Mexico seeks to “pacify” Atenco campesinos

Share with your friends










Submit

When the organized villagers of Atenco wielded machetes and stopped a major land grab, foiled Mexican capitalists were not pleased. That happened in 2002, when the townspeople created the Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra (FPDT) to oppose a plan by the Vicente Fox administration to build a new international airport serving Mexico City on communally owned lands.

Atenco is now an autonomous community of peasants with pro-Zapatista sentiments. In early May this year, when some of its flower vendors tried to sell their wares in nearby Texcoco, the site of a future Wal-Mart, police forcibly displaced them. FPDT immediately defended the campesinos and briefly took some cops hostage.

Three thousand city, state and federal riot police suddenly and viciously occupied the farming town of 30,000. They ransacked homes, brutally beat residents, rounded up local political leaders and arrested hundreds. The list of the detained, imprisoned and disappeared has already reached 280 people. At least one person was killed. Nearly two dozen of the 47 women arrested were raped or sexually assaulted by police.

These atrocities were not the work of “rogue” agents. They were part of a coordinated operation of several police agencies carrying out classic counterinsurgency tactics approved at the very top.

The goal? To intimidate, to dehumanize, to bludgeon dissent that is on the rise nationally. Instead, protest erupted throughout Mexico and in at least 25 other countries. Among the angriest are the jailed women, who have courageously reported their injuries and suffering and have gone on a hunger strike aimed at the release of all political prisoners.

A demonstration is set for Zocala Square in Mexico City on May 28. Other protests continue to be organized in other cities. Look for the opportunity to raise your voice!

Share with your friends










Submit