DEMSOC-L More on Mexico (fwd)

Luciano Dondero DOND001 at
Wed Apr 17 14:56:16 MDT 1996

>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>Date: Tue, 16 Apr 1996 20:54:25 EDT
>From: Dan La Botz <103144.2651 at COMPUSERVE.COM>
>To: Multiple recipients of list SLDRTY-L <SLDRTY-L at LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
>Subject: Mexican Labor News and Analysis #7
>Dear Robin and others,
>        The following is Mexico Labor News and Analysis #7, April 15, 1996.
>                Best,
>                        Dan
>Vol. I, No. 7, April 15, 1996
>     Year Long Struggle Ends
>                    by Dan La Botz
>     After more than a year of struggle, the workers of the
>former Route 100 bus company and the Federal District appear to
>have come to an agreement. The struggle began in April of 1995
>when the Federal District privatized the state-owned bus-company
>Route 100 and laid-off about 12,000 workers thus eliminating
>their independent union (SUTAUR).
>     The terms of the agreement provide that the union will
>receive control of three of the several bus companies which will
>replace Route 100, workers will receive additional severance
>money, and there will be a legal review of the charges against
>the 11 leaders and advisors of SUTAUR who are currently held in
>prison. The latter point is understood to be tantamount to
>amnesty for the SUTAUR leaders.
>     The union has lifted its "planton," or sit-in, in front of
>the Federal District offices, and several union members and
>supporters have ended their hunger strikes, the longest having
>gone on for forty days.
>     Nevertheless, the final negotiations are not concluded, and
>a group called "Renovacion 2000," claiming to represent 4,000
>members and retirees of SUTAUR (what appears to be a great
>exaggeration), has demanded to participate in discussions with
>the government.
>      Given the Mayor's long-history of manipulation and
>maneuvers, one hesitates to call the matter finished until the
>prisoners have been released, the companies turned over to the
>union, and the workers have received their checks.
>Why Did They Settle? The Union
>     Why, after a year of bitter struggle, did the Federal
>District government and the SUTAUR leadership finally settle? For
>over a year the great majority of the union members refused to
>sign away their rights to their jobs and accept their severance
>pay. The independent bus drivers' union showed a remarkable
>tenacity throughout 370 some days, with hundreds of
>demonstrations and militant confrontations with the authorities.
>But finally the long battle had taken its toll.
>     But in the last few weeks the workers' unity began to break
>down in two different ways. First, hundreds of SUTAUR members,
>perhaps in the end as many as 3,000, felt forced by circumstances
>to sign away their jobs and accept their severance pay--though
>many of those remained active in the movement.
>     Second, just in the last two weeks, for the first time since
>the fight began, an opposition group representing several hundred
>SUTAUR members formed and called for an end to struggle. It seems
>that faced with the possibility that its forces, which had held
>together so remarkably, would finally begin to break up, the
>SUTAUR leadership decided to settle on the best terms possible.
>Of the original 12,000 SUTAUR workers who originally lost their
>jobs a year ago, 9,000 continued the battle until the end.
>Why Did They Settle? The PRI
>     The PRI-government had its own reasons for settling the
>strike. First, of course, was the fact that the SUTAUR workers,
>though their leaders were jailed and the members frequently
>beaten in confrontations with the police, refused to be starved
>into submission. SUTAUR members would not go away.
>     Second, however, was the political situation. In the state
>of Guerrero on the Pacific Coast, there were a series of
>political assassinations and massacres, the largest at Aguas
>Blancas involving the murder of 17 people, which led President
>Zedillo to force the resignation of Guerrero's governor Ruben
>Figueroa Alcocer. In Tepotzlan in the state of Morelos, an hour
>from Mexico City, the police fired into a crowd killing one man
>and wounding several others. The PRI governed both states.
>     Evidently the Institutional Revolutionary Party leadership
>and President Zedillo, who ultimately controls the Federal
>District and its Mayor, appear to have decided that at this time
>he could not afford yet another confrontational and potentially
>explosive situation continuing in Mexico City itself.
