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Biocombustibles y Transgénicos elevan Importación de Maíz

Critican que se deje de apoyar la siembra por intereses de mercado

Susana González G.

La Jornada

La generación de biocombustibles en una planta recién inaugurada en Sinaloa, así como la autorización de los cultivos transgénicos, aumentan el riesgo de que la producción nacional de maíz blanco para consumo humano resulte insuficiente, advirtió Guillermina Verdugo López, investigadora de la Universidad de Sinaloa (UAS).
Tales hechos pueden explicar por qué las autoridades anunciaron recientemente un nuevo incremento en las importaciones de grano cuando hasta hace unos meses se ufanaron que el abasto para el mercado nacional estaba garantizado por cosechas récord, sobre todo en Sinaloa, principal estado productor del maíz, indicó la especialista.

Los campesinos y productores del estado, dijo, pueden verse tentados a vender su maíz a la nueva planta de etanol que se edificó en Navolato si les ofrecen mejores precios, más aún cuando se ha mencionado que requerirá un porcentaje significativo del grano, pero advirtió que dependerá de las autoridades qué tanto permiten que la cosecha para consumo humano sea desviada para producir biocombustible.

Sinaloa, recordó, siempre ha fungido como un elemento de equilibrio en la producción y abasto de maíz en México porque sirve para complementar los faltantes de otros estados. Pero si los productores sinaloenses de maíz vuelven la vista hacia otro lado porque pueden obtener más recursos con el etanol –como ocurre actualmente cuando cambian la siembra de maíz por los productos hortícolas–, entonces pueden prenderse los focos rojos en el estado.

Con la planta de etanol se corre el riesgo de que la producción de maíz tenga un interés diferente al del consumo humano, puntualizó. No obstante, mencionó que Sinaloa todavía está en posibilidades de incrementar su producción de maíz, siempre y cuando se brinden mejores apoyos y precios de garantía a los productores, al tiempo que no descartó que con la aprobación de transgénicos también pueda servir para el mismo fin.

Es lastimoso pensar que para compensar los intereses del mercado se deje de apoyar a los productores de maíz con precios de garantía que eviten las importaciones, dijo Guillermina Verdugo, entrevistada en el marco del quinto Congreso Internacional de la Universidad Asia Pacífico, donde presentó una ponencia sobre empresas sinaloenses junto con su colega Arcelia Araujo Aldrete, también investigadora de la UAS.

En aras de intereses económicos y financieros, dijo, se deja de lado el compromiso que cualquier gobierno debe tener para garantizar la producción y abasto de alimentos.

Destacó que México ni siquiera cumple con los estándares marcados por la Organización de Naciones Unidas para la Agricultura y la Alimentación (FAO, por sus siglas en inglés). El organismo indica que para que un país sea considerado autosuficiente en materia alimentaria debe producir 75 por ciento de los alimentos que consume su población, pero en el caso de México sólo se llega a 55 o 60 por ciento.

Behind the Privatization of the UC, a Riot Squad of Police

Occupy Everything!



This was bound to be a big week in California regardless, as the threat of a 32 percent tuition and fee increase across the University of California system made a crashing entrance into reality with Wednesday’s vote by the UC Board of Regents. Perhaps the Regents and UC President Mark Yudof expected that their diversionary tactics--lament the crisis and direct blame to Sacramento’s budget cuts--would pay off. But this was not to be.

Aided in no small part by the explosive exposé published by UC Santa Cruz Professor of Political Science Bob Meister, the student, faculty, and workers’ movements the length and breadth of the state were no longer willing to accept privatization disguised as crisis-imposed budget cuts. As Meister explained in no uncertain terms, the proposed (and now passed) tuition increase has nothing whatsoever to do with budget cuts, but the cuts merely provided the pretext for a long-planned drive (and Reaganite wet dream) to privatize public education in California once and for all.

Anti-Capital Projects

A statewide day of action on September 24th generated mass walkouts and sporadic occupations, both successful (at UC Santa Cruz) and not (at UC Berkeley). A UC-centric assembly called for a month later yielded mixed results: a plan to build for a March 4th action, but only the vaguest of decisions regarding what such actions would entail. This sporadic guerrilla struggle, however, would yield a full-scale war of maneuver once the stakes of the November 18th UC Regents meeting became clear.

A coalition of organizations at UC Berkeley endorsed a three day strike in which the third day, contingent upon the expected Regents’ decision, called simply for “Escalation.” On Thursday the 19th, UCLA protestors seized Campbell Hall (now renamed “Carter-Huggins Hall” after the slain Black Panthers who lost their lives between those very walls in 1969). Across campus, protestors confronted the Regents themselves as they voted for the fee hikes, with the militarized atmosphere sparking first clashes on Wednesday and then a veritable state of siege in Thursday from which the Regents were forced to flee the angry crowds.

Just a few short hours later, UCSC students marched from the already-occupied Kresge Town Hall to Kerr administration building, gaining unexpected access to and holding the building until Sunday. Also on Thursday, hundreds of UC Davis students occupied the Mrak administrative building on campus, clearly touching a nerve and prompting 52 arrests. Less than 24 hours later, students again occupied: this time in Dutton Hall, where they remained until being dispersed by police. As this goes to press, Mrak is again in the crosshairs.

At Berkeley on Wednesday afternoon, after a rally and march of some 1,000 students, workers, and faculty at UC Berkeley, a group of more than thirty surreptitiously gained access to the diminutive Architects and Engineers Building, nestled between Sproul and Barrows Halls and which hosts UCB’s capital projects. Responding in part to Meister’s revelation that it was capital projects rather than budget cuts that were driving the cuts and fee increases, activists responded with a communiqué and website aptly entitled “Anti-Capital Projects”:

The arriving freshman is treated as a mortgage, and the fees are climbing. She is a future revenue stream, and the bills are growing. She is security for a debt she never chose, and the cost is staggering… No building will be safe from occupation while this is the case. No capital project but the project to end capital.

The occupation of the Capital Projects Building, however, would be short-lived, as police soon gained access and occupiers negotiated a strategic withdrawal on the promise that they would not engage in any other unlawful activity for a week. But a week is a long time at moments like these.

Lines of Force are Revealed

At around 6am on Thursday morning, UCPD became aware that Wheeler Hall, a prominent and massive building

at the very heart of the Berkeley campus, had been occupied by more than 40 protesters. Police quickly gained access to the lower floors of the building, arresting three occupiers, who were immediately and vindictively charged not with trespassing, but with felony burglary. By 6:30a.m., an already surprising number of supporters, in the dozens, had received word of the occupation and gathered on the west side of Wheeler to show their support. By mid-morning, the number had increased to hundreds. As the crowd grew, UCPD responded with a mutually-reinforcing combination of aggression and fear: aggressively smashing into the growing crowds to install metal barriers where caution tape had proven insufficient, and calling desperately for backup first to Berkeley PD, then to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, and finally to Oakland PD.

Around 1pm, the skies opened up in a downpour that might have, in other conditions and other situations, dispersed the crowd entirely. But instead, umbrellas popped up like mushroom caps, tents were erected, and plastic bags distributed as makeshift ponchos as the crowd of hundreds persisted. Had the police gained access to the occupiers during the storm, the day would have ended much differently. But as it turned out, the occupiers held strong, the skies cleared, and as evening fell, the crowds began to swell further. One demonstrator confessed nostalgia at the sight of the umbrellas, and the reminder they offered of another seminal moment in trans-sectoral unity: that of the 1999 anti-WTO demonstrations in Seattle that sparked the alter-globalization movement.

The occupiers, visible through a series of windows on the west side of Wheeler, relayed their demands to the gathering crowds by megaphone:

1. Rehire all 38 AFCSME custodial workers recently laid off;

2. Drop all charges and provide total amnesty to all persons occupying buildings and involved in student protests concerning budget cuts;

3. Maintain the current business occupants of the bears lair food court and enter into respectful and good faith negotiations;

4. Preserve Rochdale apartments leased to Berkeley student cooperative for $1 a year in perpetuity.

It became clear that the police and university administration were in no mood to negotiate on these terms: this much they communicated non-verbally with their pepper spray under the door, with their battering rams and wedges, and verbally with their promises of violence, as occupiers were told to “get ready for the beatdown.” Some of the occupiers, overtaken by the unmistakable candor of such threats, sought a last-minute compromise that would allow them to leave unscathed.

For a while it seemed as though such negotiations had failed dismally. Demonstrators outside could hear the police making a final offensive to smash down the door, and the occupiers could be seen as dusk fell, back to the window, visible only in outline with their hands raised to be arrested. But the atmosphere was tense, and the swelling crowd had no plans to let the police carry the arrestees out without a fight. Hours earlier, tactical groups had been preemptively dispatched to all possible exits from the network of underground tunnels that connect Wheeler to the neighboring buildings. Students who, by all outward appearance, could have been members of sororities or fraternities, demanded to know where bodies were most needed to maintain a strong and impermeable perimeter.

Let this be clear: if the students were arrested and carried out, there was going to be a fight. A riot? Perhaps (this much depended on the police). A fight? Mos def.

A “Victory”?

As with all massively important political moments, the rancid stench of opportunism was never far off, emanating from some student leaders and faculty alike. While many faculty members performed admirably during the standoff (some, like Professor of Integrative Biology Robert Dudleyeven being arrested for their efforts), some skillfully substituted their own voices and their own demands for those of the students engaged in the occupation.

Particularly egregious in this respect was Democratic Party “framing” strategist and self-styled movement guru George Lakoff. Visibly angered by the occupiers’ refusal to leave Wheeler voluntarily (without any of their demands having been met, of course), Lakoff seized the megaphone to spew the morally bankrupt argument that since the students knew they would be met with police violence, they would themselves be responsible for creating that violence if they chose to remain. No more repulsive a phrase was uttered that day. And were this not sufficient, Lakoff was even heard lying repeatedly to the occupiers, insisting that there had been no police violence, no rubber bullets, and no injuries outside the building, all in an effort to manipulate those inside into abandoning the occupation.

In speaking with more than a dozen of the occupiers, one sentiment above all was expressed regarding the role of many faculty that day: a deep sense of betrayal. As one occupier told me: “we asked the faculty to mediate and to negotiate with the administration as a way to get our demands out, but apparently they interpreted this as a call to negotiate with us so that we would leave the building.” In fact, many of those mediating--be they faculty, ASUC officials, and leaders of student organizations--were self-appointed and drawn almost unanimously from the ranks of those who had opposed the tactic of occupation to begin with. And this would show: according to many of the occupiers, these mediators, in focusing their attention on calming the crowds outside and encouraging the occupiers to leave, had effectively performed a “policing function” that protected the administration from the protesters.

