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Updated: 18.12.2012 15:51
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Interview mit Jesusa Rodriguez, Koordinatorin der Nationalen Demokratischen Konvention (CND)

Ein (englisches) Interview vom 3.11.2006, das Alan Benjamin, von der Open World Conference of Workers "In Defense of Trade Union Independence & Democratic Rights" und dort Mitglied des Open World Conference Continuations Committee (sowie Mitglied des San Francisco Labor Council) mit Jesusa Rodriguez, Koordinatorin der Nationalen Demokratischen Konvention (CND) in Mexiko am 3. November 2006 geführt hat. Darin geht es vor allem um die Bezüge der CND, die den offiziell unterlegenen Präsidentschaftskandidaten López Obrador unterstützt, mit der Bewegung der APPO in Oaxaca.

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

This morning I had the opportunity to talk over the phone with Jesusa Rodriguez, the main organizer of the National Democratic Convention (CND), which gathered more than 1 million people in the downtown square, or Zócalo, in Mexico City on Sept. 16, 2006 to proclaim Andrés Manuel López Obrador the duly elected and legitimate president of Mexico. Jesusa, as she is known by the people of Mexico, chaired portions of the CND and was elected to coordinate its main committees, the most active of which has been the Resistance Committee.

I met Jesusa for the first time last September when I was part of the international delegation to the CND from the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples (ILC). I asked Jesusa if she would grant me an interview to promote the campaigns of the CND, particularly the campaign in solidarity with the people of Oaxaca, throughout the United States and around the world. She gladly accepted.

But first a few additional background notes.

On October 9, Jesusa -- in the name of the CND -- welcomed into Mexico City at a mass demonstration and rally the 3,500 marchers from Section 22 of the National Teachers Union (SNTE) and the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO). The marchers had walked for 15 days to the nation's capital to press for their demands: Meet the striking teachers' demands! Ulises Ruiz Ortiz Must Step Down!

Over the course of the past three weeks, Jesusa has joined the Plantón, or encampment, set up by the Section 22 and APPO activists at the Hemiciclio a Juarez monument in the Alameda Park of Mexico City. This past weekend, she organized two mass demonstrations in Mexico City to protest the decision by the Fox administration to send in federal troops and special riot police into the city of Oaxaca to tear down the barricades and the encampment set up by the APPO activists more than five months ago.

At another demonstration this past Tuesday evening, standing side by side with López Obrador, she called for the formation of a National Front in Defense of the People of Oaxaca, and she supported the call issued by PRD leader Porfirio Muñoz Ledo to organize a nationwide "Megamarch" in support of the people of Oaxaca.

Last night, Jesusa was the leader of yet another action that shut down major thoroughfares in Mexico City for more than two hours to protest the growing repression in Oaxaca by the occupation army. I spoke to her this morning after her late-night meeting of the Resistance Committee of the CND.

I ask that you please join me in circulating this interview widely to your friends and co-workers, and to all your lists. The translation into English of the original interview is my own. I will send out the original Spanish text separately.

Not One More Death in Oaxaca!

In solidarity, Alan Benjamin, Coordinator, OWC Member, Executive Committee, San Francisco Labor Council

Question : Tell us your assessment of the current struggle in Oaxaca.

Jesusa : For us, the struggle in Oaxaca is the epicenter of the popular struggle in Mexico. It is the epicenter of the struggle against the electoral fraud, for democracy and for social justice, and for the defense of the Mexican nation itself.

As you know, the embattled people of Oaxaca, with only their sticks and stones, repelled yesterday afternoon, after a nine-hour battle, the forces of the PFP [Federal Preventative Police], which had tried to storm the Benito Juarez Autonomous University of Oaxaca, in violation of the law. The university's rector has opposed consistently any incursion by the state police or federal army onto the campus.

Our Resistance Committee met till the wee hours of the morning. We assessed the unfolding events and were rejoiced by this first victory. But we realized it is going to be a long and difficult struggle to force the federal troops and police out of Oaxaca, and to force the removal from office of Ulises [Ruiz Ortiz, the hated PRI governor of Oaxaca].

Your readers should know that the person now calling the shots is Felipe Calderón, with the backing of the U.S. Embassy -- not Fox. Ulises Ruiz has essentially blackmailed Calderón. He told Calderon that the PRI will prevent Calderón from taking office December 1st if Calderón does not commit to backing him 100 percent against the popular insurrection in Oaxaca. If Ulises is forced from office, Ulises and the PRI have said, then Calderón will fall -- which is something the U.S. Embassy cannot allow.

