Government Prevents Subcomandante Marcos’ Radio Appearance
The Hosts of Política de Banqueta Resign from Radio 620
By Hermann Bellinghausen
July 19, 2006
Subcomandante Marcos’ appearance on the airwaves of Radio 620 this Monday was prevented “by the pressures of the Mexican Presidency, the Secretariat of the Interior, the Senate, and those gentlemen from the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), who consider themselves referees,” denounced the conductors of Política de banqueta during the last broadcast of the program. The show’s hosts, as well as numerous listeners who called in and a protest in front of the radio station, condemned this “act of censorship,” which was also considered an “attack” against the liberty of expression.
“Radio Insurgente and Subcomandante Marcos can’t be with us here tonight, because the government has done everything in its power to prevent it,” announced Lucas, the usual host of the show Política de banqueta. As the program’s heads confided to La Jornada, the company Rasa (Radiodifusoras Asociadas) received in recent days “strong pressures” from the presidential offices, demanding that Delegado Zero stop appearing on their airwaves. Apparently, the contracting of state advertising spots with the company was made dependent on the condition that the Zapatista leader would no longer participate in the broadcast.
In this way, what would have been the fifth foray of Radio Insurgente, “The voice of the voiceless,” on the airwaves of this commercial radio station of the Mexican capital was prevented. On Monday, July 3rd, Subcomandante Marcos had announced from here, that an electoral State fraud had been committed in the elections on the previous evening against the PRD and their presidential candidate.
Política de banqueta, a program of the Popular Front and the Socialist Workers Union (“Uníos”), two organizations that are part of to the Other Campaign, deplored the fact that “an opinion leader, a important social leader, was denied freedom of expression and assembly.” In his previous appearances, Subcomandante Marcos has addressed “issues of public interest, such as the salaries of government officials and legislators, the elections, the political prisoners in Toluca, and others.”
Luis Saracho, Estrella and Lucas, the hosts of this Monday’s program, were “surprised by the incident.” The State, they added, “wants to silence the voice of the Mexican citizens.” According to Saracho, the prohibition “could not have come in a more sensitive moment, when there is a problem of legitimacy of the State institutions.” He indicated that the government of Vicente Fox was facing a “political crisis,” and reminded of “the context surrounding the disappearance of the Excélsior newspaper, on the demise of the government of Luis Echeverria, in 1976. Today the ‘government of change’ is not different. The ‘velvet transition’ is not that velvety anymore. The present regime is responding just like the old regime, the PRI.”
Lucas pointed out that the virtual prohibition constituted a lack of respect “toward everything Marcos and the hundreds of thousands of indigenous of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation are representing,” and denounced that on the opposite side there was “an alliance of the federal government with the great mass media, primarily TV Azteca and the Canal de las Estrellas (Televisa).”
A group of people with placards and banners demonstrated in front of Rasa offices, located on Durango Street in the Roma neightborhood, against the censorship of Radio Insurgente on the already traditional airwaves of XENK, of “the music that is here to stay.” Radiodifusoras Asociadas, run by José Laris Rodríguez and his siblings, Alexander and Guadalupe, has operated since 1946, when it was founded by José and Francisco Laris Iturbide. In all this time, it was never subjected to such direct pressure from the federal authorities.
The producers of the program, which is broadcasted Mondays between 20:00-21:00 hours, protested “from below and to the left,” pronounced themselves in favor of “a new Constitution” and expressed “unconditional support” for Subcommandante Marcos. “Política de banqueta will continue on the street. Out of respect for the compañero (Marcos), we are resigning from this station”, they announced.
Since the beginning of the journey of the Other Campaign through the national territory, Radio Insurgente has been featured on various airwaves, such as Radio Universidad from Querétaro, the radio station of the Nicolaíta University of Michoacán, Radio UNAM and Radio Ñomndaa, “The Word of the Water” from Suljaá (Xochistlahuaca) in Guerrero. This is the first occasion that the authorities have censored “the voice of the voiceless” directly.
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