Ali Tonak, a UC Berkeley graduate student, summarizes the feeling that many expressed:

They have a warped understanding of how power works. They think that calming people outside was keeping the people inside safe, when it was really the opposite: the only thing that was keeping the folks inside safe was people being rowdy outside. In the end, the negotiators were doing the job of the state.

And this opportunism was not limited to faculty. As word came down that a deal had been struck to allow the students to walk out the front doors of Wheeler with nothing but misdemeanors, those who had spent the day attempting to calm the angry crowds shifted their demobilizing efforts into full gear, shutting down any and all possible debate regarding what had transpired. The crowd was urged to sit (ironically, while chanting that they were “fired up,” and that students should “stand up” for their rights), and self-appointed student leaders, most of whom had opposed the occupation plans from the very beginning, set about explaining that the day had been a “victory.”

Of course, in a sense it had been a victory of sorts, but not in the sense that it was presented to the crowd. It was no coincidence that all interruptions from the crowd, from those who wondered aloud, “What about the demands? What about the layoffs? What about the fees?” were quickly and summarily dismissed and silenced by self-appointed “mediators” whose only common feature was their previous opposition to occupations.

A recent statement from the UCLA occupation of Carter-Huggins Hall sets its sights on student body president Cinthia Flores, “a junior politician careerist bent on control,” and in so doing provides an acute diagnosis of the more general danger of political opportunism, a danger which must be fought tooth-and-nail if the movement is to move forward:

These people thrive on the status quo, it’s their realm, and they always want to drag back those who escape. There are CINTHIA’s everywhere who make up and direct the movement-police to be encountered at any site of struggle. Occupation takes power and immediately destroys its concentrated form. Beware of bureaucrats, occupy everything!

A “Peaceful” Ending?

And the claim that the occupiers had emerged victorious erased more than their unfulfilled demands. It also concealed the aggressively violent response that UCPD and its imported proxies had unleashed that day. As mentioned above, this violence began early on, as UCPD attempted to install metal barricades by wading into the growing crowds and attacking anyone standing their ground. As the day progressed, police from various forces were seen ruthlessly pounding ny and all protestors who disobeyed the momentary absoluteness of their sovereignty, with one such protestor being shot in the chest with an unidentified projectile.

The pettiness of such sovereignty and the repulsiveness of its executors were in no case so clear as that of UC Berkeley graduate student Zhivka Valiavicharska. As this video shows, an unidentified member of (what appears to be) the UCPD suddenly found his authority called into question by the fact that Zhivka’s hands were on a police barrier, and found it necessary to threaten her and strike the barrier with his baton. What the video does not show occurred just a minute later, when the officer again approached the barrier and smashed Zhivka’s hand with full force, breaking two fingers and nearly reducing one to pulp so that it was hanging by threads.

As Zhivka herself describes the attack:

I was holding on to the barrier with one of my hands, and this cop came up and started rudely shouting at me, telling me to take my hand off and threatening me. My hand remained there. The cop made me withdraw my hand by hitting the rail right next to it. When I leaned it again on the rail, he smashed it with full force. It was very deliberate, very skillful, and extremely excessive, since no one was challenging the barriers where I was at that moment.

Who was the officer that maliciously and intentionally attacked a member of the student population with the intention to do serious bodily harm? What of the witnessing officer, J. Williams, Badge #93, who is clearly identifiable in the video? Will UCPD and Chancellor Birgeneau immediately begin an investigation into the officer’s identity, suspend him immediately, and press criminal charges?

Former Berkeley undergraduate Yaman Salahi was present to witness the police violence, and immediately penned a thoughtful and necessary letter to the UC Berkeley community in which he heaps responsibility, quite rightly, onto the shoulders of Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, for not only loosing these various police forces onto the campus community, but also for attempting to cover up the violence he himself had unleashed in an email dispatch later sent to the entire campus community. Despite the many instances of documented violence by police, the Chancellor nevertheless insisted that the situation “ended peacefully” and thanked the police for playing a positive role.

Salahi demands a “statement against the deployment of non-UCPD personnel against students on this campus in the future,” adding that “In addition to students’ limbs, something has been broken, and Chancellor Birgeneau’s cover-up will not fix it.” But while I agree with Salahi’s general concerns, it is worth noting that it was not OPD, BPD, or the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department that smashed Zhivka’s fingers. It was UCPD, a force which remains as alien to the university community as OPD is to East Oakland. When we challenge their privatizing efforts, they will meet us with whatever force is at their disposal and with whatever violence is deemed necessary. As I write this, however, it appears as though Salahi’s call is meeting some receptive ears, and a group of prominent faculty members have begun an investigation into the police brutality deployed against students all across the UC system.

Remembrance the Past, Realizing Our Power

Remembering and reinscribing the violence of this police response into our collective memory of the occupation is of more than historical interest, however, and consists of more than merely remembering the pain inflicted upon our comrades, however necessary this may be. It is in this violent police response that a strategically correct interpretation of events lies, and this fact makes efforts to conceal the conflict of the day more than merely an effort to prevent further violence. The police response showed precisely what was at stake in the occupation, and what remains at stake in the movement more generally. The police response showed exactly how far the UC Regents, President Yudof, and the local administrations are willing to go in order to drive the privatization of public education down our unwilling throats. It showed us, in short, that we were doing something right, and we can expect more of the same if we ever hope to win.

And that’s not all: the final police and administration response--that of opting to let the occupiers walk out of Wheeler of their own accord--tells even more of the story. It tells us just how powerful our collective presence was on that day. There can be no doubt that every single occupier would have been arrested, likely beaten and abused to some degree, and hit with the trumped-up felony charges, had the crowd not been assembled outside. And this was not merely because the crowd was bearing witness to injustice or expressing its verbal non-consent.

It was not moderation and negotiation that created and sustained this pivotal moment and generated its outcome: it was the unmistakable show of force that the students gathered represented, a force that was not merely symbolic. As the great revolutionary CLR James once put it: “The rich are only defeated when running for their lives.” The same could be said of today’s privatizers of public education, and those running things more generally. Oakland’s Oscar Grant rebellions taught us this much in January, as it was only the threat of continued rioting that put BART officer Johannes Mehserle behind bars. The Berkeley occupation movement teaches us the same lesson today.

And we have late word of a library occupation at Cal State Fresno, and more are on the way, at Berkeley and elsewhere. Earlier today, marchers occupied the UC Office of the President in downtown Oakland to demand a face-to-face with Mark Yudof. Further, the contagion is international, as the students who have held Austria in a constant state of occupation for weeks on end descended en masse yesterday onto the US embassy in Vienna

as a demonstration of solidarity with the California occupations and outrage at the images of police violence that have been broadcast across the globe. This is a force that is expanding as we speak, and will do so as the months pass and contradictions become more acute. The university struggle has turned a crucial corner on the UC Berkeley campus, and a qualitative leap in consciousness has occurred, by weight not of peaceful entreaties but of forceful demands.

George Ciccariello-Maher is a Ph.D. candidate in political theory at U.C. Berkeley. He can be reached at gjcm(at)


"La Izquierda, Además de Predicar debe dar Ejemplo"

Entrevista a Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, alcalde de Marinaleda

Andrés Mourenza / L. Doğan Tiliç


En Turquía no se conoce mucho la experiencia de Marinaleda, pero la gente de izquierda que ha conocido el ejemplo de su pueblo a través de los artículos del New York Times (EEUU) y Birgün (Turquía) ha quedado impresionada.

¿Podría contarnos cómo empezó todo?

En torno al problema del paro de esta zona de Andalucía, (Sierra Sur de Sevilla), que es un paro estructural, organizamos a los trabajadores a través de asamblea y alrededor de un sindicato, el SOC (Sindicato de Obreros del Campo), y planteamos la necesidad de una reforma agraria en Andalucía, ya que el 2% de los propietarios poseen el 50% de la tierra cultivable.
Por otra parte, políticamente nos organizamos en la CUT (Colectivo Unitaria de Trabajadores) y nos presentamos a las elecciones municipales, obteniendo mayoría absoluta en los comicios del año 1979, mayoría que seguimos manteniendo hasta la fecha.

Con esta organización política y sindical entendemos que la lucha por el empleo y la tierra son fundamentales desde la participación activa del pueblo.

¿Cuáles fueron los principales problemas a los que tuvieron que enfrentarse entonces para la construcción de este modelo de administración municipal: trabajo, tierras, vivienda...? ¿Cómo los resolvieron?

El primer problema fue romper con el viejo esquema político de la dictadura de Franco, que no concebía a los Ayuntamientos como instrumentos de lucha, prestación de servicios y solidaridad, sino como vigilantes del poder central.

El segundo problema fue el del paro, que en el mundo rural y en nuestro pueblo llegaba hasta el 70% de la población activa. Fue por eso por lo que desde un principio emprendimos la lucha para obtener el medio de producción, la tierra, para conseguir ese empleo tan necesario.

En tercer lugar necesitábamos la participación del vecindario y no fue una tarea fácil, sobre todo por la negativa de los hombres a que las mujeres pudieran participar.

Cuarto, la hostilidad de la extrema derecha y de los terratenientes hacia nuestros planes.

Resolvimos los problemas mediante la constancia y la lucha frente a los gobiernos y la burguesía terrateniente, que en nuestro pueblo estaba representada por el Duque del Infantado, quine posee 17.000 hectáreas en Andalucía.

¿Cómo consiguieron que la gente se implicara y participase en la administración de Marinaleda?

Alrededor del problema principal, el paro. Fue en torno a este problema como se organizaron las primeras asambleas y las primeras movilizaciones.

El sistema asambleario se extendió al terreno político y por esa razón los presupuestos del Ayuntamiento se hicieron públicos, participaron los vecinos y se organizaron asambleas en los diferentes barrios en función de los problemas que había en cada uno de ellos.

¿Podría comentarnos algo más sobre su programa de vivienda y sobre los "Domingos Rojos"?

Pensamos que la vivienda debe ser un derecho universal como la educación y la sanidad y que sería necesaria una nueva ley del suelo a nivel nacional e internacional para que el suelo para la primera vivienda fuera público y no se pudiera especualar con él.

Partimos de esta filosofía para hacernos con suelo público en los alrededores de Marinaleda que recalificábamos como urbano y después se lo cedíamos gratuitamente a los jóvenes que querían hacerse su vivienda, también les facilitábamos los materiales y los albañiles. Así hemos construido más de 300 viviendas de 3 habitaciones y 100 m. de patio.

