Calderón government one of the three worst in history, electrical workers say
[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for May 2.]
by Patricia Muñoz and Georgina Saldierna
During the International Workers’ Day march on May 1, 2010, independent unions of the country characterized the Felipe Calderón government as one of the “three worst” in the history of the country, equal to those of Antonio López de Santa Anna and Victoriano Huerta; declared their unanimous rejection of PAN [Partido de Acción Nacional – National Action Party] labor reforms; condemned the massive impoverishment of Mexican workers; and voted by show of hands for the “immediate departure” of Secretary of Labor Javier Lozano Alarcón.
The mobilization featured the presence in the Zócalo of the 72 members of the Sindicato Mexicano de Electicistas (SME – Mexican Electrical Workers Union) who are on hunger strike; the unanimous repudiation of the administration’s labor policies, declared by dozens of labor organizations on picket signs, posters and t-shirts; and the absence of members of what is usually one of the most militant contingents in this kind of observation, that of Social Security workers.
The organizations also condemned the Arizona anti-migrant law, calling for a boycott of US businesses and criticizing the passivity of Calderón and his foreign secretary, who are “on standby,” waiting to see what the United States decides concerning migration reform, while it should be a matter of bilateral negotiations
Criticism of the Calderón administration went beyond the immediate area. Foreign organizations in the Tribunal Internacional de Libertad Sindical [International Labor Freedom Tribunal] condemned the Mexican state’s policy of systematically restricting union freedom and stated that authorities are “part of a network of corruption, along with businessmen.”
Luis Guillermo Pérez, secretary general of the Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos [International Human Rights Federation], called on the Mexican Government “not to use the army or public forces against the historical strike in Cananea… otherwise, we will use all the resources and institutions at our command so that any crimes that may be committed are not treated with impunity.”
Using puppets of President Felip Calderón in military uniform, figures of women representing justice defeated and thrown to the ground, banners insulting Secretary Lozano’s actions, SME picket signs reading “I’m still alive,” awarding of the “blood trophy” to the owner of Grupo México for having the most unsafe mines in Mexico, the demonstrators began the day under a grueling sun that left a number of participants dehydrated, some even fainting…
It was Martín Esparza, leader of the electrical workers, who asked those in attendance to vote for the departure and the “expulsion” of Lozano, and in response the workers in the Zócalo raised their hands as one in approval of the motion. It was he who compared this government with those of López de Santa Anna and Huerta. In his first May Day march since the dismantling of Luz y Fuerza del Centro [Central Light and Power], the leader criticized the media blackout imposed by television and other communications media on the electrical workers’ hunger strike while they devote hours to the case of hunger striker Guillermo Fariñas in Cuba.
On behalf of the CNTE [Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación – National Education Workers Coordinating Committee], Francisco Bravo, leader of Distrito Federal section 9, stated that every democratic teachers’ organization disapproves the labor reforms and added that only persons like Elba Esther Gordillo [Head of the competing PAN-affiliated Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación] could approve the initiative, because they owe favors to the regime, which has given them 80 billion pesos for “cultural and housing programs” that do not exist…
Speaking of the Arizona case was José Luis Andrade of the Consejo Nacional de Organismos Rurales y Pesqueros (Conorp – Nacional Council of Rural and Fishing Organizations), who demanded that the Calderón administration establish immediately a dialogue with the United States for resolving the migration problem. Along the same lines, Elvira Arellano, representing the migrants, criticized the president for “remaining silent” in the face of this offense and called for a boycott of US businesses operating in Mexico.
The assistant secretary of the telephone workers union, Jorge Magaña, declared that yesterday’s observance was one of the “most difficult and painful Workers’ Days because in a year we have seen an escalation of aggression against democratic and independent groups.”