Background on the crisis in Oaxaca.

Violence has escalated in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Several protesters were killed last Friday, including Brad Will, an independent journalist affiliated with New York Indymedia. Mexican president Vincente Fox has sent federal police forces into Oaxaca.

The following report is from the Inter Press Service News Agency:

The Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO), which is demanding the removal of Governor Ruiz, who they accuse of corruption and authoritarianism, declared itself on maximum alert and called on its members to put up resistance to any violent actions of which they are the target.

APPO, made up of 350 Oaxaca social organisations, emerged in June after Ruiz sent police to break up a protest by teachers who went on strike in May for better salaries.

On Friday, heavily armed men in civilian dress, who witnesses identified as police officers and municipal authorities, reportedly opened fire on members of APPO, who were defending barricades they have set up to block streets in the city centre.

The protesters, whose blockades have frequently been the targets of drive-by shootings, have armed themselves with sticks and Molotov cocktails for protection.

The men who were fatally shot Friday included a teacher, a resident of a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Oaxaca, and a freelance U.S. journalist and cameraman. A fourth victim is still unidentified.

The U.S. reporter, Bradley Will, 36, was working for Indymedia, an Internet-based alternative news agency. He was killed by two shots to the abdomen while attempting to film interviews for a documentary he was preparing.

Osvaldo Ramírez, a photographer with the Mexican daily Milenio, was among the injured.

The U.S. embassy in Mexico lamented Will’s death, which, according to Ambassador Antonio Garza, “underscores the critical need for a return to lawfulness and order in Oaxaca.”

The embassy also said the men who shot at the protesters may have been local police.

APPO blames the 14 deaths on paramilitary groups made up of police officers and hired killers allegedly contracted by Ruiz.

For the full IPS report, click here. For a report from the Guardian, click here. (Thanks to Portside for these links.)

David Bacon’s article in the September/October issue of Dollars & Sense, Oaxaca’s Dangerous Teachers, gives background information on the current crisis, and the key role of cross-border organizing in the Oaxacans’ resistance to the governor’s corrupt and repressive regime.

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The Economist: Weapon of Mass Deduction?

The Economist’s latest ad campaign has become ubiquitous in Boston over the past few weeks. Similar to the recent Snickers campaign that co-opts the adbusting technique of subverting a brand’s logo, The Economist’s ads feature the magazine’s red-box logo with various slogans replacing the words “The Economist.”

And, as much as D&S laments the reverse subversion, we have to admit that the taxi roof signs with the red-box logo and the word “Illuminating” are kind of amusing—although it could just as easily be read as an advertisement for that other British newspaper, The Sun.

But the one that really gets us is The Economist’s red-box logo with the slogan “Weapon of Mass Deduction.”


The Economist supported the U.S.’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, continued its support even after the discovery of Iraq’s complete lack of weapons of mass destruction destroyed the ostensible reason for the invasion, and keep on supporting the occupation of Iraq even though it has killed thousands of soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilians, doubled acute malnutrition among Iraqi children, and cut Iraq’s national income by 40%, while benefiting few people other than Bechtel and Halliburton shareholders.

You’d think that no one at The Economist had any powers of deduction at all. The slightest bit of thought would have told them that advertising The Economist with a play on weapons of mass destruction is in incredibly poor taste.

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