Category Archives: Mexico

When the respectable become extremists, the extremists become respectable: Colombia and the mainstream media


By James Petras
May 20, 2012

By any historical measure, whether it involves international law, human rights conventions, United Nations protocols, socio economic indicators, the policies and practices of the United States and European Union regimes can be characterized as extremist.

By that we mean that their policies and practices result in large scale long-term systematic destruction of human lives, habitat and likelihood affecting millions of people through the direct application of force and violence. The extremist regimes abhor moderation which implies rejection of total wars in favor of peaceful negotiations. Moderation pursues conflict resolution through diplomacy and compromise and the rejection of state and paramilitary terror, mass dispossession and displacement of civilian populations and the systematic assault on popular sectors of civil society.

The first decade of the 21st century has witnessed the West’s embrace of extremism in all of its manifestation both in domestic and foreign policy. Extremism is a common practice by self-styled conservatives, liberals and social-democrats. In the past, conservative implies preserving the status quo and at most tinkering with change at the margins. Today’s ‘conservatives’ demand the wholesale dismantling of entire social welfare systems, the elimination of traditional legal restraints on labor and environmental abuses. Liberals and social democrats who in the past, occasionally, questioned colonial systems have been in the forefront of prolonged multiple colonial wars which have killed and displaced millions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.

Extremism both in terms of methods, means and goals has obliterated the distinctions between center left, center and rightwing politicians. Moderate opponents to policies subsidizing a dozen major banks and impoverishing tens of millions of workers are called the “hard left”, “extremists” or “radicals”.

In the wake of the extremist policies of public officials, the respectable, prestigious print media have engaged in their own versions of extremism [1]. Colonial wars that devastate civil society and materially and culturally impoverish millions in the colonized country are justified, embellished and made to appear as lawful, humane and furthering secular democratic values. Domestic wars on behalf of oligarchies and against wage and salaried workers, which concentrate wealth and deepen despair of the dispossessed are described as rational, virtuous and necessary. The distinctions between the prudent, balanced, prestigious and serious media and the sensationalist, yellow press have disappeared. The fabrication of facts, blatant omissions and distortions of context are found in one as well as the other.

To illustrate the reign of extremism in officialdom and among the prestigious press, we will examine two case studies: US policies toward and the Financial Times and New York Times reportage on Colombia and Honduras.

Colombia: The “Oldest Democracy in Latin America versus “the Death squad Capital of the World”

Following on the heels of euphoric eulogies of Colombia’s emergence as a poster boy in an April issue of Time, and in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, the Financial Times ran a series of articles including a special insert on Colombia’s political and economic “miracle”, “Investing in Colombia” [2]. According to the FTs leading Latin American journalist, one John Paul Rathbone, Colombia is the “oldest democracy in the hemisphere” [3]. Rathbone’s rapture for Colombia’s President Santos extends from his role as an “emerging power broker” for the South American continent, to making Colombia safe for foreign investors and “exciting the envy” of other less successful regimes in the region. Rathbone gives prominence to one Colombia business leader who claims that Colombia’s second biggest city “Medellín is living through its best of times” [4]. In line with the opinion of the foreign and business elite, the respectable print media describe Colombia as prosperous, peaceful, business friendly-charging the lowest mining royalty payments in the hemisphere – a model of a stable democracy to be emulated by all forward-looking leaders. Colombia under President Santos, has signed a free trade agreement with President Obama, his closes ally in the hemisphere [5]. Under Bush the trade unions, human rights and church groups and the majority of Congressional Democrats were successful in blocking the agreement on the bases of the basis of Colombia’s sustained human rights violations. When Obama embraced the free trade agreement, the AFL-CIO and Democratic opposition evaporated, as President Obama claimed a vast improvement in human rights and the commitment of Santos to ending the murder of trade union leaders and activists [6].

The peace, security and prosperity eulogized by the oil, mining, banking, and agro-business elite are based on the worst human rights record in Latin America. With regard to the murder of trade unionists Colombia exceeds the entire rest of the world. Between 1986-2011 over 60% of the trade unionists assassinated in the world took place in Colombia, by the combined military-police-paramilitary forces, largely at the behest of foreign and domestic corporate leaders [7]. The “peace” that Rathbone and his cohort at the Financial Times praise is at the cost of over 12,000 assassinations and arrests, injuries, disappearances of trade unionists between January 1, 1986 and October 1, 2010[8]. In that time span nearly 3,000 trade union leaders and activists were murdered, hundreds were kidnapped or disappeared. President Santos was the Defense Minister under previous President Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010). In those eight years, 762 trade union leaders and activists were murdered, over 95% by the state or allied paramilitary forces [9].

Under Presidents Uribe Santos 2002 – 2012 over 4 million peasants and rural householders were displaced and dispossessed of their homes and their lands were confiscated and taken over by landlords and narco-traffickers [10]. The terror tactics employed by the regimes counter-insurgency strategy served a dual purpose of repressing dissent and accumulating wealth. The Financial Times journalists ignore this chapter in Colombia’s “resurgent growth”. They are especially enthused by the “security” that ensued because large scale foreign investment, over $6 billion dollars, in 2012 flowed into mining and oil regions that were formerly “troubled” by unrest [11].

