Bloody Crackdown on Mexican Teachers Spurs Crisis

  • [Latest News:  200,000 Mexican doctors plan to join the teachers on strike, on June 22: ”
    Doctors’ leaders have condemned the killing of at least eight people during a teacher’s protest last Sunday in the state of Oaxaca.

    As protests led by the militant CNTE teachers’ union in Mexico continue, the country’s doctors are set to join in the job action, calling for a national strike on June 22 to protest a neoliberal reform to the health system imposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto…..The group #YoSoyMedico17, which is comprised of doctors, pediatricians, surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses, has been joined by more than 200,000 physicians from 32 states in opposing the so-called Universal Health System reform by Peña Nieto. The medical professionals say the measure is a “disguised way of privatizing health in Mexico,” and said doctors were not consulted on the reform, according to Animal Politico…..The doctors’ protest will join the ongoing national general strike by teachers. (Report from Telesur)]

    Policemen clashing with dissident teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico, June 19, 2016.

    Policemen clashing with dissident teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico, June 19, 2016. | Photo: EFE

Special Report from Oaxaca by Frontera NorteSur,  June 21, 2016

The June 19 government crackdown on striking Mexican teachers culminated in deadly violence in the southern state of Oaxaca, transforming a showdown between the Pena Nieto administration and the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) into a larger political crisis that once again cast Mexico in the international human rights spotlight.

Even as the controversy over the still-unresolved forced disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa college students in 2014 simmers on the world stage, the Oaxaca episode garnered fresh denunciations from non-governmental organizations and activists in Europe, South and Central America, Australia, and the United States.  Jan Jarab, Mexico representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, condemned the latest violence.

Weeks of intensifying protests against federal government’s 2013 education reform, which many public school teachers and their supporters oppose as an infringement on labor rights and a step toward privatization, took a violent turn Sunday, June 19, when federal and state police attempted to dislodge CNTE members and supporters from the town of Nochixtlan, Oaxaca. Continue reading

US Border Patrol troops’ free-fire zone over borders

[Once, when a country attacked another by force of arms, it was called WAR, and human rights violations were identified as WAR CRIMES.  Now, as the US shoots Mexicans in Mexico, it is called an approved, acceptable, police action.  It is another obscenity of arrogance and impunity.  Frontlines ed.]

mexico

US border patrol agent looks towards Mexico from the bank of the Rio Grande River. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

US border agents shouldn’t have the courts’ permission to shoot people in Mexico

If you shoot an unarmed teenage boy in the head, 3 days of administrative leave isn’t nearly enough punishment

A United States court has all but declared open season on Mexican nationals along the US-Mexico border. Border patrol agents may shoot foreign nationals in Mexico with impunity – provided that those at whom they aim are standing within feet of US territory.

According to a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit last week, agents who shoot and kill people in Mexico while standing on US soil will never be held to account, except before their administrative agencies. No court will ever review these actions and the families of the victims will be left with no avenue for justice. An agent’s actions will not be governed or restrained by the constitution nor subject to review by US courts.

This isn’t a hypothetic situtation: all of this has already happened.

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Missouri museum censors Ferguson-Mexico solidarity event for including Palestinians

[Editor:  This article focuses on the St Louis museum officials decision to censor and cancel an event which linked up the resistance to oppression in Ferguson, Mexico, and Palestine.  The action highlighted the standard reactionary response to all protests which reveal the hand of oppressive systems–reactionaries always try to turn protests inward, to break the linkages between common experiences, to make every voice follow the line of narrow self-interest and keep things contained to single-issue orientation.  But those who are repressed or find issues suppressed always seek more.  As one student spoke out against the Missouri museum, “When I heard that they were canceling the panel, I thought it was even more important to come out to voice the fact that we know this is wrong and we can still be united even if we don’t attend a panel,”one student said…..She also said she believed that comparing the various situations would be helpful in making progress toward social justice and unifying people of different races and backgrounds…..“I think obviously there are differences on each one, but it only makes us weaker to divide them, and I think we’re stronger if we find the similarities instead of focus[ing] on the differences between the events,” she added.” — Censorship will fail, as issues, and their linkages, continue to grow. — Frontlines ed.]

electronicintifada.com, 03/20/2015 

https://i1.wp.com/www.stl-psc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Ferguson-to-Palestine.jpgThe Missouri History Museum in St. Louis canceled a community event scheduled for Thursday after organizers refused to remove Palestinian panelists from the platform.

