<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
 English | Español August 15, 2018 | Issue #41

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Al Giordano

Opening Statement, April 18, 2000
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Atenco: A Violent Attack Against The Other Campaign Adherents

The People’s Front in Defense of the Land made up part of the security team for Delegate Zero on May 1st

By Quetzal Belmont
The Other Journalism with the Other Campaign in the State of Mexico

May 4, 2006

On May 3rd, rural flower farmers from the State of Mexico took their flowers to the Belisario Dominguez Market, in Texcoco, with the hope of setting up their stalls outside of the market, where they would sell their flowers. But upon arrival, they were met by various local, state, and federal police authorities.

Adherents to the Other Campaign from San Salvador Atenco
DR 2006 Liber Cooperativa
The flower farmers, who belong to the People’s Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT), were violently attacked by police forces who claimed that they are not a legitimate business and that they don’t have a designated location from which to sell their flowers.

Throughout the day, there were several confrontations between the flower sellers and the police, with the confrontations intensifying in the afternoon, when a massive police attack attempted to remove them from the area. The flower sellers responded by erecting barricades, burning tires, and throwing Molotov cocktails while police attacked them with tear gas, night sticks, and submachine guns.

As news of the confrontation spread, more members of their community of San Salvador, who belong to the same organization — the FPDT — as the flower farmers.

The confrontation resulted in the death of 14-year old Javier Cortés Santiago, who belongs to the People’s Front in the Defense of the Land. Other members of the organization were injured, as were eight members of the police forces.

After the confrontation, approximately 80 flower sellers went to hide in a local home, but were later found there, attacked, and arrested by over 400 federal police. A Mexican television reporter who was at the scene was also attacked and beaten, leaving him unable to record the events that unfolded. One has to ask: What were their motives in discouraging the media presence?

During this attack on the home, one of the people arrested was Ignacio del Valle, a representative of the FDPT who is considered to be the front’s leader.

So far 94 people have been arrested and taken to the town of Toluca, where they gave declarations and had their legal status determined. At the same time, eleven police officers are being held by members of the (FPDT) in a local auditorium.

Various controversies have emerged out of this conflict. It would appear that the arrest of Ignacio del Valle was an intentional provocation by the state and federal governments. This suggestion was articulated by Subcomandante Marcos (or as he’s currently known, Delegate Zero), who as part of “the Other Campaign,” is traveling to states around the country, and had just completed a visit to Mexico City.

It’s strange that these events unfolded at the same time that the residents of San Salvador de Atenco, who belong to the People’s Front in Defense of the Land, have been acting as security for Delegate Zero’s visit to Mexico City.

Responding to the situation, Subcomandante Marcos announced that the EZLN is on red alert and that, for the moment, all activities associated with the Other Campaign have been suspended. At the same time, he put out a call for organizations to join forces and mobilize with the people of San Salvador de Atenco. Delegate Zero also declared that if anything should happen to him, there is someone waiting in the wings to take his place.

Another important call went out for people to meet at 8:00 AM, on May 4th, on the campus of the University of Chapingo, to get organized and decide what kind of actions to carry out in response to the conflict.

For now, the FPDT’s central demands are: unconditional liberty for the FPDT members who have been arrested and the withdrawal of all police forces who have occupied the area and who have been maintaining a blockade on the Texcoco-Lecheria higway for over 12 hours.

The task now is to analyze why this conflict is happening, taking into consideration the current socio-political context. There is the fact that the Other Campaign is well underway; Mexico is in an election year; and then there are economic interests to take into consideration, including the rumors of a Wal -Mart slated for construction in the area where the conflict began. A lot of questions remain unanswered.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America