Los "Domingos Rojos" son días de trabajo gratuito en bien de la comunidad. Pretendemos que los trabajadores entiendan que pueden hacerse tareas por otros motivos y valores que no sean el dinero; también representan una manera concreta de convivencia y solidaridad con la comunidad en la que habitamos.

En esos días de trabajo comunitario suelen hacerse trabajos de limpieza, terminación de calles u otras obras menores.

¿Cómo es posible que Marinaleda pueda dar empleo a todos sus habitantes, mientras en el resto de España el paro llega hasta casi al 20%?

Pensamos que para llegar al pleno empleo, en cualquier sociedad, es necesario que los medios de producción estén controlados por la comunidad que crea la riqueza a través de su trabajo. Todas las constituciones y la declaración de los derechos humanos hablan de este derecho, pero desgraciadamente hay 1.300 millones de parados en el planeta. La razón es muy sencilla, el sistema capitalista piensa y organiza la sociedad en función del beneficio de unos pocos a costa de la miseria y el paro de muchos.

En Marinaleda, mediante la lucha, hemos conseguido 1.200 hectáreas de tierra arrebatadas al Duque, hemos creado una industria agroalimentaria y procuramos hacer obras públicas para cubrir el paro en otros sectores productivos como la construcción.

En definitiva, sólo desde una economía solidaria es posible el pleno empleo.

¿Cuál es el secreto para que un alcalde de izquierdas sea elegido una y otra vez?

Yo creo que la izquierda además de predicar debe dar ejemplo. Cuando ocupan un puesto de responsabilidad, los dirigentes de la izquierda deben vivir igual que los ciudadanos a quienes representan. Deben ser los primeros a la hora de la lucha y los últimos a la hora de los beneficios.

Creo que el propio ejemplo es la mejor propaganda.

¿Marinaleda se podría definir como un “modelo socialista” para la administración municipal? ¿Cuáles son las características básicas de ese modelo?

Creo que este modelo municipal, como tú dices, podría definirse como socialista, pues lo que pretende es que todas las personas alcancen todos los derechos, empezando por las más necesitadas.

Las características esenciales son:

La lucha continua para alcanzar los derechos que reclamamos

La participación activa lo más amplia posible del vecindario

Entender la vivienda y el empleo como derechos

Promover la igualdad entre dirigentes y dirigidos

Soñar e intentar que nuestros sueños se conviertan en realidades

¿Qué opina de los que hasta ahora decían que el capitalismo se había convertido en el único sistema político y económico posible para toda la humanidad?

Que se equivocaban. El sistema capitalista es un sistema que se basa en la explotación del hombre por el hombre, en la desigualdad creciente entre las personas y los territorios, y que además necesita la violencia y la guerra para mantener el privilegio desvergonzado de una minoría ridícula a nivel nacional e internacional.

Creo que el capitalismo es paro, violencia, guerra, hambre, desigualdad... por lo que tenemos la necesidad de construir otro sistema que piense en el ser humano y sus necesidades. Ahora, con esta crisis y la caída del mercado como un dios omnipotente e infalible, aparece una magnífica oportunidad para reclamar el papel del Estado y la empresa pública en la economía con un criterio solidario y de respeto absoluto a los derechos humanos.

Hemos leído en el artículo de New York Times que la experiencia de Marinaleda es una respuesta a la locura del capitalismo, ¿es posible que haya ejemplos de un modo de vida socialista dentro del sistema capitalista?

Es muy difícil, pero no imposible. Sabemos que esta experiencia alternativa al capitalismo siempre está amenazada de muerte y que al primer error o debilidad de nuestra comunidad nos aplastarán sin contemplaciones. Por otra parte, la izquierda tenemos la obligación de intentar demostrar aquí y en sitios concretos el modelo de sociedad que queremos para pasado mañana, aun sabiendo que nadamos contracorriente y que nos pondrán infinidad de zancadillas.

El intento merece la pena y no hay que perder la perspectiva de que hay que suvertir el capitalismo a nivel planetario.

Dentro de Marinaleda también hay algunas voces que critican que usted se ha convertido en un patrón, a su manera, que actúa duramente contra sus oponentes. ¿Qué opina de estas críticas?

Si no hubiera oposición, esto sería el paraíso. No lo hacemos todo perfectamente, cometemos errores, como seres humanos que somos, pero creemos que trabajamos en función de la democracia económica y política que es la verdadera democracia, pues sin igualdad, la libertad y la democracia son mentiras.

¿Ha oído hablar de los movimientos sociales y las experiencias socialistas de Turquía, como la localidad autogestionada de Fatsa entre 1979 y 1980? (posteriormente fue intervenida por el ejército tras el golpe de Estado de 1980)

No tenía conocimiento de que se hizo en Fatsa entre el 79 y el 80, pero de los militares no me extraña nada, en cualquier parte del mundo, y hay desgraciadamente demasiados casos, no sólo pueblos pequeños, sino países que han intentado el socialismo, como en Chile del que ahora se cumple aniversario, que fueron aplastados sin contemplaciones.

La burguesía, es una clase social antidemocrática y descaradamente terrorista.

¿Estaría dispuesto el Ayuntamiento de Marinaleda a hermanarse o establecer algún tipo de colaboración con las localidades socialistas de Turquía?

Por supuesto que sí, desde este momento me pongo a su disposición, personalmente y en representación del pueblo del que soy alcalde.

A Trial That Will Convict Us All

The Twisted Logic Behind the Prosecution of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed



Republican members of Congress and what masquerades as a “conservative” media are outraged that the Obama administration intends to try in federal court Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of 9/11, and four alleged co-conspirators.

The Republican and right-wing rant that a trial is too good for these people proves what I have written for a number of years: Republicans and many Americans who think of themselves as conservatives have no regard for the US Constitution or for civil liberties.

They have no appreciation for the point made by Thomas Paine in his Dissertations on First Principles of Government (1790):

“An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”

Republicans and American conservatives regard civil liberties as coddling devices for criminals and terrorists. They assume that police and prosecutors are morally pure and, in addition, never make mistakes. An accused person is guilty or government wouldn’t have accused him. All of my life I have heard self-described conservatives disparage lawyers who defend criminals. Such “conservatives” live in an ideal, not real, world.

Even some of those, such as Stuart Taylor in the National Journal, who defend giving Mohammed a court trial do so on the grounds that there are no risks as Mohammed is certain to be convicted and that “a civilian trial will show Americans and the rest of the world that our government is sure it can prove the 9/11 defendants guilty in the fairest of all courts.”

Taylor agrees that Mohammed deserves “summary execution,” but that it is a good Machiavellian ploy to try Mohammed in civilian court, while dealing with cases that have “trickier evidentiary problems” in “more flexible military commissions, away from the brightest spotlights.”

In other words, Stuart Taylor and the National Journal endorse Mohammed’s trial as a show trial that will prove both America’s honorable respect for fair trials and Muslim guilt for 9/11.

If, as Taylor writes, “the government’s evidence is so strong,” why wasn’t Mohammed tried years ago? Why was he held for years and tortured--apparently water boarded 183 times--in violation of US law and the Geneva Conventions? How can the US government put a defendant on trial when its treatment of him violates US statutory law, international law, and every precept of the US legal code? Mohammed has been treated as if he were a captive of Hitler’s Gestapo or Stalin’s KGB. And now we are going to finish him off in a show trial.

If the barbaric treatment Mohammed has received during his captivity hasn’t driven him insane, how do we know he hasn’t decided to confess in order to obtain for himself for evermore the glory of the deed? How many people can claim to have outwitted the CIA, the National Security Agency and all 16 US intelligence agencies, NORAD, the Pentagon, the National Security Council, airport security (four times on one morning), US air traffic control, the US Air Force, the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, all the neocons, Mossad, and even the supposedly formidable Dick Cheney?

Considering that some Muslims will blow themselves up in order to take out a handful of Israelis or US and NATO occupation troops, the payoff that Mohammed will get out of a guilty verdict is enormous. Are we really sure we want to create a Muslim Superhero of such stature?

Originally, according to the US government, Osama bin Laden was the mastermind of 9/11. To get bin Laden is the excuse given for the US invasion of Afghanistan, which set up the invasion of Iraq. But after eight years of total failure to catch Osama bin Laden, it became absolutely necessary to convict some culprit.

Unfortunately, there will be no such sensible outcome. David Feige has told us what the outcome will be (Slate, Nov. 19). The prosecution doesn’t need any evidence, because no judge and no jury is going to let the demonized “mastermind of 9/11” off. No judge or juror wants to be forever damned by the brainwashed American public or assassinated by right-wing crazies. Keep in mind that the kid, John Walker Lindh, termed “the American Taliban” by an ignorant and propagandistic US media, was guilty of nothing except being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite the complete trampling of his every right, he got 20 years on a coerced plea bargain.

The price that Mohammed will pay will be small compared to the price we Americans will pay. The outcome of Mohammed’s trial will complete the transformation of the US legal system from a shield of the people into a weapon in the hands of the state. Feige writes that Mohammed’s statements obtained by torture will not be suppressed, that witnesses against him will not be produced (“national security”), that documents that compromise the prosecution will be redacted. At each stage of Mohammed’s appeals process, higher courts will enshrine into legal precedents the denial of the Constitutional right to a speedy trial, thus enshrining indefinite detention, the denial of the right against damning pretrial publicity, thus allowing demonization prior to trial, and the denial of the right to have witnesses and documents produced, thus eviscerating a defendant’s rights to exculpatory evidence and to confront adverse witnesses, The twisted logic necessary to disentangle Mohammed’s torture from his confession will also be upheld and will “provide a blueprint for the government, giving them the prize they’ve been after all this time--a legal way both to torture and to prosecute.”

It took Hitler a while to corrupt the German courts. Hitler first had to create new courts, like President George W. Bush’s military tribunals, that did not require evidence, using in place of evidence hearsay, secret charges, and self-incrimination obtained by torture.

Every American should be concerned that the Obama administration has decided to use Mohammed’s trial to complete the corruption of the American court system. When Mohammed’s trial is over, an American Joe Stalin or Adolf Hitler will be able to convict America’s Founding Fathers on charges of treason and terrorism. No one will be safe.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at:

Los Campesinos y Campesinas Ofrecen Soluciones

Las Transnacionales Contribuyen a Que Aumente el Hambre

La Via Campesina

La Via Campesina esta aterrada de la arrogancia del sector privado y especialmente de Nestlé, al pretender ofrecer soluciones a la actual crisis alimentaria considerando que son las mismas transnacionales quienes han continuado a contribuir activamente a la creación de esta crisis.