The panel, titled “From Ferguson to Ayotzinapa to Palestine: Solidarity and Collaborative Action,” was organized by the Washington University student group AltaVoz to draw parallels between the struggles against state violence in the US, Mexico and Palestine.

https://i2.wp.com/electronicintifada.net/sites/electronicintifada.net/files/styles/large/public/march_4_image.png

Missouri History Museum’s webpage, before they cancelled the event

AltaVoz was formed in response to the police kidnapping of 43 leftist student activists from the Ayotzinapa teacher’s college in Mexico. The students, who went missing in the city of Iguala while on their way to protest the state’s corrupt education policies, are believed to have been murdered.

Among the panelists were activists from an assortment of social justice organizations in St. Louis, including the Organization for the Black Struggle, Latinos en Axion STL, the Interfaith Committee on Latin America and the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee.

Mexico and US actions link Ayotzinapa, Ferguson, Garner

Weekly News Update on the Americas, December 9, 2014

Hundreds of Mexican immigrants and other activists held actions in at least 47 US towns and cities on Dec. 3 to protest the abduction of 43 teachers’ college students by police and gang members in Mexico’s Guerrero state in September; each of the 43 students had one of the actions dedicated to him.

The protests were organized by UStired2, a group taking its name from #YaMeCansé (“I’m tired now,” or “I’ve had it”), a Mexican hashtag used in response to the violence against the students, who attended the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in the Guerrero town of Ayotzinapa. The protesters focused on US government financing for the Mexican government—especially funding for the “war on drugs” through the 2008 Mérida Initiative—but they also expressed outrage over the US court system’s failure to indict US police agents in two recent police killings of unarmed African Americans. Continue reading

Rage and Fury Sweep Mexico, the World: Justice for Ayotzinapa

By Frontera NorteSur, Censored News, Friday, October 10, 2014

Swelling outrage over a police massacre and the forced disappearance of scores of students swept Mexico and the world this week.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators demanded justice for six people killed September 26 and 27 by municipal police officers and paramilitary gunmen in Iguala, Guerrero, as well as the safe return of 43 Mexican students from the Raul Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa reported kidnapped and disappeared by the same aggressors.

“Your dignified rage is our rage,” stated a communiqué from the general command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), shortly before 20,000 masked Zapatistas staged a silent march October 8 through the streets of San Cristobal de las Casas in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.

On the other side of the country, hundreds of people marched in Ciudad Juarez in the biggest local demonstration of its kind in more than three years. The demonstration was led by students from Ayotzinapa’s sister school of Saucillo, Chihuahua. At the march’s conclusion protesters blockaded the Bridge of the Americas connecting Juarez with neighboring El Paso, Texas, for a half-hour on the evening of October 8.

Continue reading

Mexico: Students Walk Out In Mass Protest Over Curriculum Changes

[The declining quality and conditions of education are being challenged throughout the world–from Puerto Rico, to Brazil, to Jadavpur University in India, students in Hong Kong, Colorado, many places.  What spurs people into action at each location differs, but they all turn into challenges to a bourgeois electoral system that cuts short on meeting the needs and interests of students.  Here, the latest from Mexico. — Frontlines ed.]

9/25/2014

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About 15,000 Students or more from the National Polytechnic Institute marched on the Interior Circuit northbound to the Zacatenco unit, to address the Directorate General of IPN.

On Thursday, the Unity Professional Interdisciplinary Engineering and Social and Administrative Sciences UPIICSA ) joined the strike along with the College of Engineering and Architecture (ESIA ).

From an early hour, students from different campuses CECYT concentrated outside various schools to join the mobilization.

