June 7, 2004
Recent bombings in Mexico questioned
By Barnard R. Thompson
Newspapers worldwide have carried the stories —
three bombs exploded in closed-for-the-weekend foreign owned Mexican banks in the predawn hours of May 23. The explosions were set off in Jiutepec, a small town south of Mexico City in the state of Morelos. The claimed perpetrators — heretofore-unknown dissenters calling themselves
the “Comando Jaramillista Morelense 23 de Mayo.”
Legitimized immediately as another guerrilla group
advocating social justice by the media in Mexico, a yet unanswered question is who really was behind the acts? Populist or rural poor advocates? Land reformists? Terrorists? Subversives?
Student radicals — old or new? Could they simply be common criminals
trying to mask whatever acts, present or future, behind a political façade?
Or maybe this was something yet more partisan in
nature, one more Kafkaesque-like act in the Byzantine world of Mexican politics?
The so-called “commando” group reportedly
took their name from Rubén Jaramillo, a peasant activist and leader who was killed, along with his family, by military forces
on May 23, 1962. But this latest Jaramillista group had never been heard of before.
A note was found near a fourth device that conveniently
failed to explode. The note condemned the economic policies and “neoliberal
counter reforms” of President Vicente Fox Quesada, who it said “has shown that moral and political hegemony have
no limits under the imperialist hegemony.”
It also called for the resignation of Morelos Governor
Sergio Estrada Cajigal, a member of Fox’s National Action Party, or PAN. Estrada
had been under pressure by the political opposition in the state to resign following revelations of supposed ties to drug
traffickers, charges that Estrada adamantly denies. When he refused to resign,
the Morelos state legislature initiated impeachment proceedings that are now bogged down in the courts.
On June 2 the self-proclaimed Jaramillista
commando was heard from again. This time they sent a communiqué to members of
the media in the southern state of Chiapas, home of the minor yet now famous Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN).
The missive again attacked the bourgeoisie. “We warn that what the popular revolutionary movement has gained has not been
enough to detain exploitation, exclusion, corruption, impunity, cynicism, grandeur, repression and terror by the powerful,”
the note said.
As to the May 23 bombings in Morelos, the communiqué
said that the attack was directed against “banking institutions fraudulently privatized by the neoliberal governments.” It also noted that care was taken lest the explosions might have caused injuries,
“so that they cannot classify us as terrorists.”
The attention getting midnight explosions were relatively
small detonations, although international media reports were much more bombastic — and with few to no follow-up stories. In Morelos, the bombs were first said to be dynamite and then there were reports that
plastic explosives were used. Another report said that TNT had been found, while
a local police commander said they were probably set off by remote control.
As it turns out, investigators now have evidence
that what was used were commercially available small explosive devices normally used in the construction industry. They were placed in plastic containers and rigged with clocks, the timing devices apparently being the
most sophisticated part of the makeup.
But who is behind the bombings, that by whatever
standard were serious, frightening and yes acts of terror?
Going beyond the theory of Ockham’s razor,
after the May 23 explosions Julio Hernández wrote in the Mexico City daily La Jornada “on many occasions supposed
(guerrilla) acts have been prepared in government basements.”
Governor Estrada, who has denied any involvement
in the affair, has expressed strong suspicions that “political actors” in the state are involved, not members
of what he claims to be a non-existent guerrilla group. According to Estrada,
the investigation by Mexico’s Attorney General points to a group of perpetrators who are trying to politically and socially
destabilize Morelos and his administration.
The Morelos state Secretary of Government, Jesús
Giles Sánchez (PAN), more specifically points the finger towards “the political parties,” whereas members of congress
in Mexico City were even more blunt. José Sigona Torres (PAN, Morelos) attributed
the bombings to “leftwing extremist groups tied to the PRD,” an unsubstantiated charge that a Democratic Revolution
Party (PRD) spokeswoman challenged as grossly irresponsible.
Back in the state and in a seemingly vicious circle,
PRD leaders claim that public perception is the bombings may “have been fabricated in order to divert attention from
the real problems of non-governance that exist in Morelos, and due to possible ties of some state government officials to