La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

More on the EZLN, again

Today's (leftist) paper has no less than nine articles about the EZLN.

First, the Secretary of State confirmed that the drugs destroyed last week were not in EZLN territory, and assures the public that the government is not beginning an offensive against the EZLN. The President's office reiterated the same point. (See how nice the President and his Secretary of State can coordinate their statements and appear more consistent when neither is running for President? Creel's contradictions of Fox's spokesperson, I believe, did much to hurt people's confidence in Fox and to some extent the PAN in general.)

On the other hand, the military does seem to be rearranging some of its personnel in the region, but to what ends is not clear.

Second, ONG's are warning that paramilitary activity in Chiapas is on the rise, while at the same time, a government agency has decided that the EZLN is not a terrorist organization. The National Commission on Human Rights is urging the government and Zapatistas to begin a dialogue to avoid hostilities. The Bishop in Chiapas has said that the EZLN cannot remain silent on the 2006 elections.

In Puebla, several people protested in front of central Bancomer offices because the bank had cancelled eight accounts where national and international donors could send money for communities (including Zapatista communities) in Chiapas.

Third, a story about how deserted the rebel controlled parts of Chiapas appear. Reporters describe how some towns are like ghost towns; no one responds when reporters call out in the center of town. I'm not sure how much tourism was received by the rebel controlled (governed) areas before the red alert, but if any, it is certainly over now.

Fourth, sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein was in San Christobal in Chiapas to present his book yesterday, and La Jornada interviewed him about the situation.

My interpretation or opinion? The EZLN is clearly trying to move public opinion and affect the 2006 presidential elections. They have begun so early because the pre-candidates have begun their campaigns within each party and in public. So the EZLN would like to influence the candidacies and later the actual election. The down side to this early effort to have influence through the media is that it will probably bring additional hardship to many of the indigenous living in the EZLN controlled territories. It will probably also hurt tourism in the rest of Chiapas, as foreigners and nationals alike decide not to travel to Chiapas for fear of violence. (I should point out that if I had time, I would still plan a trip to Chiapas....not necessarily to rebel controlled areas...where I wouldn't go even before the red alert...but a trip to the major cities and other areas should not be hurt. For instance, I would say that Chiapas is probably safer to visit even with the red alert, than nearly any border town right now.) So, the early mobilization will probably hurt the economy, which is unfortunate for the residents that live there.

posted by Michelle @ 10:07 AM,


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