Protests Around Mexico


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Protests Around Mexico
by XicanoPwr
Tue Aug 08, 2006 at 05:15:05 PM EST

As tens of thousands of supporters for presidential candidate Andrés Manuel 
López Obrador (known by his initials as AMLO) continue protesting what is barely
covered are the people who are participating in the acts of civil disobedience. 
So far protest has crippled key areas of the capital, Mexico City, that includes
its financial district (via Mercury Rising) and the elegant Reforma boulevard 
that houses the US Embassy and the headquarters of banks and major companies. 
According to Reuters, According to Reuters, Mexico's stock market building was 
shut down for a short time because it was meant to show the what how far the 
protesters willing to go to protest.

They withdrew from the area at around 11 a.m. (1600 GMT), claiming a symbolic 
victory and threatening to return Friday.

"We're leaving now. This was a show of what we can start to do," said Graco 
Ramirez, a senator-elect from Lopez Obrador's Party of the Democratic 
Revolution, or PRD.

After two days of declines, Mexican stocks and the peso did recover on Wednesday
which analysts say the street blockades has contributed to their fall. President
Vicente Fox's said the demonstrations were costing the capital commerce and 
keeping people from their jobs.

Commentary :: ::

Many fear the street blockades will last for weeks, moreover, many Mexicans are 
frustrated and have wondering if he has going too far and have asked President 
Fox and the Interior Secretary Carlos Abascal to call on Mexico City's Mayor 
Alejandro Encinas to find a way to end the street protests. But their words only
fell on deaf ears, because Mexico City is a Democratic Revolution Party (in 
Spanish, PRD).

What is not understood by the Mexican Government or those who are against AMLO, 
the people who have made their way to Mexico City have done it to set up camp 
for the long term. There are those who question the tactics because at times, 
the tents are empty and assume it has more to do with a logistical operation to 
choke the city. However, the protesters are there on a mission, they are there 
for the long haul and they will protest in shifts, while taking time off from 
their families and/or their jobs till their demands have been met, a full 
recount of the Presidential election. Their message: We are many and we're not 
going away.

"I am headed to my new home," said Carmen Quintano Arcon, 44, a housewife ... 
"Whatever it takes."

As supporters occupy a five mile stretch of roadway, it is producing miles of 
congestion not making it easy to reach the US embassy, the Mexican stock 
exchange, the prime tourist district and countless hotels and smaller 

For those who are trying to get downtown are either forced to end their taxi 
rides short and walk for blocks or give up on trying to get to work. There are 
reports that commuting time has taken as many as two extra hours to reach their 
downtown destination.

López Obrador was defeated by Felipe Calderón of the National Action Party (PAN,
in Spanish) in the closest presidential election in modern Mexican history. 
Before and during the election, it was reported the country was split in half 
when it came to voting patterns. Felipe Calderón carried Mexico's northern half 
while López Obrador took the southern half.

Briefly mentioned are the small groups of protesters in the Northern States of 
Mexico are also have engaged in acts of civil disobedience. Although these 
states are considered PAN strong holds, the places where these actions took 
place are very significant.

The call for civil disobedience reached Mexico/Texas border towns. On August 4, 
protesters supporting ALMO's call for civil disobedience blocked the 
international bridges in Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and Matamoros. At a designated 
time, protesters blocked the foot of the bridges.

In Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, at 9 am, protesters temporarily blocked 
traffic going northbound on Nuevo Laredo's International Bridge I - the Gateway 
to the Americas Bridge. According to the Laredo Morning Times, the protest 
lasted only for two hours and was lead by Alejandro Almaráz, head of the state 
committee of the PRD in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, and fellow party member
Francisco Chavira who also serves on Nuevo Laredo's city council.

"This type of manifestations will continue so long as (authorities) do not 
comply with the petitions of our candidate," Chavira said. "We are insisting on 
a vote-by-vote recount, polling site by polling site."

