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Painting of FAT supporters with signs for socialjustice & free unions in colorful town
Detail of poster for artistic exchange & the FAT's 13th convention
Artist Beatriz Aurora

Mexican Labor News & Analysis

August , 2007, Vol. 12, No. 8

 

Miners Strike Grupo Mexico’s Cananea Mine

By Dan La Botz

The Mexican Miners and Metalworkers Union (SNTMMRM) struck Grupo Mexico on July 30 to demand wage increases and improved safety conditions. The Miners Union’s strike against Grupo Mexico is one of the most important industrial union struggles of the last 50 years, pitting what has become one of Mexico’s most militant unions against one of the country’s largest and most aggressive corporations.

The central battleground is Cananea, one of the world’s most productive copper mines and the birth place of Mexico’s union movement at the beginning of the twentieth century. Cananea produces 140,000 tons of copper concentrate and 50,000 tons of refined copper per year. Cananea alone produces US$3.5 million daily. The strike may well be one of the turning points in the history of the contemporary labor movement.

The strike involving about 3,000 miners at Cananea and at two smaller mines at Taxco and San Martín (mines that produce silver and zinc), was declared illegal by the Mexican Federal Labor Board (JFCA) and Grupo Mexico fired all miners involved in the walkout. Mexican courts then intervened and overturned the Board’s decision. Both sides continue to pursue appeals before the Board and the courts, and a Mexican court ruled on August 15 that the Miners Union could strike Grupo Mexico without fear of firing, but that they cannot stop other miners from going to work.

A Fight for Independence

While the strike was called over wages and safety issues, everyone recognizes that the issue at the heart of the strike is the struggle of the Miner’s union for its independence from both the government and the employers. Since Napoleón Gómez Urrutia became general secretary two years ago, both the Mexican government and Grupo Mexico have attempted to keep him from leading the union.

Last year the government removed Gómez Urrutia from office and then charged him with fraud and embezzlement of US$55 million. After Gómez Urrutia was removed from office, Grupo Mexico supported the claim of Elías Morales Hernández to become general secretary; he was then recognized by the government. When that decision was later reversed and Gómez Urrutia was returned to office, Grupo Mexico began supporting another leader, Francisco Hernández Gámez, who sought to create a new miners union.

According to the Mexican government, when negotiations over this strike began, the union’s first demand was that the government drop all criminal charges against Gómez Urrutia. Secretary of Labor Javier Lozano called the union’s demand “blackmail.”

A Union in the Process of Change

Gómez Urrutia virtually inherited the position of general secretary from his father Napoleón Gómez Sada who had himself been a typical Mexican charro, that is a bureaucratic union leader who held his position by virtue of the support of the government. While Gómez Urrutia may have been bequeathed a union with a traditional bureaucratic union structure, the constant state of struggle and mobilization under his leadership in strikes both to improve the situation of the union’s members and to defend the union from government and/or employer takeovers has breathed new life into this union.

In addition, present within the union in places like the steel plant now known as ArcelorMittal (previously SICARTSA) are union factions with their origin in the left and with their own independent life. While it may be a mistake to call the Miners Union a democratic union, still it should be recognized that this is not the same bureaucratic union it was ten years ago, or even two years ago for that matter. Worker activism and mobilization has tempered, if it has not altered, the union’s bureaucratic character.

Unfortunately most of the Mexican left has failed to respond to the developments taking place within the miner’s union and to put itself forward as a strong and clear ally of the union and its members in their struggle with the employers. For example, while Andrés Manuel López Obrador has, at times, criticized the government for its role vis-à-vis the union and has from time to time issued statement in support of the miners, the “legitimate president of Mexico” has not mobilized in support of the miners in the way he has in support of the electrical and petroleum workers. Subcomandante Marcos, leader of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, has kept his distance from the miners’ struggle.

Union Position Strong, but Company & Government Prepared to Break Strike

Though it faces the power of the Mexican government, the Miners Union is in a strong position. First, the cooper market is strong, largely because of the tremendous demand created by the rapid industrialization of China. Copper prices have tripled since 2003. Second, Mexican miners recently received a total of US$6 million in profit sharing, meaning that miners and their families have economic resources to endure a strike. Third, the Mexican Miners union is receiving strong support from the International Metalworkers Federation (IMF), with 25 million members, and from the United Steelworkers of Canada and the United States with l.5 million members.

