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Fwd: [Fwd: MSN News and Analysis -July 10-30, 2006]

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  • Nancy Davies
    Subject: [Fwd: MSN News and Analysis -July 10-30, 2006] This is one of the Mexico Solidarity Network s best mailings I ve seen. Totally in your face , no
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 1, 2006
      Subject: [Fwd: MSN News and Analysis -July 10-30, 2006]

      This is one of the Mexico Solidarity Network's best mailings I've seen. Totally "in your face", no punches pulled.  (Julie, will you grab the address and add it to our form for media?)

      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject: MSN News and Analysis -July 10-30, 2006
      Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2006 14:51:48 -0400
      From: Mexico Solidarity Network

      MEXICO SOLIDARITY NETWORK
      WEEKLY NEWS AND ANALYSIS
      JULY 10-30, 2006

      1. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION DYNAMICS
      2. FEDERAL OFFICIALS CLOSE FEMICIDE INVESTIGATION
      3. ZAPATISTA RED ALERT CONTINUES
      4. MSN PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS, Contact
      MSN@...


      1. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION DYNAMICS
      For the first week following the July 2
      presidential elections, PAN candidate Felipe
      Calderon held all the cards. A Federal Electoral
      Institute (IFE) heavily stacked in his favor
      delivered a narrow, though tentative, victory with
      a margin of about 240,000 votes from nearly 42
      million cast. But the election was rigged from
      the start. Of the nine IFE members, four were
      appointed by the PAN and five by Elba Esther
      Gordillo when she was head of the PRI bank in the
      lower House. The PRD has no representation.
      Gordillo, a former PRI president and head of the
      powerful teachers union, broke with her party’s
      presidential candidate, Roberto Madrazo, early in
      the primary process, forming a separate party that
      fielded a full slate of candidates in an effort to
      draw support away from Madrazo. Despite the
      formation of her own party, she supported Calderon
      during most of the campaign, and her IFE
      appointees were practically part of the PAN
      campaign team. The IFE permitted serious campaign
      violations that, under a strict interpretation of
      the law, may have resulted in the loss of the
      PAN’s party registration. President Fox spent six
      months openly campaigning for Calderon (despite
      his personal reservations toward the hard right
      candidate), something that is strictly prohibited
      under Mexican law. Millions of pesos in federal
      programs were spent in an apparently successful
      effort to secure votes. For example, more than
      40% of Oportunidades recipients voted for
      Calderon, often under threat of losing their
      benefits. Five million women, mostly single heads
      of households, receive Oportunidades. This is not
      a group that would generally have an affinity for
      the business oriented Calderon. The private
      sector spent millions on television and radio ads
      in support of the PAN, and the party itself
      exceeded campaign spending limits, both serious
      violations of election law. By election day, the
      deck was stacked.

      The election mechanics in Mexico are supposed to
      be fool proof. Polling station representatives
      are chosen at random, somewhat like jury selection
      in the US. Parties can send an observer to each
      polling station as well, though the PRD only
      covered about 70% of the stations nationally, and
      due to serious internal divisions within the
      party, it’s unclear if many of the representatives
      provided any genuine oversight. The Mexican
      political class is accustomed to negotiations, and
      it’s very possible that the election process
      itself was negotiated during the vote-counting.
      There are all kinds of opportunities for fraud.
      Many polling site managers are poorly trained, and
      hundreds were reportedly replaced with party hacks
      during the final days leading up to the election.
      The PRD documented at least 50,000 mathematical
      errors at polling stations, from a total of about
      130,000 sites, including more votes than ballots
      and more votes than registered voters. Despite
      increasing reports of errors and outright fraud,
      the IFE proceeded to count votes in the week
      following the election, but not without serious
      problems that tarnished their reputation as an
      impartial institution. First, they “lost” about 3
      million votes, which re-appeared 24 hours later.
      Luis Carlos Ugalde, IFE president, managed the
      press, highlighting every positive turn for
      Calderon and downplaying every advantage for PRD
      candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Although
      the IFE is only responsible for managing the
      election mechanics, Ugalde took the liberty to
      announce a “winner” four days after the election,
      then spent the following weeks spinning
      information via press conferences and paid
      television ads.

      Despite nearly daily reports of irregularities,
      for the first two weeks it looked as though
      Calderon was solidifying a political, if not
      necessarily a legally binding, victory, but the
      dynamics changed radically on July 16 when over a
      million people turned out in Mexico City’s Zocalo
      in support of Lopez Obrador. The PRD candidate
      demanded a full recount and claimed victory in the
      election. He solidified his support on July 30
      when perhaps 1.2 million people came to the
      Zocalo, almost certainly the largest demonstration
      in the history of Mexico. During the
      demonstration he announced a permanent non-violent
      mobilization in all 31 states until the Federal
      Electoral Tribunal (TRIFE) agrees to a full recount.

