No surprise, on Sept. 21, 2011, the conservative led COFEM and the Mexican federations of Los Angeles, along with the Mexican Consulate, hosted President Felipe Calderon. The event coordinated by Mexico’s Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores/Secretary of Foreign Relations was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center and featured a preview of “Mexico: A Royal Tour with President Felipe Calderon.”
Despite all the resources and money spent, Spanish language newspaper La Opinion, sarcastically reported that only a 1000 “acarreados” (close) people attended, and that the front seats were reserved for the big media networks.
It should be noted that Calderon was installed as president by the might of the country’s armed forces, following the second largest massive electoral fraud in Mexico’s history. He’s a lame duck on his way out, and so is the two-term stint of power of the right wing PAN in the country. Additionally and contrary to the president’s claim, the country’s poverty rate is over 50%. The roots are based in the economic model that is an extension of the capitalist globalization model implemented by the Carlos Salinas government and continued by Ernesto Zedillo and the folkloric Vicente Fox. By its nature, in the face of the obscene poverty it breeds the constitutionally protected accumulation of wealth by the ruling class, and is impudently unrestricted.
Fueling Calderon’s visit is his out of control insecurity brought on by his spectacularly failed war on the “narco class.” What his film tour did not show is the reality— denied only by his administration and followers of the president of change, Barack Obama — that narcos (drug dealers) and their armies control large swaths of Mexican territory as well as an unknown number of elected and administrative seats in all levels of government. More than 300,000 people are now employed by the same narcos who are doling out billions in salaries to corrupt politicians, police and armed forces on both sides of the US/Mexico border.
If you think the problem is Mexico’s alone, you are wrong. The Mexican cartels are now global. Not only is El Chapo Guzman ranked as the world’s 721st billionaire, he and his organization are politically protected by both the US and Mexican governments.
The escalated war on drugs has also so far resulted in more than 40,000 deaths and thousands more disappeared and injured. And as in other conflicts of aggression, the war across the border has resulted in another painful reality; millions of Mexicans live every day in terror.
As expected, Calderon’s visit did not make mention of the 40 naked, tortured and decapitated bodies left on a street in Boca del Rio in the beautiful state of Veracruz for the world to see. Nor did it tell the story of dozens of public school teachers assassinated across the country in the state of Guerrero, where the teachers’ union had declared a general strike at over two hundred schools, and is growing. And there are the 52 people incinerated in a casino in industrial rich Monterey, Nuevo Leon. What is not generally known is that those brutal killings are part of the growing war between mafia organizations fighting for control of the approximately 197 casinos, many of them illegal and born under Calderon’s right wing presidency.
Just days ago, 10 of the new federal police appointed to stem the violence in Juarez, just south of the US border, were caught red handed threatening and extorting the citizens they were suppose to be protecting. In another part of the country, according to Mundo Narco.Com, armed forces have been accused of disappearing and killing 16 people not believed to be criminals.
In the border city of Laredo, Tamaulipas, another website published that a few days ago, Marisol Macias Castaneda, the 39-year-old newsroom manager for the Nuevo Laredo newspaper Primera Hora, was assassinated and her body left on a public street for the world to see. It was reported that she was murdered for publishing information on a website that prominently features tip hotlines for the Mexican army, navy and police, and includes a section for reporting the location of drug gang lookouts and drug sales points — possibly the information that angered the cartel. The message found next to her body on the side of a main thoroughfare referred to the nickname the victim purportedly used on the site, “La Nena de Laredo,” or “Laredo Girl.” Her head was found placed on a large stone piling nearby with this ominous message:
“Nuevo Laredo en Vivo and social networking sites, I’m The Laredo Girl, and I’m here because of my reports, and yours. For those who don’t want to believe, this happened to me because of my actions, for believing in the army and the navy. Thank you for your attention, respectfully, Laredo Girl…ZZZZ.”
The letter “Z” refers to the hyper-violent Zetas drug cartel, which is believed to dominate the city across the border from Laredo, Texas.
Two other journalists were recently found in the same city hanging from a bridge, for the same reason. If not mistaken, the Aztec nation has become the world’s number one pantheon for dead journalists.
The list is endless, but the reality is Mexico’s current president has no feeling whatsoever for the pain that his people are living.
In a bizarre display, as Calderon entered the hall at last week’s staged event, members of the federation called out to the president, “Que no te tiemble la mano….acabalos/Don’t let your hand tremble….finish them off.” The calls urging him to continue down the same destructive path demonstrated the total lack of understanding his supporters have regarding the reality of what Calderon’s war on drug strategy has wrought.
Following the event, COFEM’s leadership only expressed “sadness over the fact that their president did not say anything on immigration reform in the US,” as if it is the only issue of importance to Mexicans. This was really pathetic but not surprising.
From the first moment COFEM was formed in early 2006, they leaned conservatively to the right. They saw the uprising of that year’s “Immigrant Spring” here in the US as an opportunity, and they joined the coalition. They were totally green politically, yet they attempted to capture media attention by erroneously numbering their membership at 120,000 paisanos, and as one of the prime organizers of the record breaking street demonstration of March 25, 2006. On that day they numbered no more than ten altogether.
Their antics were comical to say the least. But more importantly they revealed the group’s lack of principles and character. They, along with several other groups jumped ship and split the movement by calling on people to oppose a subsequent economic boycott and protest, in favor of a separate march on the same day.
Months later in July, COFEM President Francisco Moreno was seen in Tijuana showing a ballot stub and screaming before the media, “I voted for Felipe Calderon.” And since President Obama took office in January 2009, the COFEM executive leadership, apparently following the lead of this country’s right wing, has also been relentless in criticizing Obama at every turn and stating they will not vote for him in 2012.
While there is no doubt that comprehensive immigration reform is a critical issue, it should not be used as an excuse to ignore or avoid the horrible violence going on in Mexico.
But apparently, their support of Calderon’s failed policies continues.
The question we wish to leave you with is this: “When Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (an opponent and strong critic of Calderon’s policies) was in Los Angeles recently to inaugurate the MORENA grass roots committees and spoke before more than 1,000 followers at LA City Hall, where was the real opposition to Calderon? Dormidos and out to lunch?”
Javier Rodriguez is a journalist and a media and political strategist: firstname.lastname@example.org. Isabel Rodriguez is a Workers Compensation attorney and a long time activist; email@example.com. Antonio Rodriguez is a civil rights and anti police brutality attorney; Antoniohr@rodriguezlaw.com.