MSN Acts: Mexico News + Analysis, Feb 9-15, ’09; etc..

MSN Acts: Mexico News + Analysis, Feb 9-15, ’09; etc..
Mexico News and Analysis, Feb 9-15, 2009
Mexico Solidarity Network
Red de Solidaridad con Mexico
MEXICO SOLIDARITY NETWORK
WEEKLY NEWS AND ANALYSIS
FEBRUARY 9-15, 2009
1. SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS IMPUNITY FOR ATENCO ABUSES
2. IFE FINES MEDIA GIANTS, THEN CANCELS FINES, THEN ?
3. LABOR REFORM INTRODUCED
4. CARTELS ORGANIZE DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST ARMY
5. CIUDAD JUAREZ HARD HIT BY CRISIS
6. MSN PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS (Contact MSN@MexicoSolidarity.org)
1. SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS IMPUNITY FOR ATENCO ABUSES
After a year-long investigation and four days of hearings, the Supreme Court exonerated high ranking officials for serious human rights abuses during the May 3 and 4, 2006, police invasion of San Salvador Atenco. The Justices recognized “grave human rights violations” in Atenco, but refused to attribute responsibility. Police arrested more than 200 people, sexually assaulted at least 30 women, assassinated two young students, invaded dozens of homes without warrants, and beat hundreds of people in actions that were broadcast over national television stations, yet the Supreme Court offered victims only the possibility of government reparations, without specifying who should pay. During the hearings, several justices sited international law which holds superiors responsible for the actions of those acting under their command, yet the Court exonerated Mexico State Governor Enrique Pena Nieto, who was responsible for state police, and Federal Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora, who was the Secretary of Public Security in 2006 and in charge of federal police units. Medina is considered close to President Felipe Calderon and Pena Nieto is considered a likely PRI presidential candidate in 2012 elections, perhaps accounting for their exonerations. The Justices called for prosecution of lower ranking police officials without mandating investigations.
2. IFE FINES MEDIA GIANTS, THEN CANCELS FINES, THEN ?
On Thursday, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) levied heavy fines against Mexico’s television duopoly, Televisa, TV Azteca and their cable counterparts, for broadcasting political commercials in two to six minute blocks, interrupting two nationally televised soccer games and children’s programming. The IFE found the ads to be “atypical” in that they were broadcast during interruptions in regular programming rather than during regular commercial breaks. A disclaimer preceded the ads accusing the IFE of responsibility for interrupting popular programming. The original fine was $11 million pesos (about US$800,000). The coordinated action was generally understood as a protest against last year’s electoral reforms which mandate all media outlets to provide 48 minutes of free political ads each week during election season. Then on Saturday, apparently under pressure from the Calderon administration, the ostensibly independent IFE cancelled the fines, claiming that a “new understanding” had been reached with the media giants. The PRI and PAN were docile in accepting the new arrangement, mainly out of fear that the powerful media giants would give them bad publicity leading up to this summer’s national elections. Then late Sunday, the IFE called both media goliaths to appear next week for additional hearings, with the possibility of renewing the sanctions.
3. LABOR REFORM INTRODUCED
Labor Secretary Javier Lozano introduced a labor reform law this week that is largely a replay of proposals defeated during the Fox administration. The proposed reform includes a provision that workers can only collect six months of back wages in the case of labor disputes that end up in the justice system, despite the fact that the justice process can often require years to reach conclusion. The new provision would likely end most legal actions by workers against employers. The proposal would replace the eight-hour day with hourly pay, making split shifts and short shifts possible. Currently Mexican workers are paid by the day, no matter how many hours they work. The proposal would make it virtually impossible for independent unions to represent workers, and would severely reduce the right to strike and authentic collective bargaining. And finally, the proposal would allow for temporary labor contracts and subcontracting, which would threaten rights to fringe benefits and severance pay.
4. CARTELS ORGANIZE DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST ARMY
Drug cartels are increasingly involved in the organization of public demonstrations calling for removal of the army and federal police from northern urban centers. This week, youth paid by cartels closed major highways and city streets in Monterrey, Mexico’s third largest city. It appears the youth were working closely with local police, as the few who were arrested were released within hours. Similar demonstrations have been organized in Laredo and Ciudad Juarez. Ski-masked youth are reportedly paid between 500 and 10,000 pesos for their participation in the demonstrations. The army has been accused of hundreds of serious human rights abuses over the past two years as troops replace local police in President Calderon’s war on drugs, according to reports by legitimate human rights organizations.
5. CIUDAD JUAREZ HARD HIT BY CRISIS
Fifty-seven maquiladoras in Ciudad Juarez are closed or working at severely reduced capacity, affecting more than 56,000 workers, nearly 20% of all maquiladora workers in the city. According to statistics from the Mexican Social Security Institute, 92,000 workers lost their jobs in the state of Chihuahua over the past 15 months, representing almost 1/7th of the state’s employment. On a national level, the automotive sector has been particularly hard hit. Production decreased by 51% in January and exports fell by 56%, according the Mexican Automotive Industry Association.