Los comentarios del presidente de Nestlé durante la Conferencia del sector privado y de la FAO en Milan el pasado 12 de noviembre nos resultan particularmente chocantes dadas las conocidas campañas de Nestlé para fomentar la formula del consumo de leche para bebes en detrimento de la lactancia materna en los paises en desarrollo.

Muchas transnacionales han aumentado sus beneficios durante la crisis alimentaria y han jugado un rol principal al incrementar el hambre en el mundo mediante la toma de control sobre el sistema alimentario y los recursos productivos como la tierra y el agua, excluyendo a campesinos y campesinas de la misma producción alimentaria.

Estos actores privados han presionado por cambiar los modelos agricolas de producción, forzando a modos productivos intensivos e introduciendo tecnologias y politicas como los agrocombustibles, los transgénicos y la liberalización del comercio con el único interes de incrementar sus beneficios. Las deslumbrantes fallas de estas estrategias corporativas de las transnacionales frente al sistema alimentario son evidentes dadas las estadisticas que demuestran el constante aumento en las cifras de las personas que sufren de hambre en el mundo.

Sobre el tema de transgenicos, Javier Sánchez, representante del sindicato campesino COAG (miembro de la Vía Campesina), declaró: “Existe un consenso global entre campesinos y consumidores sobre las tecnologias de OGMs que permiten a las multinacionales tomar el control sobre las semillas negando a los agricultores la posibilidad de guardar sus propias semillas. Campesinos y campesinas pierden el derecho a producir alimentos libres de modificaciones geneticas mientras que los consumidores pierden el derecho de alimentarse al mismo tiempo con productos sin transgenicos. Este es un claro ejemplo de como la privatizacion de los recursos naturales va en contra de los intereses comunes. Los consumidores en Europa, con razón, estan rechazando este tipo de tecnologias;”

Henry Saragih, coordinador general de La Vía Campesina observa que en su pais natal, Indonesia, Nestlé ha contribuido directamente al empobrecimiento del campesinado y al fomento de la malnutricion particularmente entre los bebes, a traves del control de la produccion y del sistema de precios dentro del sector lechero.

Durante el Foro “Soberania Alimentaria Ya”, paralelo al Cumbre Mundial sobre Seguridad Alimentaria en Roma, las Organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil estan proponiendo las soluciones reales de la soberania alimentaria.

Información para los medios y entrevistas:

Annelies Schorpion: Teléfono : +39 3312861096 (Entre el 12 y el 18 de noviembre) e-mail: Esta dirección de correo electrónico está protegida contra los robots de spam, necesita tener Javascript activado para poder verla y/o Esta dirección de correo electrónico está protegida contra los robots de spam, necesita tener Javascript activado para poder verla

La Vía Campesina es un movimiento internacional que reúne a millones de campesinos, pequeños productores, sin tierra, mujeres rurales y trabajadores agrícolas alrededor del mundo. Nuestro movimiento está conformado por 148 organizaciones miembros activas en 69 países en Asia, Africa, Europa y las Américas.

Have Israeli Spies Infiltrated International Aiports?

South Africa Deports Airline Official After Investigation



South Africa deported an Israeli airline official last week following allegations that Israel’s secret police, the Shin Bet, had infiltrated Johannesburg international airport in an effort to gather information on South African citizens, particularly black and Muslim travellers.

The move by the South African government followed an investigation by local TV showing an undercover reporter being illegally interrogated by an official with El Al, Israel’s national carrier, in a public area of Johannesburg’s OR Tambo airport.

The programme also featured testimony from Jonathan Garb, a former El Al guard, who claimed that the airline company had been a front for the Shin Bet in South Africa for many years.

Of the footage of the undercover reporter’s questioning, he commented: “Here is a secret service operating above the law in South Africa. We pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. We do exactly what we want. The local authorities do not know what we are doing.”

The Israeli foreign ministry is reported to have sent a team to South Africa to try to defuse the diplomatic crisis after the government in Johannesburg threatened to deport all of El Al’s security staff.

Mr Garb’s accusations have been supported by an investigation by the regulator for South Africa’s private security industries.

They have also been confirmed by human rights groups in Israel, which report that Israeli security staff are carrying out racial profiling at many airports around the world, apparently out of sight of local authorities.

Concern in South Africa about the activities of El Al staff has been growing since August, when South Africa’s leading investigative news show, Carte Blanche, went undercover to test Mr Garb’s allegations.

A hidden camera captured an El Al official in the departure hall claiming to be from “airport security” and demanding that the undercover reporter hand over his passport or ID as part of “airport regulations”. When the reporter protested that he was not flying but waiting for a friend, El Al’s security manager, identified as Golan Rice, arrived to interrogate him further. Mr Rice then warned him that he was in a restricted area and must leave.

Mr Garb commented on the show: “What we are trained is to look for the immediate threat – the Muslim guy. You can think he is a suicide bomber, he is collecting information. The crazy thing is that we are profiling people racially, ethnically and even on religious grounds … This is what we do.”

Mr Garb and two other fired workers have told the South African media that Shin Bet agents routinely detain Muslim and black passengers, a claim that has ignited controversy in a society still suffering with the legacy of decades of apartheid rule.

Suspect individuals, the former workers say, are held in an annex room, where they are interrogated, often on matters unrelated to airport security, and can be subjected to strip searches while their luggage is taken apart. Clandestine searches of their belongings and laptops are also carried out to identify useful documents and information.

All of this is done in violation of South African law, which authorises only the police, armed forces or personnel appointed by the transport minister to carry out searches.

The former staff also accuse El Al of smuggling weapons – licensed to the local Israeli embassy – into the airport for use by the secret agents.

Mr Garb went public after he was dismissed over a campaign he led for better pay and medical benefits for El Al staff.

A South African Jew, he said he was recruited 19 years ago by the Shin Bet. “We were trained at a secret camp [in Israel] where they train Israeli special forces and they train you how to use handguns, submachine guns and in unarmed combat.”

He added that he was assigned to “armed security” in the early 1990s. “Armed security is being undercover, carrying a weapon, a handgun and at that time as well, sounds crazy but we carried Samsonite briefcases with an Uzi submachine gun in it.”

Mr Garb claimed to have profiled 40,000 people for Israel over the past 20 years, including recently Virginia Tilley, a Middle East expert who is the chief researcher at South Africa’s Human Sciences Research Council. The think tank recently published a report accusing Israel of apartheid and colonialism in the Palestinian territories.

“The decision was she should be checked in the harshest way because of her connections,” Mr Garb said.

Ms Tilley confirmed that she had been detained at the airport by El Al staff and separated from her luggage. Mr Garb said that during this period an agent “photocopied all [her] documentation and then he forwarded it on to Israel” – Mr Garb believes for use by the Shin Bet.

Israeli officials have refused to comment on the allegations. A letter produced by Mr Garb – signed by Roz Bukris, El Al’s general manager in South Africa – suggests that he was employed by the Shin Bet rather than the airline. Ms Bukris, according to the programme, refused to confirm or deny the letter’s validity.

The Israeli Embassy in South Africa declined to discuss evidence that it, rather than El Al, had licensed guns issued to the airline’s security managers. Questioned last week by Ynet, Israel’s largest news website, about the deportation of the airline official, Yossi Levy, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, said he could not “comment on security matters”.

A report published in 2007 by two Israeli human rights organisations, the Nazareth-based Arab Association for Human Rights and the Centre Against Racism, found that Israeli airline staff used racial profiling at most major airports around the world, subjecting Arab and Muslim passengers to discriminatory and degrading treatment in violation both of international law and the host country’s laws.

“Our research showed that the checks conducted by El Al at foreign airports had all the hallmarks of Shin Bet interrogations,” said Mohammed Zeidan, the director of the Human Rights Association. “Usually the questions were less about the safety of the flight and more aimed at gathering information on the political activities or sympathies of the passengers.”

The human rights groups approached four international airports – in New York, Paris, Vienna and Geneva – where passengers said they had been subjected to discriminatory treatment, to ask under what authority the Israeli security services were operating. The first two airports refused to respond, while Vienna and Geneva said it was not possible to oversee El Al’s procedures.

“It is remarkable that these countries make no effort to supervise the actions of Israeli security personnel present on their territory, particularly in light of the discriminatory and humiliating procedures they apply,” the report states.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is

La ELAM, un Decenio por el bien de la Humanidad

Iris Armas Padrino

La idea fue concebida por el Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro para dar respuesta a dos terribles huracanes, George y Match, que azotaron Centroamérica.

Tras la llegada el 27 de febrero de 1999 de los primeros estudiantes procedentes de Nicaragua, en solo dos meses y medio las instalaciones de la otrora Academia Naval Granma, al oeste de la capital, fueron transformadas en la ELAM.

Su inauguración oficial por Fidel, en unión de varios mandatarios, ocurrió el 15 de noviembre de ese año, en ocasión de celebrarse en La Habana la IX Cumbre Iberoamericana de Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno.

El proyecto se extiende a todas las universidades médicas cubanas, de las cuales en las cinco graduaciones han egresado siete mil 256 profesionales de la salud, la mayoría médicos de unos 30 países, incluidos 33 jóvenes de Estados Unidos, dijo a la AIN el doctor Juan Carrizo, rector fundador del centro.

Actualmente se forman en Cuba más de 21 mil 300 estudiantes de un centenar de naciones, en pregrado, que incluyen los del nuevo programa de formación, mientras más de dos mil 500 de los egresados en esta primera década hacen una especialidad en la isla, precisó el entrevistado.

Único de su tipo en el mundo, el proyecto ELAM contempla una elevada preparación científica, humanista, ética y solidaria que permite estar al servicio de los sectores más necesitados en sus naciones, y la mayoría de los becarios son hijos de obreros y campesinos, aseveró.

Por ello deben retornar a sus comunidades para brindar atención primaria de salud, y continuar el trabajo de promoción y prevención de las brigadas cooperantes de médicos cubanos.

Actualmente hay alumnos en los seis años de la especialidad y en todas las provincias, subrayó el rector de la ELAM, quien elogió su dedicación y entrega al estudio, la labor de los profesores y la importancia de las jornadas científicas, en la formación integral de los educandos.

Otra contribución a este empeño fue la creación de un Departamento de Historia, que desarrolló una investigación de los más de un centenar de grupos étnicos que conviven en la escuela, para integrar ese conocimiento al trabajo educativo del colectivo docente.