Continue reading

Israel’s Colonial Conquest at Mexican Book Fair Draws Protests

Protest Israel’s honoured status at FIL!

Published on 12 November 2013
Written by Connie Hackbarth, Alternative Information Center (AIC)

 Israel was selected as guest of honour at the 2013 Guadalajara International Book Fair/Image: fil.com.mxIsrael was selected as guest of honour at the 2013 Guadalajara International Book Fair/Image: fil.com.mx

Mexico’s Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), slated for 30 November – 8 December, selected Israel as its guest of honour for this year’s event. A hasbara dream for Israel, the fair’s guest of honour “brings to the city its publishing industry and literary presence, as well as the best of its culture, including the performing and visual arts, music, cinema, gastronomy and folklore.” “Each night,” the Fair’s website notes “the Guest of Honour offers a performance at FIL’s Foro as well as several performing venues throughout the city that host events in an effort to display and achieve a transforming experience for the public.”

Prominent intellectuals in Mexico publicly condemned the selection of Israel as guest of honour, writing in the Mexican press that the creation of Israel “caused the tragedy of the Palestinian people, condemned to exile, oppression and dispossession…Coexistence was replaced by a state founded on ethnic and cultural exclusion which has denied the legitimate right of the Palestinians to a state and a territory.”

Signatories of the statement include Néstor Braunstein, an Argentine exile in Mexico and one of Latin America’s most prominent psychoanalysts, and Margit Frenk, the daughter of Jewish German refugees in Mexico and world expert in Spanish literature and Miguel Cervantes. 

Israel understands the importance of this honoured position, which according to fair organisers has over the years “consolidated the Book Fair’s international and multicultural character.” Israeli President Shimon Peres himself will be present to open the Israeli pavilion.

Statement signatories requested that a “pluralistic and representative roundtable on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” be conducted during this year’s fair, and that Palestine be invited as the honoured guest in 2015. It is unclear at this stage if the fair organisers have responded positively to this public request.

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“Senior” Imperialist’s Arrogance Resented by its “Junior” Partners

France and Mexico Angry With N.S.A.

By Brandon Cottrell
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America

WASHINGTON, D.C., United States – As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in France today, Le Monde, an authoritative newspaper, published a report based on the secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden.  It is expected that France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will discuss this issue with Kerry during his visit.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says the claims are “totally unacceptable” (Photo Courtesy BBC).

Adding already to the previous disclosures of the N.S.A’s worldwide surveillances in Germany, England. Brazil, and Mexico, today’s report stated that the N.S.A. recorded over 70 million digital communications in France over the span of one month.  It is believed that businesses, officials, and terror suspects were specifically targeted.

France’s American Ambassador, Charles Rivkin, stated that, “These kinds of practices between partners are totally unacceptable and we must be assured that they are no longer being implemented.”  Additionally Manuel Valls, France’s Interior Minister, called today’s report “shocking” and that it “will require explanation.” Continue reading

Rejecting Doomsday Prophecies, Indigenous March in Spirit of Defiance and Resurgence

Zapatista March: The Deafening Silence of Resurgence

Written by Tim Russo, Photos by Tim Russo   —  http://upsidedownworld.org
Saturday, 22 December 2012
Only the resonating echo of rain pattering down on the cobblestone streets of Chiapas’ colonial cities sounded as tourists from around the globe awaiting the end of the world in the center of the Mayan Civilization were surprised by the silent marches of more than 40,000 masked Mayan Zapatistas who descended on their apocalyptic misinterpretations of the Mayan 13 Ba´ktun.

