The following is an email I received from George Salzman
Friends, I received from a teacher here, a good person who I’ll call X, the following heartfelt e-mail to various international human rights (derechos humanos) organizations:
When almost all the human rights organizations interested in knowing the situation of human rights in my country are paying a lot of attention to the Oaxacan struggle to get a new democratic order in this poor southern Mexican state, not many of them are looking to the dismay situation that most Central American people traveling through Mexico to the United States are in.
Mexico is always demanding respect to its citizens north of the Rio Grande, but how is my country acting with those poor foreign people in our Souther border with Guatemala? They as well as the Mexican migrants in the USA , are just hard working people wanting to get away from lack of employment, lack of education, poor salaries and dictatorial goverments, looking for better oportunities for themselves or their families. And the first thing they find once they have crossed the Mexican border and are into Mexico, their “big brother” up North, is repression, a criminal and corrupt police, and so many problems that if they arrived alive to the border between Mexico and the USA, it is a real miracle!
What a shame for our country! Many Central American migrants declare that the worst part of their journey is crossing through Mexico and specially the Southern portion of their trip: Chiapas and Oaxaca. Just to ask for your attention, I’m inculuding a recent newspaper article about a Catholic priest that was put in jail together with some Central American migrants for attempting to rescue some other migrants kidnapped by the local Migratory Police in order to get money randsoms!
Please, start to put sanctions to any country that doesn’t respect the international treaties that it has signed! Stop giving honorary posts to those countries because doing that you are just helping those corrupt regimes to stay longer in power! Help us to show the real visage of those goverments. Very often, as is the case in Mexico, all the mass media are in the hands of the politicians and they use radio and TV programs to show all the people who rely on those media to get news (most of the population) that they are the only option and that they are acting fine as it is demonstrated by the international community acceptance of our country at key posts.
Stop this scandalous double moral. You must know that in accepting that double moral you are becoming accoplishes of this tiranic country. Please. Act as you did with South Africa. It is just the same situation! Any person visiting this country or supporting its economy is also supporting all those crimes!
X included with his plea the first two paragraphs of the11 Jan La Jornada report, found here. I am translating the entire article, but it is not yet ready to include with this note.
The state of terror in Oaxaca is severe. My friend is at risk for even writing such an appeal, and yet his/her focus is not on the terrible oppression Oaxaqueños are suffering, but on that of poor Central American migrants to the U.S. What he doesn’t yet realize is that decent lives, not just for Oaxaqueños but for all latinos, indeed for all peoples, is impossible as long as the U.S. (or any government) retains enormous power. Over half a century ago George F. Kennan, a so-called ‘dove’ in the highest U.S. government bodies, wrote:
“We have about 60 per cent of the world’s wealth but only 6.3 percent of its population. In this situation we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction. We should cease to talk about such vague and unreal objectives as human rights, the raising of living standards and democratisation. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”
?George Kennan, former head of the US State Department Policy Planning Staff
(Document PPS23, 24 February 1948)
For information about the ongoing struggle in Oaxaca, two useful sources (in English) are
1. the Oaxaca Study Action Group Yahoo group listserv at
2. the Narco News Journal website at
Two Spanish-language sources are
1. the daily national newspaper La Jornada, at
2. the daily Oaxaca newspaper Noticias, Voz y Imagen de Oaxaca, at
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