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June 19, 2024 


Mexico Stays Neutral for Good and for Bad

Meizhu Lui, for the editorial team

“Stop the Genocide! AMLO, break relations with Israel!” Photo: Jay Watts

The world situation looks different from the vantage point of Piedra Negras, Mexico, than it does from Eagle Point, Texas, though they sit only one mile apart. Regarding Palestine, the US and Mexico occupy vastly different positions in the global hierarchy, and that affects how they see the brutal war destroying Gaza.


An Eagle Pass resident knows the US is the number one global superpower and takes it for granted that it shapes the entire world to its own benefit. A Mexican citizen knows that, for two centuries, Mexico has bowed to the will of its dominant neighbor to the north. For most Mexicans, the enemy is the US empire; through that lens, they analyze much of the world.


To carve out leverage in negotiations with the world’s most powerful country, Mexico has adhered to a policy of non-alignment and neutrality for decades. It maintains relationships with every country, including Cuba, Venezuela, Russia and China. This posture undergirds AMLO’s stance on the Gaza conflict.


In December 2021, we interviewed Aracely Cortés-Galán, a long-time Palestine solidarity activist, and we reprint an updated version of that interview today. October 7, 2023 marked a new and deadly phase of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. In consequence, the Mexican pro-Palestinian movement has expanded exponentially.


But since the war began, AMLO has continued to insist on Mexico’s neutrality. Mexico has a formal state-to-state relationship with Israel, and AMLO refused to sever diplomatic ties.


AMLO has also maintained a formal relationship with Palestine. Palestine has an Embassy in Mexico City, and Mexico supports its becoming a full member of the UN. Mexico has also joined South Africa in filing a case with the International Court of Justice charging the Israeli government with genocide in Gaza.


At the same time, AMLO has refused to define Israel’s actions as genocidal. His stance has not pleased Palestine supporters. Does he carry neutrality too far? Given that his term of office ends in three months, his position is unlikely to change. It will be up to Claudia Sheinbaum to take a firmer and clearer stand.

For a deeper dive into current news and analysis in English, check out our media website. And definitely see the new English podcast ¡Soberanía! (Sovereignty) with José Luis Granados Ceja and Kurt Hackbarth.  They entertain, while dismantling the lies and distortions about Mexico fed to us by the mainstream media.

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Mexican Solidarity with Palestine

The Mexico City-born activist and scholar Aracely Cortés-Galán has been organizing support in Mexico for the people of Palestine for some 20 years now. As a feminist, shes been particularly interested in the role of women in resistance movements. In a 2019 book, Aracely explores how Israels involvement in the militarization of Mexico has contributed to deaths in her own country. We first talked with Aracely in December 2021 and here we update that interview.

What does the Palestinian solidarity movement in Mexico look like, and how did it get started?


Aracely Cortés-Galán: Support for Palestine has been centered around the Coordinadora de Solidaridad con Palestina, CORSOPAL, a group working to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine and help Palestine become an independent state.


I became a student activist in 1985 after the government in Mexico gave a horribly inadequate response to a major earthquake. The only silver lining: The government’s poor response sparked all sorts of militant action. From the student movement, I graduated to socialism and internationalism. I worked on solidarity with Cuba and in opposition to the Gulf War and learned that Israel was intervening on the wrong side of struggles in South Africa, Argentina, and many other parts of the world. And that road led me, and many others, to Palestine. CORSOPAL started up in 2000.


After the events of October 7 and the ensuing decimation of the Palestinian people and the leveling of Gaza, the movement caught fire. The Palestinian cause has generated empathy because what happens in Palestine in one way or another reflects the different forms of oppression that exist in the world.

“Long live Zapata, hero of the Mexican revolution, 1915. Long live Abd al Kader al Husseini, hero of the Palestinian revolution, 1948.” Artist, Burhan Karkoutly, The Palestine Poster Project Archives

In the United States, a powerful pro-Israel lobby has kept US government policy totally in Israels corner. Who is supporting Israel in Mexico?


