Mexico’s “Democratic” Transition: Impunity and Counterinsurgency

A text by John Gibler

Almost a year after President Felipe Calderon took office, “democracy” in Mexico continues its study of the theater of the absurd. As Calderon gives speeches on the rule of law, police and soldiers attack social movements, drug-trafficking gangsters murder with impunity killing 1,951 people since January, and femicides continue in Ciudad Juarez and spread to other states. Roughly 50 million people are dropping deeper into the wreckage of hunger and exclusion. The true design of the political class may be deciphered by juxtaposing Fortune magazine’s announcement that Mexican monopolist Carlos Slim, with an estimated wealth of $59 billion, is now the richest man in the world with the tales of impunity and counterinsurgency in two of Mexico’s most marginalized states, Oaxaca and Chiapas.
The divisions in Oaxaca could not be starker, or more revealing. As the Oaxaca Peoples’ Popular Assembly (APPO) spent the late spring months preparing a cultural festival, the state government was preparing to crack skulls. Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz hired a North Korean Tae Kwon Do champion, Kim Myong Chong, to come to Oaxaca to train the state police in submission techniques using a four-foot long wooden staff.