It�s been a busy and interesting week regarding developments
in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the U.S.
First, there was the report in the Mexican media on July 29 that an
investigation by officials from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police into the
murder of U.S. independent journalist Brad Will affirmed the conclusions drawn
by the Mexican Federal Attorney General�s Office (PGR) regarding his death. The
PGR, contrary to all available evidence, claims Will, shot in Oaxaca in 2006,
was killed at close range by an anti-government protester.
The media reports raised more questions than they answered.
For example, why was the RCMP investigating this, and why, as evident from the
reports, did they carry out such a clearly laughable investigation?
These questions and more were answered when Brad Will�s
family released a statement soundly debunking the so-called RCMP
report. As it turns out, there was no official RCMP investigation. It was
merely three retired RCMP officers who did an �investigation� which the Mexican
government then presented to the media as an official RCMP report.
Wednesday, Physicians for Human Rights -- a group that
actually did investigate Brad�s murder -- issued a press release that similarly called into question
the veracity of the ex-RCMPers� report. James Stephen, Phil Ziegler and Gary
Buerk certainly have some serious rebutting to do if they don�t want to be
tarnished as integrity-free hacks-for-hire. Although I�m sure there�s always a
market for those types.
The conclusions of another �investigation� regarding Oaxaca
were released Tuesday by Mexico�s Supreme Court. They took it
upon themselves to investigate the actions of the state and federal governments
who brutally repressed the 2006 uprising. Unsurprisingly, the Supreme Court
found the use of force -- which left 27 dead and hundreds injured, arrested and
tortured -- to be legitimate. This is the same court which found the murders and mass rapes by police that occurred in Atenco in
2006 to also be unworthy of investigating.
But one question remains -- why all these reports stating
how the Mexican state is not at fault for the atrocities of 2006 in Oaxaca? The
answer can be found in Plan Mexico, aka the Merida Initiative. The three-year,
$1.4 billion aid (mostly military) package to Mexico and Central America has a
human rights requirement for Mexico. Yearly, the U.S. State Department must
certify Mexico�s respect for human rights and the Congress must approve that
certification. If that doesn�t happen, then Mexico loses 15 percent of the Plan
Mexico funds. Of course, Mexico gets the other 85 percent no matter how many
people it tortures and kills, but it could do it much more effectively if it
got 100 percent of the funds.
Also, later this month both Secretary of State Clinton and
President Obama are to visit Mexico to see how the U.S.�s hegemonic efforts
under the tutelage of Felipe Calderon are holding up.
The family of Juan Manuel Martinez Moreno -- the Oaxacan
social activist being framed by Mexico for the murder of Brad Will -- is requesting an audience with Obama in Mexico City. The
Mexican government would, of course, rather avoid this and any other scrutiny
of its human rights record, while at the same time receiving all the Plan
Mexico funds. So the timing of the non-RCMP and Supreme Court reports saying
that everything is fine in Oaxaca is no surprise.
However, it appears that their efforts have all been for
naught. For while Clinton�s State Dept. dutifully certified Mexico�s human
rights record this week, even though human rights complaints have risen 600
percent under Calderon�s regime, Senator Leahy on Wednesday blocked the certification from
being voted upon in the Senate, basically saying he doesn�t believe the State
Dept. Maybe Amnesty International got to him. This means that, at least for the time being,
the Mexican government will only have 85 percent of the Plan Mexico funds at
its disposal to deploy against the social movements demanding justice and an
end to impunity. Which, given that Plan Mexico shouldn�t exist at all, is still
appallingly too much.
Campbell is a graduate student at NYU who spent six months in Oaxaca last year.
He posts observations and translations at his blog, Angry White Kid.