6. MSN PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS (Contact MSN@MexicoSolidarity.org)
STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM:
Mexico Solidarity Network study abroad programs are accredited at the undergraduate and masters level by the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, one of Mexico’s most prestigious public universities. Hampshire College is the US school of record and provides official transcripts.
Spring 2009, January 25 – May 2: Study in Chiapas, Tlaxcala, Mexico City and Ciudad Juarez, focusing on the theory and practice of Mexican social movements, including indigenous movements, campesino organizations, and urban movements. The 14-week, 16-credit program includes intensive Spanish language courses and alternative study options for native Spanish speakers.
Summer 2009, June 7 – August 1: Study Mexico’s most important social movements in Chiapas, Mexico City and Tlaxcala. The eight-week, 11-credit program includes intensive Spanish classes and alternative study options for native Spanish speakers.
Summer 2009, June 14 – July 25: The Border Dynamics program focuses on US-Mexico border dynamics viewed through a third world feminist lens. The six-week, 8-credit program is Spanish immersion.
Fall 2009, September 6 – December 12: Study in Chiapas, Tlaxcala, Mexico City and Ciudad Juarez, focusing on the theory and practice of Mexican social movements, including indigenous movements, campesino organizations, and urban movements. The 14-week, 16-credit program includes intensive Spanish language courses and alternative study options for native Spanish speakers.
CHICAGO AUTONOMOUS CENTER (3460 W. LAWRENCE AVE.)
ESL and Spanish Literacy classes: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings, and Saturday mornings. Classes utilize popular education strategies to increase conversational English capacity and basic reading and writing skills in Spanish.
Cultural events and political workshops:
For a full schedule of cultural events and political workshops, contact the Mexico Solidarity Network at 773-583-7728 or visit http://www.mexicosolidarity.or
SPEAKING TOURS:
Contact MSN@MexicoSolidarity.org to schedule an event in your city.
February 15-28, 2009 (Mid Atlantic): Edith López Ovalle is a 25-year-old artist and a member of Hijos por la Identidad y la Justicia contra el Olvido y el Silencio (HIJOS) where she Works with the Committee on Art and Politics. HIJOS is a member of the Otra Campaña and works around questions of human rights, particularly the death and disappearance of social actors. The parents of most of the members of HIJOS were political prisoners, and many were killed or disappeared in the 60s, 70s and 80s. HIJOS is a multi-national organization founded in Argentina and with chapters in Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Chile and Mexico. HIJOS works at the cultural level with innovative public events like “escraches” that draw attention to human rights violators. In “escraches,” protestors hold vigils or demonstrations in front of the homes or offices of human rights violators, calling public attention to their illegal acts in front of neighbors and fellow workers. HIJOS also renames streets, replacing the names of known human rights violators with dissident heroes. For more information on HIJOS, see www.hijosmexico.org.
March 29 – April 11, 2009 (New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio): Jorge Santiago is the former Director of Desarrollo Económico y Social de los Méxicanos Indígenas (DESMI) where he spent much of the past three decades developing economic alternatives in Chiapas indigenous communities. Jorge was active in the Diocese of San Cristóbal from 1970 to 2000 under the leadership of former Bishop Samuel Ruiz. Jorge has traveled extensively in Latin America and Europe discussing alternative indigenous development in Chiapas, and he is a leader in the “solidarity economy” movement. He was born in San Cristobal and has lived in Chiapas most of his life. Jorge will talk about alternative development in indigenous communities and the broad historical context of the Zapatista movement.
April 5-18, 2009 (California): Patricia Hernández is a member of the organizations Educación para la Liberación de Nuestros Pueblos (OZELNP) and Espacio de Encuentro de Mujeres “tejedoras de resistencias.” Both organizations are adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona and members of the Otra Campaña. Patricia is a sociologist with a specialty in gender and education. She will talk about her work in Zapatista communities as an education promoter and the role of urban activists in the Otra Campaña.
April, 2009 (Mid Atlantic): Border dynamics. Veronica Leyva, a native of Ciudad Juarez, will speak about maquiladoras, immigration and struggles for land along the border, with particular emphasis on the Lomas de Poleo struggle. Veronia is the MSN staff person in Ciudad Juarez. She worked for seven years in maquiladoras and six years as a labor/community organizer before joining the MSN staff in 2004.
ALTERNATIVE ECONOMY INTERNSHIPS:
Develop markets for artisanry produced by women’s cooperatives in Chiapas and make public presentations on the struggle for justice and dignity in Zapatista communities.
