces are corroborated by genuinely independent sources and fit together with others. So far, alternate explanations that I have heard do not make a coherent picture.
As for the US, Mexico's problems represent far more than just immigration, from which the US (or at least certain people in the US) actually benefits.
The downside of Mexico's problems, partly due to a failure of American leadership in developing a sensible response, includes narcotrafficking and the export of violence, cross-border pollution, downward pressure on manufacturing wages and a consequent fraying of the social fabric, diminished economic opportunity for US businesses, pressures for the US to militarize society, increased risks of an oil shock... the list is very long. As I have noted elsewhere, Mexico is the US's second largest national trade partner (after the EU region and Canada) and therefore whatever happens in Mexico is of serious concern to every American. Sadly, many Americans don't know that.
I'm interested by the assertions you make, especially about the teachers's pay but also about Sosa and Rueda, and would appreciate links.
The way people view events has much to do with interpretation of events for which the full facts are not known. One example is the 14 deaths you ascribe to APPO vs. the three involved in the PFP incursion. Ruiz Ortiz lost power roughly four months ago. The PFP has been present for a few days. If one anticipates that the three deaths are all that will occur for the next months, then it's an improvement. But if what ensues is a campaign of assassination similar to what happened after the 1988 election, then maybe not.
Similarly, there's a question about who caused the deaths following the strike. Of the deaths you list, most were almost certainly done by adherents of Ruiz Ortiz. So, getting rid of Ortiz will improve the situation; getting rid of APPO, not so much.
I think there is much yet to unfold. I doubt that peace will return to Oaxaca for many years to come. Rather, I suspect that the failure to deal equitably with the conflict in Oaxaca will in future be marked as a turning point for the end of the fourth Mexican Republic.
But we shall see. You and I are but drops in a raging sea of history.
You raise some interesting issues. I think I'll start a new thread in the next couple of days and include the topics you raised.
>1. How is it possible that a group of protestors held off the power of the state?
It was a combination of several things: a hotly contested Presidential election, the 68 syndrome, and Fox personal weakness and love of popularity.
As much as AMLO spoke against police incursion in Oaxaca, he would have loved one. Hacer leña del árbol caído, or, chop the fallen tree. There’s a sector of Mexico ready to penalise Government for the use of force even when it’s totally justified i.e. back in the 90’s when EZLN declared war to the Mexican State, hordes of people rallied against the Government for doing what it is supposed to do.
The 68 syndrome is this simultaneously wonderful and terrible reticence of our paid officials to use violence, even when perfectly justified, because they fear it could become another 68, not even in real human cost but in the rhetoric of anti-system crowds. For years, protestors have destroyed, pillaged and abused public and private property under the protective shadow of the 68 massacre. Don’t take me wrong I rather officials be moderate but sometimes force is justified, period. Examples: Atenco, as much as you are right (and I think they were right) you cannot swing a machete and expect to be welcomed with flowers.
Fox never understood what a President is supposed to be, he’s the head of the State. He cannot limit himself because his popularity ratings are in danger, you cannot please all the people all the time. As head of State he should at sometimes take highly unpopular measures. He consistently decided not to.
>2. Why is it that so many people from so many walks
>of life joined the strike and continue to resist the PFP presence?
Because as I already accepted, URO is a man of consensus, everybody is against him. Many people outside Oaxaca supported APPO because they had nothing to lose, no stake in Oaxaca whatsoever; because as you mentioned: uninvolved people’s suffering is collateral, a lesser evil we (meaning they, always they) must endure in pursuit of a greater good.
>3. What forces in Mexican political life that normally
>don't work together joined forces in the strike?
(I guess you mean why). Because there’s a greater common enemy but see what is happening right now: teachers are being accused of traitors, people not actively participating in the clashes against PFP is being accused and menaced as well.
>So far, alternate explanations that I have heard do not make a coherent picture.
Don’t expect anything in Mexico to be coherent…this is a highly dysfunctional political class. A good example is AMLO, sending to hell institutions…except for the paying counter so PRD, PT, and Convergencia keep getting their subventions.
