Here are some figures on public participation for each place and date: 150 people in Oaxaca (capital of the State of Oaxaca, 500 km south of the capital) on April 26; 30 people in Toluca (capital of the State of Mexico) on April 27; 170 people in Cuernavaca (capital of the state of Morelos, 100 km from Mexico City DF) on April 28 and the same day about 200 people in Guadalajara (capital of the state of Jalisco, 500 km northwest of the capital city) ; 200 people on May 2 in Mexico City DF at the premises of the Mexican Electricians Union (SME) – to which must be added more than fifty participants online; 30 people also in the Mexican capital in Santo Domingo Square on May 3; a hundred people in Puebla (capital of the State of Puebla, 150 km from Mexico City DF) on May 6 for two separate activities; sixty people in Mérida (capital of the State of Yucatan, 1,300 km from Mexico City DF) on May 12 for two separate activities and another sixty people in Cancun (1,600 km from Mexico City DF in the State of Quintana Roo) on May 16.
And echoes in the media: two interviews in the paper edition of The Daythe main left-wing daily with several hundred thousand readers with a site visited more than 145,000 times a day (the two interviews were also published on The Day website, on the CADTM and other websites); an article in the daily Yucatan soil; articles in Puebla papers, an opinion piece in The Day… Videos were shared on social networks by the Mexican Union of Electricians (SME) (see their radio broadcast – in Spanish – from minute 40) and by Promoter for the Suspension of the Pago de la Deuda,… etc.
Some facts about Mexico
- Population: about 130 million.
- Area: 2 million km2, i.e. 4 times the land area of France or Spain, 5 times that of Germany, 1.5 times that of Mali, 2.5 times that of Pakistan and barely less than that of the DRC.
- 68 indigenous nations make up about 15% of the population.
- Mexico became independent from Spain in 1821.
- Mexico has been through several major debt crises (see Mexico has proven that debt can be repudiated and The Mexican Debt Crisis and the World Bank and have repeatedly successfully repudiated debts considered illegitimate).
The current Mexican government
The government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), whose mandate runs from 2018 to 2024, had promised to carry out the fourth transformation of Mexico. The first transformation occurred during the first decades of the country’s independence, which had been won in 1821; the second transformation consisted of the liberal and republican reforms of the third quarter of the 19e century under the presidency of Benito Juarez; the third began with the Mexican Revolution in 1910 but was more visible under President Lazaro Cardenas (1934-1940). The fourth claims to put an end to the predominant neoliberal policies since the 1980s and resume and deepen the tendencies of the first three transformations.  For Éric Toussaint, spokesperson for CADTM, AMLO’s policy does not violate the neoliberal capitalist model. The underlying logic is still the same, although some positive changes mark a difference with previous governments: the government has tried to fight against corruption, which thrives in the state apparatus; new social assistance programs have been put in place; the right to a universal pension has been implemented but at a very low level (1,900 Mexican pesos per month, or about 95 euros or 100 dollars) ; state repression against social movements has diminished.
In terms of public debt, AMLO’s government has so far followed a neoliberal conservative policy. While during his 2018 election campaign, AMLO revealed the illegitimacy of a series of public debts, once in power, he continued to pay. It has not implemented a debt audit with citizen participation. Mexico’s debt continued to rise. The Promotora for the suspension of the payment of the public debt calls on the government to urgently change course.
The AMLO government has also launched important public works in terms of communication infrastructure such as the Mayan train or the “transisthmic corridor”, that is, a transport corridor between the Caribbean Sea (and therefore the Atlantic Ocean) and the Pacific Ocean near Tehuantepec; these projects are strongly criticized by many social movements, peasant movements, ecologists, Zapatista movement,…
A situation of extreme violence
The violence perpetrated by organized crime, and in particular drug cartels, with the complicity of certain sectors of the state apparatus, is extreme. One of the forms that violence takes is the frequent enforced disappearance of people. Some 100,000 people have disappeared since the 1960s. Even more worrying is the fact that the annual number of enforced disappearances has increased in recent years. According The Day of May 19, 2022, “Mexico has exceeded 100,000 cases of people missing or reported missing, according to official figures provided by the National Registry of Missing Persons (RNPD), coordinated by the Ministry of the Interior. Although the phenomenon has existed since the 1960s, when enforced disappearances were politically motivated, it is the “war on drugs” launched in 2006 which is at the origin of more than 95% of the cases at the origin of the massive increase now recognized by the government. reported.
Considered by the current administration as a human rights crisis, the growing trend of disappearances is associated – according to the diagnosis of the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) – with the presence of organized crime in several States – in a number of cases in collusion with the police, primarily at the state and municipal levels. Official data confirms that drug trafficking is the root cause of the problem.
The RNPD reports on the evolution of the phenomenon with a breakdown by period: between March 15, 1964 and November 30, 2006, 1,988 disappearances were recorded, mainly due to the dirty war waged by the State against insurrectionary movements ; the war on drugs transformed the trend into a mass phenomenon, with – according to official figures – 16,903 disappearances under the administration of Felipe Calderón (2006-2012); the continuity of the strategy against organized crime under Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018) resulted in a 100% increase, reaching a level of 35,610 disappearances during his six-year term.
Although the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador has taken steps to put in place a legal framework and an institutional structure to fight crime, and has shown itself open to international monitoring and collaboration, efforts have been insufficient.
Figures reveal that in just three and a half years in power, another 31,400 people have disappeared.
The number of feminicides is also appallingly high. Officially, an average of 10 women are murdered every day in Mexico. In 2021, only 1,044 of 3,750 homicides of women, girls and adolescents were classified as femicides.
Every year, the number of murdered women increases. You can read in The Day of April 23, 2022: “The phenomenon of disappearances is closely linked to femicide, since many women who are not found ultimately turn out to be cases of femicide. The Observatorio Ciudadano Nacional del Feminicidio (OCNF) said that, according to information provided by prosecutors in 19 states, “from January to December 2021, 10,322 women, girls and adolescent girls disappeared, of whom 2,281 are still missing, and the majority are minors.”
Added to this is the violence against activists, peasant leaders and trade union organizers with targeted assassinations usually ordered by big landowners, big companies, etc.
The Promotion suspension of public debt repayment joins the CADTM network
The Promotion Deferment of Public Debt Payments was founded in 2020. It is a coalition made up of political and social organizations (including the Mexican Electricians Union) as well as individuals. It meets weekly and regularly organizes activities in various regions of Mexico.
It was the Promotion who organized the ten public activities in which CADTM International participated between April 26 and May 16, 2022 (see the Evaluation written by Benito Mirón and published by La Jornada, an English translation of which has been published by CADTM).
During the continental meeting of the CADTM AYNA held at the premises of the SME on April 29 and 30, 2022, the Promotion was enthusiastically welcomed as a member. The CADTM AYNA meeting brought together delegates from Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay and Puerto Rico, as well as a delegation from the CADTM Joint International Secretariat. The Haitian delegation was only able to arrive in Mexico on May 3 but was able to meet most of the CADTM delegates who were still in the Mexican capital.
The CADTM has an ambitious program for the month and for the year 2023: writing and publication of a book on debt in Latin America and the Caribbean; development of educational tools; a meeting to be held in 2023 with legislators from across the region to discuss CADTM’s proposals in the fight against illegitimate debt.
All in all, the intense program of activities organized by the CADTM and the Promotion because the suspension of the repayment of the public debt was a resounding success.