Desde su fundación, la ELAM ha efectuado encuentros de las asociaciones de padres y familiares de los estudiantes, mediante los cuales se les informa de los planes y resultados integrales de la formación médica de sus hijos.

Para el doctor Carrizo la ELAM es la expresión más alta de humanismo y solidaridad con los pueblos, y por ello las graduaciones constituyen un acontecimiento en la historia de la salud de las naciones desprotegidas.

En materia de salud, Cuba aporta un concepto nuevo, profundamente revolucionario y humano, de lo que deben ser los servicios médicos en el mundo, y justamente este proyecto se sustenta en esa misma concepción.

Secure Communities Turns Immigrants into Criminals

Sarahi Uribe

New America Media

This month the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) celebrated one year of Secure Communities. The program, which checks the immigration status of detainees in jails by comparing their booking information to DHS’ databases, is dangerously misnamed since it actually endangers rather than improves community security.

In its press release, DHS gloated that it “identified more than 111,000 criminal aliens in local custody during its first year.” The department hailed the program as an effective way of deporting “dangerous criminals that pose a threat to public security.” So who are these alleged criminals?

A closer look reveals the program’s first fallacy: DHS includes people simply “charged” with a crime in its definition of “criminal aliens.” People are labeled criminals before they are given a chance to defend themselves in court. A cornerstone of our criminal system is that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Yet under Secure Communities, people are put into deportation proceedings even if they are innocent of criminal charges or if the arrest was simply a pretext to check a person’s immigration status.

The lack of due process sets the stage for racial profiling without any real consequences for abusive police agents. DHS maintains that since immigration checks happen electronically, the program is virtually immune to racial profiling. Consequently, DHS does not collect data that would reveal whether racial profiling is happening. The attempt to divorce police officers’ motivations for arresting individuals and DHS’ subsequent actions after the booking phase makes no sense. As the program is currently designed, a police officer can make a pre-textual arrest and later drop the charges, but an individual can still be placed into deportation proceedings.

The second misrepresentation of the program is found in DHS’s definition of “serious crimes.” The Department highlights that 100,000 of those identifies were convicted of level 2 and 3 crimes, “including burglary and serious property crimes.” What DHS omits is that while “arson” is a level 2 offense, so are “traffic offenses.” If the controversial 287(g) program which fervently targeted people with “broken tail-lights,” is any indicator, Secure Communities is a strategy for deporting anyone DHS can get its hands on—even law-abiding people who could be months away from adjusting their immigration status.

Essentially, DHS’ message is this: Being an immigrant makes you a criminal. This dangerous conflation not only promotes abusive policing practices, such as racial profiling, but also creates divisions and distrust in communities. It hurts public safety because immigrant communities are less likely to report crimes or cooperate with police for fear of deportation. It also disturbingly dehumanizes people who are an integral part of our communities and our national identity.

Last week Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano spoke about the need for immigration reform while trumpeting the successes of Secure Communities and other enforcement programs. But if the word “criminal” can replace “immigrant,” then her declaration that “We are a nation of immigrants” rings hollow.

Nosotras También Bebemos y Tenemos Arrebatos, Pero no Matamos

Itziar Ziga, Silvia Fernández y Julia Munarriz


Cuando las mujeres hemos sido históricamente objeto de deseo... parece que no pasaba nada. Cuando somos sujeto de deseo, ya somos putas y, por lo tanto, estamos expuestas a todo

La tarde del lunes 9 de noviembre tuvimos la oportunidad de entrar al juicio por el asesinato de Nagore Laffage. Salimos de la sala después de las 20:00 horas tan estremecidas y heladas como la noche. Mucho se ha hablado estos últimos días sobre las circunstancias que rodearon al fatídico encuentro entre Nagore y su asesino torturador, pero en una sesión del juicio volvimos a escuchar demasiados detalles, probados o inventados, sobre la cantidad de alcohol que pudo ingerir José Diego Yllanes antes de acabar con la vida de Nagore.

Los brutales hechos que se juzgan sucedieron el 7 de julio de madrugada. Cualquiera que conozca esta ciudad en tales fechas, coincidirá con nosotras en que la mayor parte de la población se encuentra en un estado intensamente etílico y, sin embargo, no matan. Si no, los sanfermines serían una auténtica carnicería. Y no es el caso. Nosotras mismas, sin vergüenza alguna, reconocemos que regresamos a casa algunos sábados haciendo eses, pero jamás agredimos a nadie ni se nos pasa por la cabeza matar. Si alguien al emborracharse saca su lado más violento, es su responsabilidad mantenerse abstemio y acudir a terapia para tratar de controlar su agresividad.

Consideramos que debe reformarse el Código Penal para que el alcohol deje de ser un atenuante cuando se juzga a alguien que ha cometido un crimen teniendo en cuenta que, si hablamos del Código de Circulación, el haberse tomado unas copas es agravante, incluso delito en sí mismo. Si matas a otra persona con tus manos, por lo tanto intencionadamente, pero borracho, te rebajan la pena. Si lo hace igualmente borracho, pero atropellándole con el coche, digamos que sin querer, te aumentan la condena. Pero al margen de esta imprevisible revisión del Código Penal, hay otro tema que nos enoja y entristece mucho.

Es espantosamente injusto para Nagore Laffage y para su familia y allegados que se debata tanto sobre la cantidad de alcohol que tomó su asesino para tratar de, en cierta manera, exculparlo o justificarlo. También es indignante que pagar 126.853 euros en concepto de reparación disminuya la pena. Esta claro que la justicia es diferente para la gente rica y la pobre.

En la sala del Juzgado, si cerrabas los ojos, podía tratarse de un juicio por asesinato de un hombre a otro hombre, una mujer a otra mujer, de un atraco... Detalles y más detalles sin análisis ni discurso sobre la desigualdad de género.

Lo que debería haberse juzgado esos días es la conducta de un hombre que no quiso aceptar la negativa de una mujer y la mató. Y, de alguna manera, debería reconocerse públicamente que no fue el alcohol lo que impulsó a José Diego Yllanes a terminar de una manera tan sádica con la vida de la joven Nagore Laffage, sino el machismo.

La cultura de la masculinidad violenta que demasiadas veces sigue imperando en nuestra sociedad y que convierte a un hombre en un macho capaz de matar por el simple hecho de que una mujer decida lo que quiere o no hacer con su propio cuerpo. De nada de esto se ha hablado en el Juicio de Nagore, a pesar de los numerosos estudios, investigaciones y aportaciones de profesionales especialistas en violencia machista.

Con este juicio, en vez de avanzar en la conquista de nuestros derechos, podemos retroceder. La lección dice: chicas, no os vayáis con cualquiera; chicas, no hagáis lo que os dé la gana... de nuevo la sexualidad ligada al miedo.

Alguna gente se llega a plantear: ¿y por que subió al piso? ¿Era ligona? Esto último se planteó en el propio juicio.

¡Basta, por favor! Cuando las mujeres hemos sido históricamente objeto de deseo... parece que no pasaba nada. Cuando somos sujeto de deseo, ya somos putas y, por lo tanto, estamos expuestas a todo.

Sólo si nos dejamos de etílicas e insultantes justificaciones y afrontamos los hechos desde su raíz (el machismo una vez más) esta horrible tragedia servirá un poquito para que todas y todos reflexionemos sobre el modelo de sociedad que deseamos y quizás seamos más responsables y más libres.

*Itziar Ziga es escritora feminista, Silvia Fernández es historiadora feminista y Julia Munarriz es trabajadora social feminista.

Murder of Gay Puerto Rican Teen Generates Talk of Equality

YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia

People Shouldn't Live in Fear

My first reaction to this story was "wow!" Not because Jorge was gay or because it was a hate crime, but I was shocked because the police in Puerto Rico said Jorge was victimized because of the “type of lifestyle” he led. It seemed like the police thought he deserved this treatment because he's gay. The police also said anyone who lives "this type of lifestyle" should know these acts of violence could happen.

Anyone leading any type of lifestyle should not have to deal with people judging him or her. Even worse, they shouldn't have to worry about being killed. If I were gay, I would not care about who looks at me or what people think of me. I would be the same Val that I am now: stronger, cautious, and able to handle my business on a daily basis.

In San Francisco, we have so many gay men and women. We even have transsexuals, transvestites and hermaphrodites. You might not know who those people are if you are closed-minded. If people were more open-minded, it might be because they had a gay alliance at their school, or even had a friend or family member who is gay. These types of relationships are important because they help straight people have opinions about gay-related hate crimes.

But I won’t be a hypocrite; I am not really fond of gay people. But I have family members who are gay. I don’t disrespect them. I actually respect them for coming out and being true to themselves.

Valerie Klinker, 19

We Are All Human

I think the gay community in Puerto Rico was very disturbed by this incident of violence. It appears Jorge Mercado was murdered because he was gay and very popular in the community. I think Latin America is harsher to people who like the same sex. Look at what happened to Jorge. He did not deserve this type of treatment.

Nobody in my family or close circle of friends has been abused because of who they are or what they have become. Among the people I surround myself with, it doesn’t matter who or what you are. Gay people are still well-respected in the community.

This incident of violence is a step back in the fight for equality. Jorge should have been allowed to be whatever he wanted to be.

I think we can make people more tolerant of gay people by showing that we all are the same. We are all human. It may take some time for everyone to accept this, but people are going to be what they want to be. Having more discussions across the world that show it is okay to date the same sex will help people become more understanding and accepting of sexuality.

Kendra Davis, 18

Latino Culture Isn't As Accepting

It was reported that activist Pedro Julio Serrano said the victim deserved his fate because his way of living --being gay-- is not right. It's shocking to hear hate crimes related to sexual orientation are still happening. I mean, damn, this isn’t the 1500’s. There’s no reason to put someone through that kind of brutal torture because of their sexual orientation. In my eyes, I don't see gay people as any different than straight people. We as people have the right to choose what color we dye our hair and what style is in, so what’s so wrong with being able to choose who we want to be with?

Considering all this occurred in Latin America, it's shocking, but at the same time, I can see why it happened. Being Latino and living in a traditional Latino home doesn't make it easy to come out of the closet. At least from what I’ve seen and experienced, traditional Latino families don’t easily accept things like being gay or even having tattoos and piercings. It's just not right because God didn’t speak approvingly about anything of these sort of things, so tattoos, piercing, and being gay are perceived as “devil stuff."

Not too many people I know discriminate based on sexual orientation because I live in San Francisco, one of the most diverse cities in America. If people can't accept the fact that there are gay people, how can we accept ourselves, and the things we do everyday?

