Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gateway to the Next Mexican Revolution

Gateway to the Next Mexican Revolution? A Year of Unprecedented Turmoil. By JOHN ROSS

After a tumultuous year in which the red and black flags of civil insurrection unfurled on the barricades and the rancor of "los de abajo" ("those from below") took fire, newly sworn-in president Felipe Calderon and his transnational backers are banking on fading the color scheme to a ubiquitous gray in 2007. Their success will be measured by the fight back of a popular resistance that has surged from the bottom in many parts of the country during 2006. "Unprecedented" became a cliché in Mexico 2006 as social and political turbulence crested in anticipation of the presidential elections. By spring, striking steelworkers were being gunned down and militarized police under the command of Calderon's new attorney general brutalized angry farmers in San Salvador Atenco in one of the most egregious violations of human rights ever witnessed on Mexican screens. The teachers rose in Oaxaca.

The stealing of the election from leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) in July drove millions into the streets in the largest political demonstrations ever recorded on this side of the border. Tens of thousands of protestors encamped in the capital blockading major thoroughfares for seven weeks. Meanwhile, the upsurge in Oaxaca boiled over into urban warfare with death squads in the employ of tyrannical governor Ulisis Ruiz trolling the state capitol with a license to kill. Massive police repression in Oaxaca five days before Calderon's coronation produced hundreds of political prisoners. The first bombings by radical groups in six years sent shivers through Mexico City. The drama culminated in the pandemonium of Calderon's surreal investiture during which the military had to be called out to protect the congress of the country while Lopez Obrador's supporters scuffled with rightwing legislators on the floor of the Chamber of Deputies. 2007 will have a hard time topping its predecessor.

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