At the same time, Grupo Mexico and the Mexican government appear to be prepared to use their economic and political power to break the strike. If the strike is finally declared illegal, the government will move in police or possibly the Army to remove strikers. Grupo Mexico is prepared to fire all union members and strikers and to replace them with new hires. The Mexican Miners Union’s strike represents the big battle of the day for workers struggling for a better life and for their unions’ independence from the government and employers.

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Fight at Nacozari Mine: One Dead, 15 Jailed, 20 Disappeared

One man was killed, several injured, 15 arrested and some tortured, while another 20 disappeared on August 13, after a violent confrontation, apparently between rival groups of miners at Grupo Mexico’s La Caridad mine in Nacozari, Sonara. Nacozari is near Cananea, Sonora where a large-scale struggle is taking place between the Miners Union and Grupo Mexico (see story above.)

Reynaldo Hernández González, the man who was killed, had previously worked at the mine and returned with a group of other miners loyal to the union seeking to reclaim their jobs. The fired miners and working miners loyal to the company union apparently fought with each other. Miners’ union members accuse members of the company union of having killed Hernández González. Whether he was shot or hit in the head with a rock remains a matter of dispute.

The violence appears to be part of the conflict between miners loyal to Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, general secretary of the Mexican Miners Union (SNMMRM) and a rival group loyal Francisco Hernández Gámez, head of a new company union backed by the Grupo Mexico mining company.

Gómez Urrutia of the SNMMRM accuses Sonora governor Eduardo Bours Castelo of contributing to the violence in the mines by siding with Grupo Mexico and its company union.

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Steelworkers President to Mexican President: End Grupo Mexico’s Reign on Terror Against Miners

AA delegation of twenty local union presidents and United Steel Workers Director of District 7 Jim Robinson conducted a solidarity visit to Mexico recently. They were in Mexico when the miner was killed in Narcozai and on their departure they had a press conference at the airport where they read the following letter from USW president Leo Girard to the media. One of the reporters said the letter was not diplomatic and one of the workers responded, "How can you be diplomatic when 65 miners were murdered due to negligence in an explosion, two workers were shot down and killed at Lázaro Cárdenas and one worker killed at Narcozari." - Ed. Dan La Botz

Dear President Calderón:

On behalf of the 850,000 members of the United Steelworkers in the United States and Canada, I write to condemn the assassination of Reynaldo Hernandez Gonzalez and the injuries inflicted on approximately 20 other members of Section 298 of the National Union of Mine and Metal Workers in Nacozari.

The USW condemns this brutal attack, and we call on you to act immediately to end Grupo Mexico's campaign of terror against Napoleon Gomez and the Mineworkers' union by canceling the company's concessions and returning them to government control.

Mr. President, until German Larrea and the other individuals responsible for the deaths of union members at Pasta de Conchos, Lazaro Cardenas and Nacozari are brought to justice, and until the interference of Grupo Mexico and government authorities in the affairs of the Mineworkers' union ceases, the United Steelworkers will urge the United States Congress to refrain from approving any economic or security assistance to the government of Mexico. I look forward to your reply.

Very truly yours,
Leo W. Gerard International President

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Update On Vaqueros Navarra Struggle

On August 2, 2007, we circulated an alert we received from Lynda Yanz of the Maquiladora Solidarity Network regarding “a difficult organizing campaign that is underway in Tehuacan, Puebla, Mexico at Vaqueros Navarra, one of the facilities owned by Grupo Navarra, one of the largest and most powerful garment consortiums in Puebla.”



Background

“MSN is coordinating with the Human and Labour Rights Commission of the Tehuacan Valley, which is the main local support for the workers, and also with the Frente Autentico del Trabajo (FAT), which is the trade union organization filing the petition for title (titularidad) to the collective agreement...
“The struggle, which started in May when workers organized to protest the amount VN was paying out in annual profit sharing (utilidades) has become a fight to win the right to be represented by the independent union. Not surprisingly many worker leaders have been fired and supporters of the independent union are being harassed and pressured to "voluntarily" resign. Some workers have refused to give in to management intimidation and are continuing to press for their right to be represented by the union of their choice.

