Sunday, December 17, 2006


Mexico, December 17th

Tourist season is at hand, so everything in Mexico-- officially-- is sweetness and light. But you might want to go on the Alaskan cruise instead. From the AP: Federal police pulled out of Oaxaca´s central square on Saturday, ending a seven-week occupation that restored order but angered many residents.The withdrawal may signal the end of six months of protests and street violence that has killed at least nine people, scared away tourists and shattered the historic southern city´s economy.On Saturday, the officers in black body armor packed away tents and sleeping mats and began marching out of the square before dawn, leaving state and city police to keep order.Lino Celaya, Oaxaca´s secretary of citizen protection, said about 2,000 federal police will remain in a military base outside the city in case trouble flares up again....APPO representative Florentino López Martínez told the press that the force´s removal meant "a first step that helps towards strengthening dialogue with federal authorities." Oh, yeah, by the way... the occupation of Oaxaca by indifferently repressive federal police was replaced with the violently repressive state police. (Image by Blanca Hernández from La Jornada). Grievances from Atenco are still smoldering. Nine women continue to be arbitrarily detained. The homes of some of them were ragefully destroyed. Amnesty International has a report here about those events. Enrique Galván Ochoa of La Jornada quotes the LA Times to the effect that the anti-drug operation in Michoacán has been a blow, but not of the kind Calderon had in mind. Apparently someone tipped the flock of drugrunners, because the top men had flown the coop when the federales arrived. Part of that state is under the control of narcotraffickers. Forty three of the 138 arrested in Oaxaca were released on parole, some with bloody clothes, wounds and signs of being beaten. Embracing their friends and family, they chanted "Citizens united will never be defeated" and "Oaxaca lives and the fight goes on." The release was announced at 3AM. Catholic priests have been threatened with death for working with the community. You can send a letter to support human rights in Mexico.
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