>     Third, Zedillo and the Institutional Revolutionary Party
>(PRI) and its government have attempted to negotiate a series of
>agreements both regionally and nationally, supposedly to reform
>and democratize the state. In Chiapas, the government is
>currently negotiating the issue of democracy and justice with the
>Zapatista Army of National Liberation. At the national level the
>PRI-government has just revealed the political reforms it worked
>out principally with the Party of the Democratic Revolution.
>Zedillo apparently wanted to end the conflict with CEDAR before
>unveiling his "democratic reforms."
>Significance of the SUTAUR Struggle
>     The SUTAUR struggle has been one of the most important,
>probably the most important labor union struggle of Mexico in the
>1990s. A year-long battle by 12,000 workers in the heart of
>Mexico City, SUTAUR's fight put working class politics and issues
>in the newspapers and on radio and television nearly everyday.
>Strikers, their spouses and children, appeared in feature stories
>and every op-ed page was full of opinions.
>     The privatization of Route 100 was characteristic of the
>economic model known in Latin America as "neo-liberalism." The
>SUTAUR issues were typical and representative of dozens of other
>similar struggles in Mexico: the privatization of a state-owned
>industry, in this case public transport; the destruction of an
>independent labor union and its contract; an atmosphere of
>violence and repression. The violence in this case was
>exceptional involving the beating of union activists, the jailing
>of 11 union leaders and advisors, the suicide of the head of
>public transportation, the murder of the prosecuting attorney and
>the assassination of a judge sympathetic to the union. SUTAUR
>came to symbolize the struggle of Mexican workers against neo-
>liberalism and its effects.
>     SUTAUR's struggle led to the creation of a broad solidarity
>movement for the independent union, both within Mexico and around
>the world. In Mexico, many other independent unions and
>democratic currents rallied to the support of SUTAUR. Independent
>university unions and other independent unions such as the
>Authentic Labor Front (FAT) came to the defense of SUTAUR.
>Internationally SUTAUR received help from unions in various
>countries, most notably perhaps, from the American Federation of
>Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) of the
>United States. Amnesty International and other human rights
>organizations criticized the Mexican government for its treatment
>     SUTAUR's fight also sparked an attempted reorganization and
>reconstruction of the independent unions. On May 1, 1995, when
>the "official" unions of the Congress of Labor (CT) and the
>Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) decided not to carry out
>the usual May Day or international labor day march, SUTAUR and
>its allies took to the streets, together with many other
>organizations. Out of that experience came the "Intersindical
>Primero de Mayo," or the May 1st Coordinating Committee of
>unions, an attempt to form an alternative central labor body of
>independent unions and democratic currents in "official" unions.
>     Other Mexican and international labor unionists, peasant
>organizations, non-government organizations, and human rights
>groups rallied to the side of SUTAUR primarily to defend an
>independent union and its workers from attack by the state. Such
>support was all the more remarkable because of SUTAUR's long-
>history of hostility to and criticism of all other labor and
>political organizations.
>     SUTAUR's leadership, made up entirely of members of the
>Independent Proletarian Movement (MPI), a neo-Stalinist political
>sect, viewed all other political organizations as either sell-
>outs or traitors. In the past SUTAUR shunned the very kind of
>working-class and social coalitions which came to its aid.
>Unfortunately, there is no indication that the experience of this
>struggle has changed the minds of the SUTAUR leadership or its
>membership, which remains contemptuous of the rest of the labor
>     Nevertheless, SUTAUR's struggle shows that it is possible
>for an independent union--at least a large one with long
>experience in an important economic area--to struggle and
>survive. But to do so it must expect everything from the
>employers and the state: beatings, jail, and even murder. SUTAUR
>provided an heroic example for other Mexican workers, for workers
>in the United States and Canada, for Latin American unionists and
>workers around the world.
