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MEXICO: Yucatan

Mexicans are now more concerned about Yucatan than about Chiapas. The reason is clear from reports from Mexico and from a long message received from Elias Castillo, a journalist of Mexican origin. The trouble began when PAN and PRD, although mutually antagonistic, protested that the old state electoral commission was packed with PRI people, making possible the election of Víctor Cervera Pacheco as governor. A new commission was formed, but a PRI mob chased it out of the government building, forcing it to take refuge in a nearby park, where it was sworn in.

The reason by Mexicans are so concerned is that, in his demagogic speeches, Cervera Pacheco has sworn to defend Yucatán's sovereignty. There is in Mexico a collective memory of the nineteenth-century"wars of castes". in which Yucatán fought unsuccessfully for its independence. Does Cervera Pacheco intend to proclaim Yucatan's independence --his mob goes around waving Yucatan flags--or try to set up a free zone like the one in Colombia? The southeast of Mexico has long been PRI territory. It is adjoined to the east by Quintana Roo; a companion of Subcomandante Marcos goes around holding a Quintana Roo banner. To the west of Chiapas is Oaxaca, whose PRI governor, José Murat, has made some enigmatic statements about the situation in Yucatan.

The Fox government may be forced to intervene in three stages, using different forces. The new Security Secretariat controls the "preventive police", the Attorney General (comparable to Secretrary of Justice), General, General Rafael Macedo de la Concha, the judicial police. The appointment of a general to this post indicates close relations with the army, which would be the final instrument of force. Fox has been withdrawing it from Chiapas,so it would be a reversal of policy if he used it in Yucatan. But he may have to.

Ronald Hilton - 2/12/01