From the January-February 2021 issue of News & Letters
by Eugene Walker
Mexico’s authoritarian military—The brouhaha between Mexico and the U.S. as to whether or not General Salvador Cienfuegos, when he was the Secretary of National Defense under former President Peña Nieto, was involved in protecting and abetting a narco-trafficking cartel’s importing drugs to the U.S., misses the real scandal and tragedy of Mexico’s army and navy. It is their repressive, authoritarian role in Mexican society, historically and in the present moment.
While President López Obrador proclaimed Cienfuegos’ innocence, he has nothing to say about the growing role of the military in his “progressive” administration. The army has consistently stonewalled any thoroughgoing investigation into its role in the disappearance of the 43 Normalista students of Ayotzinapa in 2014 (see “The 5th anniversary of Ayotzinapa,” Nov.-Dec. 2019 N&L).
This, despite much indirect evidence that troops were involved. The navy has a long and despicable history of human rights violations, again, never honestly investigated. Impunity reigns.
The reality is that López Obrador, in his first two years in office, has increased the military budget by some 40%. He treats the military as a sacred cow. If the narco-traffic gangs run roughshod over the country, do the armed forces have the same kind of power over the federal government? Who exactly controls Mexican society? What is the full role of Mexico’s authoritarian military?
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The Zapatistas’ Declaration for Life—On Jan. 1 the Zapatistas, together with hundreds upon hundreds of other organizations and individuals, on five continents of our planet, issued a “Declaration for Life”:
During these previous months, we have established contact between us by various means. We are women, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, transvestites, transsexuals, intersex, queer and more, men, groups, collectives, associations, organizations, social movements, indigenous peoples, neighborhood associations, communities and a long etcetera that gives us identity. We are differentiated and separated by lands, skies, mountains, valleys…
Only very few things unite us:
That we make the pains of the earth our own: violence against women; persecution and contempt of those who are different in their affective, emotional, and sexual identity; annihilation of childhood; genocide against the native peoples; racism; militarism; exploitation; dispossession; the destruction of nature.
The understanding that a system is responsible for these pains. The executioner is an exploitative, patriarchal, pyramidal, racist, thievish and criminal system: capitalism.
The knowledge that it is not possible to reform this system…
The commitment to fight, everywhere and at all times…against this system until we destroy it completely. The survival of humanity depends on the destruction of capitalism. We do not surrender, we do not sell out, and we do not give up.
The certainty that the fight for humanity is global. Just as the ongoing destruction does not recognize borders, nationalities, flags, languages, cultures, races; so the fight for humanity is everywhere, all the time…
To concretize this, there is a call for meeting and discussions on the five continents. The Zapatistas with other Mexican Indigenous and community organizations are going to undertake a voyage to Europe next Summer and Fall to be “the bridge of dignity that connects the Europe from Below and on the Left with the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.”