Latest news

In an email as we go to press today, Lynda wrote that a meeting took place last week k with the Labour Minister, all of the local organizations which are involved and the UNT. She reported, ”There was an agreement on a follow-up meeting this week, however no commitments were provided. The US non-profit monitoring organization Verite conducted an investigation last week into allegations of labour rights violations, including violations of freedom of association, on behalf of various brands sourcing from Grupo Navarra. Results were communicated verbally to the brands yesterday, and a report is to follow shortly. MSN has been demanding that the report and corrective action plan be made public and that there be no further layoffs or forced resignations. However, we're had disturbing reports that the company continues to harass workers into ‘voluntary’ resignations. A fuller report, with a call to action is likely to be forthcoming over the next few days.”

Workers in desperate need of financial support

Yanz concluded: “Also, the union and workers who have been dismissed but have not accepted severance are in desperate need of financial support, especially as children prepare to return to schools and parents must find funds for school supplies in addition to day-to-day survival."

NOTE: As this is a campaign in which the FAT is involved, contributions to support these workers can be sent to the UE-FAT Solidarity Fund. Go to UE-FAT Solidarity Fund for more information about how to do so; be sure to indicate that money is to go to workers at Vaqueros Navarra.

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Journalists Detained by Army are Released

The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of four Mexican journalists who had been detained on Tuesday night by the army while covering a drug raid. Charges of possession of a firearm and marijuana are still pending against them. The reporters told
their lawyer that the weapon and drugs were planted and that the soldiers had beaten them. “The allegation that soldiers abused these reporters and planted evidence is extremely disturbing,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “We urge authorities to investigate the soldiers involved in this incident.”

At 12:30 p.m. today (08/10), Mexican reporters Manolo Acosta and Sinhué Samaniego Osoria from the Monclova-based daily Zócalo; Jesús Meza González from the Monclova daily La Voz de Coahuila; and Alberto Rodríguez Reyes from the local television station Canal 4, were released on bail, their lawyer Luis Humberto Rodriguez Sáenz told CPJ. The journalists had been held since Tuesday night by Mexican authorities in the northern state of Coahuila. The charges against them are still pending, an official at the office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against the Press told CPJ.

The four journalists said they were detained around 10 p.m. Tuesday by soldiers from the Mexican army while covering a routine drug raid, said Rodríguez. Armed soldiers asked the reporters to step out of their vehicles and into the back of a pick-up truck. According to the reporters' account, they were driven around the city facing down with their faces covered, while soldiers kicked them in the chest and stomach. The soldiers repeatedly asked the journalists if they were members of the illegal paramilitary group Los Zetas, who allegedly employ spotters to monitor the movements of the military. The four
journalists were carrying vests with the name of their media outlets, and the three vehicles they were traveling in were visibly identified with press logos, Rodríguez told CPJ.

At 2 p.m. on Wednesday, the reporters were transferred into the custody of the attorney general's office in Coahuila where they were charged with possession of a firearm and marijuana, Rodríguez told CPJ. Drug trafficking and organized crime have turned Mexico into one of the most hazardous places for journalists in Latin America, CPJ research shows. Since the war between powerful drug cartels intensified two years ago, scores of reporters have fallen silent because authorities are unable to provide even minimal protection.

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom around the world.

Source: Committee to Protect Journalists: 08/10 and
Mexico Week in Review: 08.06 - 0.8-12 2007

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Mexican Telegraph Workers to Petition Labor Board to Enforce Registration for Independent Union

by Alicia Capuleño Romero, general secretary

We are a union of independent telecommunications workers who came together because of our need to be able to count on authentic, committed, independent and legitimate union representation. This necessity is also due to the many reprisals suffered by workers employed by Telecommunications of Mexico at the hands of the authorities who collude with the corrupt union which has existed for the past twenty years. With their representation we have lost labor rights to which we are entitled by law; when brothers and sisters have problems, they become deaf and don’t know anything or resolve anything. As a result of this situation, many workers have lost their jobs, union representatives are imposed on us who favor management, and who inherit their posts. In addition, due to these practices we have many workers who are irresponsible and don’t do their jobs, many of them temporary workers. They bargain over our benefits, making alliances with the authorities out of our sight, while charging us dues and never informing us of how they are spent. This has reached such a degree of workplace conflict that the vast majority of workers have become indifferent. The harshness with which we are subjected by the union/authorities to reprisals of all types, interferes with the resolution of the problems from which we suffer.

Despite the fact that the Ministry of Labor recognized our union and issued us registration Number 5643, the managers of Telecomm has not recognized us. For this reason, in the month of August we will file a complaint with the Labor Conciliation and Arbitration Board requesting recognition, legal license and dues.

