Center for World Indigenous Studies
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Climate of Impunity

Published: November 12, 2010, Author: JayTaber

In Oaxaca,
a region of popular collectives and strong social movements, the
Mexican military has targeted indigenous and environmental activists as
enemies of the political elite. Protecting their privileges against
demands by teachers and popular activism has led to what Oaxacan human
rights lawyer Alba Cruz calls a climate of impunity. With 50,000 police,
army, and paramilitary on the streets of Oaxaca, the institutionalized
violence that characterizes the Mexican state — much like in Plan
Colombia — is a showcase of US military aid awarded under the pretext of
combating drugs.

When the teachers of Oaxaca went on strike in 2006, a million
supporters marched in the street. The violent repression by the Mexican
military of this popular uprising, in a state where protest is illegal,
may upset Amnesty International and some agencies in the UN, but it is
unlikely to interrupt the flow of US Aid by an American administration
that recently conducted FBI raids against peace activists.

For human rights defenders like Alba Cruz, charges of sedition used
to inhibit popular organizing foreshadows a long bitter battle against
Free Trade.

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