Leading drug lords, who were closely linked to the Uribe-Santos regime, and were subsequently jailed and extradited to the US, have testified that they financed and elected one-third of the Congress people affiliated with Uribe-Santos party in what Rathbone refers to as Latin America’s “oldest democracy”. According to Salvatore Mancuso, ex-chief of the former 30,000 member United Self-Defense of Colombia paramilitary death squad, he met with then, President Uribe, in different regions of the country and gave him money and logistical support in his re-election campaign of 2006. He also affirmed that many national and multi-national corporations (MNC) financed the growth and expansion of the paramilitary death squads. What Rathbone and his fellow journalists at the FT celebrate as Colombia’s emergence as an investor’s paradise is writ large with the blood and gore of thousands of Colombian peasants, trade unionists and human rights activists. The gory history of the Uribe/Santos reign of terror has been completely omitted from the current account of Colombia’s “success story”. Detailed records of the brutality of the killings and torture by Uribe/Santos sponsored death squads, which describe the use of chain saws to cut limbs from peasants suspected of leftist sympathies, are available to any journalist willing to consult Colombia’s leading human rights organizations [12].

The death squads and military act in concert. The military is trained by over one thousand US Special Forces advisers. They arrive in a village in a wave of US supplied helicopters, secure the region from guerillas and then allow the AUC terrorists to savage the villages, killing, raping and disemboweling men, women and children suspected of being guerilla sympathizers. The terror tactics have driven millions of peasants out of the countryside

Allowing the generals and drug lords to seize their land

Human rights advocates (HRA) are frequently targeted by the military and death squads. President Uribe and Santos first accuse them of being active collaborators of the guerillas for exposing the regime’s crimes against humanity. Once they are labeled, the HRA became “legitimate targets” for armed assaults by the death squads and the military who act with complete impunity. Between 2002-2011, 1,470 acts of violence were perpetrated against HRA, with a record number of 239 in 2011, including 49 assassinations during the Presidency of Santos. [13] Over half of the murdered HRA are Indians and Afro-Colombians.

State terrorism was and continues to be the main instrument of rule under Presidents Uribe and Santos. The Colombian “killing fields” according to the Fiscalia General include tens of thousands of homicides, 1,597 massacres, thousands of forced disappearances between 2005 – 2010 [14].

The practice, revealed in the Colombian press, of “false positives” in which the military kidnaps poor young men, dresses them as guerrillas and then assassinates them, comes across in the respectable US print media as evidence of Santos/Uribe’s military successes against the guerrillas. There are 2,472 documented cases of military false positive murders [15].

Honduras: New York Times and State Terrorism

The New York Times featured an article on Honduras, emphasizing the regime’s “co-operation” with the US drug war.[16] The Times writer Thom Shanker speaks of a “partnership” based on the expansion of three new US military bases and the stationing of US Special Forces in the country.[17]

Shanker describes the successful operation of the Honduras Special Operations forces guided and directed by trainers from the US Special Forces. Shanker mentions a visit by a delegation of Congressional staff members who favorably assessed the local forces respect of human rights, and cites the US ambassador in Honduras as praising the regime as an “eager and capable partners in this joint effort”.[18]

There are insidious parallels between the NY Times white wash of the criminal extremist regime in Honduras and the Financial Times’ crude promotion of Colombia’s death squad democracy.

The current regime headed by “President” Lobos- which invites the Pentagon to expand its military control over swathes of Honduran territory- is a product of a US backed military coup which overthrew an elected liberal President on June 28, 2009, a point Shanker forgets to mention. Lobos, the predator president, retains control by killing, jailing and torturing critics, journalists, human rights defenders and landless rural laborers seeking to reclaim their lands which were violently seized by Lobos’ landlord backers.

Following the military coup, thousands of Honduran pro-democracy demonstrators were killed, beaten and arrested. According to conservative estimates by Human Rights Watch 20 pro-democracy dissidents were murdered by the military and police.[19] Between January 2010 and November 2011 at least 12 journalists critical of the Lobos regime were murdered.

In the countryside, where NY Times reporter Shanker describes a love fest between the US Special Forces and their Honduran counterparts, between January and August 2011,30 farm workers in northern Honduras Bajo Aguan valley were killed by death squads hired by Lobos backed oligarchs .[20] Nary a single military, police and death squad assassin has been judged and jailed. Coup leader Roberto Micheletti and President Lobos, his successor, have repeatedly assaulted pro-democracy demonstrations, especially those led by school teachers, students and trade unionists and have tortured hundreds of jailed political dissidents. Precisely in the same time span as the NY Times publishes its most euphoric article on the friendly relations between the US and Honduras, the death toll among pro-democracy dissidents rose precipitously: eight journalists and a TV commentator have been killed over the first 4 months of 2012. [21] In late March and early April of 2012 nine farmworkers and employees were murdered by pro-Lobos landlords.[22] No arrests, no suspects, impunity reigns in the land of US military bases. The Times follows the Mafia rule of omega-silence and complicity.

Syria: How the FT Absolves Al Qaeda Terrorists

As western backed terrorists savage Syria, the Western press, especially the Financial Times, continues to absolve the terrorists of setting of car bombs killing and maiming hundreds of civilians. With crude cynicism their reporters shrug their shoulders and give credence to the claims of the London based terrorists propaganda mongers, that the Assad regime was engaged in destroying its own cities and security forces. [23]


