Ex-governor José Murat Casab, the run-of-the-mill corrupt PRI ex-governor of Oaxaca, sent a letter to Vicente Fox in September of 2000 crying crocodile tears that his state was at the point of exploding into violence:
The dramatic indices of poverty and marginalization are reducing the social peace and increasing the risk of social upheaval.Governor Murat failed to include this crucial phrase in his plaintive bleat for more federal cash:
. . . because we're stealing every peso we can stuff into our pockets down here.Murat, now infamous for orchestrating both a comically transparent "assassination" attempt as well as for helping to bankroll the launch of APPO, wanted more federal resources sent to Oaxaca because he had a lot of hungry mouths to feed among family, friends and business associates (Who owns most of Plaza del Valle?).
Then, on December 1, 2000, just hours before Fox put on the presidential sash, the guerrilla group FARP (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias del Pueblo) "welcomed" Fox when 20 masked and heavily armed men appeared in El Nazareno Etla, Oaxaca, to announce their rejection of "neo-liberalism and the Fox plan". Hours later, 6000 teachers -- ah, those pesky teachers with their feshly bought-and-paid-for university degrees and licenses -- marched to complain about 25 years of Oaxaca's steadily falling behind the northern states.
As was his habit, Fox did little. While federal money sent to Oaxaca has increased by 100% in the past 6 years (90% of the state's budget is supported by the federal government), so much has been siphoned off through blatant corruption and rank incompetancy that the state is still second from the bottom in almost every economic and social indicator that you might name. Only Chiapas keeps Oaxaca from resting on flat bottom. Kind of like the state of Arkansas being thankful that there is a state of Mississippi.
While current PRI governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz and past PRI governors, like José Murat Casab before him and Diódoro Carrasco Altamirano before him and, well, the entire list of PRI governors and most of the state's governors prior to the PRI (you'll have to go back 75 years) have been busy raking off millions (per administration -- the grand total must be a staggeringly high number), the poor folk of Oaxaca just kept on electing them to office. And now everyone wonders why the city and state blew up in their faces.
This might be one reason why, you think?:
None of these guys have been arrsted. Former State Attorney General Patricia Villanueva, working for ex-governor Murat, said she just didn't have enough evidence to arrest anybody. In fact, Jacinto Pineda reportedly now works for her in some capacity or another, her club-bearer I suppose. And I can certainly understand why she lacked evidence. Pineda didn't turn toward the camera, hold up a neatly lettered sign with his name, address and his lawyer's telephone number on it.
Murat Casab did nothing. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, however, was not going to stand for this kind of monkey business during his administration. He sent out police officers to round up all of the deceased Professor Serafin Garcia's friends and fellow political activists and arrested them, ultimately charging 3 of them with the murder. I think he claimed that Jacinto Pineda and the other club wielding Neandertal pictured had just discovered the poor, injured fellow who had fallen in the shower and were bringing him sticks to use as crutches so as to make his way to the hospital for treatment.
Why Fox nor any other federal official didn't have the guts to come down here and start cleaning up this mess is beyond me. Gabino Cue, who lost the last election to Governor Ruiz Ortiz and now wants to get his as soon as possible, says that Fox confused federalism with autocratic state governments. Fox was so afraid of appearing as autocratic himself that he allowed governors like Murat Casab and Ruiz Ortiz to run amok.
But the real bottom line here is that the folks who go to the polls in Oaxaca and have been traipsing to the polls in Oaxaca, as well as in almost every other state in Mexico, continue to sell their votes for a sack of food and electing these criminals year after year, decade after decade. While it might be fair to say that the PRI would have stolen these past elections even if they had, in fact, ever truly lost one, those days are over.
I don't believe that Ulises Ruiz Ortiz stole the last election from Gabino Cue. There were too many eyes watching. The folks in Oaxaca elected Ruiz Ortiz fair and square -- for the required sack of goodies, of course -- and they got just what they deserved. A bought-and-paid-for governor just like the last one and all the ones before that.
And they manifest their unhappiness by taking to the streets, burning buses and other private property, beating up reporters and, occasionally, using ice picks on their opponents.
for art, gifts and collectibles -- all hand made
by Mexican indigenous artists.
TAGS: Oaxaca, Mexico, PRI, Vicente Fox, Serafin Garcia