>                                   ###
>     April 10, the anniversary of the assassination of peasant
>leader Emiliano Zapata by the founders of the modern Mexican
>state 77 years ago, is a traditional date for the workers of the
>countryside to demonstrate. Often the "official" or government
>controlled National Confederation of Peasants (CNC) has channeled
>these demonstrations into support for the Institutional
>Revolutionary party and the government.
>     This year, however, ten independent peasant organizations
>coalesced to organize demonstrations in Mexico City and other
>parts of Mexico to demand improvements for the rural workers. The
>joining together of these ten groups for this day of protest
>represents an important if tentative step forward for the
>independent agricultural workers and peasants unions.
>In Mexico City
>     At the Monument to the Revolution in central Mexico City,
>the ten peasant organizations called for a 100 percent increase
>in government investment in the countryside, to equal 3 percent
>of the Gross National Product, or 65 billion pesos.
>     The peasant organizations also called for changes in Article
>27 of the Mexican Constitution in order to protect the "ejidos,"
>or collectively owned farms, and Indians' communal properties.
>The independent peasant unions demanded changes in the
>constitution to give Mexican citizens a "right to food." The
>peasants demanded respect for human rights, and expressed their
>solidarity with the struggles of urban and industrial workers.
>The peasant workers' groups called for a meeting with government
>officials to deal with these issues.
>Manifesto: "Dear General Zapata..."
>     A manifesto by the 10 organizations titled "Parte de Guerra
>al General Emiliano Zapata" and written in the present tense as a
>military communique to the dead general, wrote that the
>government was "allied with the other side, with your old
>enemies, General Zapata, with the gringos, the bosses, the
>bankers and reactionaries who organized in the National Action
>Party. This government demands savings and sacrifice to get out
>of the crisis, but doesn't come to us or listen to our ideas, it
>prefers to go on protecting the landlords, politicians and the
>earning of the bankers. Its strategy is to hang us economically
>in order to force us to rent or sell our collectively owned lands
>     Peasant leaders and activists express the hope that the ten
>independent organizations which joined together for the national
>day of protest will be able to join in other on-going activities
>or perhaps in a coalition.
>     The ten organizations which participated were: Coalicion de
>Organizaciones Democraticas Urbanas y Campesinas (CODUC); Central
>Campesina Cardenista (CCC); Central Independiente de Obreros
>Agricolas y Campesinos (CIOAC); Coordinadora Nacional Plan de
>Ayala (CNPA); Union Campesina Democratic (UCD); Union Nacional de
>Organizaciones Regionales Campesinas Autonomas (UNORCA); Union
>Nacional de Trabajadores Agricolas (UNTA); Union General Obrero
>Campesina Popular (UGOCP); Coordinadora Nacional Santa Cruz
>(CNSC) y Confederacion Agrarista Mexicana (CAM).
>In Chiapas
>     At the same time in Chiapas, about 80 organizations which
>participate in Aedpch (the Democratic State Assembly of the
>People of Chiapas) and supporters of the Zapatista Front of
>National Liberation (EZLN) mobilized several thousand indigenous
>peoples and peasants in demonstrations throughout the state in
>remembrance of Zapata. EZLN supporters also founded the National
>Indigenous Network made up of Indian organizations throughout
>     In response both to the peasant organizations' pressure and
>to the growing misery in the countryside, president Zedillo
>announced an emergency program costing 1,137,000 pesos to create
>temporary jobs in the countryside. The program funded through the
>government's PROCAMPO program will provide jobs for 10,000
>agricultural engineers to help deal with problems of soil
>erosion, the use of fertilizers, and irrigation.
>Agricultural Catastrophe
>     Mexico's farmers and peasants find themselves in an economic
>and social crisis which has become a genuine social disaster. The
>fundamental reason for the crisis is Mexico's inability either to
>modernize agriculture or to adapt traditional agricultural to
>modern conditions, very much a long term problem going back to
>the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920 if not before. But the short
>term causes of the current problems are more specific.