As the Obama regime and its European backers publically embrace extremism, including state terror, targeted assassinations and the car bombing of crowded cities, the respectable press has followed suit. Extremism takes many forms –from the omission of reports on the use of force and violence in overthrowing adversary regimes to the cover-up of the wholesale murder of tens of thousands of civilians and the dispossession of millions of peasants and farmers. The “educated classes”, the affluent reading public are being indoctrinated by the respectable media to believe that a smiling and pragmatic President Santos and elected President Lobos have succeeded in establishing peace, market based prosperity and securing mutually beneficial free trade and military base concessions with the US—even as the two regimes lead the world in the murder of trade unionists and journalists. Even as I read, on May 15, 2012 that the US Hispanic Congressional caucus has awarded Lobos a leadership in democracy award, the Honduran press reports the murder of the news director of station HMT Alfredo Villatoro, the 25th critical journalist killed between January 27, 2010 and May 15, 2012.[24]

The respectable press’s embrace of extremism, its use of demonological terminology and vitriolic language to describe imperial adversaries is matched by its euphoric and effusive praise of state and pro-western mercenary terrorists. The systematic cover-up practiced by extremist journalism goes far beyond the cases of Colombia and Honduras. The reportage of the Financial Times Michael Peel on the NATO led destruction of Libya, Africa’s most advanced welfare state, and the rise to power of armed gangs of fanatical tribal and Islamic terrorists, is presented as a victory for a democracy over a “brutal dictatorship”[25]. Peel’s mendacity and cant is evident in his outrageous claims that the destruction of the Libyan economy and the mass torture and racial murders which ensued NATOs war, is a victory for the Libyan people.

The totalitarian twist in the respectable press is a direct consequence of its toadying to the extremist policies pursued by the western regimes. Since extremist measures, like the use of force, violence, assassination and torture, have become routinized by the incumbent presidents and prime ministers, the reporters have no choice but to fabricate lies to rationalize these crimes, to spit out a constant flow of highly charged adjectives in order to convert victims into executioners and executioners into victims. Extremism in defense of pro-US regimes has led to the most grotesque accounts imaginable: Colombia and Mexico’s Presidents are the leaders of the most thoroughly narcotized economies in the hemisphere yet they are praised for their war on drugs, while Venezuela the most marginal producer is stigmatized as a major narco pipeline. [26]

Articles with no factual bases, which are worthless as sources of objective information, direct us to seek for an underlying rationale. Colombia has signed a free trade agreement which will benefit US exports over Colombian by over a two to one ratio [27]. Mexico’s free trade policy has benefited US agro-business and giant retailers by a similar ratio.

Extremism in all of its forms permeates Western regimes and finds its justification and rationalization in the respectable media whose job is to indoctrinate civil society and turn citizens into voluntary accomplices to extremism. By endlessly prefacing “reports” on Russia’s Putin as an authoritarian Soviet era tyrant, the respectable media obviate any discussion of his doubling of living standards and the 60% plus electoral triumph. By magnifying an authoritarian past, Gadhafi’s vast public works, social welfare programs and generous immigration and foreign aid programs to sub-Sahara Africa can be relegated to the memory hole. The respectable press’s praise of death squad Presidents Santos and Lobos is part of a large scale long term systematic shift from the hypocritical pretence of pursuing the virtues of a democratic republic to the open embrace of a virulent, murderous empire. The new journalists’ code reads “extremism in defense of empire is no vice”.

[1] There’s a general consensus that the respectable print media include The Financial Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

[2] Financial Times (FT) 5/8/12; See also FT (5/4/12)”Colombia looks to consolidate gains in country of complexities”

[3] FT 5/8/12 (p. 1)

[4] FT ibid

[5] BBC News, May 5, 2012

[6] ibid

[7] Renan Vega Cantor Sindicalicidio! Uncuento poco imaginativo) de Terroismo Laboral Bogotá, Feb. 25, 2012.

[8] ibid.

[9] ibid.

[10] Inforrme CODHES Novembre 2010.

[11] FT 5/8/12 p. 4.

[12] See the Annual Reports of CODHES, Reiniciar and Human Rights Watch

[13] Claroscuro Informe Aual 2011; Programa Somos Defensores Bogota 2012; Corporacion Colectivo de Abogados. Jan. – March 2012.

[14] Fiscalia General. Informe 2012


[16] Thom Shanker “Lessons of Iraq Help US Fight a Drug War in Honduras” New York Times, May 6, 2012.6

[17] ibid

[18] ibid

[19] Human Rights Watch, World Report 2012

[20] Honduran Human Rights, May 12m, 2012.

[21] ibid

[22] ibid

[23] The notorious cover-up of the car bombing is the handiwork of the FT’s star Middle East journalists. See Michael Peel and Abigail Fielding-Smith “At Least 55 Die in two Damascus Explosions: Responsibility for Blasts Disputed”, FT 5/11/12.

[24] Honduras Human Rights, April 24, 2012.

[25] Michael Peel, “The Colonels Last Stand” FT 5/12 – 13/12

[26] One of Colombia’s most notorious paramilitary narco traffickers described the close financial and political ties between the Colombian United Self Defense terrorists and the Uribe-Santos regime. Se La Jornada 5/12/12.

[27] BBC News, 5/15/12. According to the US International Trade Commission estimates the value of US exports to Colombia could rise by $1.1 billion while Colombia’s exports could grow by $487 million.


Fidel Castro’s Reflections: The horrors offered to us by the empire


May 15, 2012

A cable from AP, the principal U.S. news agency, datelined today in Monterrey, Mexico, explains it with irrefutable clarity. It is not the first and doubtless is not the last about a reality which demolishes the mountain of lies with which the United States attempts to justify the inhuman destiny it reserves for the peoples of Our America.

What does the cable relate?

“MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) Forty nine people were found mutilated and scattered in a pool of blood on a highway that connects the industrial city of Monterrey with the U.S. border, in what would seem to be the lastest blow in the presumed fight between Mexico’s dominant drug cartels to outdo each other in bloodshed and expand their territory and smuggling routes.

