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Atenco - Women of Mexican Dissent the New Target

Atenco - Women of Mexican Dissent the New Target

By Julie Webb-Pullman

I have spent the last week translating statements given to human rights organisations by 19 women brutally detained, beaten, sexually assaulted and/or raped in San Salvador Atenco, Mexico, and who are now in prison, invariably charged with blocking public highways. Many of these women were in fact dragged from their homes or off the street on their way to or from work on 3rd and 4th May, and most have no political affiliations, with the EZLN or anyone else - not that that should matter because political freedom is a fundamental human right.

The Atenco events are a blatant attempt by the Mexican Government to terrorise the people into submission, especially anyone supporting or attending ´The Other Campaign´rallies, through the use of brutal force, and sexual assault and rape as an instrument of political control. It is no coincidence that townspeople from Atenco had provided protection for the delegation of Subcommandante Marcos in Mexico City two days before these attacks.

Members of the international media were also beaten, sexually assaulted, had their equipment seized etc - CNN, Reuters etc were all there, but have remained ominously silent about the truth of the events on those days. Perhaps they are too scared to tell the world what is really going on? The people have not been beaten into submission however, there have been marches in the street of Mexico City every day by an organisation called the 400 pueblos, and it is led by women of all ages, stark naked but for plastic masks over their faces, and they are followed by men in their underwear, seemingly all indigenous, with banners and placards naming the disappeared and murdered, rapes and killings of women, and demanding respect, and observation of their rights. They literally lay down their lives taking such actions, their courage is incredibly humbling, especially having read the accounts of the women detained. I could not work out if this march was supporting the people of Atenco, maybe not - but it shows how widespread government repression is.

I urge all SCOOP readers to go to and read the truth about what happened in Atenco, and the horrifying acounts of what happened to so many women - and men.I hope they will join the demands for the release of these 209 political prisoners, and justice for the brutalities committed against them.

I hope they will also view with suspicion the massing of US troops on the Mexican border, given the overwhelming support evident for the The Other Campaign and the threat this poses to the politicians of all Mexican parties contending the elections in July, all of whom are lapdogs of the US. We all know how much the US loves anti-globalisation, and anti neoliberalist and leftist movements anywhere, but especially in Latin America following the elections of Chavez and Morales. In the past twelve months the US has stationed troops in Haiti after kidnapping President Atistides, 1200 more in Paraguay (who granted them immunity from prosecution for whatever atrocities they may commit there), and has a standing presence in Colombia and Puerto Rico. Is not this build-up cause for considerable concern? Is Mexican immigration a somekscreen for yet another preparation to ´bring democrUSAy´ to Latin America, are Women of Mexican Dissent the new ´threat´??


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