>      First, as a result of the lowering of tariff and quotas and
>the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement Mexico has
>been forced to compete with foreign produce, and often found
>themselves losing, particularly to U.S. agribusiness. Partly as a
>result of that competition, Mexico's farmers and peasants were
>forced deep into debt, fell far in arrears, and today many,
>perhaps most, find themselves unable to pay. Wealthier farmers
>and ranchers have organized the independent movement El Barzon to
>demand the renegotiation of debts and changes in the government's
>economic policy. The poorer peasants have organized through their
>peasant unions to demand relief of one sort or another. Or in
>Chiapas some poor peasants joined the armed rebellion of 1994 led
>by the Zapatistas (EZLN).
>     Second, a few years ago former President Salinas pushed
>through the Mexican legislature changes in Constitutional Article
>27 which permitted the renting and selling of lands of the
>"ejidos" or collectively owned farms. For many years before the
>ejidos had been being sold off, by the Constitutional amendment
>legalized the formerly illicit practice, and accelerated the
>break up of the communal lands.
>     As a result, according to Rafael Jacobo Garcia, president,
>and Federico Ovalle Vaquera, secretary general, of the
>Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Peasants (CIOAC),
>more than a million hectares of peasant ejidos have been sold in
>the last three years. (Hectare=2.471 acres.) Ovalle says that
>this amounts to about 10 percent of the ejidal lands. Many
>peasants have sold their land, being reduced to "jornaleros" or
>day laborers, or leaving the countryside for the city, the
>border, or the Untied States.
>     Third, parts of Mexico have suffered a deep drought, leading
>to a decline in grain production and the death of many head of
>cattle. Mexican Minister of Agriculture Francisco Labastida Ochoa
>indicated that Mexico would have to import an additional 3
>million tons of grain this year because of the drought, bringing
>the total of imported grain to 9 million tons.
>     The "official" or government-controlled National Peasant
>Confederation (CNC) has called for an increase in government
>programs for agriculture because of the "virtual stagnation" of
>agricultural production. Between 1987 and 1993 the agricultural
>sector grew by 0.9 percent annually, while the entire economy
>grew by 2.4 percent and the population by 2.0 percent.
>     The disaster in the countryside, particularly in the arid
>northern regions and in the poorest states of Central and
>Southern Mexico, has led to an increase in poverty, to hunger,
>and in some few cases even to starvation. Mexico's rural workers
>stand on the edge of catastrophe. So, on April 11, 1996 ten
>peasant organizations joined together to call for a change in the
>direction of state policies to prevent the cataclysm in the
>                              ###
>                         MAY DAY 1996--
>                         WHO'S MARCHING?
>                         AND AT WHAT PRICE?
>     May Day in Mexico as around the world (except in the United
>States) is the international labor day, harkening back to the
>fight for the eight hour day in Chicago in 1886 and the martyrdom
>of the leaders of the Haymarket demonstration.
>     In Mexico, early on the state captured the unions and turned
>May Day into the "official" labor salute to the Mexican
>President. For years the "official" unions have paraded their
>members before the Mexican President, hailing the chief and the
>Institutional Revolutionary Party. And nearly every year
>independent unionists either attempted to enter the "official"
>May Day March--and usually got beaten and bashed by the
>"official" union goon squads and the police--or were forced to
>hold an alternative independent union march or rally.
>     Last year, May Day 1995, the Congress of Labor (CT) called
>off its march, and the independents took to the streets as unions
>joined with social movements, non-governmental organizations
>(NGOs) and opposition political parties to produced the first
>real labor day celebration in decades.
>     A few weeks ago Congress of Labor president Rafael
>Rivapalacio Pontes (in reality spokesman for Fidel Velazquez,
>head of the Confederation of Mexican Workers, CTM) announced that
>the "official" unions would not demonstrate again this year.
>However an opposition current within the official unions, the
>Federation of Unions of Goods and Services (FESEBES), led by
>Francisco Hernandez Juarez, and a broader group made up of
>FESEBES and other "official" and independent unions known as the
>"Foro Group" announced they would march. Rivapalacio then told
>them that if they marched they would be expelled from the
>Congress of Labor.
