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Angry Youngish Men
It was obvious that the strikers, a small minority, would not allow the National University of Mexico (UNAM). now reopened, to function normally. From Mexico, James Wheelan reports:
"From their prison cells in the Reclusorio Norte, in two separate interviews, four leaders of the General Strike Council (CGH) agreed on a fundamental proposition: "Our fight is with the State. To combat the neoliberal policies of the Government, we are organizing society along the lines of people power. There will have to be many CGH, many Mexes (the violence last week at a teacher's college in Hidalgo), many university uprisings, rural and urban..." (El Norte, Friday, Feb. 25, and Sunday, Feb. 27 -- presumably published also in their now-main paper, Reforma)
The four: Victor Alejo Plata, 33, sociology student; Jorge Martinez Valero, also 33, also sociology student; Alberto Pacheho Guizar ("El Diablo"), a stripling of a mere 30 years of age, (now in the seventh year of his undergraduate career, the past five at UNAM); Mario Benitez Chavez, 38, now in the 15th year of his academic career (he is now a graduate teaching assistant in Economy). All four profess to be committed to the radical Left (deprecating even the PRD, for example, as a "bourgeois" party).
The Faculty of Science will be closed for at least a week, beginning tomorrow, as a result of a student "assembly" this past Thursday. The vote was 284 to close, 272 against. The Faculty has an enrollment of more than 4,000 -- meaning only one in eight participated."
My comment: The strikers at Mexe school, to which James Wheelan refers, showed how violent they can be. The school was reopened, but the strikers seized it again. The government sent in a special police group to evict them. In the fight which ensued, the strikers captured about sixty of them, stripped them to their underpants and chained them to a fence. The rest of the police withdrew hurt. The government was afraid to send in the army for fear of being accused of brutality.
There is obviously much injustice and despair in Mexico, but the strikers produce no coherent plan to remedy it. Their model is Castro's Cuba, about which we receive conflicting reports. We posted a report on the medical school attended by poor students from many Latin American countries. A World Bank Report speaks very favorably of Cuban primary education. I have sent it to Professor Terry Karl of Stanford, who will be leading a group to Cuba, and I hope she will report back to us. Were Mexico to become another Cuba, the strike leaders might or might not come out on top. One scenario being discussed in Washington is that the U.S. will be confronted with a series of Cubas in the Caribbean.
Ronald Hilton - 2/27/00