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Tuesday, October 03, 2006 

The Lead Up to the Oaxaca Crisis

[Update: The same post can be found here at my new blog.]

One of the best thing about small town newspapers, sometimes you get better reports than you major mainstream media. One of the best and clear explanations of the issues in Oaxaca happens to come from Border Hotline - an online news magazine for Texas' Big Bend Area and northern Mexico. The only downside it is an online subscription based newspaper.

Instead of posting Rebeca Barroso's article in Border Hotline in full because they aren't publishing under a creative commons license, I will only do some of the article under Fair Use. (If you want to pay for a subscription to Border Hotline, you can read it here.)

Mexico continues to suffer violent public demonstrations from perceived ‘fraudulent’ elections - The problem in Oaxaca
Rebeca Barroso 02.OCT.06

The conflict has roots in what was allegedly a fraudulent election, when Ulises Ruiz, the candidate for the PRI party, was named victorious over Gabino Cué, the candidate for the Coalición Todos Somos Oaxaca party.

Apparently, the previous governor José Murat, was set on having Ulises Ruiz, his personal friend, succeed him to the office of governor of Oaxaca. Murat, being a personal friend of the president of the PRI and presidential candidate Roberto Madrazo, was able to afford all the necessary support to give Ulises Ruiz a win in Oaxaca. Ruiz was sworn to office amid public protests.


In short, Oaxaca is experiencing nonconformities via three different groups of people: all those trampled by the fraud at the election process; the heads of the social organizations in charge of keeping the peace who used to live off the public monies now denied to them; and the teachers who are requesting an increase in their salaries.

In June, the teachers in section 22 from the National Syndicate of Education Workers and led by Enrique Rueda Pacheco demanded a salary increase and camped out in tents as a protest in the center of Oaxaca City. Hundreds of police attempted to clear them out with tear gas and rubber bullets, while the teachers fought back with sticks and stones, forcing the police to retreat. Protests sparked statewide and nationwide at the prompt use of force and apparent complete disregard for dialogue.

A negotiation commission was formed, but it failed and disintegrated at the lack of accords. Shortly afterwards, the teachers’ movement was radicalized and they added the governor’s resignation to their list of demands.

The government implemented censorship on the local newspaper Noticias de Oaxaca and its offices were raided by members of the Revolutionary Confederation of Workers and Farmers (CROC for its acronym in Spanish), an organization with ties to the government.


The APPO not only took over government buildings, but has left the public schools with no classes for a long time, has closed roads and highways, taken tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants and other establishments in Oaxaca City, but they also threatened to march into Mexico City in protest, promising to camp outside the Senate and several embassies, and advising they will bring children to discourage police action against them.

The government of Mexico City said they will respect all peaceful demonstrations, but urged the federal government and the state of Oaxaca’s government to resolve the conflict that has already spread to the nation’s capital, along with all the undesirable consequences it brings. There is a palpable fear that public forces will be used to impose order, which could be dangerous. The use of force was precisely the issue that exacerbated the initial problem to begin with, which started out as a salary rise request, should have been solved in less than 30 days of negotiations.


The government of Oaxaca officially requested the use of federal public force to restore order. According to people close to Mexican President Vicente Fox, he will do everything possible to resolve the crisis in Oaxaca via dialogue, negotiation and political accords. However, if in a reasonable amount of time there is no other option, he will consider the possibility of implementing force. What Fox wants is for Calderón to start his presidency with a clean slate and to leave him without problems. If there are any political costs involved in imposing the peace, Fox wants to bear the brunt of those, not pass them on to Calderón.

Fox insists the government will not depose Ulises Ruiz, regardless of the fact that he’s responsible for the crisis in Oaxaca, because he would be assisting a coup. To deliver the head of Ulises Ruiz would be to recognize that Mexican democracy is going in reverse.


In the meantime, the PRI is analyzing how to negotiate a resignation from Ulises Ruiz. If he should renounce, the office of governor of Oaxaca could go to Gabino Cué, the senator who lost to Ulises Ruiz in the elections.
If you want to read the entire article in its entirety, you can find it over at fellow blogger and friend, The Unapologetic Mexican. A special hat tip to mine and Nezua's "Deep Throat" for the heads up.


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  • From Tejas, United States
  • Un Xicano who is tired of the current status quo.
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