Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: Let's get ready to rumble!

Yesterday, a contingent of 500 people, including some 300 mayors from around the state, staged a rally in front of the state senate to demand "public force" be used to reestablish "the rule of law" in Oaxaca state. The mayors issued a statement saying that "the current situation cannot be allowed to continue." As one drives around the city -- no simple task these days -- one can begin to see posters and painted graffiti demanding, "Fox resolver la situación, ya", meaning, "President Fox, come and fix this, already".

The APPO's top leadership has fled the city and is hiding out in Mexico City, no doubt being hosted and fed by AMLO and his supporters. The APPO thugs who control the streets here have now erected what is claimed to be 2000 street blockades. That seems like a very big number to me -- too big. Many of the street blockades, most of which are only assembled and manned during the night between the hours of 9 PM and 7 AM, have been erected by neighborhood citizens to stop the flow of traffic through their local streets. Traffic flows through these streets because of APPO's blockades of some of the main city streets. The neighborhoods have learned the hard way that the increased traffic brings in the muggers, burglars and assorted street trash and other riff-raff that the police cannot control.

APPO thugs have been reinforcing their permanent (24/7) blockades with concrete blocks, boulders, 55 gallon drums and barbed wire in anticipation of an effort to dislodge them from the city. The daily Reforma had a photo yesterday of 3 guys filling up about a hundred bottles with gasoline to use against the expected assault by the police. No wonder the price of gas in the US is so high. It's all being used for Molotov cocktails in Oaxaca.

The failed attempt by the police to recover control of the city's center back on June 14 was carried out by Municipal Police forces. Any new attempt will be carried out by the Policia Ministerial. These guys used to be called the Policia Judicial. President Fox, in an effort some years ago to clean up the country's notoriously corrupt Judicial police forces, changed their name. Voilá! All squeaky clean, now.

In any event, the APPO thugs will find that facing the Ministeriales will be a bit different than facing the Municipales. It was the Ministeriales who had to enter the zócalo in June to rescue and pull out the besieged municipal police when they were counter-attacked by the protesters. That loss of the control of the downtown and loss of face by the government is what has led to the anarchy we experience today.

The Ministeriales will, if pushed, use real bullets. Witness their actions this past Sunday when APPO's thugs attacked the Camino Real Hotel looking for the governor. When the Ministeriales rescued 3 congressmen through a side door, they were detected by the APPO thugs. Shots were fired -- score: 3-1 in favor of the Ministeriales, bullet wound-wise.

Tomorrow and Friday will see a state-wide work stoppage. Even CANACINTRA (state Chamber of Commerce, more or less) has agreed to go along with the work stoppage to avoid risks to workers, merchants and businesspersons. CANACINTRA executives, in announcing their decision, also demanded that President Fox send in the Federal Preventive Police to "reestablish rule of law" in Oaxaca.

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