Is Mexico to be the next Flashpoint, preceeding Iran? You would never guess it reading the news or by watching Keith Oberman.
Ominous signs that civil unrest is about to permeate the entire nation are occurring. The Tribunal that decides on the legality of the July 2nd election between Obrador and Calderon for president is about to deliver a judgement. The judgement may declare a winner, annul the election or call for a complete recount. A complete recount is what Obrador is demanding. If it is not delivered he has promised to engage in "peaceful" civil disobedience.In the state of Oaxaca ( South of Mexico City) there are abductions, people are being disappeared. There is a work stoppage this week, with 80,000 people participating state wide. Access to banks and ATM's is being blocked. 8 radio stations have been taken over by protestors in Oaxaca, the police are expected to make an attempt to remove them. The city center of Zocalo in Mexico City is being occupied by thousands of protestors who are demanding a full recount of the recent Mexican presidential election.
Throughout the past week gunmen of have opened fire on members of the People’s Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO for its initials in Spanish) killing four and wounding at least 10.
Organizations and citizens across Oaxaca formed the APPO shortly after the governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz’s (Institutional Revolutionary Party) failed June 14 raid on a teachers’ encampment in downtown Oaxaca City. The teachers had been camping out, on strike, since May 22. The APPO united the teachers’ union and a broad swath of political and social organizations to demand the immediate renunciation or destitution of Ulises Ruiz. The APPO led massive marches with up to half a million people in attendance before deciding to step up their civil disobedience tactics on July 26 by shutting down all branches of the state government, setting up encampments around government office buildings. On August 1, some 3000 women led a women’s only march through town that led to the unarmed take over of the state television and radio corporation, CORTV. APPO’s explicit strategy is to generate “ungovernability” (ingobernabilidad) to force Ulises Ruiz’s exit from office.
These tactics of civil disobedience are the same tactics employed by Obrador in Mexico City. Mexico, especially Southern Mexico appears ripe for Revolutionary activity.
There is something going on in Mexico. Millions of people are taking to the streets in Mexico City under the leadership of Obrador. In the South, Mexicans are protesting in Oaxaca. Further South in Chiapas (which borders Guatemala and whose Indian population in Guatemala is the same historically) sits Subcommandante Marcos who is a cultural hero to the Indian community and many Mexicans and who led an attack on San Cristobal De Las Casas in 1994, briefly taking over the city until he returned to the jungle where he has since been surrounded by Mexican troops.This week of August 20th he has been warned that he is not protected by any agreement and he may in fact be attacked by the army. In Guerrero, there has long been an unspoken guerilla movement.
Though it may not be critical to what’s happening in Mexico right now, the U.S. policy on immigration and it’s attitude toward immigrants will be a contributing factor to what may be the next Mexican Revolution.
It seems Obrador will not stop unless he is given the presidency. He appears to be determined to either become president or lead a revolution in Mexico. For weeks he and his followers have been camped out in the Zocalo in Mexico City. They are blocking three main roads into the city. They vow to stay there until a full recount of the election is made. Obrador is also threatening to block other areas of commerce including the airport. Obrador has said that if the tribunal endorses the fraudulent election he will have no choice but to bring down the fraudulent government that simply promotes it's own fraudulent activities. This is clearly a call to revolution. Obrador say he will stop Mexico from functioning through peaceful resistence.
Fox has threatened to call in the army to remove the protestors. A battle seems to be developing. Obrador, has the support of Castro, and most importantly Chavez. Hugo Chavez may be helping to fund him and certainly would should he be called upon.
If Fox calls in the armed forces there will be violence. It appears likely he will have to call the army in if the tribunal does not overturn its decision and grant another full recount. If Fox brings in the army and there is violence, Obrador will probably be arrested, and the working class anger toward the government will boil over and there will be civil unrest.
There is next to nothing on American television about what appears to be a very volatile situation in Southern and Central Mexico.
The APPO’s explicit aim has been to generate “ungovernability.” They have succeeded. In over a month in Oaxaca, I have not seen one uniformed police officer. The idea that the state maintains its monopoly of the legitimate use of violence has been obliterated. But the APPO has refrained from resorting to violence itself in this total power vacuum. Their tactics are extreme—shutting off access to all government buildings; commandeering government vehicles; occupying the town square; taking over the state television station—but never violent. The state, in turn, responds with outright violence such as the failed June 14 police raid, or covert violence such as the arbitrary detentions, beatings, shootings, sabotage attempts and assassinations of the past week.
Army intelligence officers videotape over land travelers to and from Oaxaca. Spies follow journalists throughout the day. Plainclothes cops with machine guns pick APPO leaders off the street. No one knows where the governor is, not even his press secretary. Gunmen fire into crowds.
On Friday, Flavio Sosa, one of the APPO spokespeople, publicly called for a meeting with Carlos Abascal, the Minister of the Interior, to discuss possible solutions to the conflict in Oaxaca. “Ulises Ruiz is leading us into a situation practically of civil war, and our movement is non-violent,” he said in a press conference in the occupied town square. “Our movement is non-violent. In fact, it is a movement against violence, against a system of violence that excludes us, against the violence of police brutality.”
Obrador will attempt to shut Mexico down if Calderon is certified as president by the tribunal without a full recount. What role will America play? What role is America playing at this time? Is the U.S. preparing to send first technical advisors, then military hardware, then the United States Navy, then the airforce and finally ground troops into Mexico to protect American "citizens" and American "interests"? That's the American pattern of response in Latin America. It has only been subdued recently because of American preoccupation in the Mid East. But Mexico is too close to home to be ignored.
Perhaps these "contingency" plans are already in effect.
Just today a Mexican government spokesman had to downplay the idea of civil unrest should the tribunal support Calderon.
MEXICO CITY, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- A Mexican government spokesman dismissed suggestions on Thursday that a social explosion would follow the Electoral Tribunal's ruling on the country's contested July 2 election, due within a week.
This is highly unlikely to happen even if the Tribunal nominates Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, of the ruling National Action Party, president-elect, Presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar Valenzuela said.
But Obrador seems to see things differenlty. Here is what he said in Spanish followed by my translation:
AMLO: Si se convalida el fraude, nuestro deber ciudadano será terminar con este sistema político basado en la farsa democrática y en instituciones que sólo sirven para legalizar el abuso de poder''
"If they validate the fraude. It is out duty as citizens to end this poltical system based in a false democracy, (a farce) and in the institiutions that serve only to legalize the abuse of power."
Obrador's comment above is a clear call to revolution. How else can it be interpreted?
The tribunal must decide by September 6th. September 15th is like the American July 4th in Mexico. And November 20th is the day of Revolution when the long standing dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz was overthrown. Watch these dates as they may be dates around which Obrador will begin major acts of civil disobedience in an attempt to shut down the nation.
Obrador is as far left as Hugo Chavez. He is a populist and is not acceptable to the United States. He cannot be permitted to become President of Mexico. American business and American political interests are opposed to the programs he is in favor of instituting. With Chavez as an anchor in South America and Obrador an Anchor for Mexico, the Carribean and Central America, the United States will feel threatened. Unnecessarily threatened but that unfortunately becomes irrelevant. America is a nation that see enemies everywhere. And if a nation is not an enemy but is percieved as one it will be attacked until it becomes an enemy and is either defeated or defeats the U.S. through guerilla war.
Salvador Allende was not permitted to continue as president of Chile in the 1970's. Perhaps the same fate will occur should Obrador be skillful enough to work his way into the Presidential office. Or pehaps the same fate awaits him should he engage in civil disobedience and become the leader of a "peaceful "revolutionary movement.