“The 43 men and six women were dumped at the entrance to the town of San Juan, on a no-toll highway leading to the border city of Reynosa. “100% Zeta” was spray painted on a stone arch welcoming visitors where the bodies were dumped.

“Nuevo León state security spokesman Jorge Domene stated at a press conference that a ‘narcomanta’ (symbolic banner) was found with the decomposing bodies, in which Los Zetas claimed responsibility for the killing.

“The victims could have been killed as long as two days ago, which leads authorities to believe they could have been transported from another location. The dead would be hard to identify because of the lack of heads, hands and feet, which have not been found, said the official.

“State Attorney General Adrian de la Garza said that there had been no reports of mass disappearances in the last few days, so the victims may have been brought from other Mexican states, or were even U.S.-bound migrants from Central America.

“Mexican drug cartels have been escalating their bloody war to control smuggling routes, as well as the national drug market and extortion, and their victims include migrants seeking to reach the United States.

“So far this month, 18 bodies have been found in a tourist area near Guadalajara; 23 corpses were found decapitated or hung from a bridge in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, where violence among cartels has escalated. Bodies have appeared this year in the states of Veracruz, Guerrero, Morelos, Jalisco, Tamaulipas and Nuevo León.

“De la Garza stated that there are no leads to link the new wave of violence with the July presidential election. It has the dynamic of a war between cartels, he said.”

For its part, the BBC Mundo website reports:

“The scenes of decapitated and mutilated bodies in Nuevo León, where 49 bodies were dumped on the highway this Sunday, shook many given the extreme barbarity displayed by the killers. Even in Mexico, which after five years of intense war among cartels, would seem to have seen everything.”

More than a few countries of Our America are affected by these problems.

In our homeland, the problems related here do not exist; could this be why the empire is trying to defeat it through hunger and hostility? Half a century has not sufficed, and I very much doubt that the empire has another half century before, sooner or later, it sinks in its own mire.

Fidel Castro Ruz
May 14, 2012
4:36 p.m.


‘Til 2013 do us part? Mexico City mulls 2-year marriage


October 2, 2011

A wedding in the Church of St Peter & St Paul, Old Bolingbroke, UK, 26 September 2009/Dave Hitchborne

Mexico City lawmakers want to help newlyweds avoid the hassle of divorce by giving them an easy exit strategy: temporary marriage licenses. Leftists in the city’s assembly — who have already riled conservatives by legalizing gay marriage — proposed a reform to the civil code this week that would allow couples to decide on the length of their commitment, opting out of a lifetime.

The minimum marriage contract would be for two years and could be renewed if the couple stays happy. The contracts would include provisions on how children and property would be handled if the couple splits.

“The proposal is, when the two-year period is up, if the relationship is not stable or harmonious, the contract simply ends,” said Leonel Luna, the Mexico City assemblyman who co-authored the bill. “You wouldn’t have to go through the tortuous process of divorce,” said Luna, from the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, which has the most seats in the 66-member chamber.

Luna says the proposed law is gaining support and he expects a vote by the end of this year. Around half of Mexico City marriages end in divorce, usually in the first two years. The bustling capital, one of the world’s largest cities, is much more liberal than the rest of the country, where the divorce rate is significantly lower although on the rise. Abortion is legal in Mexico City, while the Supreme Court ruled this week to uphold state laws in Baja California that say life begins at conception.

Leftist Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who angered the Catholic Church when he made Mexico City the first Latin American city to legalize gay marriage in late 2009, announced this month he would soon step down to run for president.

The church criticized the proposed change. “This reform is absurd. It contradicts the nature of marriage,” said Hugo Valdemar, spokesman for the Mexico City  archdiocese. “It’s another one of these electoral theatrics the assembly tends to do that are irresponsible and immoral.” The Church holds considerable sway in the country with the world’s second largest Catholic population after Brazil.


Video: A Mexican Woman Replies to Katt Williams’ Racist Rant


The Drug War Is the Inevitable Result of Capitalism Gone Mad; Ciudad Juarez Is All of Our Futures


By Ed Vulliamy

June 21, 2011 | War, as I came to report it, was something fought between people with causes, however crazy or honourable: like between the American and British occupiers of Iraq and the insurgents who opposed them. Then I stumbled across Mexico’s drug war – which has claimed nearly 40,000 lives, mostly civilians – and all the rules changed. This is warfare for the 21st century, and another creature altogether.

Mexico’s war is inextricable from everyday life. In Ciudad Juarez, the most murderous city in the world, street markets and malls remain open; Sarah Brightman sang a concert there recently. When I was back there last month, people had reappeared at night to eat dinner and socialise, out of devil-may-care recklessness and exhaustion with years of self-imposed curfew. Before, there had been an eerie quiet at night, now there is an even eerier semblance of normality – punctuated by gunfire.

On the surface, the combatants have the veneer of a cause: control of smuggling routes into the US. But even if this were the full explanation, the cause of drugs places Mexico’s war firmly in our new postideological, postmoral, postpolitical world. The only causes are profits from the chemicals that get America and Europe high.

Interestingly, in a highly politicised society there is no rightwing or Mussolinian “law and order” mass movement against the cartels, or any significant leftwing or union opposition. The grassroots movement against the postpolitical cartel warriors, the National Movement for Peace, is famously led by the poet Javier Sicilia, who organised a week-long peace march after the murder of his son in the spring. This very male war is opposed by women, in the workplaces and barrios, and in the home.

