Protest at Mexican Consulate in New York, Friday, 12:30 p.m., Against the Repressive and Violent Regime of Vicente Fox
“The Other Cinco de Mayo” Will Call Global Attention to the Zapatista Red Alert in Mexico
By Al Giordano
The Other Journalism with the Other Campaign in Mexico City
May 4, 2006
It began as a small protest organized by journalists seeking to free colleagues illegally imprisoned in Oaxaca last Monday. On Wednesday, those colleagues were freed due to lack of evidence. But seven hours away, along the Texcoco-Lechería highway north of Mexico City, a brutal police invasion attacked flower growers to expel them from selling roses in a marketplace. Campesinos from the region responded and, without firearms, but with mere work tools, chased out 500 police. Since then, local, state and federal police agencies have swarmed upon the region – from Texcoco to San Salvador Atenco – assassinated a 14-year-old boy, imprisoned more than 100 citizens, and occupied entire towns.
Although these bloody events occur in 2006, they smell like 1968, when the Mexican Army massacred a thousand young women and men at Mexico City’s Plaza of the Three Cultures, in the Mexico City neighborhood of Tlalteloco, where, coincidentally, Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos was scheduled to speak yesterday afternoon. “Delegate Zero” of the Other Campaign drew the obvious parallel:
“Years ago, here in the Plaza of the Three Cultures, there was a massacre. The government said that the army was attacked…. Today the media, including the radio, don’t ask what the public security forces are doing in San Salvador Atenco.”
Mexican President Vicente Fox, who six years ago came to office promising to end the long night of dictatorship in this nation of 100 million people, revealed himself this morning to be cut from the same authoritarian cloth as ex-president Gustavo Díaz Ordaz (1911-1979), the butcher of Tlalteloco, when Fox ordered the shocktroops of the Federal Preventive Police (PFP, in its Spanish initials) into San Salvador Atenco unleashing a wave of state terror and violence. Fox revealed himself no different from Luis Echeverría Álvarez (1922- ), the war criminal responsible for the Tlalteloco massacre of ’68 and so many acts of terrorism that followed. Fox showed that his style of governance is no different from that of former presidents Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1948- ) , whose assault on social movements assassinated more than 600 opposition leaders, and as Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon (1951- ), the criminal of the Acteal Massacre in Chiapas in 1997… The events of recent hours in Atenco now go down in history as the defining act of the Fox legacy: the man who promised change, but who brought more of the same nightmare.
As if to underscore that Vicente Fox is not a president, but merely a shop foreman for Washington and Wall Street, yesterday, under open pressure from the Bush Administration, Fox announced he would veto his own proposed reform of the drug laws (a mixed-bag of a bill that while it decriminalized up to 4.5 grams of marijuana imposed two-year prison sentences for users holding more than that miniscule amount). This, after the White House screeched that the poor pothead and drug user in Mexico must be punished: and, thus, Fox’s superficial about-face. That’s only the latest tale out of six years of Vicente Fox’s role a shoeshine boy and delivery-man of Mexico’s sovereignty – its land, its water, its electricity, its oil, its labor, its culture, its dignity, peace and tranquility – to foreign powers.
But this time, unlike in 1968 and so many years since, the Commercial Media, so obedient to power and its image-laundering, doesn’t get to control and blockade the news. And this time, the assassinated and imprisoned men and women of Atenco do not fall down in silence. This moment is not the conclusion of the story, but, rather, it is the beginning of an Other History, immediate, and underway, in Mexico.
And this story grows on the eve of May Fifth – el Cinco de Mayo – when Mexico remembers with pride how 4,000 Mexicans defeated 8,000 French invaders in 1862. Roughly the same math is at work today: it takes more than two soldiers to defeat just one Mexican man or woman. There are only so many soldiers and police officers. And there are so many more struggles, local and seemingly small, that the Zapatista Other Campaign is weaving into One Big Fight.
This story also progresses in the context of the gigantic mobilizations by Mexicans and Mexican-Americans north of the border in the United States. Monday’s “Great American Boycott” proved a resounding success: the closest thing to a national General Strike that the United States has ever seen. An untold part of that story is that so many of the Mexican immigrants in the U.S. fled the state repression of previous regimes, or are descendents of the men and women who left conflicted Mexican states like Guerrero, Oaxaca and Michoacan under threat of death because they had tried to change their country from within. The motive to cross the Rio Bravo was not always economic. It was – and still is – often political (as if the two motives can be pulled apart).
And so this brings history to el Cinco de Mayo de 2006: The Mexican government functionaries and private-sector technocrats, so many of them educated in the United States and in Europe, so many of them, like Fox, who speak fancy English, respond more to what happens in that language than to what Mexico’s own people say in Spanish or in 62 indigenous languages. For them, the daily tallies at the New York Stock Exchange matter more than the daily fight for survival by humble flower growers in a marketplace in Texcoco.
A demonstration will occur tomorrow, Friday, May 5th, at the doors of the Mexican Consulate in New York City to call attention to the dictatorial tragedy underway in Mexico at the moment that the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN, in its Spanish initials), its bases of support throughout Chiapas, and its Other Campaign allies throughout Mexico, have entered a Red Alert and have begun to mobilize to confront the violent campaign of intimidation and repression unleashed by the Fox government and its masters to the North.
The Consulate is located at 27 East 39th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues, in Manhattan’s affluent midtown. (According to the Consulate’s own website, “If you take the subway train 4, 5 or 6, you can walk to the Consulate from the Grand Central Terminal station, on 42nd Street and Madison Avenue.”)The protest – scheduled for 12:30 p.m., when New York office workers flood the streets in search of lunch – could be small. Or it could grow. That depends on the conscience of New Yorkers and others near (and whether the word spreads fast enough). But one thing is for sure. It will not happen in silence. The Commercial Media may well boycott this ringing of the international bells. But photographers, videographers and reporters from the independent media will be present, and will report what happens here on Narco News and elsewhere. Because this is not 1968. This is 2006. And tomorrow, in New York City and elsewhere, will bring The Other Cinco de Mayo.
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