A faint sound of a baby’s cry would occasionally emerge from a bundle beneath a plastic tarp on the back of a masked Zapatista in the endless lines of Mayan rebels who quietly held formation in the rain. They marched four file booted and bare-footed into the same cities they surprised on a cold new year’s eve night 19 years ago, shouting their first YA BASTA!Yesterday’s weapon, differing from the 1994 armed indigenous uprising, was the Zapatista silence, their moral authority, the echo of a unified and deafening silence that shouted YA BASTA! once again. A silence that in their massive presence in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Ocosingo, Altamirano, Las Margaritas and Palenque shouted without a word that the a new Mayan era has begun and the Zapatistas are present. A silence that was meant to remind Mexico’s recently inaugurated President Enrique Peña Nieto and his PRI party that the root causes of the Zapatista struggle are as prevalent today as they were 19 years ago: lack of health care, education, housing, land, food, indigenous rights, women’s rights, gay rights, dignity, and justice. A silence that reminded the returning PRI that there is a Mexico profundo, a Mexico jodido, a Mexico con hambre, and a Mexico dispuesto a luchar and in struggle. The Zapatistas and the EZLN need not say a word today, their actions and silence said enough. Aqui estamos!

As early as 4 a.m. the Mayan indigenous, Tzeltales, Tzotziles, Tojolobales, Choles, Zoques, and Mames began their mobilizations from their five cultural centers of resistance, known as Caracoles, emerging from the Lacandon jungle, the Chiapas Canyon lands, and the rain soaked highlands. They quietly moved along the mountainous, fog-bearing roads towards the same cities (plus Palenque) that they descended upon when these ill-equipped ragtag rebels launched their armed uprising on January 1st 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement went in to effect.
Continue reading

Mexico: 176 arrested as student teachers protest English and other curriculum “reforms” in rural areas

Student protest in Mexico turns violent, 176 arrested

By Agence France-Presse, Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mexico police via AFP

MORELIA, Mexico — Mexican students protesting a new curriculum threw homemade explosives, fired rockets and hurled stones at police in a melee that left 176 arrested and 10 police officers injured, officials said.

The protesting students are preparing to become teachers in rural areas, and they are angry because the new curriculum includes English and computer science, which they see as low-priority subjects in poor rural areas of Mexico.

Police used tear gas and rubber bullets against the students in this city in western Michoacan state.

Students protested after talks with state authorities on the disputed curriculum collapsed. They also fought police with sticks and firecrackers.

The students have been holding more than 40 city buses in their possession since October 4, and during Monday’s protest they set fire to 13 of them.

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176 Arrested in student protests in Mexico

Latino Fox News, October 16, 2012

A total of 176 people were arrested when police stormed three schools in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, where students were holding 82 commandeered vehicles belonging to foreign businesses, state officials said. The police operation, launched in the pre-dawn hours on Monday, was aimed at recovering the more than 50 buses and delivery trucks seized on Oct. 4 and taken to three normal schools in an area of Michoacan populated by Purepecha Indians.

The schools are located in the cities of Cheran and Arteaga, and the town of Tiripetio. Students set 13 vehicles, including buses, patrol cars and private vehicles, on fire. The students had seized vehicles belonging to Coca-Cola and Sabritas to protest changes to the curriculum at Mexico’s normal schools. Those institutions – once common in both Europe and the Americas – prepare young people for careers in teaching. Continue reading

Mexico: Police Kill Two Guerrero Students at Protest

Two Mexican students were killed by police gunfire around noon on Dec. 12 as police agents and soldiers attempted to disperse protesters blocking the Mexico City-Acapulco highway near Chilpancingo, the capital of the southwestern state of Guerrero. The victims, Jorge Alexis Herrera Pino and Gabriel Echeverría de Jesús, were students at the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in the nearby village of Ayotzinapa, and they had joined about 500 other students and their indigenous supporters to demonstrate for improvements at the school.

Some 300 security agents were sent to remove the protesters, who were blocking a well-traveled highway on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a popular holiday for Mexican Catholics. The agents—including state troopers, members of the state Attorney General’s Office, federal police and some soldiers from the Mexican army—used tear gas on the protesters, who responded by throwing rocks and some molotov cocktails. The shooting began after one of the firebombs landed at a filling station near the protest and set a gas pump on fire. In addition to the two students killed, one other protester was hospitalized with serious injuries, and more than 20 were arrested. The buses that the students came in were hit in the shooting, along with a truck.

