Monday, March 15, 2010

Government Blocks SME's Telephones; Soldiers Arrive in New Necaxa

by Arturo Alfaro Galan, La Jornada

Since yesterday afternoon, callers who dialed the cell phone numbers that belong to the Mexican Electrical Workers Union's principal leaders in the Nuevo Necaxa division began to receive the message: "The number that you dialed is restricted by government order."  This came after 200 members of the Mexican military and the Ministerial Federal Police (PFM) arrived before dawn this past Sunday morning.

Leaders from the Democratic Council of the Puebla Teachers Union (CDMP) and the Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME) who were interviewed by La Jornada de Oriente, expressed their fear that the military and federal forces would carry out an operation to repress the electricians, who will try to close highways and occupy Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) buildings tomorrow.  On Tuesday there will be mobilizations and marches around the country with the intention of seeking a national consensus on the recall of President Felipe Calderon.

As part of the actions, the electricians are expected to take over highways, public spaces, and government buildings in the Huauchinango region to demand their reinstatement in their old jobs.

According to reports from the CDMP, various groups of soldiers and federal police began to arrive in Puebla's Sierra Norte to take up positions in the communities of Santa Catalina in Huachinango, Nuevo Necaxa in Juan Galindo, and Lomas de Ocotzotal in Xicotepec de Juarez, which has caused anxiety among residents.

The places where the soldiers and Federal Police took up positions since yesterday morning are the main access points over land that connects the Sierra Norte with the states of Hidalgo, Veracruz, and Tlaxcala, which have been blocked on various occasions by electricians to demand the suspension of the presidential decree that shut down the company Luz y Fuerza del Centro (LFC).

According to the electricians, the soldiers and PFM officers remain stationed on highways and in hotels in Huachinango, while their vehicles are located near LFC's electric substation in Huachinango, next to the local fairgrounds.

"As of this moment they have not committed any act of repression, nor have they tried to deploy, but people here are very nervous due to the soldiers' presence.  They're just parked, watching every movement," said Roberto Robles Monzón, a member of the CDMP.

A few days ago the SME's Undersecretary of External Affairs, Miguel Angel Montiel Eslava, did not rule out that during the protest there could be confrontations with the military and police.  He asked the federal government to "not repress the electricians" in Sierra Norte.

Translated by Kristin Bricker
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