Mexico: Success for the CADTM international network

28 May by CADTM


The CADTM activities from 26 April to 16 May 2022 in Mexico have been fully successful. Over one thousand people participated in person in a dozen of public activities involving talks by CADTM international delegates. Those activities took place in eight different Mexican states (including the capital’s federal district). [1]

Here are a few figures on public participation for each venue and date: 150 people in Oaxaca (capital city of the State of Oaxaca 500 km South of the capital) on 26 April; 30 people in Toluca (capital of the State of Mexico) on 27 April; 170 people in Cuernavaca (capital of the State of Morelos, 100 km from Mexico DF) on 28 April and on the same day about 200 people in Guadalajara (capital of the State of Jalisco, 500 km North-West of the capital); 200 people on 2 May in Mexico DF in the premises of the Mexican trade union of electricians (SME) – to which we must add over fifty online participants; 30 people also in the Mexican capital on the Santo Domingo square on 3 May; about one hundred people in Puebla (capital of the State of Puebla, 150 km from Mexico DF) on 6 May for two distinct activities; some sixty people in Mérida (capital of the State of Yucatan, 1,300 km from Mexico DF) on 12 May for two distinct activities and again some sixty people in Cancun (1,600 km from Mexico DF in the State of Quintana Roo) on 16 May.

Plus echoes in the media: two interviews in the paper edition of La Jornada, the main left-wing daily with several hundreds of thousands of readers with a website visited over 145,000 times per day (the two interviews were also published on La Jornada website, on the CADTM and other websites); an article in the daily paper Sol del Yucatan; articles in Puebla papers, an op-ed article in La JornadaVideos were shared on social networks by the Mexican trade union of electricians (SME) (see their radio programme – in Spanish – from minute 40) and by Promotora para la Suspension del Pago de la Deuda,… etc.

 Some data on Mexico

  • Population: about 130 million.
  • Area : 2 million square km, i.e. 4 times the land area of France or Spain, 5 times that of Germany, 1.5 times that of Mali, 2.5 times that of Pakistan and only slightly less than that of the DRC.
  • 68 indigenous nations make up some 15% of the population.
  • Mexico became independent from Spain in 1821.
  • Mexico went through several major debt crises (see Mexico proved that debt can be repudiated and The Mexican debt crisis and the World Bank and on several occasions succeeded in repudiating debts considered to be illegitimate).

 The current Mexican government

The government of president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), whose mandate runs from 2018 to 2024, had promised to achieve Mexico’s fourth transformation. The first transformation occurred during the first decades of the country’s independence, which had been won in 1821; the second transformation consisted in the liberal and republican reforms in the third quarter of the 19th century under Benito Juarez’s presidency; the third one started with the Mexican revolution in 1910 but was most noticeable under President Lazaro Cardenas (1934-1940). The fourth claims to put an end to the neoliberal policies that have been predominant since the 1980s and to resume and deepen the trends of the first three transformations. [2] For Éric Toussaint, spokesperson of the CADTM, AMLO’s policy does not transgress the neoliberal capitalist model. The underlying logic is still the same, even though some positive changes indicate a difference from the former governments: the government has tried to fight corruption, which is thriving in the state apparatus; new programmes of social aid have been set up; the right to a universal retirement pension has been implemented though at a very low level (1,900 Mexican pesos per month, i.e. about 95 euros or 100 dollars) [3]; state repression against social movements has diminished.

In terms of public debt, AMLO’s government has so far followed a neoliberal conservative policy. While in his 2018 election campaign AMLO had exposed the illegitimate nature of a series of public debts, once in office he has continued to pay. He did not set up a debt audit with citizens’ participation. Mexico’s debt has continued to increase. The Promotora for the suspension of public debt payment calls on the government to urgently change its course.