But this is not just a war between narco-cartels. Juarez has imploded into a state of criminal anarchy – the cartels, acting like any corporation, have outsourced violence to gangs affiliated or unaffiliated with them, who compete for tenders with corrupt police officers. The army plays its own mercurial role. “Cartel war” does not explain the story my friend, and Juarez journalist, Sandra Rodriguez told me over dinner last month: about two children who killed their parents “because”, they explained to her, “they could”. The culture of impunity, she said, “goes from boys like that right to the top – the whole city is a criminal enterprise”.

Not by coincidence, Juarez is also a model for the capitalist economy. Recruits for the drug war come from the vast, sprawling maquiladora – bonded assembly plants where, for rock-bottom wages, workers make the goods that fill America’s supermarket shelves or become America’s automobiles, imported duty-free. Now, the corporations can do it cheaper in Asia, casually shedding their Mexican workers, and Juarez has become a teeming recruitment pool for the cartels and killers. It is a city that follows religiously the philosophy of a free market.

“It’s a city based on markets and on trash,” says Julián Cardona, a photographer who has chronicled the implosion. “Killing and drug addiction are activities in the economy, and the economy is based on what happens when you treat people like trash.” Very much, then, a war for the 21st century. Cardona told me how many times he had been asked for his view on the Javier Sicilia peace march: “I replied: ‘How can you march against the market?'”

Mexico’s war does not only belong to the postpolitical, postmoral world. It belongs to the world of belligerent hyper-materialism, in which the only ideology left – which the leaders of “legitimate” politics, business and banking preach by example – is greed. A very brave man called Mario Trevino lives in the city of Reynosa, which is in the grip of the Gulf cartel. He said of the killers and cartels: “They are revolting people who do what they do because they cannot be seen to wear the same label T-shirt as they wore last year, they must wear another brand, and more expensive.” It can’t be that banal, I objected, but he pleaded with me not to underestimate these considerations. The thing that really makes Mexico’s war a different war, and of our time, is that it is about, in the end, nothing.

It certainly belongs to the cacophony of the era of digital communication. The killers post their atrocities on YouTube with relish, commanding a vast viewing public; they are busy across thickets of internet hot-sites and the narco-blogosphere. Journalists find it hard that while even people as crazy as Osama bin Laden will talk to the media – they feel they have a message to get across – the narco-cartels have no interest in talking at all. They control the message, they are democratic the postmodern way.

People often ask: why the savagery of Mexico’s war? It is infamous for such inventive perversions as sewing one victim’s flayed face to a soccer ball or hanging decapitated corpses from bridges by the ankles; and innovative torture, such as dipping people into vats of acid so that their limbs evaporate while doctors keep the victim conscious.

I answer tentatively that I think there is a correlation between the causelessness of Mexico’s war and the savagery. The cruelty is in and of the nihilism, the greed for violence reflects the greed for brands, and becomes a brand in itself.

People also ask: what can be done? There is endless debate over military tactics, US aid to Mexico, the war on drugs, and whether narcotics should be decriminalised. I answer: these are largely of tangential importance; what can the authorities do? Simple: Go After the Money. But they won’t.

Narco-cartels are not pastiches of global corporations, nor are they errant bastards of the global economy – they are pioneers of it. They point, in their business logic and modus operandi, to how the legal economy will arrange itself next. The Mexican cartels epitomised the North American free trade agreement long before it was dreamed up, and they thrive upon it.

Mexico’s carnage is that of the age of effective global government by multinational banks – banks that, according to Antonio Maria Costa, the former head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, have been for years kept afloat by laundering drug and criminal profits. Cartel bosses and street gangbangers cannot go around in trucks full of cash. They have to bank it – and politicians could throttle this river of money, as they have with actions against terrorist funding. But they choose not to, for obvious reasons: the good burgers of capitalism and their political quislings depend on this money, while bleating about the evils of drugs cooked in the ghetto and snorted up the noses of the rich.

So Mexico’s war is how the future will look, because it belongs not in the 19th century with wars of empire, or the 20th with wars of ideology, race and religion – but utterly in a present to which the global economy is committed, and to a zeitgeist of frenzied materialism we adamantly refuse to temper: it is the inevitable war of capitalism gone mad. Twelve years ago Cardona and the writer Charles Bowden curated a book called Juarez: The Laboratory of Our Future. They could not have known how prescient their title was. In a recent book, Murder City, Bowden puts it another way: “Juarez is not a breakdown of the social order. Juarez is the new order.”


“March of the Whores”: Women in Mexico March against Sexual Violence


by Dan La Botz
June 21, 2011

Women in Mexico are marching not only against sexual violence, but also against the excuses for it and the impunity that surrounds it. The “March of the Whores,” as they called it, represents a fresh step in the development of Mexican feminism, taking its cue from an earlier protest held in Canada.

Women, men, and children, about 2,500 in all, marched through Mexico City on Sunday, March 12 in what they called the “March of the Whores,” a protest against violence against women which is so often justified by saying that the woman caused it or the woman asked for it. Or simply saying, “The woman was a whore.”

The march in Mexico was inspired by a similar one in Canada where 3,000 women participated in the first Slutwalk in Toronto on April 3. Canadian women and men were protesting the remark by police officer Michael Sanguinetti that if women wanted to avoid rape they should not dress “like sluts.” He subsequently apologized for the remark.

“Listen, You Fool, I Choose Who I Screw!”

