Sunday, October 29, 2006

 

Mexico, October 29th

According to Israel Rodriguez J. of La Jornada, The oil industry in Mexico has languished under Fox, and Calderon will destroy it. Despite record investment, they have overpumped fields, let infrastructure decay, and lost skilled technicians. Reserves have fallen by 11 Bbl. Flores Salmerón says that all drilling is being done by foreign companies. The petrochemical industry has been dismantled, with only 30 of 62 petrochemical plants operational, and many operate below capacity. As predicted, the assault on Oaxaca has begun ahead of Calderon's inauguration. Four thousand police and military were positioned to "re-establish order" in Oaxaca. They ordered the APPO protestors to immediately hand over streets, plazas, public buildings, and private property, which the APPO rejected. The operation was called off, but now is on. It's heavily armed police and troops against civilians, so they will win, militarily. But as in Iraq, I suspect it's going to be a long and disagreeable occupation. (Photo from Sendero del Peje) Water cannons were used by the federal police (PFP) against hundreds of demonstrators who tried to prevent them from going to the Zocalo. Armed militiamen organized by the PRI village president Jorge Pablokept all access to San Bartolo Coyotepec blocked. This is an area of 2,000 people, but contains numerous government buildings and was the site of the attack on the barricades. In Santa Maria, they started an operation similar to that of Santa Lucia del Camino, where journalist Bradley Will was assassinated. The municipal president got police and some other guys liquored up, gave them money and weapons. They had been pumped up with smears against the teachers. The protestors were fired upon from all sides, including up in the hills (government snipers?) and then they were attacked with machetes. They fled and were hunted by their attackers. The wounded were not treated, but were thrown on a truck for detention. Update on Will murder, from Mexico News: "Santa Lucía del Camino Mayor Manuel Martínez Feria said five men had been turned over to authorities for possible involvement in Will´s killing. He identified them as two members of the local city hall, two police officers and the former justice of the peace of a nearby town." Needless to say, world reaction is not exactly positive. Journalists are furious about the death of Bradley Will and the shooting of Osvaldo Ramirez of Milenio. A small-scale worldwide reaction of condemnation is developing. Spanish speakers can listen to developments here
Comments:
If the clip I watched was legit, it seems to me that Will was dodgin bullets, sneakin in and out of action that—without a bulletproof vest—was begging to get him popped. It's supposedly footage from his camera, 16 minutes of it. Have you seen it yet? I'm going to post on it. I'm furious about what el gobierno is doing over there, but it feels to me (I read his recent correspondence, when he was warned off of oaxaca but of course went) that Will was swept up in dangerous shit that he really should have thought twice about gettin' so close to. At least without a vest.
 
I haven't had the heart to watch the film, Nezua.

I have no doubt from Al Giordano's description of him that Will was reckless. The fact he didn't speak Spanish was a very strong argument against him being there.

But.

The PRI has been trying to systematically shut down alternative media. At least one other journalist was shot on Friday, and I thought I heard of a second. Dozens (probably hundreds, but the situation is too chaotic to know) have been wounded. There were snipers who could have been aiming for APPO leaders and journalists while the liquored up local cops/auxiliaries take the blame. The APPO people are, as best as I can tell, unarmed.

War journalism is very dangerous, and lots of people get killed filming shootouts.

Why is Oaxaca in a state resembling war?
 
This is tragic, more problems for the people of Mexcio, more poverty, more mismanagement.
 
I know charles....i was trying to find the implied disclaimer in my post. the one that says "i dont mean to take away from this other discussion...this more inspiring and dramatic one, but i have to also comment on surviving, as a survivor does" but i think i just ended up sounding both annoyed that he was reckless (as you say), and inspired by him, as well as sad. It's probably as fractured a post as it sounds. These are emotional times.

we know why what's happening oaxaca is happening. we know why a state of war. if we know the answer to our own situation, we know that one, too.
 
When things are out of control, we want explanations that can make them seem understandable, Nezua. With Will, I'm sure we both wish he had a chance at a do-over.

BTW, my wording was careless in that response. I said, "Dozens (probably hundreds, but the situation is too chaotic to know) have been wounded." In context, it sounds as if it refers to journalists. It does not. It refers to ordinary people.

Just For The Record.
___________

Mariamaria, what's going on in Mexico is more than mismanagement. The signs are there that the government has become a kind of mafia, partly controlled by narcotrafficking, partly controlled by con men on the order of Ken Lay. An earlier post I did had to do with a biotech entrepreneur who tried to develop a medicine to cure his child, but was cheated by people, including a member of the Fox family.

In Oaxaca, there was a reasonable case for the federal government to use force. Four months of a mass strike is devastating for everyone. But the federal government ha d a right to intervene only if it first responded to the ample evidence of massive corruption by Gov. Ortiz.

Because they failed to investigate that corruption, it's clear that the corruption runs right to the top of the federal government.
 
The Mexican oil industry hasn't really thrived under any president ... Calderon will simply be the latest to witness its slow fade. None of Pemex's profits are reinvested into prospecting or maintaining infrastructure and the federal government depends heavily on taxes from Pemex. (Without Pemex's generous cash injections, Fox wouldn't be anywhere near balancing the budget.)

The governor of Oaxaca is a disgrace, whose dirty deeds are coming back to bite him in the ass. He's part of the problem, not the solution. In Mexico's current political context though, he won't be going anywhere. Calderon needs the PRI and the PRI is going to close ranks behind Ulises Ruiz. It's a mutual exchange of blackmail between the PAN and PRI.
 
Reportero, this is exactly my point. Mexico elected PAN in 2000 to clean out the cesspool of corruption that the PRI had filled to overflowing.

But over the presidential term, the PAN became the PRI. So, when a real change agent, Lopez Obrador, came along, they had to join forces to prevent someone who might actually start enforcing a law or two.

From the standpoint of the US, the undermining of PEMEX is a disaster. Our economy is heavily dependent on that oil and gas. War in the Middle East, insurrection in Mexico, and irritation by Venezuela at our constant intervention could end us up transported to the technology of 1850.

Whale oil lamps, anyone?
 
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