AMLO’s government has also launched major public works in terms of communication infrastructures such as the Mayan Train or the ‘transisthmic corridor’, that is a transport corridor between the Caribbean Sea (and thus the Atlantic Ocean) and the Pacific Ocean near Tehuantepec; those projects are sharply criticized by a number of social movements, peasants’ movements, environmental groups, the Zapatist movement,…

A situation of extreme violence
The violence perpetrated by organized crime, and in particular the drug cartels, with the complicity of certain sectors of the apparatus of the State, is extreme. One of the forms that violence takes is the frequent enforced disappearance of people. Some 100,000 persons have disappeared since the 1960s. Even more ominous is the fact that the annual number of enforced disappearances has increased in recent years. According to La Jornada of 19 May 2022, “Mexico has passed the 100,000 cases of persons who have disappeared or are reported disappeared, according to official figures provided by the National Register of Disappeared Persons (RNPD), coordinated by the Ministry of the Interior. Although the phenomenon has existed since the 1960s, a period when forced disappearances had political motivations, what set off the massive increase now acknowledged by the government was the ‘War on Drugs’ launched in 2006, which is behind more than 95% of the cases reported.

Considered by the current administration to be a human-rights crisis, the growing trend in disappearances is associated – according to the diagnosis of the United Nations Committee on Enforced disappearances (CED) – with the presence of organized crime in several States – in a number of cases in collusion with police, mainly at the State and municipal levels. Official data corroborate that drug trafficking is the fundamental cause of the problem.

The RNPD reports on the evolution of the phenomenon with a breakdown by period: between 15 March 1964 and 30 November 2006, 1,988 disappearances were recorded, mainly as a result of the dirty war waged by the State against the insurrectional movements; the war on drugs turned the trend into a mass phenomenon, with – according to official figures – 16,903 disappearances under the administration of Felipe Calderón (2006-2012); the continuity of the strategy against organized crime under Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018) resulted in an increase of 100%, reaching a level of 35,610 disappearances during his six-year term.
Even though the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador has taken measures to implement a legal framework and an institutional structure to fight crime, and has shown openness to international surveillance and collaboration, the efforts have been insufficient.

The figures reveal that in only three and a half years in government another 31,400 persons have disappeared.”

The number of feminicides is also frighteningly high. Officially, an average of 10 women are murdered in Mexico each day. In 2021 only 1,044 of the 3,750 homicides of women, girls, and adolescent girls were classified as feminicides.

Every year the number of women murdered increases. We can read in La Jornada of 23 April 2022: “The phenomenon of disappearances is closely linked to feminicide, since many women who are not found ultimately prove to be cases of feminicide. The Observatorio Ciudadano Nacional del Feminicidio (OCNF) has stated that, according to information supplied by prosecutors’ offices in 19 States, ‘from January to December 2021, 10,322 women, girls and adolescents disappeared, 2,281 of whom are still recorded as missing, and the majority are minors.”

Added to that is violence against activists, peasant leaders, and labour organizers with targeted assassinations generally ordered by large landowners, major corporations, etc.

The Promotora for suspension of repayment of public debt joins the CADTM network

The Promotora for suspension of payment of public debt was founded in 2020. It is a coalition made up of political and social organizations (including the Mexican electricians’ union) as well as individuals. It meets every week and regularly organizes activities in various parts of Mexico.

It was the Promotora who organized the dozen or so public activities in which CADTM International participated between 26 April and 16 May 2022 (see the assessment written by Benito Mirón and published by La Jornada, an English translation of which has been published by CADTM).

At the continental meeting of the CADTM AYNA held in the offices of the SME on 29 and 30 April 2022, the Promotora was welcomed with enthusiasm as a member. The meeting of the CADTM AYNA was attended by delegates from Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay and Puerto Rico, as well as by a delegation of the CADTM joint international secretariat. Haiti’s delegation was not able to arrive in Mexico until 3 May but was able to meet with most delegates of the CADTM who were still in the Mexican capital.

The CADTM adopted an ambitious program for the month and for the year 2023: authoring and publication of a book on debt in Latin America and the Caribbean; development of instructional tools; a meeting to be held in 2023 with legislators from throughout the region to debate the CADTM’s proposals regarding the struggle against illegitimate debt.

All in all, the intense programme of activities organized by the CADTM and the Promotora for the suspension of repayment of public debt was a resounding success.




Footnotes

[1Mexico is a federation of 32 States.

[3Anyone reaching 65 is entitled to this retirement pension, which is paid on an account of the public bank of well-being (Banco del Bienestar) also created by the AMLO government. The government had promised to increase the amount by 20% in 2022 and to take it up to 3,000 pesos per month by the end of its mandate in 2024.

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