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MEXICO: Order and Chaos



Ed Simmen has sent me a news report he received from Gary Elbow on the chaos in the National University of Mexico (UNAM), the subject of an earlier posting. Here is the high, or rather the lowlight, as some 150 members of the General Strike Council seized and held 35 teachers and ordered them to remove their outer clothing:

"They marched us out military-style and made us take off our shoes, pants, and sweaters, then left us in our shirttails and underwear for an hour," Manuel Quijano, one professor, told a radio news program. José Luis Hoyos, a professor of political science, said that when he refused to remove his pants, the activist Alejandro Echeverría, known as El Mosh, took a razor, cut off Mr. Hoyos's pants and then threw them in his face.

Mexico is divided into two parts: the more peaceful, prosperour north, where Guanajuato, the home of President Fox, is located, and the rebellious southeast. Mexico City itself is very troubled, not only because of the UNAM strikers, who have links with the zapatistas in Chiaoas, but also because of the violence in the area known as El Tepito, which a veritable police army has just put down with force. I have seen no breakdown of the migrants to Mexico City, but it is reasonable to assume that the majority come from the sutheast. The show of force by the police was presumably motivated by the knowledge that the UNAM strikers and the Tepito mob leaders plan to act if and when Subcandante Marcis and his Zapatistas ride on horseback into Mexico City, an echo of the horsemen of the Mexican Revolution.

The unrest in Chiapas is well-known, but it is spreading. PAN is strong primarily in the north, the PRI and the PRD in the southesast. The national eledctions led to political chaos in the state of Veracruz, where the university has been like UNAM a center of trouble. Now the state of Yucatan is the center of even worse confusion. It is difficult to say exactly what is going on, but the governmentg and the public are concerned, and TV news devote much tgime to it. Polls show that the public supports the dea of using force there; the new Secretary of Justice is a phlegmatic general. He and Internior Secretary Santiago Creel spoke at length on TV, both stressing that they would carry out the law. Curiously Creel repeatededly stressed the need to obey the constitution (which Fox has said must be revised), and he invoked Beniro Juáres, the hero of ther anti-clerical left. He thus stole the left's political clothes. Marcos is related to all this trouble, as is Fidel Castro. Stay tuned.

Ronald Hilton - 2/10/01


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