Política Del Guerrilla De México

Wednesday, September 12, 2007
As I mentioned recently, I'm set on learning a bit more about Mexico seeing as how we're tied together through NAFTA and, more recently, the SPP. And, as I also pointed out, Mexico has been in the news a lot more recently. I was up early this morning because the cats decided to try and kill each other at 3AM. With nothing else to do I got up and started surfing the inter-webby. A news story out of Mexico caught my eye over the past few days but hasn't been getting a lot of press which is likely due to the massive amount of coverage General Patreus's testimony is getting at the moment.

The story I'm referring to, in case you missed it, was an attack on Mexico's oil and gas pipelines. According to a report from the Houston Chronicle, a "small guerrilla group" is claiming responsibility for the attacks. At first, I thought this was the same incident that killed up to 30 people when a truck full of dynamite exploded but it sounds now that they're seperate and unrelated (according to the CNN report on the truck explosion, no foul play is suspected). I find it interesting that I can't find a report on CNN about the pipeline explosion but I did on MSNBC and many others.

The attack consisted of six explosions along various oil and gas pipelines controlled by the state-run PEMEX (Petroleous Mexicanos). Thankfully no one was hurt but it did result in the evacuation of thousands of people and caused many large international companies to “suspend or scale back operations”. Claiming responsibility for the attacks was, according to MSNBC, “a shadowy leftist group” – the Ejercito Popular Revolucionario (EPR – Popular Revolutionary Army).

I admit that "guerrilla" groups are something that I've associated with various Latin American countries throughout most of my life but for a good portion of the 70s and 80s, when I was growing up, that was the only type of news we were presented with from Central and Southern America. Now, we don't hear a lot about anything these days. To be honest, with the exception of Hugo Chavez's comparison of Bush and Satan, the ongoing health concerns of Fidel Castro (and possibly the pending invasion of Cuba), and the American immigration issue, what news are we really given? Our recent international news is centered around Afghanistan, Iraq and nuclear threats from North Korea.

My ignorance of the current political situation in Mexico becomes extremely obvious at this point. I had heard of the Zapatistas before but couldn’t have told you what they stood for or if they were even still around. Mistakenly, I had assumed that this sort of thing was in Mexico’s past (albeit not too distant). I was very wrong.

Para todos todo, para nosotros nada
(Everything for everyone, and nothing for ourselves)

The Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional (EZLN – Zapatista Army of National Liberation), from what I can gather, are relatively nonviolent (at least in their recent history). They’re opposed to free trade, corporate globalization, and the disparity of wealth within the country, and support Mexico’s indigenous peoples. While the EPR shares some of its ideology with the Zapatistas, it has chosen a decidedly more violent approach to achieving its goals.

I feel very sheltered from the rest of the world lately. Admittedly, we’ve got it pretty good up here in the great white north. With the exception of the FLQ during sixties, we’ve been “guerrilla” free within our borders. Our aboriginal population has certainly protested their treatment, past and present, by our government (with good reason) but have not resorted to open violence to have their voices heard. I wonder how the rest of the country would react to a Canadian equivalent of the EZLN or the EPR…on second thought, perhaps not.

In the meantime, I’m on a quest for a decent book on the recent/current history of Mexico and its politics. Any suggestions?

4 comments:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Most factions do begin their actions for legitimate reasons (ie the IRA began as a non-violent protest for landrights), but then as will almost often happen with groups bent on forcing change (and being made of individuals with varying options), someone always feels it is necessary to bring change about through violence.

We have been very sheltered, as you say.

SME said...

I remember an American who had worked as a journalist in Mexico speaking to my high school Spanish class and saying "If you knew what our country had done down there, you'd be furious." I had no clue what she was talking about, and truthfully I still don't. I have a lot to learn, too.

Meanwhile, there's a lot about here we don't know either. I just discovered the Mohawk nation is listed as a terrorist group in Canada.

Wandering Coyote said...

I heard about the pipeline bombings on the news. I got really annoyed at the term "leftist guerrillas" - why is it necessary to meld being leftist with being a guerrilla? It gives leftists a bad name!

sp said...

This link http://www.indymedia.org/en/2007/08/891341.shtml
might interest you and from there you can follow more links of course.

Funny how First People's of a nation get equated with "leftist" just because they challenge the governing power.

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