Monday, November 20, 2006


Mexico, November 21

Great democratic upwellings, especially those driven by nonviolence, are fascinating to watch. Rather than an attempt to establish a just system by killing or driving out unjust rulers, they represent an assertion of traditional, perhaps biologically innate values so deep that everyone feels them. When Gandhi walked to the sea to make salt, for example, he not only attacked the British economic system, which taxed salt, but also asserted the fundamental human right to have the necessities of life. In these democratic upwellings, human beings are able to take down the barriers that isolate each other and see themselves reflected in one another. They begin to operate as a body, protecting and nurturing one another, rejecting that which is not of the body, yet never losing their individuality. The community that gathered around Jesus represented one of the earliest and best-known examples. The Beloved Community of Martin Luther King My guess is that this is happening in Mexico. I know there are others that disagree, and they could be right. But this comment from Nancy Davies is interesting: This new collectivity, this amorphous group, is supported by three cultural aspects: the asamblea (assembly) in which the people have the power and the “leaders” are actually administrators who carry out the decisions of the community, the guelaguetza, a Zapotec word which means mutual aid and is the symbol of solidarity, and tequio, which is unpaid community work. The Asamblea began to identify itself through these ancestral practices of the indigenous population of Oaxaca, in which at least 418 municipalities of the state continue to govern by the system of usos y costumbres [Ed: i.e., common law]. One of the more important aspects of usos y costumbres, has been written into the CEAPPO regulations, which is that authorities who don’t follow the people’s will are put aside. This seems to be the case with the disappearance of Enrique Rueda Pacheco from the assembly, and many expect that Flavio Sosa of the APPO will also vanish. They have ambitious goals, says Davies. APPO has announced plans to "capture" the governor's palace, whose entrance is on the town square occupied by the federal police. In the meantime, APPO members face state-directed terror: Rene Trujillo Martínez, a thin 25-year-old lawyer and volunteer radio announcer with the Oaxaca People´s Assembly (APPO), holds the uncomfortable distinction of having survived a disappearance.Trujillo was recently abducted from his apartment by armed men in civilian clothes, brutally beaten at gunpoint, taken to a safe house and tortured. He says he was then held incommunicado for two days while being interrogated by federal authorities, and then, miraculously, released on bail....The assailants... placed nylon hoods over the three men and then took them to a warehouse - they think near the airport.At the warehouse the gunmen tortured them, sticking needles under their finger nails (the scars were visible three days later), applying electric shocks to their feet, beating them on the head, and choking them, according to the three men, who were later released....[T]he gunmen made them hold guns and then took pictures and filmed them with the guns in their hands. The three men were then taken to the federal Attorney General´s Office (PGR) complex in Oaxaca and charged with the federal crime of possession of illegal firearms. Flashpoints does an interview with journalist John Gibler describing the situation in Oaxaca. He says that the focus remains on ousting Governor Ruiz Ortiz and that there is tremendous community solidarity in that regard. There's also an interview of Gilberto Lopez Rivas, a professor and PRD member, regarding the inauguration of Lopez Obrador. Speaking of which: (Image of Lopez Obrador as the Legitimate President of Mexico on Sendero del Peje. Lopez Obrador has announced a 20 point program for national renewal, including opening up communications, addressing emigration by increasing employment, elevating corruption to a constitutional crime, equity in tax collection, making the living wage a constitutional right, universal health care as a right, and blocking privatization of oil and other national resources. A LOT of people attended. And he received some high-level religious backup from Bishop Raúl Vera López of Saltillo, who said that AMLO is guided by an instinct of social reform, not personal caprice. Maybe the cardinal of Mexico can get time enough away from covering up church pederastic scandals to comment on the issue.
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