Atenco and the Mexican Elections

As activists, intellectuals, and artists we wish to express the following:

We are deeply concerned about the escalation of intimidation by the Mexican government—as well as a systematic pattern of serious human rights violations perpetrated by the administration of Vicente Fox, in collaboration with the PRI—against the legitimate resistance and struggles of the Mexican people.

More than a month after the police incursion in the town of San Salvador Atenco, Estado de Mexico, it has become public knowledge that two young men were assassinated by police gunfire; houses were raided, searched, and property destroyed. Two hundred people were detained without a warrant and many of them were brutally beaten and tortured. Five foreigners were physically abused and illegally deported from the country. And most disturbing, the majority of the forty-seven female detainees were victims of sexual aggression, abuse, and rape.

These actions appear to be part of a recurrent pattern in Mexican history that reveals the authoritarian and violent face of the Mexican State in the last decades: like the massacres of October 2, 1968, June 10, 1971, and December 22, 1997. The recent atrocities in Atenco are a reminder that repression and brutality are endemic to the Mexican government, allowing the powerful interests that rule the country to maintain their hold on power while also remaining unaccountable and seemingly exempt from the grievous violations of human rights that continue to take place. 

Because little has been done to investigate and punish those responsible for the serious violations of human rights that took place in Atenco, we support the calls for an immediate, full and impartial investigation from international organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Civil Commission for the Observation of Human Rights.
We have witnessed over the last ten years the growth of a vital, progressive, inclusive, peaceful, and imaginative grass roots movement, inspired by the struggle and resistance of the Zapatistas. We wish to express our solidarity with the indigenous people, campesinos, workers, women, and civilian organizations that have been the targets of government-sponsored abuses.

We support the deep need for a change in Mexico—the history of Mexico as an independent republic deserves to flourish in its search for justice, democracy and equality for its citizens. The change also needs to include a break from neoliberal structural reforms and independence from the United States’ designs for imperial hegemony in the hemisphere. We will be watching that the elections are conducted in a peaceful and just manner: the popular vote must be respected. And above all, the activist grass-roots movements, who are independent of the electoral process, must be protected against the abuses of power by the Mexican government, so that they do not become targets of repression for the creation of social instability and fear.

Noam Chomsky, Author/Professor, Tariq Ali, Author , Howard Zinn, Historian and Author, Mike Davis, Author, State Senator Tom Hayden (retired), Cindy Sheehan, Camp Casey, Michael Eric Dyson, Writer/Professor/Minister – U. of Pennsylvania, Zack De La Rocha, Musician, Jodie Evans, CodePink, Jeff Chang, Author, David Barsamian, Author, Suheir Hammad, Poet , Ruben Ortiz Torres, Artist/ Professor, UC San Diego, Brian Cross, Photographer/Filmmaker, Anthony Arnove, Author, Sohail Daulatzai, Professor, UC Irvine, Aura Bogado, Journalist, Dan Stormer, Civil Rights Lawyer, Pilar Perez, Editor, Sandra de la Loza, Artist/Instructor, CSUN, Amitis Motevalli, Visual Artist, Lalo Medina, Artist, Mariana Botey, Artist

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