<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
 English | Español August 15, 2018 | Issue #42

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Opening Statement, April 18, 2000
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On Mexico’s Election Day, Protests Against the “Electoral Farce” at the Los Angeles Consulate

For Immigrants, Hope for Change Lies in Organization from Below, Not in Election Results

By Margarita Salazar
The Other Journalism with the Other Campaign on the Other Side

July 3, 2006

LOS ANGELES, July 2: Mexican immigrants’ disenchantment and resentment toward the government of their country, whose policies pushed them to cross the border “in search of a better life,” were manifested today in a rejection of the governmental repression against the peasant farmers of Atenco and the teachers of Oaxaca, rapes, imprisonment, and the military-police state in charge south of the Rio Grande.

Young demonstrators at Sunday’s event.
Photo: D.R. 2006 Margarita Salazar
Conscious of having been expelled from Mexico by misery and other factors, more than one hundred Mexicans living in southern California, as well as Chicano and Central American sympathizers, held a political/cultural event on July 2 in front of the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles, in protest of the political parties and the “electoral farce.”

“In our country today, thousands of Mexicans are choosing a new president in the hope of changing the grave economic, political and social situation that millions are suffering from. Nevertheless, across the country, the working people, the people from below that don’t believe in this electoral farce, are building a movement of national rebellion that goes beyond elections,” says a Spanish-language document distributed among the people that headed toward MacArthur Park and stopped to listen to speakers.

Beginning at midday, members of different organizations that form the Los Angeles section of La Otra en el Otro Lado (the Other Campaign on the Other Side) began hanging colorful banners in front of the consular building that expressed their rejection and condemnation of the repressive policies of outgoing president Vicente Fox (National Action Party) and Oaxaca state Governor Ulises Ruiz (Institutional Revolutionary Party).

“The lack of food on our families’ tables due to there not being any work, the rise in prostitution among women and children due to hunger, the rise of drug consumption among the youth as they see their opportunities to continue studying canceled, and the desperation of the campesinos who can’t make a living off their land anymore are all part of both rural and urban Mexicans’ daily lives,” adds the document.

It also indicates that “this agonizing situation is obligating our people to emigrate to the big cities of Mexico and also to come north, despite the suffering this entails. More than 4,000 of our countrymen and women have died [since 1994] trying to flee the misery and repression that all the governments have maintained in turn. The suffering that those of us who crossed the border lived through is known by all of us.”

Those present agreed that “the Mexican people can’t take any more of this bad government that only remains in power by using the army and the police to kill and repress the indigenous (as was seen in the massacres of Acteal in Chiapas and Aguas Blancas and El Charco in Guerrero), the peasant farmers (as happened in Atenco and Texcoco, where the small street vendors were also fighting the construction of a Wal-Mart), and the teachers, as happened in Oaxaca…”

The Cuauhtémoc dance troupe
Photo: D.R. 2006 Margarita Salazar
“Prison, beatings, teargas, disappearances, rapes and the persecution of humble people is the government’s repression in the face of those who dare to challenge the capitalist system of exploitation and death, which was intensified during the rightwing Vicente Fox administration, on the orders of his boss, George W. Bush,” read the flyer.

Amid dances by the Cuahtémoc dance troupe, music by the Xochisoneros, Son Real and Hip Hop de Almas Intocables, those present learned that “despite this grave situation, the presidential candidates, followed by those who want to become senators and congressmen – but especially the presidential hopefuls – have no shame when it comes to talking about a reality that has nothing to do with what the people are living through. The candidates cynically spend millions of pesos on their campaigns in order to attain power, with no regard for the fact that at that same moment, there are Mexicans dying from curable diseases, from trying to cross the border, or from the beatings of repressive police.”

“Faced with this campaign of those from above, we from below are joining our resistance struggles that seek to do away with the bad governments, and to make the workers of the fields and the cities the owners of the means of production, of what we produce, of our freedom and our own lives,” the demonstrators maintained.

The organizations’ members commented that, independently of who turns out to be the winner of the presidential elections, immigrants’ only hope for change is the organization that the people are building and which is now coming together in the Other Campaign. Speakers called upon all those present to, above all, stay informed on what is really happening in Mexico, and to organize better at the local level in order to integrate into the Other Campaign, as this struggle will last a long time.

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