SIPAZ Activities (July-October 2006)
30/11/2006
2006
02/01/2007

2006

January 1st

The “Other Campaign” begins. A number of commanders and thousands of people from the support bases of the EZLN arrive in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, to send off the Delegate Zero (Subcomandante Marcos) on his national tour.

March

The Interior Minister, Carlos Abascal Carranza, meets with legislators from the Commission of Agreement and Pacification (COCOPA, the commission created to support dialogue between the government and the Zapatistas). He affirms that “other than in exceptional circumstances, the area of Chiapas referred to as the ‘grey zone’ has ceased to exist.” He announces that the Federal Army is only maintaining its presence in Chiapas due to its position as a border state.

End of April

The Municipal President of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Juan Sabines Guerrero, announces his resignation from the PRI. A few days later he is named as the candidate for the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) in the state elections in Chiapas to be held in August.

May 3rd

A conflict breaks out between eight street sellers of flowers and the police in the town of Atenco, Texcoco (in the State of Mexico) after the local PRD mayor prohibits their selling in an area already designated for the construction of a Wal-Mart store. This conflicts turns into a violent confrontation. In the resulting police operation two people are killed (a teenager dies on the same day, and another young man dies in June as a result of being hit in the head with a tear-gas grenade), there are numerous injured persons, 211 arrests, and five deportations of foreigners. More than twenty women are sexually assaulted and seven are raped by state security forces while being transported to jail.

The same day, Delegate Zero (Subcomandante Marcos) suspends his national tour and announces he will remain in Mexico City until the prisoners are free. At the same time the Zapatista communities in Chiapas declare a red alert, closing down the autonomous municipalities and Councils of Good Government.

June

The teachers protest in Oaxaca mobilises a demonstration of 40,000 people, receiving support from a wide range of social organisations. As a consequence, what started out as a trade union dispute develops into a wider struggle calling for the resignation of Governor Ulises Ruiz, who is blamed by social organisations in the state for unleashing a wave of repression by the security forces in Oaxaca. The Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca, or APPO (from its acronym in Spanish) is formed.

January – July

The national election campaign takes place in tense conditions. Personal insults are thrown about constantly and the rest of the political forces present the favourite candidate (by a very small margin), Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) as “a danger to Mexico”, promoting a vote of fear. Anti-AMLO interventions are supported by big business, which funds an expensive campaign, and by President Fox, who interferes in favour of the candidate of the Party of National Action (the PAN – Fox’s party).

July 2nd

Federal elections are held in Mexico. That night, the Federal Electoral Institute declares itself incapable of announcing a winner because of the small margin between the two leading candidates, and postpones the announcement of the results. All the same, that night both Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Felipe Calderón declare themselves the winners. In the following days, a district by district count is conducted and legal challenges are brought to the Electoral Tribunal of Judicial Power of the Federation.

August 5th

A violent police operation is carried out to expel 30 Zapatista families in the community of the Ch’oles, in the autonomous municipality El Trabajo (Tumbalá) in the Northern Zone. They are accused of having deprived the owner of his private property.

April-August

The electoral process in Chiapas is full of irregularities, with buying, manipulation and coercion of votes by the PRI, PRD and PAN parties. Governor Salazar Mendiguchía interferes directly in the process, using state government social programmes (including funds for reconstruction after Hurricane Stan) to favour candidate Juan Sabines. Politicians constantly change from one party to another to pursue their personal interests.

August 20th

Elections for the Governor of Chiapas State are held. Juan Sabines Guerrero wins by a very slim margin (0.55%); the number votes cast in his favour represents only a fifth of the total electorate.

September 1st

The sixth and final State of the Nation address by President Fox [which is usually held in the Legislative Assembly building]. The building is surrounded by 8,000 members of the Preventive Federal Police (PFP) and the Presidential General Staff, supported by tanks and snipers. In spite of the military presence, deputies from the PRD and PT parties occupy the Speakers chair in the Assembly. President Fox is eventually forced to hand over his report in writing in the vestibule of the Legislative Palace [rather than making the customary address].

September 5th

Mexico’s Federal Electoral Tribunal unanimously declares Felipe Calderón as elected president and rejects the denunciations [regarding electoral irregularities] presented by the Coalition for the Benefit of All (CBT). This rejection includes those appeals alleging Fox’s interference in favour of Calderón as well as the illegal broadcast of messages, paid for by big business, which impacted negatively on Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s (AMLO) campaign. The Tribunal acknowledges both actions, but decrees however that “there was no way of determining the electoral impact – if there ever was one – from both actions”.

September 16th

The National Democratic Convention (CND) is formed in the presence of more than one million delegates from all over the country. They proclaim AMLO as the legitimate president and pass a Plan of 6 actions: not to accept Calderón; to empower AMLO with the right to take over the presidency on 20 November; to authorize him to form his cabinet; to undertake short-term actions of resistance and to prevent the taking over of power by Felipe Calderón on the 1st of December; to sustain the CND with periodic meetings and to integrate three coordinating commissions (regarding “National Politics”, “Civil Resistance” and “Organization of the Plebiscite and the Constituent Assembly”).

October 8th and November 30th

The EZLN announces that Delegate Zero (Subcomandante Marcos) will restart his national tour, visiting 11 remaining states. The tour had been suspended after the repression in Atenco in May.

October 29th

The Federal Preventive Police, enter the city of Oaxaca early in the morning and take control of the central square. Violent incidents are reported, with a different balance of casualties depending on the sources: APPO say four people died, while the federal government announces that no people died at all.

November 13th

A violent confrontation occurs in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in Chiapas. Hundreds of armed peasants from the Lacandon Community attack seventeen families living in Viejo Velasco Suárez. As it happens in a very isolated area, there is significant confusion about the number of victims and whether they belong to the EZLN or not. Finally the outcome becomes clear: four people dead (including a pregnant woman) and four people disappeared, presumed murdered.

November 20th

López Obrador is sworn in as the “legitimate president” of Mexico.

November 25th

Officers of the Federal Preventative Police confront APPO members marching towards the city centre in Oaxaca. According to the newspaper La Jornada, more than 140 people are wounded including three journalists. 140 are arrested and several public and private buildings and cars are set on fire.

December 1st

Felipe Calderón is sworn in in a highly polarized Congress, protected by a large operation including the police and army.

8 December

Juan Sabines Guerrero is innaugurated as Governor of Chiapas.

16 December

The Federal Preventative Police withdraw from the historic centre of Oaxaca City. The next day 43 detainees in Nayarit State Prison – all allegedly associated with the APPO – are freed.

18 December

The National Human Rights Commission (an autonomous national body) publishes a report on the violence in Oaxaca. Their statistics include 349 people detained, 370 wounded and 20 killed.

22 December

On the 9th anniversary of the Acteal Massacre of Acteal (in which 45 indigenous people were killed), the Governor of Chiapas, Juan Sabines Guerrero, announces the formation of a special Public Prosecutor’s office to investigate the case.