Women in Mexico City marched to the Juárez Monument on Central Park, some of them shouting, “Listen, you fool, I choose who I screw” (“!Escucha, baboso, yo elijo a quien me cojo!”). At the rally speakers demanded that women victims of sexual violence have access to health services which must include emergency contraception and the right to interrupt a pregnancy. They also demanded administrative sanctions and civil and criminal penalties against any public servant who committed institutional gender violence.

As one woman speaker said, “Women are not objects, we are human beings, and we deserve to have our rights respected, above all by the government.” Women in Mexico are frequently accosted by police officers, and several women were sexually abused or raped by police officers in actions against social movements in the last few years. Police officers are seldom investigated, tried, or punished for their actions.

Who’s a “Whore”?

Gabriela Amancaya, an activist in Atrévete DF, said that the point of the demonstrations was to make it clear that “We are fed up with abuse in the streets in general and with the silence that surrounds this issue.”

As Marta Lamas wrote in the Mexican magazine Proceso:

Using the stigmatized word “whore” demonstrates a defiant and liberating attitude. “Whore” isn’t only used to name sex workers; it is used to describe women who don’t behave “decently” (whether that’s because they have sexual relations as they please or simply because they dress in a suggestive way); but also some men use the term as vengeance against a woman who resists their unwanted advances. Some men use the word “whore” as an insult and socially it is used to control women. The fear of being called “whores” predisposes them to put up with bad treatment and with the restriction of their desires. So, the arbitrary and sexist use of “whore” when women’s behavior is not what’s expected of them means that at any moment women can be stigmatized as “whores.”

Enforce the Law

Speaking at the Marcha de las Putas in Mexico City, Yuriria Rodríguez, a member of the Citizens’ National Monitor of Femicide (OCFN), demanded that the federal and state authorities implement Mexico’s Official Norm 046 on Family and Sexual Violence against Women which, she said, though it was published two years ago in the Diario Oficial de la Federación (comparable to the U.S. Federal Register), is “systematically ignored.”

“The norm is the result of a long fight to guarantee legal access to health services when women are the victims of sexual violence, when they become pregnant as a result and require an abortion, cases in which the government should provide immediate urgent attention,” she said.


Maya Peasant Party (Marxist-Leninist) integrates with Communist Party of Mexico (Marxist-Leninist)


May 7, 2011

From Frente Popular Revolucionario blog:

Maya Peasant Party (Marxist-Leninist) Integration in the Political Declaration of the Communist Party of Mexico (Marxist-Leninist)

A. Background

After long days of struggle started from 1999, December 6, 2009, a group of concerned citizens of the state of Quintana Roo, was the need to organize themselves to face a greater chance of success with the onslaught of capital, and founded the Party Maya Campesino (PCM), with the aim of uniting in its ranks the workers and poor peasants of the country in its fight against the financial oligarchy and its allies.

At a press conference on 13 February 2010, the party issued its existence and openly expressed their independence in relation to the bourgeoisie, the political parties of the ruling oligarchy troupes, employers, and in relation to religious hierarchies , expressing also its anti-imperialist and advocacy and practice of proletarian internationalism.

On April 22, 2010, rural indigenous communities, victims of government repression on November 24, 2009, by the requirement of setting 2009 payment of the claim for the loss of their crops, beaten and imprisoned by order of Gov. Felix Arturo González Canto, filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission which was later turned over to the National Human Rights Commission that before the folding position of these organisms to the guidelines of federal and state governments, was sent to the freezer where the complaint remains today.

From May 9 to November 15, 2010, the PCM deployed a mass work with the rural poor and indigenous rural producers Quintana Roo, especially in the municipalities of Felipe Carrillo Puerto (FCP) and José María Morelos (JMM), thus influencing in 58 ejidos and indigenous communities in FCP and 64 ejidos and communities in JMM, after raising the flag of the 2009 farm payment of the claim for total loss of the fields in five municipalities in the state, including Tulum, Lazaro Cardenas and Pompey Othon Blanco , whisked and in breach of this right by the state government and officials from SAGARPA and SEDARI, in complicity with the opportunists and traitors leaders of the bourgeois parties in the state, Villatoro Hernán Barrios (state commissioner of the Labor Party) and Emiliano Hernández Ramos (state president of the Democratic Revolution Party).

On 13, 14 and 28 September 2010, the Party mobilized the peasants of both municipalities in three plants and a march, manage to elicit more than five thousand peasants that culminated in a sit-state in the local congress in the city of Chetumal and a march and rally-complaint in the municipal seat of Felipe Carrillo Puerto at the premises of the SAGARPA and SEDARI in demand for agricultural disaster payment of 2009 to all farmers who lost their crops in the amount of 900 pesos hectare of milpa stricken from 1 to 5 acres, for a total cost of 75 million pesos that the federal government sent to the state government of Quintana Roo for payment, payment was never made and so far is due to Mayan peasants.

On October 12, 2010, the peasant march in FCP with more than five thousand peasants denounced the state government’s complicity with the insurance company to deny payment PROAGRO the loss to agricultural producers in the field of Quintana Roo. Accordingly, the Maya Peasant Party maintains the requirement of payment of that debt, documenting the feasibility of your payment in the Chambers of Senators and Representatives in August and December 2010, and for the governor Roberto Borge Angulo pay this claim in 2009, responsibility inherited from former Gov. Felix Arturo Gonzalez Canto, repressor of the peasants.