Calderón is Bush's man. His new finance minister is the No. 3 person from the International Monetary Fund. All the policies of the new Calderón administration, if we don't bring him down first, will be concocted in the United States.

So, as you can see, the issue of the electoral fraud of July 2nd -- with the PRI-PAN alliance that imposed the massive fraud against Andrés Manuel [López Obrador], and now with this PRI blackmailing in relation to Oaxaca -- is still at the heart of all the political developments being played out in our country.

Question : Tell us about the decisions taken last night by the CND's Resistance Committee.

Our committee voted to support wholeheartedly the action proposals that were announced yesterday afternoon by the leadership of APPO:

  1. We will build and join the caravan that leaves from the Hemiciclio a Juarez in Mexico City at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning to Oaxaca. APPO has called for a statewide [from all "four points" of the state of Oaxaca] mobilization to build a security belt around the APPO encampment and the university, from where APPO broadcasts its message over Radio Universidad, also known as Radio Plantón.

    Oaxaca is an occupied territory. It has been invaded by occupation troops. This is intolerable. The people of Mexico, the people of the world, cannot accept this situation.
  2. We will participate in the statewide "Megamarch" called by APPO on Sunday [November 5] in the city of Oaxaca. This movement needs a shield of hundreds of thousands of people, if not more, protecting them and forcing, through their sheer numbers and their unswerving resolve, the withdrawal of all federal troops from Oaxaca and the removal of Ulises. There needs to be a massive exodus of workers, peasants, students to Oaxaca to help the people free this occupied territory.
  3. We will support, publicize and build the National People's Strike [Paro Civico Nacional] called by APPO and the Coordinadora [the dissident wing of the National Teachers' Union--tr. note] on November 9-10. We believe this should not only be a teachers' strike; all unions and working people should walk off the job these two days to protest the repression in Oaxaca and to demand the withdrawal of Ulises and the federal troops, and
  4. We will support, publicize and build the APPO call for a nationwide and international caravan to Oaxaca on Saturday, November 11, and a new, much larger, National Megamarch in Oaxaca on Sunday, November 12.

Question : Activists across Mexico and the United States are calling upon López Obrador to issue a call for a National March in defense of Oaxaca. The CND's support for the decisions of APPO is essential, of course. Your statement in support of forming a National Front is very important, as is the call by Muñoz Ledo for a national march in support of the people of Oaxaca. But more and more people are saying, and I fully agree with them, that a strong call for a National Megamarch by López Obrador could, in fact, bring out the one million people that are needed to oust the federal troops and Ulises along with them.

Jesusa : This view is widely shared on our Committee. The national leadership of the CND will be meeting in the next couple of days and will discuss this question, which, as you say, has been raised by a growing number of CND supporters.

Question : On November 20th, López Obrador is slated to be sworn into office at a mass gathering in the Zócalo of Mexico City. Is this still going to take place? How is it building?

Jesusa : Absolutely. Andrés Manuel will be announcing his cabinet any day now. We will be gathering to celebrate, but also to swear him into office in a solemn ceremony. This is key to deepening the resistance; it is key to waging the fight to prevent Calderón from taking office on December 1st.

Question : What can unionists and activists around the world do to support the struggle in Oaxaca and the struggle of the CND?

Jesusa : The main thing now is to organize, in every country, broad-based delegations -- with top union leaders, elected officials, church and civic personalities -- to the Mexican embassies and consulates to demand an end to the repression in Oaxaca, the withdrawal of all federal and special police troops, and, most important, the removal of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.

We are aware that the International Liaison Committee has already organized many such delegations, and we thank you for all your support. But more, much more, needs to be done. The eyes of the world have to be focused on Mexico. In every country there must be delegations and mass protests at the Mexican embassies and consulates to press for these demands.

Question : Is there anything else you would like to add?

Jesusa : Yes. In the state of Oaxaca, just as in the rest of our country, they are destroying our corn -- the very essence of our culture, our identity, and the basic staple of our farm population. More than 1 million Oaxaqueños now live in the United States, where they are super-exploited, treated like second-class citizens, without any rights.

These people were forced to flee their homes and cherished communities because their corn was destroyed, first by NAFTA and now by these Monsanto strains. We have to stop this madness. We have to force Ulises Ruiz from office. We have to reclaim our nation!

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