>     Now, however, Fidel Velazquez has spoken, announcing that
>the dissident and opposition unionists can march without fear of
>reprisal. Despite Velazquez withdrawal of the earlier threat of
>expulsion, the whole business has revealed once again the
>bureaucratic mentality of the CT and CTM leadership, and the
>atmosphere of threats and intimidation which is responsible for a
>good part of the famous "discipline" of the Mexican labor
>federations. It is not the discipline of real union movement, but
>the discipline of a conscript army where every officer hopes for
>promotion and every soldier fears the stockade.
>                              ###
>                    Contract Settlements
>                         And Strikes
>Auto Industry
>     About 6,000 unionized workers and 600 casual workers at the
>Ford Cuatitlan Izcalli plant settled their contract with the Ford
>Motor Company of Mexico without a strike. The new contract calls
>for salary increases of 26 percent, well above the average for
>the industry and for workers as a whole. The contract was
>negotiated by Juan Jose Sosa of the Confederation of Mexican
>Telephone Industry
>     Also without a strike, the Mexican Telephone Workers Union
>led by Francisco Hernandez Juarez negotiated a new agreement for
>its members, amounting to 20 percent in wage increases and 5
>percent in benefits.
>La Jornada newspaper
>     The 300 workers at the LA JORNADA newspaper settled their
>contract after a two-day strike, the second in the newspaper's
>history. Workers received a 12 percent wage increase, and changes
>in the contract providing for greater productivity bonuses.
>Strike at Singer
>     Workers at Singer of Mexico went on strike on April 11,
>demanding a 45 percent wage increase. The company had offered the
>264 workers a 15 percent increase. The plant produces 270 sewing
>machines each day, most of which are sold abroad in Latin America
>and the United States.
>                              ###
>                    Authentic Labor Front:
>                    Two Small Battles Continue
>     Workers associated with the Authentic Labor Front (FAT)
>continue fights for basic labor union rights at two small
>workplaces, one in Leon, Guanajuato and the other at San Juanico
>in the State of Mexico.
>     In Leon, workers at Transportes "Los Angeles" continue to
>fight for their jobs and their independent union. Management
>fired the workers after they attempted to organize the union, so
>far the state labor boards have provided the workers with no
>     In Mexico City, workers at the Zinc plant which produces
>zinc powder for use in the manufacture of automobile tires
>continue their fight for an independent union. Last Thursday
>workers at the plant had a hearing at the Federal Labor Board
>(Junta Federal de Conciliacion y Arbitraje) but neither the
>employer not the "official" CTM union showed up for the hearing.
>The Junta's summons server said that he had been unable to find
>the employer in order to serve the summons, a typical delaying
>tactic in Mexican labor relations. The union told the judge it
>would take him by the hand to find their boss.
>                              ###
>     Social Statistics
>                    Stock Market and Peso Both Up--
>               Workers, Peasants and the Poor, Still Down
>     The Mexican stock exchange reached historic highs in early
>April, and the Mexican peso recuperated a tiny bit of its value
>vis-a-vis the dollar. But most Mexican businesses have not yet
>recuperated, the crisis continues. Most Mexican workers, peasants
>and the poor are no better off.
>     In 1995, 1,677,000 Mexican workers lost their jobs. (Renato
>Davalos, "Bajo 19% la Inversion Publica; Desempleo de 1.6
>Milliones,"  EXCELSIOR, 2 April 1996.) Just to take one example,
>from one sector, in 1995 8,300 bank workers lost their jobs.