Gen. Ramón Arreola Ibarría, who headed the contingent of state troopers at the scene, denied that any agents were armed, and Guerrero attorney general Alberto López Rosas immediately charged that the students were responsible for the shooting. One student, Gerardo Torres Pérez, was arrested for allegedly firing an AK-47 automatic rifle.

By the end of the day more than 200 Mexican human rights organizations and other nonprofit groups had placed the blame on the security forces, which have a long record of abuses in Guerrero. The federal government’s Public Security Secretariat (SSP) announced on Dec. 13 that according to its analysts at least some of the gunfire came from a state Attorney General’s Office agent dressed as a civilian. Most of the detainees were released on Dec. 13. Gerardo Torres was freed in the evening; he said that after he had been arrested, federal agents and agents from the state Attorney General’s Office beat him and took him to a vacant lot, where they forced him to fire an AK-47 five times.

Guerrero officials announced on Dec. 13 that Gov. Ángel Aguirre Rivero had removed Attorney General López, Public Security Secretary Ramón Almonte Borja and Gen. Arreola from office. (La Jornada (Mexico) 12/13/11, ___, 12/14/11; AFP 12/13/11 via Univision)

The students from the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college had been demanding a meeting with Gov. Aguirre, who they said had failed to keep four appointments. They were seeking resumption of classes, which had been suspended since Nov. 2 because of a dispute, and an increase in the student body from 140 to 170 for the 2011-2012 school year. Mexico’s 16 rural teachers’ colleges, which were mostly established by the center-left government of President Lázaro Cárdenas (1934-1940), have suffered from neglect and budget cuts. The problems at Ayotzinapa have been ongoing for decades, according to alumni who joined current students and other activists at a protest march in Chilpancingo on Dec. 16. The marchers insisted that they weren’t satisfied with the dismissal of the attorney general and the public security secretary. “There’s no one more guilty than Gov. Aguirre, who gave the order for the removal of the protesters,” said Daniel Gómez Ruiz, a student leader at Ayotzinapa. (LJ 12/13/11, 12/17/11)

Aguirre was elected governor last January as the candidate of a coalition that included the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), the small leftist Workers Party (PT) and the social democratic Convergence party. Previously he had been a leader in the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which dominated Guerrero politics for decades, often through violent repression. Aguirre was interim governor from 1996 to 1999 as the handpicked successor of the PRI’s Rubén Figueroa Alcocer, who was forced to leave office in the aftermath of a June 1995 massacre by state police of 17 unarmed members of the leftist South Sierra Campesino Organization (OCSS) at Aguas Blancas near Acapulco [see Updates #320, 381].

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http://weeklynewsupdate.blogspot.com/2011/12/wnu-1109-two-mexican-students-killed-at.html

Latin America: thousands of indignados join the “occupy” protests

WW4, Weekly News Update on Tue, 10/18/2011

Joining others in more than 900 cities around the world, Latin American activists protested on Oct. 15 to demonstrate their discontent with the global economic system. The demonstrations got a significant boost from Occupy Wall Street, a US movement that started with an action in New York on Sept. 17, but the Latin American protests also referenced the Real Democracy Now movement that developed in Spain last spring; the Spanish protests were inspired in turn by protests in Tunisia and Egypt at the beginning of the year. In Spanish-speaking countries the movement is widely known as “15-M,” from May 15, the day when protests started in Madrid. Like the Spanish protesters, Latin American participants call themselves los indignados and las indignadas—”the angry ones,” or “the indignant ones.”

Thousands of Chileans marked the global day of action by marching with music and dancing from the University of Chile campus in central Santiago along the Alameda avenue to the O’Higgins Park. They called for reform of the political system and for a constituent assembly to write a new constitution to replace the current document, which was created under the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990). The protesters also backed the demands of student strikers for a free public education system and expressed opposition to the HidroAysén project, a plan to build a complex of five dams that environmentalists say would threaten fjords and valleys in the Patagonia region [see Updates #1081, 1100]. Organizers estimated that 5,000 people participated; the police didn’t give an estimate. Similar protests were scheduled for other cities, including Arica, Iquique, Coquimbo, La Serena and Valparaíso. (Radio Universidad de Chile, Oct. 15; Observador Global, Argentina, Oct. 15; Adital, Brazil, Oct. 14)