      Meanwhile, despite his bold initial announcements,
      Calderon has been surprisingly on the defensive
      for much of the past two weeks. Calderon was
      always somewhat of a pariah in his own party. He
      tried to distance himself politically from Fox
      during the campaign and he has a running battle
      with PAN president Manuel Espino. Nevertheless,
      the response of his party has been surprising.
      Officials closed his campaign headquarters within
      days of the election, denying him a logistical
      center from which to defend his position. Most
      leading PAN officials virtually disappeared from
      public view, with the Espino taking a highly
      public vacation in Spain. Searching for allies,
      Calderon scheduled a highly publicized press event
      claiming union support, but only a retired
      electrical worker with no official union post and
      two largely discredited union bosses formerly
      aligned with the PRI bothered to show up.
      Televisa and TV Azteca, both strong supporters of
      Calderon, breathlessly reported his labor support.

      There is plenty of evidence to justify a recount,
      or even to annul the election and start over. IFE
      officials opened hundreds of sealed ballot boxes
      in the weeks following the election, apparently in
      an effort to square the numbers. PRD activists
      caught local election officials burning ballots in
      Guerrero. In Tabasco, election officials removed
      sealed documents under army protection at 2:00 am,
      then defended the action as “routine.” PRD
      representatives presented a box full of ballots
      found in the garbage to embarrassed IFE officials
      during a public hearing. Despite increasing
      reports of anomalies, Lopez Obrador insists that
      he wants a full recount but not an annulment.

      Meanwhile, the PRD is anything but unified.
      Despite the mobilizing capacity of Lopez Obrador,
      many PRD officials are quietly encouraging
      moderation. In December, the PRD will become the
      second force in the lower House and barely trails
      the PRI to form the third force in the Senate.
      Newly elected Deputies and Senators are interested
      in protecting their prerogatives rather than
      risking their institutionality in street
      demonstrations. So far, Lopez Obrador has been
      able to maintain a united public front, but no one
      knows how long this might last. Many high-ranking
      PRD officials are former members of the PRI,
      accustomed to backroom negotiations rather than
      popular mobilization. In the context of militant
      striking miners, a labor movement that opposes six
      more years of the PAN, an increasingly powerful
      movement in Oaxaca that may succeed in replacing
      the governor with a popular tribunal, and a
      national movement built around the Other Campaign,
      Lopez Obrador may not be able to control popular
      dissent like a water faucet. The TRIFE has until
      September 6 to announce a decision. Until then,
      and perhaps long afterward, expect an increasingly
      restless and empowered public to take to the streets.

      2. FEDERAL OFFICIALS CLOSE FEMICIDE INVESTIGATION
      The federal Attorney General quietly closed a
      limited investigation of femicides committed in
      Ciudad Juarez over the past decade. Under
      pressure from families and international
      solidarity, in 2003 the Fox administration opened
      an inquiry into 14 of the over 300 femicides
      reported in this border city, but officials
      returned the cases to state prosecutors in June
      for lack of evidence. Victim’s families were not
      notified of the decision; they read about it in
      local newspapers. Local police are widely
      believed to be either inept or directly involved
      in the crimes. Fox apparently decided to drop the
      cases because they offer no political benefit as
      his presidency winds to a conclusion.

      3. ZAPATISTA RED ALERT CONTINUES
      Subcomandante Marcos defended the continuing red
      alert in Zapatista communities as their means of
      resistance in the face of government repression in
      Atenco. On July 27, Marcos explained that the red
      alert is “our way of doing things. We don’t
      support only through words.” The Zapatistas
      declared a red alert on May 4, the same day police
      invaded San Salvador Atenco in Mexico State,
      arresting over 200 people. Police raped dozens of
      women and beat many of the detainees.
      Twenty-seven people remain in prison, including
      the leadership of the People’s Front in Defense of
      the Land, on trumped up charges of kidnapping and
      assault. All five Caracoles, centers of Zapatista
      resistance in Chiapas, are closed during the red
      alert, and the Zapatista military structure is
      prepared for battle if necessary.

      4. MSN PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS, Contact
      MSN@...

      September 10 – December 16: Fall Study Abroad
      Program. Earn 16 credits studying Mexican social
      movements in Chiapas, Tlaxcala, Chihuahua City and
      Ciudad Juarez.