Three kinds of groups. First, those with direct connections to the Israeli Embassy. These include private companies doing business in Israel, but also, for the last 40 years, the previous PRI and PAN governments that bought arms from Israel and received military training and support to deal with narco-trafficking and security issues.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PAN president Vicente Fox. Photo: Manny Veneta, Getty Images


Second, the right-wing media. And third, the ultra-conservative PAN party. In the legislature, both Morena and PRI deputies are taking a neutral stance. They’re not explicitly pro-Palestine independence, but they’re also not justifying Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

In the US, many Jewish Americans have joined the Palestine solidarity movement. Is that true in Mexico too?


After World War II, Mexico saw an influx of Jewish refugees. Jewish politics have changed, though; few of their grandchildren’s generation tend to be progressive. But the mayor of Mexico City and now our next president, Claudia Scheinbaum, rates as one of them. She issued a strong solidarity statement several years before the current conflict.


Mexico has only a tiny Muslim population. Because Indigenous people have also suffered repression, violence, and the theft of their land, the Coordinadora has supporters in Oaxaca and among the Zapatistas. Our main base of support has come from the big cities and some labor organizations, like the electrical workers union. Today, students have especially stepped forward.


Already back in October 2021, the Mexican government issued a strong statement before the UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlements in Gaza and human rights violations against Palestinians. What more should the Mexican government do?

The AMLO government has issued a public condemnation, but its basic relationship with Israel hasn’t changed. Since he took office, we have called for the government to stop buying its arms and military technology and to end military training by Israel. And we want Mexican companies like Cemex — the multinational Cemento de Mexico that expresses tacit support for the settlements — out of the occupied territories.

Mexico has used Israel’s notorious spyware, Pegasus: Fueler

Today, besides those points, activists demand that the government break relations with the occupying state. That hasn’t been done yet. We also speak out for a ceasefire. We want Mexico to join other nations in recognizing Palestine as a free, sovereign, independent state. That also has not been done, although there is a Palestinian Embassy in Mexico City.


Pro-Palestine activists demanded that rather than “observer status,” which they have now, Palestine should be admitted as a full member of the UN. It's confusing — even though AMLO doesn't recognized the sovereign state of Palestine yet, he does support full UN membership — which would be tantamount to recognizing Palestine as a state!


What Next?

“Mexicans are with Palestine”  Photo: Jay Watts

Before, it wasn’t easy to get people to pay attention to international issues. We did lots of educational events and waged media campaigns.


But now, thousands are on the streets, joining horrified people across the world. The participation of new and diverse actors in social change and the conditions of the genocide have set a new course. We demand a ceasefire in the short term and justice and an end to the occupation in the medium term.


At its core, we see this as a moral issue — an ongoing battle between the power of money and the power of the people.


Mariachi Femenil Orgullo Mexicano 

Activist Vicky Hamlin, a retired tradeswoman, shop steward, and painter, shines the light — in her art and in this column — on the lives of working people and the world they live in. Photos by Vicky Hamlin

You could feel it as soon as you walked in the room. This was a big deal — or this was one of those small big deals that could have gone unnoticed. The women in this room at Oakland’s Cesar Chavez Fruitvale branch library loved two things — Mariachi and their hermanas. The pride and joy grew and grew. At first, no one sang or danced when invited. Then feet started tapping, shoulders bouncing, lips mouthing the words. By the end, everybody was moving and shaking. And smiling. And hugging. And felt like family.

In this neighborhood, where many people speak Spanish, the library is so important. Kids and adults read, study, use computers, meet, hold social events, read the paper and visit. But it takes a special vision (thank you, Xóchitl Gavidia, Senior Librarian and Branch Manager) to include an afternoon of music that speaks, not just to all neighborhoods, but particularly to this neighborhood. And you could tell that this felt special. 

They played cumbia, rancheras, boleros and corridos. They played party music and love songs, traditional son and modern cover songs that we hear on the radio. I counted five violins, one trumpet, one harp, one Guitarrón (a big bass guitar) and a smaller guitar called a vihuela. They wore classy women’s versions of mens mariachi outfits. 