Vanessa Vega, 19

Hate-Crimes Don't Solve Anything

How Jorge got brutally and violently murdered was kind of wrong. When I first heard that a gay teen got murdered, I thought, "so what?" That happens all the time. But when I read about how he was killed, I thought it wasn't right. I don’t think that being violent toward gay people is going to make all the gay people go away. Violence just makes things complicated. Hate-crimes like these just make gay people less open about their sexuality because they get scared about what could happen to them.

Gay people should just stay in their own communities and not go anywhere they aren't wanted. On the other hand, everybody, no matter what their race or sexuality is, should be able to go anywhere they want without being harassed. But that's not always possible.

Ricky Rollins, 19

El Capitalismo Salvaje y la Guerra Urbana en Río de Janeiro

Bruno Lima Rocha
Barómetro Internacional

El sábado 17 de octubre el Brasil recordó de golpe que su antigua capital, con más de 6 millones de residentes, es un conjunto de territorios entrecruzados por la disputa de dominio y soberanía de poderes formales y paralelos. El ataque ejecutado por narcotraficantes que acabó con el abatimiento de un helicóptero de la Policía Militar del Estado de Río de Janeiro (PMERJ), en el Cerro de los Monos (Morro dos Macacos), en el barrio de Vila Isabel (tradicional reducto del samba), en la ciudad de Río de Janeiro, no es una excepción a la regla de lo cotidiano de cariocas (habitantes de la capital del estado) y fluminenses (residentes en el antiguo Estado del Río). En el Gran Río, que sobrepasa los 10 millones de habitantes, se vive una situación cotidiana de no-gobierno, en espacios geográficos donde el Estado entra sólo en forma negociada o a la fuerza. Tal como afirman la mayoría de los especialistas y reporteros de las páginas policiales, derrumbar un helicóptero implica un aumento de escala y no de la naturaleza del conflicto. Veamos.

Breve retrospectiva de la historia que se repite

La invasión de morros dominados por redes de pandillas rivales, que los medios corporativos insisten en llamar con el eufemismo de “facciones criminales” (como si eso resolviera algo) es una costumbre en la ciudad. Desde el final de los años ’70, dos redes de pandillas se organizan por lazos de coacción y coerción de dentro del sistema penal y llevan sus lealtades y asociaciones a los morros de la ciudad. Las más conocidas, el Comando Rojo (CV) y su eterno rival, Tercer Comando (TC), ya se escindieron en decenas de fracturas, cuya rama más conocida es la facción “Amigos de los Amigos” (ADA). En el inicio de los años 2000, la acción de para-policiales evolucionó en forma organizada y con el beneplácito de las fuerzas del “orden” (protagonizadas por el Comando Azul, el color del uniforme de la PMERJ), Se instauró el régimen de “milicias” (para desgracia de los milicianos de la Revolución Española de entre otras formaciones de tipo pueblo en armas), dominando áreas de comunidad de la favela.

El uso de camiones-flete, aplicando tácticas de tipo “caballo de Troya” es empleado desde la guerra en el Complejo de la Marea (conjunto de 13 favelas, de más de 100 mil personas, localizado al lado de los trechos tomados a la Bahía de Guanabara, al lado del aeropuerto internacional), entre 1999 y 2000, cuando veteranos de la guerra civil angolesa operaron al servicio de la pandilla TC contra una de las bandas del Comando Rojo. El desvío de armas de uso exclusivo de las Fuerzas Armadas (FFAA) es otra constante, una vez que Río sigue concentrando cuarteles militares y absorbiendo en ancha escala la mano de obra temporal de jóvenes en edad de servicio militar obligatorio. Al ser dispensados de las FFAA como reserva no-remunerada, algunos tienen un nivel técnico profesional, sirviendo en unidades operacionales como la Peleada de Infantería Paracaidista (BPqd). Al salir de la caserna, muchos son empleados como soldados del narcotráfico. Por distintos motivos, Río sigue siendo un centro militar de peso, aunque la zona deflagrada para control de fronteras no esté en la antigua capital. ¿Qué genera ese absurdo? La costumbre de militarizar la ciudad, en convivencia de vecinos entre cuarteles y locales bajo otros mandos que no son los del Estado de Derecho del régimen de democracia liberal burguesa. Los efectos de tamaño desvarío se notan en la presencia de armas de grueso calibre en manos de menores de edad, con poca o ninguna escolaridad y mínima expectativa de vida.

Ya el pasaje de caravanas de hombres armados en una ciudad como esa, revela algo de mayor profundidad. Con la tecnología de GPS, la instalación de radares y los agrupamientos tácticos móviles, es prácticamente imposible que los “tranvías” no sean notados. Los “tranvías” son formados por caravanas de automóviles, camionetas y hasta camiones-flete (del tipo camiones de cambio de larga distancia) No se puede afirmar de forma irresponsable que hubo complicidad en la tentativa de invasión del último fin de semana (sábado día 17 y domingo 18 de octubre), pero si hubo como mínimo, negligencia. 150 hombres armados no transitan en la segunda ciudad más importante de la 11ª economía del mundo sin ser notados por los profesionales de la seguridad pública. Ahí hay un problema de fondo, incluyendo el aprovechamiento político de las operaciones policiales y la fragmentación de las fuerzas de seguridad, tanto o más responsables por la guerra de favelas que las redes de pandillas que los medios corporativos insisten –equivocadamente– en denominar “crimen organizado”.

Raíces del problema

No es por falta de militarización que la ciudad vive bajo pánico. Hay militares de sobra, comenzando por el absurdo de tener como policía ostensiva a una fuerza descendiente del Guardia Real de Policía (nacida en 1809) y cuya obra magistral fuera despejar a los habitantes de Río para alojar a los que salieron disparados (miembros de la familia real portuguesa que cruzaron el Atlántico corriendo de miedo ante la invasión de la Francia napoleónica). En el Brasil, vivimos bajo el segundo absurdo de tener a la policía judicial (la Civil) coexistiendo con una fuerza castrense con patentes y jerarquías semejantes a la infantería del Ejército. Esto tiene que resultar errado, porque está hecho para crear injusticia y violencia estatal.

La convivencia e influencia de militares profesionales y conscriptos con el universo policial y el de los bandidos, suministra la representación ideológica que motivará a la carne de cañón que usa uniforme. No por casualidad, el famoso y temido Batallón de Operaciones Especiales (BOPE) de la PMERJ realiza sus primeros entrenamientos dentro de la unidad de los Toneleros, batallón de élite de la Fuerza de Fusileros de Escuadra del Cuerpo de Fusileros Navales. En ocasiones recientes, llegaron a ensayar el empleo ostensivo y permanente de la BPqd para la seguridad en Río. El desastre sólo iría a aumentar.

Siendo directo, la verdad es que tanto la capital como su Región Metropolitana viven un estado cotidiano de guerra civil, motivada por el control clásico de territorio, lo que incluye a su población, sus recursos y su propio terreno. El descalabro viene de antes, de la década del ’50, cuando los esfuerzos de urbanización no tuvieron en cuenta a los habitantes de los morros. Los morros, nacen a finales del siglo XIX y aumentan su población con los despejos masivos de conventillos y cuyo ápice fue la Revuelta de la Vacuna (1904). Durante el periodo de la dictadura militar (1964-1985) nada se hizo para mejorar las condiciones de vida de aquellos que sobrevivían en condiciones precarias –con desempleo estructural- y con una forma de vida razonablemente autónoma del Estado en sus distinguidos regímenes. Y, para desesperación colectiva, la situación de control territorial por parte de pandillas organizadas en torno a la baja economía del tráfico ¡se agrava desde 1983! En mi parecer, esta es la raíz de todos los problemas de orden público de la “Ciudad Maravillosa”.

Entre la guerra urbana y la lucha por derechos civiles básicos

José Mariano Beltrame es delegado de la Policía Federal (órgano de elite, civil e investigativo) y actual Secretario de Seguridad del Estado de Río. Correctamente, como manda el manual de la Escuela Superior de Guerra y otros libros-base, quiere recuperar la soberanía estatal sobre manchas de territorio urbano. El problema es de legitimidad, una vez que el derecho colectivo no es respetado por los agentes que deberían ejercerlo. Me explico: Si un habitante de favela llama el número 190 (discado de emergencia en Brasil) y llama el auxilio policial para proteger su integridad física, es casi imposible que un vehículo oficial suba el morro en su auxilio. A la vez, en la zona sur carioca –área del metro cuadrado más caro del país- la presencia de policiales ostensivos es superior a la recomendada por la ONU. Se trata de dos pesos y dos medidas para quienes viven, literalmente, codo con codo.

Cuando el Estado no reconoce de hecho la ciudadanía integral de más de 2 millones de personas, no tiene ninguna condición para actuar como represor. La presencia física de fuerzas policiales debería ser obligatoriamente acompañada, o por lo menos precedida, de un esfuerzo descomunal para integrar estas regiones a la ciudad. Río necesita de una especie de Plan Marshall, como el aplicado para reconstruir la Europa devastada por la 2ª Guerra Mundial. No es lo que ocurre. Entran y salen gobiernos estaduales y todas las medidas son paliativas y pirotécnicas. La Unión solamente repasa presupuestos y poco cuida de las prevenciones necesarias, como en el caso del tráfico de armas y de drogas. No hay ni fábrica de armamentos y menos aún plantaciones de hoja de coca, papola o marihuana en los morros de la ciudad.

Retomar la soberanía del Estado implicaría algunas medidas, como: regularización de la tierra urbana; policías ostensivos y permanentes (y no ocupación policial); saneamiento básico (detalle, con los caños cloacales en la vertical) y una amplia oferta de servicios públicos fundamentales. Un caso límite es el de la salud pública, incluyendo el problemático servicio de ambulancias para atenciones de emergencia, cuyo uso obligatorio de sirenas se hace inviable en áreas de conflicto.

Si los habitantes no tienen derecho a una parte significativa de su ciudadanía, no se espera que reconozcan la legitimidad de administraciones que poco o nada les ofrecen. Con ese argumento no afirmo que sea preferible el control territorial de las redes por pandillas del narcotráfico y menos aún la tiranía de para-policías con el apodo de “milicias”. Lejos de eso. Pero, afirmo con todas las letras. Si la violencia de narcotraficantes se resumiera a las áreas de favelas, los gobiernos de turno de Río y sus élites convivirían sin problema alguno con ese absurdo. Esa opinión no es mía, y sí de gente como Hélio Luz, delegado de la policía civil y ex-Subsecretario de Seguridad, con quien modestamente concuerdo.