      Sept 24 – Oct 7: Speaking tour – The Femicides of
      Juarez and Chihuahua, and border issues.
      Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois

      Oct 1-14: Speaking tour - Immigrant rights,
      featuring a representative from Mexicanos Sin
      Fronteras
      Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina

      Oct 8-21: Speaking tour - Immigrant rights,
      featuring a day laborer from Chicago
      Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana

      Oct 15-28: Speaking tour – The Femicides of Juarez
      and Chihuahua, and border issues.
      California

      Oct 22 – Nov 4: Speaking tour - Immigrant Rights,
      featuring an Ex-Bracero from the Asamblea Nacional
      de Braceros.
      Ohio, Michigan

      Oct 29 – Nov 11: Speaking tour – Building autonomy
      in Zapatista communities, with a discussion of the
      Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona in the
      context of organizing in the US, featuring a
      speaker to be named from Chiapas.
      California

      Nov 5-18: Speaking tour – Building autonomy in
      Zapatista communities, with a discussion of the
      Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona in the
      context of organizing in the US, featuring a
      speaker to be named from Chiapas.
      New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

      Nov 26 – Dec 9: Speaking tour – Building autonomy
      in Zapatista communities, with a discussion of the
      Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona in the
      context of organizing in the US,featuring a
      speaker to be named from Chiapas.
      New England

      Nov 26 - Dec 9: Speaking tour – Building autonomy
      in Zapatista communities, with a discussion of the
      Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona in the
      context of organizing in the US, featuring a
      speaker to be named from Chiapas.
      Washington, Oregon, Vancouver, Idaho, and other
      parts of Northwest

      Alternative Economy Internships - Develop markets
      for artisanry produced by women's cooperatives in
      Chiapas and make public presentations on the
      struggle for justice and dignity in Zapatista
      communities. Interns are currently active in Fort
      Collins, OR; Spokane, WA; Alexandria, VA; Grand
      Haven, MI; Chico, CA; Sacramento, CA; Stonington,
      ME; Lancaster, PA; St Paul, MN; Louisville, KY;
      San Francisco, CA; Turner, OR; Athens, GA;
      Chicago, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Guelph, Canada;
      Davis, CA; Tempe, AZ; and Madison, WI.

      Mexico Solidarity Network
      http://www.mexicosolidarity.org
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    • Mr. Alan L. Goodin
      APPO steps up pressure on Ruiz - A A A + EL UNIVERSAL El Universal August 02, 2006 OAXACA - Efforts by the local chapter of the national teachers
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 2, 2006
        APPO steps up pressure on Ruiz

        - A   A   A +
        EL UNIVERSAL
        El Universal
        August 02, 2006
        OAXACA - Efforts by the local chapter of the national teachers union to oust state Gov. Ulises Ruiz intensified on Tuesday, with disgruntled members of affiliated organizations protesting in Oaxaca and Mexico City before blocking off access to a local television station controlled by the state government.
        Channel 9 in Oaxaca was taken off the air after a group of around 1,000 women from the Popular Assembly of the Oaxacan People (APPO), an activist group that has backed the local teachers, blocked off the station´s headquarters and demanded workers air a message calling for Ruiz´s resignation.
        A station employee who declined to give her name, agreed to air the message if the disgruntled protesters allowed workers to leave the building. The women refused, however, saying they wouldn´t leave - or allow employees to leave - until the message was transmitted.
        The station´s signal was taken off the air by federal authorities shortly after the blockade began. The employee who was negotiating with the APPO members said Channel 9 had been taken off the air by the Federal Transportation and Communications Secretariat.
        State authorities have reportedly filed a criminal complaint against the protesters with the federal Attorney General´s Office, noting that Channel 9 has about 600 million pesos (US$54.5 million) worth of equipment inside, and that the protesters had threatened the 60 employees with violence.
        At 9 p.m. Tuesday night, the station remained without signal, although a message prepared by the APPO had been aired.
        Less than an hour later, the 60 TV station employees were allowed to leave after being held hostage for over nine hours. About 500 members of the APPO were still in the building.
        Also Tuesday, a group of 200 teachers from Oaxaca held a demonstration outside of the Senate building in Mexico City to demand support for Ruiz´s resignation. Several hundred more marched through Oaxaca´s colonial center banging pots and pans and chanting anti-Ruiz slogans.
        The teachers have led demonstrations in Oaxaca since May, initially demanding a wage increase and then Ruiz´s resignation after riot police were ordered to forcibly dislodge the teachers, resulting in dozens of injuries. The teachers ultimately beat back the police and have maintained a presence in the city center. They have also routinely blocked highways and toll booths on the capital´s outskirts.
        The unrest forced the cancelation of the Guelaguetza, a culture festival that attracts tourists from around the world. Businesses that depend on tourism have complained of a drop in revenues since the protests began.


        "“Power,” Harvard Professor Joseph Nye, Jr. tells us “is the ability to alter the behavior of others to get what you want." www.zocalomag.com>.


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