On November 24, 2010, the PCM held with representatives of the municipality of FCP ejido, a public complaint and the issuance of a wheel, the first anniversary of government repression of Mayan peasants to demand the payment of the claim setting 2009, where were arrested and detained more than 229 Indians in the premises of the PGR, highlighting the slogans: November 24 is not forgotten! Those responsible for the repression and forgiveness or oblivion! We demand punishment for those responsible!

On December 4, 2010 the statutory mandate PCM held its first congress and decided among other things, joint declarations and added to its acronym the adoption of Marxist-Leninist, denominating thereafter Maya Peasant Party (Marxist-Leninist) , making him known through its central organ newspaper worker, peasant and popular “resistance” movement that reached twenty numbers in almost two years of existence and, through its website,

On January 11, 2011, Party General Secretary informed the Central Committee of the same about the necessity of becoming a true national party and, therefore, imposes the task of contacting and building relationships with the Communist Party Mexico (Marxist-Leninist) to discuss the possibility to join their ranks, readying ourselves to fulfilling the tasks entrusted to us in the future, if they are accepted.

B. Special Plenary Meeting extraordinary Maya Peasant Party (Marxist-Leninist) to join the Communist Party of Mexico (marxista-leninista.

In a historic meeting of Maya Peasant Party (Marxist-Leninist), held on 29 and 30 April 2011, with a special committee of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Mexico (Marxist-Leninist) and unanimous decision active members of the Maya Peasant Party (Marxist-Leninist), convinced of the need to fight for the proletarian revolution in the ranks of the vanguard of the Mexican proletariat in its struggle for socialism and communism, was resolved after twelve hours of continuous in a comprehensive statement of the problem of the workers and poor peasants in southeast Turkey, integrated from the first of May 2011, as militants, the ranks of the Communist Party of Mexico (Marxist-Leninist), under the considerations following:

The necessity to unite the proletariat and poor peasants in southeast Mexico Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) and organize to build the united front.

Pose a policy of recruiting new members to integrate into the ranks of the party seeking the acceptance of our basic documents, especially the need for and the conviction to fight for socialism and communism in this region.

Develop a work among the masses, raising the banner of Marxism-Leninism, asserting the validity and necessity of the councils as a form of organization in different fronts of struggle.

Advance the study of Marxism-Leninism as the theoretical basis of the revolution and realize that this is only possible with the organization of the proletariat as the ruling class and strengthening the Party to achieve socialism and implement the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat in our country and the world , driving the battle cry: “Workers of all countries, unite!

Understand the class struggle to develop the Party’s tasks optimally and achieve the historic objectives gradually raised.


Workers of all countries, unite!

Former members of the Maya Peasant Party (Marxist-Leninist)

Currently members

Communist Party of Mexico (Marxist-Leninist)


Mass grave discovered in Mexico


April 7, 2011

Officers found 72 murdered migrants at another site in San Fernando last August.

At least 59 bodies have been found in a series of pits in the northern Mexico state of Tamaulipas, near the site where suspected drug gang members massacred 72 migrants last summer, authorities said.

The bodies are being examined to determine whether they were bus passengers who were reportedly abducted on March 25, the Tamaulipas state government said in statement on Wednesday in which it “energetically condemned” the crimes.

The pits were found in the farm hamlet of La Joya in the township of San Fernando, in the same area where the bodies of 72 migrants, most from Central America, were found shot to death on August 24 at a ranch.

The victims in the August massacre were illegal immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Ecuador and Brazil.

Authorities blamed the killings on the Zetas drug gang, which is fighting its one-time allies in the Gulf cartel for control of the region.

An Ecuadorean and Honduran survived the attack, which Mexican authorities say occurred after the migrants refused to work for the cartel.

Mexican drug cartels have taken to recruiting migrants, common criminals and youths, Mexican authorities say.
Drug gunmen also operate informal checkpoints on highways in Tamaulipas and other northern states, where they hijack cars and rob and sometimes kill drivers.

Protests against violence

The wave of drug-related killings, which has claimed more than 34,000 lives in the four years since the government launched an offensive against drug cartels, drew thousands of protesters into the streets of Mexico’s capital and several other cities on Wednesday in marches against violence.

Many of the protesters said the government offensive has stirred up the violence.

“We need to end this war, because it is a senseless war that the government started,” said protester Alma Lilia Roura, 60, an art historian.

Several thousand people joined the demonstration in downtown Mexico City, chanting “No More Blood!” and “Not One More!”

A similar number marched through the southern city of Cuernavaca.

Parents marched with toddlers, and protesters held up signs highlighting the disproportionate toll among the nation’s youth. “Today a student, tomorrow a corpse,” read one sign carried by demonstrators.

The marches were spurred in part by the March 28 killing of Juan Francisco Sicilia, the son of Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, and six other people in Cuernavaca.


US Federal Agency Armed Mexican Drug Lords — May Have Led to More Than 1,000 Deaths


By Andrea Nill

March 15, 2011 | Back in December, border patrol Brian Terry was shot and killed by a group of Mexican thieves who were believed to have been preying on undocumented immigrants. The gun which was used to kill him was later traced to an Arizona gun store. Even more appalling, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives purposefully permitted the weapon to “walk” into the hands of drug lords and gun runners. It was all part of an ATF operation entitled Fast and Furious which allowed guns to be trafficked south of the border with the hope that they would lead authorities to high-level cartel operatives.