Our struggle is now supported by many unions, including the FEDESSP (Federation of Public Service Unions), UNT, SITUAM (Autonomous Metropolitan University), CIESAS (Center for research and Anthropological and Social Studies), SUTCOLMES (the College of Mexico), Union of Workers of the Nuclear Industry, STUNAM, IMSS, Telephone workers, INCA Rural, UACM (University of Mexico City), METLIFE Insurance, and others. As you can see, we are creating very strong solidarity organizations! With the unconstitutional reform of the law regarding ISSSTE, our rank and file has shown a forceful response!

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Letter Of Appreciation from Baldemar Velasquez

Dear FLOC Supporter,

FLOC sincerely thanks you for voicing your outrage at the brutal murder of Santiago Rafael Cruz. This tragedy comes as one of the most difficult of my career. Nothing can be said and done to bring back our friend Santiago . What is left are the memories and common cause for which we struggled: justice for migrant workers and righteousness for our country--righteousness as our country struggles to find a solution to immigration, labor market needs, and the treatment of human beings.

With your help, FLOC immediately responded in two ways. First, I personally traveled to Mexico to insure that Santiago ’s body was taken care of, given a proper ceremony, and transported to his family for a funeral. Second, we organized an international solidarity campaign to press the Mexican Government to conduct a formal, timely, honest, and thorough criminal investigation.

To ensure a complete review of Santiago ’s case, we began a letter writing campaign to the Nuevo Leon Governor and to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The response to our letter writing campaign is inspiring. Politicians, labor leaders, unions, union members, human rights groups, churches, community organizations, and FLOC supporters came together from all over the world to voice their outrage at the brutal murder of Santiago.

On April 23rd, after receiving thousands of letters, phone calls, emails, and faxes, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted FLOC’s preventive measures petition. The IACHR is part of the Organization of American States and has injunctive powers, so it was able to compel the Mexican Government to enter into negotiations with FLOC. In a strongly worded letter, IACHR Executive Secretary also pressed the Mexican government to “adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the life and physical security” of FLOC staff in Mexico and to keep the IACHR informed of the judicial process to bring Santiago ’s killers to justice. The approval letter addressed by the IACHR Executive Secretary’s office to FLOC stipulated that the Mexican government has seven (7) days to implement these instructions, beginning April 23.

FLOC’s attorney’s and I met with Mexican government officials on May 4th to negotiate the terms of the preventative measures stipulated by the IACHR. The Mexican Federal Government agreed to do four things: 1) The Attorney General of Nuevo Leon must open more lines of investigation into the murder of Santiago and report his progress to the Federal Government and FLOC at a meeting convened in Monterrey by May 24th ; 2) Pay for close-circuit security cameras for FLOC’s Monterrey office; 3) Pay for 4 cell phones for FLOC staff with emergency numbers; 4) the Nuevo Leon State Police must register a visit to the FLOC office once a day.

The assassination of Santiago Rafael Cruz came after more than two years of media attacks, deportation threats, robberies and violent intimidation of the FLOC office and its staff in Monterrey . The hostile atmosphere which has been created represents a targeted political attack on the union. In 2004, FLOC won a historic collective agreement with the North Carolina Growers Association to represent nearly 10,000 farmworkers who travel each year from Mexico to North Carolina on H2-A guest worker visas to harvest tobacco, cucumbers and Christmas trees. The NCGA has the only recruitment process with integrity—with its independent oversight through our collective bargaining agreement and grievance procedure. Our victories, however, clearly anger other recruiters outside of our agreement who benefited from exploiting and cheating Mexican workers. FLOC also recently supported a historic Federal lawsuit which dealt a blow to corrupt recruiters in rural areas of Mexico who
overcharge workers by several hundred dollars to find them jobs in the U.S. We eliminated those fees for over 60,000 H2A workers.

It is not only recruiters that harass FLOC in Mexico . From the beginning, we have faced harassment from the police department in Monterrey . The Police Department’s recent announcement that they have arrested a man who “confessed” to Santiago ’s murder appears to represent another in a long series of unfounded allegations against FLOC.