>(Veronica Valdes G., "Despidieron a 8,300 empleados bancarios en
>95," UNOMASUNO, 3 April 1996). However, in March open
>unemployment in Mexico City fell by 1.2 points, to 10.4 percent
>of the economically active population. (Rafael Gimenez and
>Guillermo Aguilar, "Baja desempleo en el DF," REFORMA, 12 April
>     A number of recent studies indicate the Mexican workers'
>wages have continued to fall. A study by the Multidisciplinary
>Center of Analysis (CAM) of the Mexican Autonomous National
>University (UNAM), found that between December of 1987 and april
>of 1996, the minimum wage registered an accumulated loss of 65.5
>percent. In the same period of time the shopping basket of 31
>basic goods and services has risen in price 913 percent while the
>minimum wage has risen only 249 percent, thus leading to a 67.5
>percent loss in real purchasing power. Nearly all other Mexican
>wages tied to the minimum wage. (Jesus Castillo, "Pierden minimos
>65.5 percent," REFORMA, 15 April 1996.)
>     The office of the Mexican Federal Attorney for Consumers
>reported that between January and April of 1996, the basic goods
>and services registered extremely great increases. Chicken, for
>example, increased in price by between 30 and 37 percent.
>(Patricia Munos Rios, "Profeco: desorbitadas alzas en articulos
>basicos," LA JORNADA, 11 Abril 1996.) The National Consumer Price
>Index rose 2.2 percent in March in comparison with the month of
>February 1996. The first trimester inflation rose to 8.35
>percent, and the annual inflation rate would be projected at
>43.75 percent, according to the Bank of Mexico. (Roberto Aviles,
>"Sube inflacion 2.2 en marzo," REFORMA, 10 April 1996.)
>     Unemployment and low wages and in part a reflection of low
>levels of industrial production. Worst off is the construction
>industry which is reported to be at its lowest point in the last
>57 years, according to chamber president Fernando Acosta
>Martinez. Construction's participation in the gross national
>product fell last year by 22 percent. (Ignacio Herrera, "Sufre la
>Industria de la Construccion su Peor Recession en 57 anos:
>Acosta," EXCELSIOR, 4 April 1996.)
>     The overall industrial activity of Mexico fell by 0.2% in
>January, compared with January of 1995. Construccion fell by 9
>percent for the year. (Juan Antonio Zuniga, "La actividad
>industrial del pais descendio 0.2% en enero; se contrajo 9% la
>construccion: SHCP," LA JORNADA, 10 April 1996.)
>     What has caused the decline of Mexican industry? A study by
>the employer associacion Concanaco and INEGI, the Mexican
>Institute of Statistics, found that the North American Free Trade
>Agreement had had a negative effect on 59.83% of Mexican
>commercial establishments. (Particia Munoz Rios, "El TLC resulta
>negativo para el 59.83% de los comericantes del pais: Concanaco e
>INEGI," LA JORNADA 16 April 1996.)
>     The one area which continues to grow is the maquiladora
>sector. Maquiladoras, in-bond plants mostly owned by foreign
>companies and producing almost exclusively for export, reported a
>growth of 10.4 percent in January according to INEGI, the Mexican
>Institute of Statistics. The total number of maquiladora workers
>reached 692,142 persons. (J. Carlos Ocampo H., "Crecio 10.4% la
>industria maquiladora en enero: INEGI," UNOMASUNO, 3 April 1996.)
>     At the same time the National Institute of Ecology (INE)
>found that 65.3 percent of the 1,408 maquiladoras surveyed could
>not show the final and legal destination of dangerous toxic
>waste. Such waste is now estimated at 16,054 tons annually.
>Nearly one third of the plants return their toxic waste to the
>United States, and 5.4 percent have legal locations in Mexico.
>The rest have no explanation of what happens to their poisonous
>industrial by-products. (Ethel Riquelme F., "INE: 65.3% de l,408
>Maquiladoras no Puede Comprobar el Destino de Desechos Toxicos,"
>EXCELSIOR, 4 april 1996.)
>     Poverty affects sixty million Mexicans and is producing
>children with irreversible physical, mental and educational
>deficits, according to Jose Alfonso Solorzano Fraga, president of
>the Commission of Distribution and Management of Consumer Goods
>and Services of the lower house of the Mexican legislature. The
>state, he says, has proven unable to keep up with the problems of
>poverty and is falling further behind. (Elizabeth Velasco
>Contreras, "La Pobreza Afecta a 60 Milliones de mexicanos; Surgen
>Generaciones de Infantes Minusvalidos," EXCELSIOR, 4 April 1996.)
