Mexico: Plundering by the State

By Pedro Miguel
Source La Jornada
Translated By Cuba-Network in Defense of Humanity

In times of Peña Nieto, the process of redistribution of wealth goes like this: the higher-ranking members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) loot the treasury while the lower-ranking ones loot the Chedraui supermarket chain.This caricature illustrates what happened in the first week of the year, when the Mexican people took to the streets to peacefully demonstrate against the absurd increment in the price of gasoline, which benefits the group in power and private interests that took over the oil industry thanks to the energy reform, at the expense of deteriorating the quality of life of most of the population.

The protests were soon followed by lootings and vandalism, that were so coordinated and precise that it was obvious who was behind them. Unlike the spontaneous lootings that occur in times of floods or earthquakes, or in desperate times of famine, the recent attacks on chain stores were convened by social media, had transport and logistics, and were protected by police forces (as shown in several public domain videos) and, according to numerous testimonies, participants were rewarded in cash, plus whatever items they had stolen.

Simultaneously, a horde of Twitter accounts that were known for making death threats to several people, began to disseminate false information on non-existing acts of violence, particularly in the State of Mexico, with images that were actually of wars in distant countries. Those same bots disseminated flyers that allegedly came from Morena with recipes to fabricate explosives and other apocryphal calls to violence.

Many genuine protests were countered with the old tactic of the PRI, which is rooted in the Olympia Battalion (1968) and the “Hawks” (1971), and was recovered by Peña Nieto on day one of his administration: paramilitary groups infiltrated among protesters to create clashes with security forces. One of the most obvious cases of this, as shown in a video, took place in Nogales, Sonora, where a group of rioters was the excuse for the state police to open fire against the crowd (miraculously, there were no casualties). In other cases, like in Ixmiquilpan, the regime didn’t even care to mount a show before violently repressing protesters.

The plundering actions by the State, the campaigns to instil fear in society and the infiltrations of peaceful protests have the distinctive characteristics of a collusion carried out not only by the PRI but also by the PAN, the PRD and other political parties, with the cooperation of the public repressive forces. The level of synchrony and organization of the vandalic actions can’t be explained otherwise.

Why did they do this? Well, to inhibit, discourage, distort and undermine the widespread expressions of repudiation through terror. They partially achieved this in the State of Mexico, and it could be the ideal scenario for them to apply for the first time the Reglementary Law of Article 29 and impose a state of exception. This would be useful for the PRI given that their perspectives for the 2018 elections are poor.

Paradoxically, by focusing on rebuilding an almighty presidency for the PRI, Peña NIeto became the center of the party, with everything that this entails: patronage networks, rusty corporate control machinery and the aforementioned paramilitary groups that have been used intermittently since 1968 to punish social protest.

Therefore, it’s necessary to demand the head of the Executive to put an end to the State plundering, provocations, disinformation and dissemination of fear, and for the government to scrupulously respect the rights of the citizenship to peacefully demonstrate and to freely express their unhappiness.