Special Agent John Dodson — the program’s whistle blower — told Univision’s Jorge Ramos yesterday that he found Fast and Furious morally reprehensible, pointing out that it might have led to the death of over a thousand people:

My motivation is simply because this isn’t what we signed up for, this isn’t what we do as law enforcement officers, as an agency, this is not what we do as ATF. My mission for coming out here was to stop this kind of activity. To prevent as much firearms trafficking as I can and then as I learned that my agency, as I believed, is perhaps contributing to that, at the very least condoning it, allowing it to occur right underneath our noses, if not contributing to it – I disagree with professionally, morally, ethically and I felt that I had an obligation of all these things to try and do something about it. […]

We knew that these weapons were going to end up in crimes; they were going to a known criminal organization; that was the whole theory behind the case. So you have 1,800 guns that you let go, imagine if you only had one bullet for each gun, or you get one death for each gun, that is 1,800 people.

Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is calling on Congress to hold hearings on the ATF’s efforts to stem the flow of weapons to Mexico. Ironically, it’s the NRA lobby that has so weakened the ATF and rendered it leaderless since 2006. The Washington Post recently reported that for “over nearly four decades, the NRA has wielded remarkable influence over Congress, persuading lawmakers to curb ATF’s budget and mission and to call agency officials to account at oversight hearings.”

Yet, according to The Hill, the NRA hopes that “the public discussion [about Fast and Furious] will help kill a request from federal regulators for more authority to track gun purchases in the southern border states.” That request would involve requiring gun dealers to report multiple sales of rifles and shotguns to ATF. According to the NRA, the reporting requirement “would flood the agency with even more reports of legal transactions, while likely driving criminal traffickers further underground.” Yet, experts argue that the proposal could save thousands of lives from drug cartel violence.

In 2010, MSNBC reported that Mexican cartels are taking advantage of lax U.S. gun laws which the NRA has lobbied hard for. At that time, around 80 percent of the 90,000 weapons confiscated by Mexican authorities were purchased in the U.S.


Uniting working class in the Americas


By Cheryl LaBash
Published Nov 10, 2010

From Dec. 3 to 5 in Tijuana, Mexico — just minutes from the San Diego, Calif., airport — a cross-section of workers from Latin America who are confronting the global crisis will meet with U.S. workers grappling with devastating challenges. Building on six previous conferences, the meeting’s aim is to grow the unity of the working class in the Americas and increase its influence — from the tip of Chile to Alaska — by sharing problems but also examining strategies to fight and win.

Of special interest will be a representative from Ecuador, where a U.S.-backed coup was defeated Sept. 30. Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers in the U.S., will appear by video.

Special guest Aili Labañino will represent the families of the Cuban Five — men unjustly jailed for more than 12 years in the U.S. — at the conference opening on the evening of Dec. 3. She is the eldest daughter of Ramón Labañino, currently in the Jessup, Ga., federal prison. Throughout the conference, the first public showing of cartoons drawn by another of the Cuban Five, Gerardo Hernández, will be displayed. Hernández is imprisoned in Victorville, Calif. His double-life plus 15 years sentence is still under appeal.

The U.S. government blockade of Cuba has prevented Cuban union leaders from coming to the U.S. So the Dec. 3-5 weekend is a rare opportunity to discuss the changing world situation with these workers, who have won universal free health care, universal free education and social security for the working class, even under the most difficult conditions of a colonial past, almost half a century of an imperialist blockade with overt and covert aggression, and now a global economic crisis caused by capitalist overproduction.

The Venezuelan delegation from the Workers’ Socialist Center (CST) is bringing Oliver Stone’s new film “South of the Border” for viewing and discussion after the Dec. 4 dinner.

The agenda will include looking at problems and steps forward, and will also focus on the current situation in Mexico. Representatives of the Mexican Electrical Workers (SME) and Mexicana airline workers who were thrown out of their jobs will discuss their organizing. Miners and maquiladora workers are expected, too.

Migration and immigration, compelled by imperialist “free trade” agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement, their effects and responses to them, including May Day 2011, will round out the conference on Dec. 5.

Already autoworkers, steelworkers, health care workers, teachers, trades people and low-wage workers are registering to come from the U.S. To increase time for discussion, simultaneous translation is being organized.

The conference is not underwritten by any large labor organizations or foundations. It depends on attendee registrations and individual donations to cover the considerable costs.

Confirmed participants include Ermela García Santiago, National Secretariat, Cuban Workers Federation (CTC); Magaly Batista Enríquez, International Relations, CTC; Silvia García Tabío, Cuban National Assembly of Peoples’ Power; Gilda Chacón Bravo, Americas’ office, WFTU/FSM; Jacobo Torres de León, Venezuelan Socialist Force of Bolivarian Workers, CST; a representative of Venezuela’s UNETE; Fredy José Franco, Nicaraguan Federation of Teachers of Higher Education; José Humberto Montes de Oca Luna, SME; Oliverio Esquivel Reyes, WFTU/FSM Mexican Coordinator; Professor Jorge Cazares Torres, Mexican National Union of Educators, Sec. VIII; a representative from the Mexico Miners’ Union; João Batista Lemos, Brazil Workers’ Center; Adolfo Cardona, Colombia’s SINALTRAINAL union, USW organizer; Edgar Luis Sarango Correa, Vice-President, Ecuadoran Workers’ Center; and speakers from the U.S. Invited but not yet confirmed are representatives from Haiti and Puerto Rico.

To register or donate, go to To make a special inclusive-rate hotel registration, call the Hotel Palacio Azteca toll-free from the U.S. at 1-888-901-3720 and ask for “Cuba Labor Conference.” Hotel includes breakfasts and Saturday dinner. Registration is $80 U.S., including dinner on Friday.