Saturday, November 11, 2006

Letter to the New York Times (unpublished)

To the Editor:

Re "Mexican Forces Move to Retake Oaxaca" (October 29): This article rightly points to Ulises Ruiz's responsibility in causing the confrontation to "spiral out of control." But it leaves out important context. The "unrest" did not begin "as a teachers' strike." In fact, the teachers' union convenes annual strikes, which in the past have regularly led to negotiation and compromise with the government. This time, however, Mr. Ruiz forwent negotiation and unilaterally sent the police to repress—with violent tactics, including helicopters and tear gas. Sunday's violent occupation of the central plaza by federal police must be understood within this trajectory of continuing state repression—characterized by three protester deaths that went unreported in this paper, but appear in the well-regarded Mexican daily La Jornada.

Daniel Nemser

The writer reports for KPFA-Pacifica Radio on Mexican politics and is a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley.

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