Asegurar la plena ciudadanía a las comunidades implica políticas estructurantes al costo de millones de millones de reales. Infelizmente, los habitantes no deben esperar nada en ese sentido de los gobernantes de plantón. La condición es otra. En la historia de la democracia liberal, los derechos fundamentales son fruto de conquistas y no de concesiones. O se obliga el Estado a cumplir con su deber, o tendremos más helicópteros derrumbados seguidos de miles de muertos por año.

En búsqueda de conclusiones posibles

Puede parecer un pensamiento extremo, pero en situaciones como las del Río, solamente las soluciones extremas son posibles de ser aplicadas. Vale recordar que el descontrol también es un ramo importante de los negocios. Las fuerzas del “orden” de Río siempre coexistían con el Juego del Bicho (mafia de apuestas en paralelo y que es la gran financiadora de las Escolas de Samba y, por consecuencia, del Carnaval Carioca). El peligro constante era el de bandidos independientes, con atención especial a los asaltantes de banco. Ese es el periodo anterior a las lealtades de falanges de la cadena que vinieron a transformarse en “mandos”.

El desmadre es hijo de la desigualdad con injusticia. Porque la violencia policial-estatal, que garantiza la impunidad la parte de encima de la sociedad brasileña, es la misma que cobra la coima (comisión) semanal de los gerentes de boca de tabaco y suministra mano de obra para las “milicias”. En el negociado del orden urbano, se trata de una forma de vida y un amplio sector de la economía organizado en paralelo al sistema impositivo. El suministro de servicios, además de la venta de drogas ilegales, complementa la renta y lavan el dinero del tráfico o de la extorsión para la policía. Implican suministro de gas, transporte de pasajeros en Vans y Kombis, redes de gatos en los puntos de energía e implantación de redes de telecables piratas. A la hora del negocio, el brazo armado del Estado en paralelo “vende” los morros como haciendas con portones cerrados, incluyendo la población y los votos de adentro.

Sería necesario un amplio y profundo movimiento civil de los habitantes de esas áreas, como fue en la época de la Apertura, cuando la Federación de Asociaciones de Habitantes de Favelas (Faferj) era un espacio masivo de lucha popular, yendo además de la carrera electoral cada dos años. Tampoco bastarían maquillajes u obras inacabadas como el antiguo proyecto Favela Barrio, todos saben que el problema es de orden estructural. Para barrer esa escalada de violencia como molino propulsor del capitalismo en su forma más salvaje, es preciso un amplio movimiento popular, dentro y fuera de las favelas, en el muero o en el asfalto.


Bruno Lima Rocha es politólogo, docente universitario y milita en el frente de medios del Encuentro Latinoamericano de Organizaciones Populares Autónomas (

Women in Black March on Ciudad Juarez

Frontera Nortesur

A caravan aimed at upholding women’s rights and stopping violence against women in Ciudad Juarez and Mexico is headed to the U.S. border. Organized by Women in Black along with other women’s and human rights organizations, the caravan set off from Mexico City on November 10.

Prominent Chihuahua City women’s activist Irma Campos Madrigal spoke to about 100 people gathered in the Mexican capital as the Exodus for the Life of Women prepared to embark on its journey.

“The great distance between Mexico City and the old Paso del Norte is shorter than the breadth of impunity,” Campos said, “but never greater than the demand for justice for women murdered in the city in which [Benito Juarez], present here today, and the lay Republic, found refuge in during the 19th Century.”

The Exodus for the Life of Women promotes a 10-point program which calls for finding missing women and clearing up murders, defending sexual and reproductive rights, advancing gender equality in the political system, demilitarizing the country, and ending military impunity in human rights violations against civilians. Women in Black and its allies are urging local legislatures in the states they pass through to codify femicide as a crime.

On the long road north, the caravan has stopped in several cities to hold public protests and document violence against women.

In the central Mexican city of Queretaro, caravan participants were present in a demonstration demanding justice for Maria Fernanda Loranca Aguilar, a 17-year-old local university student who was found murdered with signs of sexual violence in late October. At the Autonomous University of Queretaro, the caravaneers painted a mural that included the names of Ciudad Juarez femicide victims.

Reached briefly while marching near the border of San Luis Potosi and Aguascalientes, Chihuahua human rights lawyer Luz Castro told Frontera NorteSur the caravan should reach Ciudad Juarez on November 23, two days prior to the celebration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In Ciudad Juarez, caravan organizers plan to deliver a big bell constructed from keys collected over the years in memory of femicide victims, Castro said.

In Aguascalientes, the marchers faced down local police reluctant to allow the bell onto a section of the city’s main square, Plaza Patria. Gathered in the city which was the scene of Mexico’s historic 1917 Constitutional Convention, mothers of murdered and disappeared women recounted their suffering and struggles.

“There is a lot of pain on this road,” said Norma Ledezma, mother of 16-year-old Paloma Angelica Escobar murdered in Chihuahua City back in March 2003. “It is very tiresome, and our strength is extinguished,” Ledezma said. “Nonetheless, the position of a mother is that I am going to struggle until the end of my life to find the murderers of my daughter.”

Eva Arce, mother of Silvia Arce who disappeared in Ciudad Juarez in 1998, also delivered a message of persistence and resistance. Arce pledged that the mothers on the caravan will aid all mothers of victims in the states visited by the caravan.

Surrounded by pink wooden crosses assembled on Plaza Patria, other speakers addressed violence against women in Aguascalientes. As if delivering a huge wake-up call to Mexico and the world, the bell lugged by the caravan rang out after each presentation. The event concluded with the singing of “Ni Una Más,” the anthem of the Mexican anti-femicide movement.

As it nears the borderlands, the caravan will retrace the route of a similar event in 2002, when Women in Black and others traveled from Chihuahua City to Ciudad Juarez in protest of the femicides. Now, more than seven years and hundreds of murders later, most crimes remain unpunished and the killing of women in Ciudad Juarez is at an all-time high.

The Exodus for the Life of Women coincides with a flurry of activity around the Mexico femicides on the international front. At a meeting in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, representatives of Mexican human rights groups requested that the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) once again send an investigator to Ciudad Juarez.

In 2002, the IACHR visited Ciudad Juarez and issued a series of recommendations to the Mexican government.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the European Parliament is expected to review this week any progress that has been made since the elected body passed a resolution two years ago calling on governments in Mexico and Central America to protect women from violence and sanction the perpetrators of femicide.

Also in November, all eyes are on Costa Rica, where the Inter-American Court for Human Rights could render a historic decision holding the Mexican state accountable for the slayings of Esmeralda Herrera Monreal, Laura Berenice Ramos Monarrez and Claudia Ivette Gonzalez. The three young women were found murdered in a Ciudad Juarez cotton field in 2001.

A recent report from Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission claimed that the three levels of the Mexican government spent tens of millions of dollars from 1993 to April 2009 in response to the women’s homicides. According to the federal agency, the money went for special prosecutors, new institutions and related expenses.

Despite the alphabet soup of agencies brought into the field, women’s homicides have broken all records in Ciudad Juarez this year. Through mid-November, more than 120 women were reported slain in the violence-battered city. Unlike previous years, when gender and domestic violence were clear motives in numerous killings, most of the crimes this year appear to be connected to the ongoing narco-war between rival cartels.

However, gender violence and gangland rivalries could be merging in an increasingly sadistic synergy. Late last week, for example, two young women said to be in their late teens or early twenties were reportedly tortured and possibly sexually assaulted before being dragged outside of a house in the Senderos de San Isidro neighborhood where a party had been underway and then set on fire. The house in which the party was held was then torched in the fashionable style of warring gangs.

Because of indications of sex-related violence, the case was turned over to the wo-men’s homicide prosecutor. Earlier, in October, the body of a beheaded woman was found on a Ciudad Juarez street. Four execution-style slayings of young women also bloodied Chihuahua City in recent days.

Differing statistics from Mexico’s National Defense Ministry and the Office of the Federal Attorney General report that somewhere between 3,726 and more than 4,000 women were slain in all of Mexico from December 2006 to October 2009. Domestic violence was blamed for the vast majority of the killings, but there was a clear trend of organized criminal activity as the culprit of crimes.

Some officials even attributed murders to human traffickers who killed victims resisting sexual exploitation. Mexican states registering the highest number of women’s murders were Mexico, Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero, Tabasco, Veracruz, Chiapas, Jalisco, Tamaulipas, Michoacan, and Sinaloa, in that order.

Notably, because of smaller overall populations, violence against women was higher-than-average in the northern border states of Baja California, Chihuahua and Tamaulipas.

In a new book, Ciudad Juarez sociologist Julia Monarrez Fragoso explores the various causes and patterns of gender violence in her city. Among the roots of violence, Monarrez contends, are an industrialization based on existing gender and class discrimination, localized cultures of violence, drug trafficking and organized crime and, above all, the lack of rule of law.

According to Monarrez, “The demands for justice by relatives, by organized groups of women and feminists have not been heard by the State.”

Commenting on the Exodus for the Life of Women, Chihuahua state legislator Victor Quintana wrote that Women in Black is attacking “apathetic attitudes, numbed consciences and normalized perceptions that the murders of women are something ordinary.” The November 2009 caravan, Quin-tana added, proposes to shake up the nation and refocus its future on “a new reality built by all, women and men, of bountiful rights and of bountiful life.”

En "Sobrevivencia Marginal" casi Tres Millones de Trabajadoras de las Maquilas


Debido a los paros técnicos y en menor medida al cierre de algunas maquiladoras, a consecuencia de la crisis económica, en la frontera norte de México la “sobrevivencia marginal” que padecen alrededor de 2.8 millones de trabajadoras se “recrudece”. Ellas se ven obligadas a conseguir un segundo empleo en el sector informal o a ejercer la prostitución.

Así lo informó a Cimacnoticias Julia Quiñonez, coordinadora del Comité fronterizo de obreras, con sede en Coahuila, y ex trabajadora de la maquila en esa entidad, quien informó que en la región, las trabajadoras perciben en promedio de 200 a 500 pesos semanales, este salario les resulta insuficiente para cubrir sus necesidades, sin embargo el panorama empeora cuando por paros técnicos sólo perciben 70 por ciento de su remuneración.

De acuerdo con la Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo (ENOE), en 2006, 2.8 millones de mujeres laboraban en empresas maquiladoras ubicadas en Baja California, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Sonora y Nuevo León, dedicadas a las ramas electrónica y automotriz.

En época de crisis económica, estas trabajadoras, quienes representan 53 por ciento de la mano de obra de la maquila en la región, tienen pocas opciones para resolver satisfactoriamente sus necesidades, señaló Quiñonez.

