A Planned Failed State
By: Raúl Zibechi
Banner by Adherents to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration demanding that the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students be returned alive!
The State has been converted into a criminal institution where the narco and politicians fuse to control society; a failed State that has been constructed in the last two decades to avoid the greatest nightmare of the elites: a second Mexican Revolution.
“Alive they were taken, alive we want them,” cries out María Ester Contreras, while twenty raised fists chant the slogan over the lane of the Latin American University of Puebla, upon receiving the Tata Vasco prize in the name of the collective Forces United for Our Disappeared in Mexico (Fuerzas Unidas por Nuestros Desaparecidos en México, Fundem), for its work against forced disappearances. The scene is overwhelming, since the family members, almost all mothers or sisters, cannot contain the crying and tears each time they speak in public at the 11th Human Rights Forum.
It has nothing to do with the genealogy of the disappearances that we are familiar with in the Southern Cone. In Mexico, it’s not about repressing, disappearing and torturing militants but something much more complex and terrible. A mother related the disappearance of her son, a communications engineer who was working for IBM, kidnapped by the narco to force him to construct a communications network at their service. “It can touch anyone,” she warns, saying that the whole society is within its sight and that, therefore, no one ought to remain at a distance.
Fundem was born in 2009, in Coahuila, and has achieved reuniting more than 120 families who look for 423 disappeared persons. It also works with the Truth and Justice Network, which looks for 300 Central American migrants disappeared in Mexican territory. “Collateral damage” former president Felipe Calderón called them, trying to minimize the tragedy of the disappearances. “They are beings that never had to have disappeared,” replies Contreras.
Worse than the Islamic State
A Fundem communiqué, for the purpose of the Third March of Dignity celebrated in May, emphasizes that “according to the Interior Ministry, as of February 2013, 26,121 persons were counted as disappeared,” since Calderón declared the “war against drug trafficking” in 2006. In May 2013, Christof Heyns, special relator on extrajudicial executions for the United Nations, said that the government recognized 102,696 homicides in the six-year term of Calderón (an average of 1,426 victims per month). But in last March, after 14 months of the current Peña Nieto government, the weekly Zeta counted 23,640 homicides (1,688 per month).
The information chain Al Jazeera published an analysis wherein it compares the deaths provoked by the Islamic State (IS) with the Mexican narco-massacres. In Irak, in 2014, the IS has ended the lives of 9,000 civilians, while the number of Mexican cartel victims in 2013 surpassed 16,000 (Russia Today, October 21 2014). The cartels carry out hundreds of decapitations every year. They have taken to dismembering and mutilating the victims’ bodies, to later expose them to intimidate the population. “For the same purpose, the cartels also attack women and children, and, just like the IS, publish graphic images of their crimes in the social networks.”
Many media outlets have been silenced through bribes or intimidations and since 2006 the cartels have been responsible for the murder of 57 journalists. The Islamic State murdered two US citizens, whose cases earned large media [attention], but few know that Mexican cartels murdered 293 US citizens between 2007 and 2010.
The question is not, nor should it be, who are the bloodiest, but rather why. Since we know that Al Qaeda and the Islamic State have been created by the United States intelligence services, it’s well worth asking question who is behind the drug trafficking.
Different studios and articles of investigative journalism emphasize the fusion between state authorities and narcos in Mexico. The magazine Proceso emphasizes in its latest edition that: “since the first trimester of 2013 the federal government was warned by a group of legislators, social activists and federal functionaries about the degree of penetration of organized crime into security areas of several Guerrero municipalities,” without obtaining the least response (Proceso, October 19, 2014).
Analyzing the links behind the recent massacre of the Ayotzinapa students (six dead and 43 disappeared), the journalist Luis Hernández Navarro concludes that the act “has uncovered the sewer of Guerreran narco-politics” (La Jornada, October 21, 2014). Members of all the parties participate in it, including the PRD, of the centre left, to which José Luis Abarca, the municipal president of Iguala directly implied in the massacre, belongs.
Raúl Vera was the Bishop of San Cristóbal de Las Casas when the hierarchy decided to separate Samuel Ruiz from that city. But Vera followed the same path as his predecessor and now exercises in Saltillo, the city in the state of Coahuila from where several mothers come that are members of Fundem. They don’t have their own place and they meet in the Diocesan Human Rights Centre. The Bishop and the mothers work elbow to elbow.
In 1996, Vera denounced the Acteal Massacre, where 45 indigenous Tsotsiles were murdered while they were praying in a church in the community, in the state of Chiapas, among them 16 children and adolescents and 20 women. In spite of the fact that the massacre was perpetrated by paramilitaries opposed to the EZLN, the government attempted to present it as an ethnic conflict.
Because of his long experience, he maintains that the Ayotzinapa Massacre, “is a little message to the people, it is saying to us: see what we are capable of,” like happened in San Salvador Atenco in 2006, when members of the Peoples Front in Defence of Land, who participated in the Zapatistas’ Other Campaign, were brutally repressed with the result of two deaths, more than 200 detained, 26 of the women raped. The governor in charge of the injustice was Enrique Peña Nieto, the current president.
Those “messages” are repeated again and again in Mexican politics. The priest Alejandro Solalinde, who participated in the Forum on Human Rights, coordinates the Pacific South Pastorate on Human Mobility of the Mexican Episcopate and directs a shelter for migrants who pass through Mexico towards the United States, asserts that he received information that the students were burned alive. After being machine-gunned, the injured were burned, as police told him that they participated in the events and “longed for conscience” (Proceso, October 19, 2014).
If the style of murdering reveals a clear mafia message, the objectives ought to be discovered, to whom do they point and why. The answer comes from the hand of Bishop Vera. He emphasizes the intimate relationship between the cartels and the political, judicial and financial structures of the State, to the point that it is impossible to know where one begins and the other ends. To establish that reality leads him to assert that the leaders of his country “are organized crime” and that, therefore, “we are not in a democracy” (Proceso, October 12, 2014).
But the Bishop focuses his reflection towards a neuralgic point that permits untying the knot. “Organized crime has aided in the control of society and therefore it is an associate of the political class. They have attained that the people don’t organize, don’t grow.” Words more or less, but Subcomandante Marcos has pointed out the same thing.
Last, we’re not dealing with an accidental confluence but with a strategy. One of its constructors in the terrain is General Oscar Naranjo, who was one of the more outstanding “architects of the current Colombian narco-democracy” under the Álvaro Uribe government, as Carlos Fazio (La Jornada, June 30, 2012) would denounce. Naranjo, a DEA favourite and a “product of exportation” from the United States to the region, became an advisor of the Peña Nieto government.
Fazio emphasizes a Washington Post report where the newspaper asserts that: “seven thousand police and Mexican military members were trained by Colombian advisors.” It doesn’t take a great leap of the imagination to figure out where they began to manufacture the Mexican Failed State.
But there is more. “The United States government has helped some cartels through Operation Fast and Furious,” through which two thousand weapons were “involuntarily” place in the hands of the narcos, the webpage antiwar.com reminds. It is possible, websites dedicated to strategic analysis reflect, like the European site dedefensa.org, that the Mexican chaos is favoured by Washington’s growing paralysis and the cacophony that its diverse and contradictory services emit. Nevertheless, everything indicates that there is something deliberate. It should never be placed in doubt that it can boomerang across its extended and porous border.
From Puebla (Mexico)
– Raúl Zibechi is a Uruguayan journalist. He writes in Brecha and La Jornada and is an ALAI collaborator.