(graf from Oaxaca, summer 2006 reads: 'Turist, kill the bad governmnet. Support the APPO' the model is some homeless guy I paid 30 pesos to to provide perspective.)
File this under why the NYTimes IS NOT your friend...
Today's online edition features an 'article' by James C McKinley Jr. and Antonio Betancourt about recent attacks on natural gas lines by the 'shadowy' (sic.) Ejército Popular Revolucionario (EPR). The article, whose source is all but exclusively a federal prosecutor, alleges that the EPR is a glorified kidnapping ring before coming out with this gem:
"Mexican law enforcement officials say the guerrillas are using the men’s disappearance as a pretext to destabilize Mexico and set off a leftist revolution. The bombings, they theorize, probably stem from anger among radical leftists over the federal crackdown on violent political protests in Oaxaca last year and the outcome of the presidential election, in which the leftist candidate narrowly lost."
Okay, aside from the fact that i'm STILL scratching my head as to what exactly a 'leftist revolution' means (I mean, come on, the democratic canidates in the US practically say more of substance than that...), is the blatant smear on the APPO. This is is textbook media manipulation 101. By calling the protests of the summer and fall of 2006 'violent' one immediately conjures in their head the image of black masked anarchist testosterone machines duking it out with cops like a bunch of gringo highschool football players.
In other words, one gets the completely wrong impression.
What really happened was a group of teachers' unions, most prominently Section 22 of the SNTE (Sindicato Naciónal de Trabajadores Educativas), who were occupying the zocalo (or town square) were forcibly removed by the municipal police in June of 2006.
(The zocalo is traditionally the centerpoint of any Mexican city's political and economic culture, not to mention just a damn nice place to eat an ear of corn and watch children play -- traditionally in Mexico, when a group or party or assembly of aggrieved persons wishers their voices to be heard, they occupy the zocalo of their city. The zocalo in the center of the captial, D.F., for example, is occupied by parties of all stripes more often than it is clear enough to chase pigeons or take a photo beneath the impossibly large tricolor).
The teachers' unions, bolstered by sympathetic sectors of Oaxaqueño society at large, retook the zocalo, and kept the police completely out of the city center until November of 2006. In the course of the prolonged 'hot' and 'cold' conflict between what became the Asemblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca (APPO) and the Oaxaqueño and the Federal state, hundreds of APPO members have been injured by indiscriminate police violence and at least 15 have died (including a gringo journalist, which drew the attention of the mainstream US public for the first time in October).
This is of course a long line in misinformation and malandering on the part of the NYT. Less we forget its coverage of quasi leftist Mexican PRD candidate Andrés Manuel López Obredor during the last (fraudulent) elections in that country, its editorial line in support of the 2002 April coup in Venezuela, its repeated (and often fabricated) denunciations against Chávez written directly from the poshest sectors of Caracas...