More than 1,000 Argentines, many wearing masks or costumes, marched on Oct. 15 from the Plaza del Congreso de la Nación in central Buenos Aires to the Plaza de Mayo. The marchers included Juan Marino, the leader of the Revolutionary Piquetero Tendency (TPR), part of a movement of the unemployed that developed in response to the neoliberal policies of former president Carlos Saúl Menem (1989-1999) and the financial crisis of 2001. “It can’t go on like this,” said another marcher, Bernardo Molina. “The rich created the crisis, and we, the poor, always end up paying.” Argentines also demonstrated in La Plata, Córdoba, Mar del Plata, Rosario, Mendoza, Tucumán, Jujuy and other cities. (People’s Daily, China, Oct. 16)

In Brazil, some 200 people, mostly youths, gathered under a heavy rain at Sao Paulo’s Museo de Arte on Paulista Avenue in the banking and commercial district, while others met in the Largo de Sao Bento, a colonial building in the center of the city. Some participants were from political parties, but one group of youths carried a sign saying they rejected parties. There were also protests in Rio de Janeiro and other cities. (ANSA, Oct. 15)

About 500 Peruvians marked the global day of action with a gathering at the Plaza San Martín in the center of Lima. Slogans on their signs included: “Wake up,” “Raise your voice, demand change,” and “The earth and the water belong to the people, not to the businesses.” The mobilization was “peaceful, apolitical and nonpartisan,” Luis Álvarez, from the Take the Plaza collective, which had called the protest, told Radio Programas del Perú (RPP). (EFE, Oct. 15, via Qué.es, Spain)

In Colombia about 70 indignados and indignadas met at Bogotá’s National Park to call for a regeneration of the democratic and economic system. The group originally planned to march to Plaza de Bolívar, in front of the presidential palace, but participants decided to stay in the park and develop the movement by holding an assembly in which they exchanged opinions on what should be the principles of the “15-O” (Oct. 15) movement. They also made signs expressing themes of the global movement, such as “Real democracy now,” mixed with references to local issues, such as “No to mining.” (EFE, Oct. 15, via El Espectador Bogotá)

Like their Colombian counterparts, the approximately 400 protesters who gathered at the Monument to the Revolution in Mexico City on Oct. 15 focused on both local and global issues, from the Mexican government’s “war on drugs” to consumerism and fraudulent banking practices. The group that called for the mobilization, the Permanent Assembly of Mexican Indignados, read a communiqué saying that “the country is hurling itself into the disaster of daily and widespread violence; into unemployment and hunger; into the violation of the most fundamental rights; into the destruction of the social fabric and the loss of human values.” “If those below get moving, those above fall down,” “Less tele and more vision,” and “If they won’t let us dream, we won’t let them sleep” were among the signs, along with “We’ve had it up to here” (Estamos hasta la madre), a slogan which has dominated Mexican demonstrations for much of this year [see Update #1079].

There were protests in 20 other Mexican cities, including a sit-in at the Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada de Jalapa plaza in the eastern state of Veracruz and at the Explanada de los Héroes in the central plaza of Monterrey in the northern state of Nuevo León. (Observador Global Oct. 15/11; La Jornada (Mexico) Oct. 16)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Oct. 16.

US/Mexico: Binational effort helps rescue border fence mural

By Jonathan Clark
Nogales International
Published Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A community mural painted on the border wall separating the U.S. and Mexico was saved from the scrap heap last week through a binational effort, and an artist who was integral to its creation and salvation says he hopes the artwork, which represents popular resistance, will one day rise again at its original location.

The 60-foot-long mural, titled “Vida y Sueños de la Cañada Perla,” or “Life and Dreams of the Perla Ravine,” was painted by people from both sides of the border in 2005 on the Sonoran face of the landing-mat fence running through Ambos Nogales, a few hundred yards west of the DeConcini port.