Instead of a professional investigation, the police department in Monterrey seems to be interested in smearing FLOC. They allege that Santiago was involved in corrupt dealings with a criminal, and he was killed over a 4,500 dollar bribe to get Mexican workers US Visas, yet FLOC lawyers argue that there is insufficient evidence under the Constitutional laws in Mexico to move forward with this line of investigation. Not even the National Mexican media is taking the police’s allegations seriously. In fact, this is the third time the police department has made an outrageous allegation in this investigation. Upon investigation, they have all been contrived stories to make the union look bad and wash their hands of the investigation. This is why we are asking that the Federal Government of Mexico take over the investigation of the case, which it is entitled to do in a human rights case.

The path to justice for Santiago is proving to be a long one full of frustration and misdirection, but FLOC understands that this case has transcended state and national boundaries. We are thankful that there are many people organizing solidarity around the globe to help FLOC seek justice. The perpetrators of this horrendous crime aimed to intimidate us, but they have only strengthened our resolve. FLOC sincerely thanks everyone who communicated their outrage on behalf of Santiago . Your solidarity encourages us. It is with your added strength that we promise to honor Santiago by carrying out the struggle which we shared for justice and peace.

HASTA LA VICTORIA !


Baldemar Velasquez
President of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee

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Wal-Mart Mexico; Not Child Labor; Kids Work for Free

Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans work for no wages, depending on tips alone. The men in the Pemex gas stations who fill and clean cars are almost all unpaid. The fellows who wash parked cars all over the cities depend on tips. And all the baggers and boxers, boys and girls supposedly between 14 and 16 but sometimes much younger who work in the grocery stores and shopping malls, all work for free. It’s not child labor. They’re volunteers! As reported this month in Newsweek:

“Wal-Mart is Mexico’s largest private-sector employer in the nation today, with nearly 150,000 local residents on its payroll. An additional 19,000 youngsters between the ages of 14 and 16 work after school in hundreds of Wal-Mart stores, mostly as grocery baggers, throughout Mexico—and none of them receives a red cent in wages or fringe benefits. The company doesn’t try to conceal this practice: its 62 Superama supermarkets display blue signs with white letters that tell shoppers: OUR VOLUNTEER PACKERS COLLECT NO SALARY, ONLY THE GRATUITY THAT YOU GIVE THEM. SUPERAMA THANKS YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING. The use of unsalaried youths is legal in Mexico because the kids are said to be “volunteering” their services to Wal-Mart and are therefore not subject to the requirements and regulations that would otherwise apply under the country’s labor laws. But some officials south of the U.S. border nonetheless view the practice as regrettable, if not downright exploitative. “These kids should receive a salary,” says Labor Undersecretary Patricia Espinosa Torres. “If you ask me, I don’t think these kids should be working, but there are cultural and social circumstances [in Mexico] rooted in poverty and scarcity.”

Joseph Contreras, “Unpaid Teens Bag Groceries for Wal-Mart / Thousands of adolescents work as unpaid baggers in Wal-Mart’s Mexican stores. / The retail giant isn’t breaking any laws—but that doesn’t mean the government is happy with the practice,” web exclusive by Newsweek, July 31, 2007.

[Note: the service workers' union affiliated to the Frente Autentico del Trabajo (FAT)has successfully organized a number of gas stations in the Mexico City area, winning decent wages and benefits for these workers, and for the first time ensuring that they receive health care coverage. - Ed.]

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Review: “The Uprising in Oaxaca”

Reviewed by Dan La Botz

Gerardo Rénique, “The Uprising in Oaxaca,” in Socialism and Democracy, Vol 21, No. 2, July 2007. Issue 44. Socialism and Democracy can be found on line at: http://www.sdonline.org/index2.htm Issue 44 is not yet posted.

The July issue of Socialism and Democracy has been dedicated largely to an analysis of “The Uprising in Oaxaca,” referring to the events of 2006 at the center of which stood the Popular Association of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO). Four authors present important analysis and reportage on the movement which will of interest to all of those interested in Mexico and to everyone concerned with understanding the social movements in our time.

Gerardo Rénique’s “Introduction” and Gustavo Esteva’s “Oaxaca: The Path to Radical Democracy” provide us with important historical background and context which helps us to better understand the long historical trajectory and the deep roots of the recent upheaval in Oaxaca. Rénique and Esteva make it clear that the contemporary movement has its origins in indigenous traditions, earlier episodes of university radicalism, leftist political parties, and the important role of the teachers union.