“Los salarios en general son bajos para las y los trabajadores, pero las circunstancias para las mujeres se complican cuando hay una suspensión o un paro técnico, impacta muchísimo en su familia, sobre todo para las que son madres solteras,”, explicó la coordinadora del Comité fronterizo de obreras.

Desde octubre de 2008 se han registrado paros técnicos en las maquiladoras de la región y algunos cierres, que a decir de Julia Quiñonez no son “graves”. Ejemplo de ello es que en Reynosa, Tamaulipas, de 100 maquiladoras cerraron tres; en Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, de 35 cerraron dos, informó.

A más de un año de paros técnicos, las trabajadoras de esta industria, que en agosto pasado sufrió una caída de 7.3 por ciento, se ven afectadas en los aspectos económico, social y político. “Pierden su capacidad de compra y su canasta se reduce a un grupo de productos básicos, supervivencia marginal”, aseveró.

Frente a esta problemática las empleadas de la maquila buscan otro trabajo, algunas cruzan hacia Estados Unidos para complementar su salario, incluso hay quienes tienen que ejercer la prostitución.

Condiciones laborales

Las mujeres siguen ocupando los puestos más bajos. Las obreras de confianza o de mandos medios son pocas a pesar de que ya tengan tiempo en la empresa, ya que en la maquiladora no existe el escalafón, detalló Julia Quiñonez. Aún cuando tengan instrucción escolar superior a los hombres “no tienen ninguna categoría, entran como obreras, no son reconocidas”.

Además, siguen expuestas a sustancias sin equipo necesario y enfrentan discriminación porque no las contratan si están embarazadas o las despiden en caso de que lo estén.

Sin embargo, las trabajadoras organizadas “avanzan” a favor de sus derechos laborales, aseguró la coordinadora del Comité fronterizo de obreras, organización que funciona como un espacio para lograr estrategias y solucionar problemas integrales de las mujeres como la salud ocupacional, reproductiva.

Entre los logros de las trabajadoras de la maquila del norte del país se cuenta la modificación al artículo 170 de la Ley Federal del Trabajo, con la que las mujeres tienen tiempo destinado para la lactancia de sus bebés. Así como la posibilidad de que al cuarto mes de embarazo las cambien de la línea de trabajo, donde están de pie todo el día y en trabajos menos riesgosos, concluyó Quiñonez.

The Struggles of the Tohono O'odham

A Border Runs Through Them


Censored News


Tohono O’odham living on the border joined with Ward Churchill to speak out on “Apartheid in America, Surviving Occupation in O’odham Lands,” on Nov. 13. Ofelia Rivas and her brother Julian Rivas, O’odham living on the US/Mexico border, spoke of the impact and desecration of colonization and border militarization.

Ofelia Rivas said O’odham were never included in the dialogue determining the delineation of the US/Mexico border in the 1800s or the construction of the border wall. “We were not at that table when they made that international border. We were not considered human,” she told the crowd of several hundred people. Responding to questions from supporters seeking ways to help, Ofelia said, “Can you take that border down for us? Can you restore our way of life? Can you give the language back to our young people who have gone though the boarding school experience or those who went through relocation? Can you give those back to us?” she asked.

She said when O’odham elders, the ancestors passed away, they became part of this earth since the beginning of time. “In the beginning, when the world was made, we were here. We were made from this earth. Our ancestors are every part of this land, not just our ancestors, but all the Indigenous Peoples of this world.”

Ofelia said she was inspired by the young people who came to learn because they care. Describing the ongoing struggle of O’odham she said, “We are considered not human today. They can kill us, they can abuse us.” Now, the sacred routes have been closed that O’odham have followed since the beginning of time for ceremonies and to make offerings to the land. “That is the way we live, that is our balance here as human beings.” O’odham continue to struggle every single day because border policies make lives so difficult. Each day O’odham are confronted with the choice to compromise in order to survive and become part of the system. It is a system that makes O’odham “unhuman.”

Many look at the desert, Ofelia said, and speak only of the heat. “But here there is the beauty of the cactus, beauty of animals, beauty of the water that once flowed and the beauty of the original people of this land.” She told those who want to make social change, the place to begin is to view O’odham as human beings. She said O’odham who happen to be born at home, in what is now another country, now need permission to travel. When O’odham cross the border to visit their families and for ceremonies, O’odham undergo demeaning treatment on a daily basis from border agents because of this illegal border. “They didn’t ask us to put that international border there," said Ofelia, founder of the O'odham VOICE Against the Wall.

When confronted by US Border Patrol agents, she said she uses her O’odham language to establish her right of passage. Still, the US Border Patrol has held a gun to her head and to the heads of O’odham elders. Her brother Julian was shot at when crossing the border. Ofelia said she tells young people to say prayers that the hearts of the human race will be changed. She said people need to remember their songs to give back the blessings to Mother Earth and live in harmony with the water, land and people. The Tohono O’odham chairman held a ceremony recently in Washington for a card that gives permission for O’odham to travel on their own lands. “I have a problem with that,” she said of the O’odham border card. “As original people, we’ve always had permission from the Creator to travel on our own lands and that is the only permission we need.”

Ofelia asked for help in monitoring laws being passed in Washington. Currently, the lands of Indigenous Peoples have been contaminated by many forms of pollution, including atom bomb testing. She pointed out that the US waived 37 laws to build the vehicle barrier on O’odham lands. The US dug up O’odham ancestors to build this vehicle barrier. Julian Rivas said O’odham are continuing in the path of resistance fighters like Leonard Peltier. “Indigenous Peoples have a tie to the land, a tie to their beliefs. Their comfort zone is the earth. As non indigenous people, you create your own comfort zone.”

Speaking on indigenous resistance, Julian said “We do it, we don’t just talk about it.” Julian said he continues to cross the border even though his pickup truck has been shot at and has bullet holes in it. “That’s our way of life in resistance.” Julian said after 9/11 there were many changes at the border which affected the O’odham way of life. “They blocked off some of our traditional routes and it instilled a lot of fear in the people.” O’odham became fearful of crossing the border, which they have done since time immemorial, going back and forth in their homelands. Now, the militarization of the border involves at least seven enforcement agencies. Still, traditional O’odham leaders in Mexico have been at the bargaining table with the Zapatistas in Mexico in order to bring further recognition to indigenous peoples in Mexico. “We have no means of funding.”

Julian said O’odham along the border have applied to the Tohono O’odham Nation government in Sells, Arizona, for funds, but have received none. “There is nothing coming out for that. We have to do our own fund raisers for the work we are doing.” “We do follow a traditional order,” he said of the O’odham leadership in Mexico. He said that neither the Tohono O’odham Nation nor the Mexico government can dictate to the O’odham in Mexico. The O’odham traditional form of government is not written down, but it is known to the O’odham. Julian said O’odham in Mexico have fought a toxic waste dump planned for their ceremonial community of Quitovac in Sonora, Mexico. O’odham in Mexico first learned about the toxic dump from people in Mexico. Although the Tohono O’odham Nation government knew about it earlier, the nation was not concerned with it, he said. Activist groups across the Southwest helped traditional O’odham in Sonora fight this toxic dump, he said. Julian said when 9/11 occurred Homeland Security brought in expensive vehicles to run over everything in the O’odham homeland, desecrating the land and sacred area. “They build roads wherever they want to.” “Because of 9/11, everyone with brown skin is labeled a terrorist.” Julian said the Tohono O’odham Nation government speaks of sovereignty, but it is not demonstrating sovereignty. “It is always strings being pulled from somewhere else…We survived 500 plus years of that. With this resistance, we’re going to last another 500 plus years.”

Welcoming guest speaker Ward Churchill, Ofelia Rivas said Churchill has proven to be sympathetic and compassionate about what is happening on the border to Native lands. During questions, Churchill said it should be the O’odham people who determine an action plan for the border. Churchill said video cameras could be used to curb the level of violence by vigilantes at the border. He said people can follow the Minutemen and other civilian border patrols around with video cameras, as the Black Panthers once did in Oakland. After the Panthers followed Oakland police around with video cameras, police brutality dropped more than 50 percent in six months.

Churchill encouraged Tucson area residents to establish “neighborly” relationships with O’odham to work toward change. He said there is no script for instant social change. “The process is called ‘a struggle’ for a reason.” During his talk, Churchill spoke of Leonard Peltier and indigenous land rights. He described apartheid formulated in South Africa, which was strict segregation and flagrantly racist. He said people were outraged in the United States about apartheid, but it was adapted from Jim Crow. Jim Crow in the deep south was an antecedent to apartheid in South Africa. For Native people, colonizers brought mainstreaming. “Mainstreaming means assimilation.”

Churchill spoke of different forms of colonialism in South Africa, US, Poland and Germany. He spoke of how colonialism affected native people, pointing out the short life expectancy for native men as living conditions deteriorated and colonization increased. Churchill described settler state colonizers and the struggle for decolonization which began in the 1940s. Speaking of boundaries and walls, Churchill described the wall in Palestine and on O’odham land. Today in the US, O’odham have to go through “checkpoints,” just like Palestinians. Churchill compared the lethal actions of Israel toward Palestinians to the US Border Patrol’s lethal actions toward O’odham. He said the dehumanizing of Palestinians is manifest in a similar fashion in the US. This dehumanizing of Indians is apparent in movies like the Oscar winning western “Unforgiven.” Further, he spoke of racial profiling in the US, the popularity of Rush Limbaugh and vigilantes at borders.

Angie Ramon spoke of her son, Bennett Patricio, Jr., who was run over and killed by the US Border Patrol. Bennett was walking home through the desert at 3 a.m. when he was run over. Ramon believes, based on the evidence, that her son was intentionally run over and killed after he walked upon Border Patrol agents involved in a drug transfer. Ramon described her struggle for justice and asked why the US Border Patrol left her son crushed on the highway for so long without transporting him to a hospital. "I know he must have still been alive," she said, describing how his fingers were still twitching as he lay dying on the highway. She said both the US Border Patrol and the Tohono O'odham police know what really happened. Ramon said the Tohono O'odham Nation government has not helped her financially with the case, which she took alone to the Ninth Circuit. She said the tribal government receives funds from the US Border Patrol.

During the event, the crowd enjoyed traditional O'odham tepary beans, baked squash and fry bread, cooked by Ramon and her family. The event was a fundraiser for the O'odham Solidarity Project. --Watch videos of this gathering, with additional O’odham interviews by Earthcycles and Censored News: -- Brenda Norrell, Censored News Censored Blog Talk Radio Indigenous Uranium Forum videos Earthcycles Longest Walk Radio: