Mexico: president inaugurated under backdrop of repression, resistance

By LeiLani Dowell

Resistance to the Dec. 1 swearing in of Mexican President Felipe Calderón turned the traditional ceremony into a farce, symbolic of the fraudulent elections that granted Calderón the victory in July.

Legislators from the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) of Andrés Manuel López Obrador--who was sworn in as Mexico's legitimate president at a people's inauguration on Nov. 20--used chairs to barricade most of the doors to the Legislative Palace where Calderón's inauguration was to take place. He was forced to use a back entrance to take the oath of office.

The Los Angeles Times reports: "With European princes, Latin American leaders, former President Bush and other dignitaries looking on, Calderón was inaugurated amid a chorus of derisive whistles in a ceremony that lasted less than two minutes. 'Felipe will fall! Felipe will fall!' leftist legislators shouted."

Meanwhile, resistance continues as 159 people were swept up off the streets of Oaxaca and arrested over the weekend of Nov. 24-26, for charges related to recent protests. The Narco News Bulletin reports that 141 of those have been moved by helicopter to the penitentiary in San José del Rincón, Nayarit--a twenty-hour drive away from Oaxaca. None of the arrested has had access to legal support, reporters or family members. (Nov. 29)

It is feared that the rape and torture of prisoners--of the kind witnessed during the struggle of flower vendors at Atenco this May--will occur with impunity and without exposure. A tour of Mexico recently completed by The Other Campaign of the Zapatista National Liberation Army found hundreds of political prisoners, thousands of people facing arrest warrants or charges for political organizing, and family members of political activists that had been "disappeared" throughout the country. (narconews.com, Nov. 29)

Federal police in Oaxaca are now conducting house-to-house raids throughout the state, searching for leaders of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca.


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