Gerardo Rénique’s “Subaltern Political Formation and the Struggle for Autonomy in Oaxaca,” the centerpiece of this collection, grapples with the relationship between movements and organizations as it tries to understand the nature of APPO. He looks at the complex interaction between Local 22 of the Mexican Teachers Union (el SNTE), various other social movements, and APPO which becomes the nodal point of the movement. He explains APPO’s commitment to a program of radical democratization and its nominal commitment to socialism which seems somehow lacking in a concrete project. Rénique’s essay is always stimulating and suggestive and never quite satisfying, but perhaps that is because he is trying to help us understand the living movement and rejects various formulations which would reduce it to a misleading label.

Lynn Stephen’s “Women Leaders in the Oaxaca Rebellion,” more reportage than analysis, tries to help us hear the voices and understand the actions of women, many of them indigenous women, who played a leading role in this upheaval as they have in others in the past. This essay focuses on the women’s take over of the radio and TV station and their broadcast of women’s view of the crisis. Stephen’s interviews give us a sense of the initiative, courage, and contribution of these women’s voices to the movement.

Deborah Poole’s short piece, “The Rights to Be Heard,” makes some comparisons between the Zapatista movement and the Oaxaca Uprising. She suggests that neoliberalism has led people in Chiapas and Oaxaca to attempt to create alternative political communities which may seem utopian. She suggests that the Oaxaca movement is not only about participatory democracy but also about what she calls a “new modality of more patient listening and hearing.”

This collection is to be highly recommended to all of those concerned not only about Oaxaca and Mexico but about the issues of social movements in the struggle for democracy and social change.

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Political Declaration of The Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca

AUGUST 9th, 2007
TO THE MEDIA
TO THE PEOPLE OF OAXACA
AND TO THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD

The past electoral process for the renovation of the local congress is a political thermometer to measure the distrust of the people and of the citizenry of the system of parties and institutions. In front of APPO’s call to vote in opposition to the PRI, PAN, PVEM, PANAL AND ALLIES as punishment, today it has been demonstrated that the people of Oaxaca have woken up, and that these people could evaluate with accuracy the different electoral actors based on their lack of a basic commitment to justice, among others things. The intelligent people also recognized those who acted against them, when solidarity was most needed to demand the exit of the assassin Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (URO). It was not, nor is it the aim of the APPO, to give the vote to the any political party; and the abstentionism is proof of the lack of credibility of those who contended in the elections, and represent the face of the antidemocracy of the political parties, which are far away from the people's inspirations, repeating the political control by party bosses and the preserves of power.

Also the abstentionism had an impact, given the policy of fear implemented by URO, who resorted to the use of old practices, special favors, plotting from within the electoral authorities the fraud and his supposed victory.

APPO as such, did not take part in the electoral process for the renovation of the local congress, since on the basis of its accords it had agreed that every organization or sector would do so in its own name, respecting the ideological diversity and the plurality that shapes it. APPO maintains and believes that the exercise of direct democracy from the assembly spaces, thegeneration of initiatives by organizations in each colonia, neighborhood, community, the constitution of the autonomous governments and the change in political practices, the fight to establish a popular and democratic government, a state constituent democratic and popular assembly that should elaborate a new constitution, is the only way that will lead us to a real and deep change of our state; changes do not come from above but from below, from the dispossessed and the poor of Oaxaca. (Emphasis in original).

Therefore, for the thousands of compañeros who did not go to vote due to the distrust in the parties demonstrate their dissent, it is not enough not to vote, but rather to create an organization of all of the people and to development it from below.

The compañeros who voted also have to consider this criterion since the evident fraud of the state party PRI and of the criminal government of URO, is one more example of the intransigence and authoritarianism that continues to be implemented by the State Electoral Institute, and that fewer than 20 % are those who supposedly will represent us in the congress. This reflects the illegitimacy and the vacuum in representation of the people in the next local congress for which it is necessary to characterize it as spurious.

THEREFORE, APPO continues to be a force in the fight for the social, political and economical transformation in Oaxaca, based on a political Program that reflects in large part the demands of the people and that will continue to be enriched in next regional and state events. With this, we issue a call to Oaxaca's different democratic sectors, in order to construct a process of deep discussion to definitively outline the proposal for the popular government for which we will continue to struggle until its establishment. The political control by party bosses cannot continue, for what it is necessary to continue fighting to build popular power, which includes the exit of URO and the social change in Oaxaca.

