After exiting the metro at Zocalo, I found myself outside the Palacio Nacional on Thursday night, behind heavy barricades and rows of riot police. The president, members of his cabinet, the Mexico City mayor, and governors of the 31 states had been meeting inside for most of the day to discuss the "inseguridad" situation that has gripped the country since the name "Fernando Marti" entered the international lexicon. I'll let you decide if what was said has any long-term meaning. Read local Friday coverage of the "national security" summit at El Universal, La Jornada, Milenio, and other sources listed at right.
Incidentally, I ran into activists from the group that I traveled with to Chiapas among the crowds chanting outside. They were protesting the fact that it took the death of the son of a wealthy and connected figure for political leaders to sit up and take notice of a problem that plagues Mexicans of all social classes. There were some AMLO supporters in the mix, as usual, but mostly it was average Mexicans, walking by, some yelling, "Watch the rats run!" as dignitaries ducked into their SUVs outside the palace while a purple dusk descended on the vast Zocalo. Some of the student activists had just confronted the police, and there was a scuffle and chase. One of the leaders lay in pain on the floor of the square.
"Be a patriot," the message in the photograph on top reads, "Kill a delinquent." It is a widely reproduced message from the historic 2004 march in Mexico City against insecurity and delinquency and it sums up the same outrage that people in Mexico feel today. Some are taking the law into their own hands. Four years later, another massive march is planned for the evening of August 30. Solidarity marches are also planned in other cities in Mexico and even in the United States.
What is an alternative view? On Saturday at the Chopo street market I saw the poster seen in the second image above, designed by the talented graphic artist(s) at the Foro Alicia, a legendary music venue in Colonia Roma. It is a powerful response to a brewing climate of hysteria, reading:
TO THE ADMINISTRATORS OF THIS CITY / I AM A DELINQUENT/ I AM 20 YEARS OLD / I AM A YOUNG PERSON / I HAVE NO RIGHTS TO / AN EDUCATION / TO WORK / TO HOUSING / TO HEALTHCARE / AND TO MANY OTHER THINGS.