The music was technically professional and highly coordinated (five violins!) but passionate and so danceable. I am including a couple of links to their music so you can see and hear them. Mariachi Femenil Orgullo Mexicano began their journey as the first all female Mariachi group in the Bay Area at San Francisco State University in 2007, founded by Ninfa Iglesias. They’ve played all around the Bay Area and are well known and respected.

I keep coming back to the spirit of this big/little event. The musicians seemed to know that their sisters would start out shy, but they knew them, knew how to bring their audience along. And because they knew them, this family of women and their friends got on their feet and let the joy and pride in themselves, in their sisters, ring out. It was miraculous.


Recent news reports and commentaries, from progressive and mainstream media,
on life and struggles on both sides of the US-Mexico border. Compiled by Jay Watts.

José Luis Hernández Ayala, Historic Defeat of the Mexican Right International Viewpoint. The victory in Mexico was overwhelming. The ruling party won the presidency, but also seven of the nine state governorships and the majority in the Legislative Branch. A scenario of this type opens the way to promote deeper transformations.


La continuación de la #4T trabajará por el derecho a la vivienda digna Los Reporteros. Clara Brugada consolidará el proyecto de Vivienda a Bajo Costo inciado por Sheinbaum con políticas públicas sólidas.


Carlos Cabrera, 28 Kidnapped Migrants Rescued in Border Areas of Mexico Telesur English. In addition to those rescued, 9 human traffickers were captured and weapons, drugs and instruments of torture were seized.


Banco del Bienestar recibe la calificación más alta de Moody's El Heraldo de México. El Banco del Bienestar recibió la calificación de depósito de largo plazo AAA que emite Moody’s Ratings, la mayor en su escala nacional, debido principalmente a su papel como el único banco de desarrollo que tiene como objetivo servir de banca social y contribuir a la inclusión financiera, impulsando el ahorro y la inversión para los mexicanos con difícil acceso a servicios financieros.


Strike for fair working conditions at ArcelorMittal in Mexico Industriall. The National Miners’ Union of Mexico (Los Mineros) are on strike at the ArcelorMittal plant in Lázaro Cárdenas Michoacán, demanding fair and dignified working conditions.


Eder Suárez, Frente a medidas de contención, México urge a EE.UU. atender causas migratorias De Raíz. Ante el constante flujo de migrantes y cambios en la política migratoria de EEUU, el presidente AMLO señaló que es difícil que el gobierno estadounidense entienda, internalice y practique una política que aborde las causas de la migración.


Scott Squires, Sheinbaum Win Gives AMLO One More Shot to Boost State Utilities, Bloomberg. Bloomberg shrieks on behalf of international profiteers.


María del Pilar Martínez, Reestructuración sindical, clave para impulsar la agenda laboral 2024-2030 El Economista. El líder cetemista admite que el único camino para fortalecer al sindicalismo, mismo que se ha visto disminuido en la participación política, es a través de la reforma laboral de 2019, cuyas reglas ahora demandan libertad sindical y respeto al voto libre, secreto y directo de los trabajadores.


Mexico Wants US To Negotiate Deportations Directly With Third Countries, Telesur English. President Lopez Obrador recommends that Washington have direct dialogues with countries such as Cuba and Venezuela.


El PRI, en bancarrota moral y quiebra financiera: Señalan que el partido tricolor dirigido por “Alito” Moreno debe casi 190 millones de pesos en préstamos bancarios Los Reporteros. A esto se debe sumar que debido al número de votos obtenidos en las pasadas elecciones, el PRI tendrá un recorte presupuestal y el cual podría ser recortado aún más una vez aprobada la Reforma Electoral durante el sexenio de Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo.


The Mexico Solidarity Project brings together activists from various socialist and left organizations and individuals committed to worker and global justice. We see the 2018 election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president of Mexico as a watershed moment. AMLO and his progressive Morena party aim to end generations of corruption, impoverishment, and subservience to US interests. Our Project supports not just Morena, but all Mexicans struggling for basic rights, and opposes US efforts to undermine organizing and Mexico’s national sovereignty.


Editorial committee: Meizhu Lui, Bruce Hobson, Agatha Hinman, Victoria Hamlin, Courtney Childs, Susan Weiss.  To give feedback or get involved yourself, please email us!

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