Reforma now reports that presidential spokesman Rubén Aguilar said this afternoon that President Fox would not be meeting with APPo leadership as had been announced by the office of the Secretary of the Interior. Aguilar said that Carlos Abascal, Secretary of the Interior, was put in charge of all negotiations and was "available night and day for talks."This is so astounding that I will give you the link to the story in Reforma. It's in Spanish but it is important that you don't think I just made this up.
The Undersecretary of Interior, Arturo Chávez Chávez (remember him?), announced this morning that the president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, will sit down and negotiate with the leadership of APPO. The celebratory rocketfire has been steady from Juarez University for the last two hours.
It is difficult to imagine that a sitting president would sit down with wanted criminals. The APPO leadership, from Flavio Sosa on down, has some 60 federal arrest warrants outstanding against its individual members. These arrest warrants include various charges of murder, rape, kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary, riot, incitement to riot, destruction of government, private and church property, arson, assault and interference with and wanton destruction of federal transportation and communication systems. The number of state and municipal-issued arrest warrants must be staggering.
And yet the chief executive will sit down across a table from them and chit chat. I'm scratching my head trying to think of a similar situation that might have occurred in US history. This would be like President Clinton meeting personally with David Koresh in Waco, after the fire. Or President Truman meeting with the Puerto Rican terrorists after they shot up the House of Representatives. Or maybe President James Buchanan sitting down to negotiate with John Brown after he hacked a guy to death with his sword and after he murdered 4 (including a freed slave baggage handler at the train station) and took 60 townspeople hostage at Harpers Ferry. Or maybe President George Washington sitting down to negotiate a settlement with armed rebels who didn't like Alexander Hamilton's federal whiskey tax after the rebels had robbed the mail, stopped court proceedings, threatened an assault on Pittsburgh and, disguised as women, assaulted a tax collector, shaved his head, coated him with tar and feathers, and stole his horse.
None of our presidents did that. They sent in heavily armed federal forces with instructions to end it and end it quickly. But not Vicente Fox.
I hate to be so hard on the guy. He truly has tried to do his best. He did, after all, knock the corrupt PRI from its presidential pedestal after 71 consecutive years in power. But a balky congress, where the bitter enemies PRI and PRD, engaged in a decades old blood feud, suddenly became best of buddies to vote down most of Fox's proposals, has allowed Fox few successes. He has just lived through the most miserable six years of his life and is now only a month away from walking away from it all. Still, this seems tantamount to a complete surrender.
And just wait until I give you the details of the settlement between the Secretary of the Interior (who, at last report, works at Fox's pleasure) and the striking teachers union. You'll have a heart attack.
I saw an article in another Mexican newspaper on Sunday where the author said that Fox has the authority to declare martial law in Oaxaca. They call it "suspension de derechos" here. He said that APPO was "playing with fire". No, APPO is playing with Fox.
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TAGS: Oaxaca, Mexico, Oaxaca teachers strike, Vicente Fox, APPO, surrender