BOREDERLAND BEAT — This time it is impossible to look the other way. The Mexican government is normally adept at managing public opinion so the responsibility for the violence and human rights violations ripping apart the country falls on the shoulders of local officials or organized crime groups. But on June 19th that narrative was broken under the heavy weight of the facts.
The press originally reported a “clash between teachers and police” in the town of Nochixtlán in the southern state of Oaxaca. The authorities claimed their agents were unarmed and the protesters had fired on them first. The new U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Roberta Jacobson, was carefully neutral in her first public evaluation of the incident, stating simply that she “lamented the loss of human lives.”
But during the ensuing days the awful truth has trickled out. Thanks to the reports of journalists on the scene, the Mexican government has been forced to accept that the police were in fact heavily armed. And the evidence now points to the commission of a brutal massacre by federal forces against peaceful protesters. These forces are under the command of Mexico´s President Enrique Peña Nieto and receive significant funding from the United States government under the Merida Initiative.
It all began when a group of rural, elementary school teachers closed a highway that runs through the small, mostly indigenous town of Nochixtlán. They were protesting the government´s neo-liberal education reforms and in favour of the release of two top teacher union activists, who had been taken as political prisoners a week earlier.
• MEXICO TORTURE: REALITY THAT CANNOT BE IGNORED — LA JORNADA