>     According to Unicef, 30 percent of the children in Mexico
>suffer from malnutrition. (Julieta Medina, "Sufre desnutricion el
>30 percent de los ninos en Mexico.-Unicef," REFORMA 30 march
>     Latin America has much lower productivity than the
>industrialized countries according to a study by the Economic
>Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL).
>Productivity is two to three times less in Latin America, says
>CEPAL. ("Baja Productivity de Trabajadores de America latina:
>CEPAL," EXCELSIOR, 4 April 1996.)
>     Two-thirds of Mexico's working class has either had little
>or no education or has only finished primary school (6th grade),
>according to the Mexican Institute of Statistics (INEGI).
>     Mexico's total population is 90 million, of whom 34 million
>form the economically active population (or PEA). Of that 34
>million, 4 million have never had any sort of education; 7.4
>million never finished primary school (6th grade); another 7.16
>million have finished 6th grade; another 2 million never finished
>secondary school (10th grade); and another 6.5 million did finish
>secondary school (10th grade); just over a million never finished
>preparatory school (12th grade); and finally 2.24 did complete 12
>grade. (Jaime Contreras, "Sin Instruccion o Apenas on Primaria,
>18.5 Milliones de Trabajadores," EXCELSIOR, 3 April 1996.)
>     With no wages and little education, it is not surprising
>then, that 21 percent of the Mexican population doesn't own even
>one book, and 16 percent own between 1 and 5 books. Those who own
>books are most likely to own a dictionary or a bible, according
>to a study by Formacion de Ofertas y Publicos Culturales (Focyp).
>(Renato Ravelo, "La gente en Mexico no lee; 21% de los mexicanos
>carece de un libro," LA JORNADA, 16 April 1996.)
>     Another result of unemployment and low wages is the
>persistence of child labor. Since 1992, the number of children
>working in the streets of the Federal District which includes
>Mexico City has increased by 20 percent. There are now about
>13,000 children who work in petty sales, begging, and washing
>windows in the intersections, according to UNICEF. ("Desde 1992
>aumento 20% el numero de los ninos que laboran en las calles del
>DF; hay mas de 13 mil," UNOMASUNO, 2 April 1996.) University
>investigators estimate that among the 40,000 agricultural
>laborers in Baja California each year, between 18 and 35 percent
>are children. (Antonio Heras, "En Baja California, hasta 35% de
>los jornaleros son menores de edad," LA JORNADA, 15 April 1996.)
>     Yet another product of the economic crisis is an increase in
>crime. In 1995 there were reportedly 599 crimes daily in the
>country, an increase of 35.5 percent compared with the previous
>year. ("599 delitos diarios en el pais durante 1995; aumentaron
>35.5%," UNOMASUNO, 4 April, 1996.)
>     Mexico's prison population continues to grow beyond the
>capacity of the penitentiaries. The penitentiary population of
>December 1995 rose to 23,574 prisoners, an overpopulation of
>2,026. ("2,026 internos, sobrepoblacion nacional en carceles:
>Robledo," UNOMASUNO, 4 April 1996.)
>     In the first two months of 1996 Mexico City saw 292
>demonstrations involving 56,127 persons, the daily equivalent of
>4.8 marches daily, according to the Secretary of Government of
>the Federal District. In January alone there were 146
>demonstrations including sit-ins, marches, hunger strikes,
>blocked streets and meetings--about 5 per day. February saw 136
>demonstrations. Most of the demonstrations could be attributed to
>SUTAUR, the union of the bus drivers of Route 100. In January and
>February, among political groups, the PRD held 116
>demonstrations, the PRI 13 and the PAN 1. Other groups held 140.
>(Victor Ballinas, "Se realizaron 292 marchas en los primeros
>meses del 96," LA JORNADA, 30 march 1996.)
>                                End of Issue #7
>                                         ###
--Luciano Dondero--

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