And like in Mexico City, both transit and city police did not attempt to disrupt
the protesters.

Although the protest lasted for two hours, it did not put the Cities of Nuevo 
Laredo and Laredo, TX at a stand still; however, motorists and pedestrians were 
not pleased with the extra time it took to cross the border. Also according to 
the LMT, several people felt that the protest taking place should not be allowed
to directly affect life on the border.

In Matamoros, Tamaulipas, it was a different story. A small group of protesters 
blocked the main artery that led to the Matamoros-Brownsville Veterans 
International Bridge at Los Tomates. According to The Brownsville Herald, 
Cameron County Transportation Director Pete Sepulveda estimated that 100 
vehicles and commercial trucks were on the bridge when the protest occurred.

The San Antonio Express-News reported that the protesters were not wearing the 
traditional party's trademark yellow shirts, however, they waved López Obrador 
campaign signs and held up signs that read "Stop Electoral Fraud." Rommel 
Delgado, a 23-year-old teacher, told the Express-News:

"We're here because we are sure that López Obrador won," Rommel Delgado, a 
23-year-old teacher, said over the horns of miffed truckers and drivers. 
"Unfortunately, this is the only way to get the government to pay attention to 
us," Delgado said.

The Brownsville Herald reported that there were no incidents took place, except 
that drivers were just frustrated.

Juan Antonio Sanchez Zamarripa was in one of them.

"We just want to get home," Sanchez said, waiting for traffic to clear up. "Esta
mal (It's wrong)."

However, the Express-News reported there were mixed reactions to the protest. 
According to The San Antonio Express-News some drivers gave a thumbs up and 
turned their vehicles around, while others "shouted expletives" at the group. 
Everando Guajardo, 18-wheeler truck driver, told The Express-News the protest 
caused him to miss his scheduled delivery of cotton he was carrying to the Port 
of Brownsville.

"Why don't they go in front of Congress?" he asked. "Why do they come mess with 
those of us who are just trying to make it through a work day?"

The demonstrations that took place in Matamoros was unlike the peaceful 
demonstration that took place in Nuevo Laredo. The Matamoros demonstration, did 
not last for two hours, but only 20 minutes because frustrated drivers decided 
to take matters into their own hands since the federal police also allowed the 
protest to take place.

According to The San Antonio Express-News, after one driver decided to "drive 
right through the protesters," other drivers followed the drivers example. The 
protest ended at 5:20 before the situation turned for the worse.

Even though the protest didn't last as long as it did in Nuevo Laredo, protest 
organizer and local party leader, Jorge de la Rosa, told The Brownsville Herald 
and the Express-News the blockade was just a "probadita," - a small taste of 
what to expect.

"This is just a taste of what's coming," Jorge de la Rosa, the protest organizer
said. "Next time we will block it for 24-48 hours."

Unfortunately, there are no reports on what took place at Reynosa-McAllen 
international bridge protest. One has to wonder if Dudya's visit to McAllen, TX 
had anything to do with the lack of coverage. It would be interesting to know 
what the effects were and if Dudya got a first hand look.

Now that TRIFE rejected the full recount, on Sunday, August, 6, AMLO addressed 
his supporters, letting them know he was in for the long haul. He is now raising
the stakes for his bid for the disputed Mexican presidency by calling for the 
continuation and escalation of demonstrations.

The US will now feel the power of the Mexican people. During the protest, de la 
Rosa told The Brownsville Herald a major blockade is planned for all 
international traffic and trade on Aug. 21; every bridge stretching from Tijuana
to Matamoros will be blocked. For how long? We will just have to wait and see. 
It is doubtful that any contingency plan done by US/Mexico border counties along
with US Customs will counteract the effects.

de la Rose anger can best sum up the feelings of the millions of Mexican 
citizens who feel their democracy has been taken away from them. "This is a 
citizens' movement. We are fighting for our dignity.... I am tired of 
politicians who step on the pride of citizens."

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