It’s a replica of a mural painted in 1998 by Tzetzal Indians on the façade of the community center of Taniperla, Chiapas to represent their lives and dreams after declaring themselves part of an autonomous Zapatista revolutionary municipality. However, on April 11, 1998, a day after the mural and the autonomous municipality were inaugurated, the Mexican Army retook control of the town, destroyed the mural and jailed the man who had directed its creation, university professor Sergio Valdez.

The mural: Community members from both sides of the border painted a replica of “Vida y Sueños de la Cañada Perla” on the landing-mat fence in Nogales, Sonora in the spring of 2005.

Nogales, Sonora-based artist Guadalupe Serrano, who along with his creative partner Alberto Morackis brought Valdez to the border city for the re-creation project in 2005, said that after U.S. crews replacing the 2.8-mile-long landing-mat fence with a taller, stronger barrier reached the downtown area last month, city officials warned him that the “Vida y Sueños” replica might also be destroyed.

At the same time, he said, he learned that wheels had also begun to turn in Arizona in an effort to save the mural.

“What happened was that in Tucson, there’s an organization called the Sierra Club, and a guy from that organization named Dan Millis got in touch with Congressman Raul Grijalva,” Serrano said.

In a letter dated June 8, Millis, along with Kim Roseman of the K. Newby Gallery in Tubac, Susannah Castro of the Tubac Center of the Arts and Bob Phillips of the Santa Cruz Community Foundation, urged Grijalva to investigate the status of “Vida y Sueños” and other nearby fence art and iconic graffiti, “and act to ensure that these cultural resources are protected for future generations.”

Grijalva responded by dispatching staffer Ruben Reyes to coordinate with the Border Patrol (a Grijalva spokesman said the agency was “very cooperative”), who then worked with contractor Granite Construction to arrange a safe takedown and handover of the mural panels to Serrano. Continue reading

Al Jazeera: “Mexicans march against drug-related violence”

[A significant movement is growing in Mexico , where tens of thousands of peasants, workers, and indigenous people have been killed in wave upon wave  of battles for control of the drug trade between massive criminal syndicates (gangs) that are part-and-parcel of the corrupt and oppressive Mexican police and military.  The international media routinely paints this picture in racist slanders against Mexican people, or as a moral campaign against drugs–and never portray it as it is — the result of bankrupt comprador political relations and of an economy so dominated and suffocated by imperialism (and its instruments such as NAFTA) that the people have been forced into either starvation, virtual enslavement by drug lords, or the migrants’ life  — the dangerous forced migrations to el Norte, where xenophobia and criminalization and repeated deportations by ICE frame much of the life.  Today, there is a growing mass movement to stand up to these criminal gangs AND the corrupt police, expressed in part by this weekend’s protest march from Cuernevaca to the Zocalo in Mexico City. — Frontlines ed.]

AlJazeeraEnglish on May 8, 2011

The protesters say they are frustrated with the growing violence between warring drug gangs and security forces.

Al Jazeera’s Franc Contreras reports from Mexico City

Mexican indigenous community takes on armed gangs

[One minute video (en espanol) showing the protest in Cheran, Michoacan, last week. — Frontlines ed.]
May 03, 2011

Mexico City: Around 17,000 people from an indigenous group in western Mexico have blocked access to their community and declared a “state of siege” against armed groups protecting illegal loggers, a spokesman said.

“It’s a desperate measure” faced with the lack of security from federal authorities, a spokesman for the Purepecha community told a news conference yesterday in Mexico City, wearing a face mask to remain anonymous.

It was a “self-imposed state of siege” that started April 15 in the village of Cheran, in Michoacan state, not far from famous sanctuaries for migrating Monarch butterflies, the spokesman said.

The community started the blockade after armed men fired on some of its members after they captured illegal loggers to hand them over to the authorities, he added.

An armed group entered the community on April 27 and killed two people. Since 2008, nine have been killed and five others have disappeared, he said.

Illegal loggers have deforested 80 percent of some 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) of the region’s forests in more than three years, according to the community. Continue reading