>As for the US, Mexico's problems represent far more than just immigration, from
>which the US (or at least certain people in the US) actually benefits.
In this you are more than correct, but most Americans don’t realize it.
>I'm interested by the assertions you make, especially about the teacher’s pay but
>also about Sosa and Rueda, and would appreciate links.
I already sent you some, I will send you a PDF of a magazine called Contenido, as soon as I can scan it.
>I suspect that the failure to deal equitably with the conflict in Oaxaca will in future
>be marked as a turning point for the end of the fourth Mexican Republic.
Don’t worry or don’t get your hopes high. This problem will be solved as all problems are solved in this country: throwing money at it. It’s the way it’s been done since Porfirio Díaz: “ese gallito quiere su maiz”. Besides, there are plenty of people, including me, decided to defend the 4th Republic…even with our lives.
It’s interesting how a situation such as Oaxaca seems to define the whole country. Days before PFP entered Oaxaca the Central Bank of Mexico very successfully issued 30-year bonds. Another example is how this whole thing is so alien to most people in the rest of Mexico, specially in the North…even here in the big PRD, leftist city it’s nothing more that news and parades.
Your explanation for why the APPO was able to hold off the government simply doesn't follow, though I will grant you that Fox is an empty suit.
First, to the extent that Mexico has a reluctance to get involved in violent repression, it is fortunate. Violent repression simply does not work. We see where it leads to in Iraq.
In fact, Governor Ortiz tried violent repression and-- just as in Iraq-- it served only to coalesce community support for his opposition.
Second, the presidential election has been over for months.
I think you underestimate the breadth and depth of the movement that APPO brought together or the reasons why sprinkling a little money on the problem is not going to make it go away.
But, as I say, these things will only become evident with time. Oaxaca is an acute crisis, but Mexico has a chronic, fulminant illness, for which Oaxaca is just a symptom.
La muerte del estadounidense Bradley Will, quien hoy sabemos era un activista que apoyaba a la APPO más que un periodista, fue el factor que aparentemente obligó al gobierno federal a enviar a la PFP a Oaxaca. El lector Jorge Rojas, sin embargo, se pregunta: "¿Por qué lo desvistieron [los miembros de la APPO]? ¿En dónde quedó la ropa? ¿Cuántas veces se ha visto que no médicos desvistan completamente a algún herido para darle auxilio?" En opinión de este lector, Will fue desvestido por los miembros de la APPO para ocultar que los disparos habían sido hechos a quemarropa por sus propios compañeros.
We already now URO is epically corrupt, even by Mexican standards. It is the solution in which we disagree.
A good part of that money was handed out to the Flavio Sosa's of Oaxaca, just as corrupt as URO. It was URO who got greedy and stop handing out money to both friends and enemies.
And enemies found a perfect battle to join.
My other comment, althouhg raises points as questions sounds like an interesting research avenue.
The pictures I saw showed a non-bleeding wound, and my "limited" hunting experience tell me those kind of wounds are generally caused by short range small caliber shots.
There is mounting evidence BW was more like a political activist (forbidden for foreigners) and not a journalist (for which apparently had no visa either).
As for blood and wounds, it depends on what the bullet hits, how close the shot is, and what kind of ammunition was involved. Granted, one expects to see massive wounds from short-range rifle wounds, but commercial hunting ammunition actually causes more visible damage than military-issue ammuniion.
There's quite a lot of information available about Brad Will; I don't think it's a secret. He was a naive, idealistic guy, an activist in the sense of being politically aware and engaged. But he wasn't running guns or drugs or, as far as I can tell, breaking the law in any manner recognized by the international community. I have to laugh at the thought that one man could be the cause of 4,000 militarized police landing with helicopters and automatic weapons.
I actually have been answering other aspects of your post in a more recent post to the main page, Manuel, since this post has already scrolled into archives. See here for a discussion of striker pay and a comment about FSV.
More blogs about politics.