Interns are currently active in: New York City; El Paso, TX; Salt Lake City, UT; Rochester, NY; Albuquerque, NM; Washington, DC; Chico, CA; Stonington, ME; Minneapolis, MN; Berkeley, CA; Grand Rapids, MI; Salem, OR; Santa Cruz, CA; Chatham, NJ; Rutland, MA; Chicago, IL; Corpus Christi, TX; and Houston, TX
Please accept our apologies if you have received this email in error.
If this message has been forwarded to you and you would like to subscribe to the Mexico Solidarity Network mailing list, please visit www.mexicosolidarity.org and use the subscription feature provided, or send a blank message to allies-subscribe@mexicosolidasrity.org
 
Summer and Fall Study Abroad in Mexico
Mexico Solidarity Network
Red de Solidaridad con Mexico
2009 Study Abroad Opportunities in Mexico
Here’s a unique opportunity to study in an accredited program with some of Mexico’s most important living social movements, including:
– Zapatistas in Chiapas
– The Frente Popular Francisco Villa Independiente, Mexico’s largest urban housing movement located in Mexico City
– The Consejo Nacional Urbano Campesino, one of Mexico’s most important rural movements located in Tlaxcala
– Families of femicide victims and maquiladora workers in Ciudad Juarez
These unique study abroad programs feature home stays with members of social movements, encouraging unprecedented learning opportunities with organizers and activists on the front line in popular struggles. The program combines experiential learning with theoretical work in a seminar and workshop based pedagogy that emphasizes student participation.
Programs are accredited by the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, one of Mexico’s most important public universities. Hampshire College and SUNY-Albany are the US schools of record and provide official transcripts. The program is also formally recognized by the University of Texas-Austin, New Mexico State University, Appalachian State University, and more than 70 others.
Fall and Spring semesters are 14 week, 16-credit programs that travel the length and breadth of Mexico, including Chiapas, Mexico City, Tlaxcala and Ciudad Juarez.
Fall 2009: September 6 – December 12
Spring 2010: January 31 – May 8
Two summer 2009 programs focus on:
Border dynamics, with an emphasis on third world feminism. This six week course offers 8 credits and is based in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez. The course is Spanish immersion with classes and most readings in Spanish.
June 14 – July 25
Mexican social movements. This eight week course offers 11 credits and is based in Chiapas, Mexico City and Tlaxcala. The course focuses on the practice, theory and context of Mexico’s most important living social movements.
June 7 – August 1
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Programs have a tendency to fill quickly, so apply early to assure your spot. Most financial aid programs from your home university are applicable, and you can apply for aid through our US schools of record. The Mexico Solidarity Network also offers a scholarship program. We’ll work with you to make sure this unique study abroad opportunity is affordable.
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About reality

Also, thanx for signing my petitions, et al, please consider sharing them. Also, since Admin. of change.org aren't allowing me to invite people to do my actions lately and are switching my urls for my petitions so when I invite people off their site they can't get to the petition either (ergo 3 possible urls for each petition), here's a few of my latest actions; do as few or as many as you'd like (there are 3 linx for each petition because admin. switches between the 3 of them so people trying to sign the petition can‘t get to it): This post on Disabled Greens News and discussion: Haiti disaster anniversary, please, do what you can: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DisabledGreensNews/message/9033 This petition on change.org: Haiti disaster anniversary: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/haiti_disaster_anniversary_2?share_id=yIpWHEHxri&pe=pce http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/haiti_disaster_anniversary_2 http://www.change.org/petitions/view/haiti_disaster_anniversary_2   This post on Disabled Greens News and discussion: Green, Indigenous, Native American, etc., actions: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DisabledGreensNews/message/9026 This petition on change.org: Green, Indigenous, Native American, acts: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/green_indigenous_native_american_acts?share_id=NHvTtQadfP&pe=pce http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/green_indigenous,_native_american_acts http://www.change.org/petitions/view/green_indigenous,_native_american_acts   This post on Disabled Greens News and discussion: Art/Act: celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, holiday: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DisabledGreensNews/message/9024 This petition on change.org: Art/Act: celebrate Dr. M.L. King, Jr.'s holiday: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/artact_celebrate_dr_ml_king_jrs_holiday?share_id=QjOkAUGeBQ&pe=pce http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/art_act_celebrate_dr_ml_king_jr_s_holiday http://www.change.org/petitions/view/art_act_celebrate_dr_ml_king_jr_s_holiday   This post on Disabled Greens News and discussion: Green; NA; the evolution; Civil, Human, LP, Prisoner's Rights; Poverty; etc..: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DisabledGreensNews/message/9022 This petition on change.org: Economically empower through advocacy: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/economically_empower_through_advocacy?share_id=WZNqBQWcXE&pe=pce http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/economically_empower_through_advocacy http://www.change.org/petitions/view/economically_empower_throug
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