<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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Al Giordano

Opening Statement, April 18, 2000
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A New War of the Mitzón?

A Car Bomb in Guadalajara, Mexico Raises the Specter of Rebellion

By Quetzalcoatl G. Fontanot
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

September 2, 2005

MEXICO: Jalisco is a land of intense paradoxes. Its capital, hometown of the Chivas soccer team and of the machín stereotype (of old-fashioned men), is also, together with Mérida, the city with the largest gay pride parade in the country. Here is where the September 23 League guerrilla group rose up on March 13, 1973, but also where General Marcelino García Barragán served as governor, later going on to be secretary of defense and leading the repression against the student movements of 1968. The women can walk comfortably down the streets wearing whatever they want, but – just as in all the rest of Mexico – in their personal lives, in their own homes, they suffer from violence. Two years ago, for example, the political class struck down a citizens’ initiative for a law against domestic violence.

In the times when it was known as the territory of New Galicia, Guadalajara was besieged during the 1541 War of the Miztón (an indigenous attempt to reconquer the region) by Francisco Tenamaztle, the Nochistán (near the city of Zacatecas) leader who fought against the total extermination the conquistador Cristobal de Oñate, fighting under orders from Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán, left in his wake. In that very battle against Tenamaztle and his indigenous army, Pedro de Alvarado – a ruthless captain who served under Cortés – died, less than a month after having said that he would finish off those “thieving Indians.” [1]

Repression as a Form of Government

Two years ago, a disturbing event for young fans of electronic music occurred. The Jalisco state police suddenly and brutally raided a rave in the Tlajomulco area. Under the pretext of fighting drug trafficking, the police made many arrests. Some of the kids arrested may have been ecstasy consumers, but not the kind of criminals that could justify the violence and crudeness of the operation. Governor Francisco Ramírez Acuña justified the aggression declaring that he would not tolerate orgies and binges. The raid became known as the Tlajomulcazo and inspired the creation of a civil organization that now organizes a rave each year on the event’s anniversary.

Last April 26, after a soccer match between the local Atlas and the Tigres of the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, there was a skirmish between Tigres fans and police. The next day, current mayor and gubernatorial hopeful Emilio González Marques told the press that, in confronting the Tigres fans, the Guadalajara Police had demonstrated their readiness for the EU-LAC (European Union – Latin America and the Caribbean) summit. “We are prepared to react to this type of contingency and to larger ones, but we hope that it does not come to that,” said González Marques. The newspaper Publico reported sixty-four arrests and twenty-seven injuries. They were now undoubtedly trained – and afterwards they would be rewarded – for their excesses on the days around May 28, when the city was visited by many heads of state and also many altermundistas (globalization activists).

That night, there were more than 120 arrested, and, according to reports from numerous local and national organizations, the National Human Rights Commission, and Amnesty International, their human rights were violated. The arrested women were forced to sit naked while subjected to physical and emotional mistreatment and left incommunicado. Several sources pointed out, however, that the police had specific instructions not to sexually abuse any activists. The prisoners were “only” beaten. The governor would then declare that it was all a conspiracy by chilangos (folks from Mexico City). To date there are still two young people in prison due to these events. More than thirty cases are still open and at this point many have fled to other countries in order to avoid having to check in every week in Guadalajara.

He Who Sows Winds Will Reap Tempests

On Thursday, August 18, there were two major news stories in Jalisco. First, the police found a white Caribe brand car that had been abandoned for three days in Zapopán, in the parking lot at the old Plaza del Sol. Inside were three tanks of gasoline and a device that would cause a fire and explosion when heat from the sun built up in the parked car. The only problem was… all three days had been overcast. What remains certain, though, is that despite the technical limitations of those who built the device, their intention was to cause panic. According to Venesa Robles from the Public Ministry (Mexico’s justice department), the people who left the car “placed part of a cellular phone in there, which looked amazing, like the things they use for remote-control bombs.” Nevertheless, the news did not have much national impact.

Also that day, Carlos Loret de Mola’s newscast on the Televisa network mentioned yet another new guerrilla group: The Ejercito de Reconstrucción Regional (“Army of Regional Reconstruction”). An Internet search on this organization’s name turns up several links to a communiquéa titled, very bluntly, “Tomamos las armas porque la democracia que se practica nos encabrona” (loosely, “We Take Up Arms Because Democracy as It Is Practiced Pisses Us Off”).

The communiqué refers to the formation of a new guerrilla force in the same area where Tenamaztle’s War of the Miztón was fought more than 450 years ago. In it, the group condemns twelve governors from northwest Mexico and declares war on the government, detailing crimes in each state on the part of the political class. They later state that, “if a minority is to decide who will govern, we prefer that it be a revolutionary minority in favor of solidarity and change, like ours.” And they warn, without mentioning the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, that if a new constitution is not written for the country, they will write their own for the states in which they have presence. The sign-off is as direct as the title: “¡Viva Villa cabrones! Ejército de Reconstrucción Regional” (“Long live Pancho Villa, you bastards! -Army of Regional Reconstruction”).

They say that he who sows winds will reap tempests, and what is certain is that impunity has been the trademark of Mexico’s governments up to today. We will have to wait to see the response from the federal and state governments. On June 2, the EPR (Popular Revolutionary Army, a ten-year-old guerrilla group active in Guerrero and southern Mexico) released a communiqué in which it presented a particularly well-informed position on the repression a few days earlier in Guadalajara, and signed off: “Regional Committee of the Popular Democratic Revolutionary Party. Regional Military Committee of the Popular Revolutionary Army. PDPR-EPR.” The part that went unnoticed by the media was the revelation that there was a regional command in Guadalajara. He who sows winds, reaps tempests. Could this be the prelude to a new War of the Miztón?

[1]Miguel León Portilla, Francisco Tenamaztle, primer guerrillero de América…,Editorial Diana, 2005.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America