Therefor, the people of Oaxaca and the popular assembly, together, are going to continue fighting for these specific aims: the fall of the tyrant, freedom for the political prisoners, punishment of the people responsible for the repression, a halt to the repression. We are announcing some activities to develop in the coming days and a political position to address the electoral context.

* AUGUST 10th: Procession for Justice, in honor of compañero Jose Jiménez Colmenares that will depart from the monument to the mother, towards the cathedral where a mass will take place at 16:00 hrs. We call so that on Friday morning everyone comes to the cathedral side to join to the elaboration of a tapestry, bringing flowers, especially chrysanthemums and offerings.

* AUGUST 12th: the APPO, in coordination with the relatives of EMETERIO MARINO, will initiate an economic campaign; the family will open an account for the economic solidarity: 56 54630442 4 Satander serfin, branch 5325

* AUGUST 22nd: Honoring to the compañero Lorenzo Sampablo, so we should take part in an activity that will be designed in the coming days.

* SEPTEMBER 1st: Call for the creation of a counter-report of the people in response to the report of FECAL.
*SEPTEMBER 8th and 9th: State Assembly of APPO, we summon the communities and delegates in order to assist and to be able to define a course of struggle in the continuation of the civil pacific resistance.

* OCTOBER 8th: Continuation of the People's National Tribunal in ATENCO, so we call on all the aggrieved and other nationals to take part and denounce the human rights violations committed by the Mexican state. Especially the case of Oaxaca must be placed in front of the international bodies and authorities.

IN FRATERNITY:

ALL THE POWER TO THE PEOPLE
POPULAR ASSEMBLY OF THE PEOPLES OF OAXACA.

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Resource Center of the Americas Closes after 24 Years

On August 16, the Resource Center of the Americas announced that it was closing its doors "due to continuing and insurmountable financial challenges." The Resource Center was founded in 1983, focusing initially on Central America, where the U.S. was funding a contra war against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua and where right-wing governments in Guatemala and El Salvador were engaged in genocidal civil wars. Over the years, the focus expanded to all of Latin America and issues of globalization. In recent years, much of the Resource Center's work focused on Latin American immigrants in the United States. Emphasizing outreach to schools and teachers, the Resource Center published nine original curricula over the years.

“In the near term," the board of directors' announcement said, "the Center will return to its volunteer roots." A membership meeting in January will make further decisions on the future of the organization.

Labor solidarity and opposition to free trade agreements were prominent areas of work for the Resource Center. Among their varied activities, they helped to distribute Mexican labor News and Analysis for many years. We regret to see the Center close; the organization will be missed.

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Cuba/Venezuela/Mexico/North America Labor Conference –IV

From December 7- 9, 2007 at the Hotel Palacio Azteca, Tijuana, Mexico

In response to the repeated denial of visas by the U.S. State Department to tour the U.S., five Cuban leaders of the Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC) will visit Tijuana, Mexico, a city 15 minutes from the San Diego US/ Mexico border. This conference will give people from North America (the United States, Canada and Mexico) the opportunity to hear first hand from the Cubans about Cuba's workers and their unions. Also, you will hear from leaders of the Venezuelan union, UNT, about the present situation of the Venezuelan revolution and the issues facing Venezuelan workers.

For more information, e-mail: US-Cuba labor Exchange at laborexchange@aol.com


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Back to Table of Contents of Mexican Labor News & Analysis articles.

Archived MLNA issues.

 

Arturo Silva Doray

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

"The relationship that we've had with international organizations
-- thanks to ties with UE   --  is hugely important.

"After each international meeting, we feel more and more encouraged by the knowledge that we're backed by outside organizations as strong as the UE."

-- Arturo Silva Doray
General secretary of municipal workers union in Juarez, Mexico
& of Federation of Municipal Workers for Chihuahua, Mexico

 


 

For more Information

For information about submission of articles and all queries contact editor Dan La Botz at the following e-mail address: danlabotz@cs.com or call (513) 861-8722. The mailing address is: Dan La Botz, Mexican Labor News and Analysis, 3503 Middleton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220.

Can you reprint these articles?

Most MLNA articles may be reprinted by other electronic or print media. If the article includes a byline, republication requires the author's approval. For permission, please contact the author directly. If there is no byline, republication is authorized if the reproduction includes the following paragraph:

"This article was published by Mexican Labor News and Analysis, a monthly collaboration of the Mexico City-based Authentic Labor Front (FAT) and the Pittsburgh-based United Electrical Workers (UE)."

 

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