Saturday, January 3, 2009

EZLN Criticizes the Drug War

During the Festival of Dignified Rage in Chiapas, Subcomandante Marcos breaks the EZLN's silence on the drug war

On the first day of the Zapatista National Liberation Army's participation in the Festival of Dignified Rage, its spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos discussed the drug violence that has increasingly plagued Mexico. Marcos' speech marks the first time the EZLN has addressed the drug war in any sort of depth.

Marcos couldn't avoid addressing drug violence in his discussion of violence against social movements. He says Mexican President Felipe Calderon and the corporate media "use and abuse the word 'violence'" for their own means. "They say they condemn violence, but in reality they condemn action." Marcos accuses Calderon of using the drug war to pacify discontent with his government. "Mr. Calderon decided that, instead of bread and circuses, he would give the people blood."

Referencing the lack of confidence in Calderon's government, which is ridden with corruption scandals and has failed to meet its own economic benchmarks, Marcos continued, "The professional politicians are the circus and bread is very expensive.... Perhaps...[Calderon's] goal is to distract people. The public is so busy with the drug war's bloody failure, it could be that it doesn't even notice Calderon's failure in political economy."

In his speech to Festival participants, Marcos verbalized what many Mexicans have long suspected: "Everyone who isn't in his Cabinet knows that he's losing this war, and that the death of his significant other was an assassination, which is also well-known but not ever published." The "significant other" Marcos refers to is Juan Camilo Mouriño, Calderon's long-time friend and Minister of the Interior until he was killed in a plane crash along with other officials. The Mexican government, which received assistance from US experts during the investigation, has ruled the crash an accident due to pilot error, but many Mexicans believe a drug cartel took down the plane. José Vasconcelos, Mexico's former top drug prosecutor, was also killed in the crash.

Marcos also verbalized the common suspicion that Calderon is using the military he's deployed around the country to support his preferred cartel while squashing the competition. Without mentioning specific cartels (Marcos always kept his drug violence criticism aimed squarely at the government), Marcos said, "Calderon decided, supported by one group of drug traffickers, to wage war on the opposing group of drug traffickers. Violating the Constitution, he deployed the military to carry out the duties of the police, the district attorney, the judge, the jailer, and executer."

Having accused the government of being on the side of at least one of the drug trafficking cartels, Marcos went one step further: "It becomes more and more clear that it's organized crime that directs the state's forces."

Marcos then went on to criticize the savage violence that Mexico is experiencing, which has taken the lives of pregnant women and children. Marcos compared this violence to other wars around the globe: "With Calderon at the front, the Mexican government goes a step beyond the US and Israeli governments: the Mexican government kills [civilians] beginning from when they're in their mothers' wombs."
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