Friday, October 27, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: Governor tired of all this and it really, really, really must end, this time, for sure.

Oaxaca's Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, now brimming with confidence after the teachers' union voted to abandon the APPO insurgency, declares that he's had enough of the situation in Oaxaca and he really, really, really means it . . . this time.

In an interview with El Universal TV, Ruiz Ortiz said that "the way of negotiation and dialogue has been exhausted" and "the situation must be resolved by the end of this week." Uh, OK. And how does the governor propose to resolve the situation?

Well, he's got a grand plan which even he admits must be implemented by the federal government and not by his state government. The plan includes the use of federal police -- who would be disarmed so as "not to repress the legitimate teachers' movement" -- to come in and maintain order. The plan also includes "50 to 100 representatives of the National Human Rights Comission, or as many as are necessary", "80 to 100 members of the local, national and international press", "notaries" (for official records of the proceedings) as well as representatives of the local (state) Human Rights Commission.

Disarmed police? I'll bet the federal officers are lining up right now to volunteer for this duty. The officers are no doubt fighting to be first in line to come down here, be overwhelmed by a group of club-brandishing Neanderthals, dragged 30 blocks through the city and then tied to a tree in the Zócalo.

In return, he says, the blockades nust be lifted and businesses allowed to reopen. If not, I guess he'll hold his breath until he turns blue, or something. The governor was asked if he was prepared to "put to one side the ongoing negotiations". He replied that "95% of the demands by the insurgents and counter-offers by the Secretary of the Interior were made against and by my state government." "I repeat," he repeated, "95% of the proposals and counter proposals had to be made by my government. And I don't share the belief that a minority group with shouting, hat-waving, and through coersion pretends to overthrow any authority (meaning he, his own self)"

He addressed the "principal actors" in this little drama, "We are interested in resolving it because in no way am I satisfied with a city under seige, economic losses and a frightened citizenry."

Then came this unfortunate exchange. When asked about the charges by some insurgents that the government was using paramilitary forces to intimidate them, the governor replied that his government didn't need paramilitary hit squads because "My government has the police." Hmmm. That could be construed a couple of different ways. He could have been saying, "My government doesn't need paramilitary groups to maintain law and order because the police will do that." Or, he could have been saying, "My government doesn't need paramilitary forces to drive around blowing people away because my police will do that."

I report, you decide.

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