Monday, October 27, 2014

Peru this Week: Peru's police force introduces new crime hotline

"Peru's Police Force Introduces new Crime Hotline"
W. Alejandro Sanchez
Peru This Week
October 27, 2014
Originally published:
The Peruvian Police (PNP) has a new program to increase citizen security: A hotline that citizens can call to report crimes (0800-19800). The hotline will be supervised by the Police’s Directorate General against Organized Crime and will operate from Monday to Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Hopefully Peruvians will take advantage of this new service, as it is important that they also do their part to reinforce security throughout the nation.
Fortunately, when it comes to internal security challenges in Peru, gone are the days when terrorist movements like the Shining Path and the MRTA detonated car bombs throughout Lima and other major cities. Nevertheless, citizen insecurity remains a major problem nowadays due to the rise of organized crime and street crime. The renowned Peruvian daily La República explains that the hotline will hopefully encourage citizens to report crimes such as “homicide, kidnapping, weapons trafficking, drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, among others;” in other words, just about any crime that the reader can think of.
However, it is important to note that the creation of the aforementioned hotline is not the first time that policymakers resort to these tactics. In mid-2013, the Ministry of Interior created another toll free hotline (800-16016) that citizens can use to report corrupt activities by law enforcement officers. At the time, as part of a media campaign to gain citizen support, the Ministry ran a series of ads across social media that displayed the image of an arrested corrupt police officer, Emilio Rodriguez Izquierdo. The image of the now-imprisoned policeman had the slogan “We do not want corrupt officers like him… Inform us about them!” (This service is still available though the author of this commentary has been unable to find a case in the Peruvian media that exemplifies the effectiveness of this hotline.)
Additionally, even though crime continues to affect Peru, there has been a drastic increase of thePNPs resources which will facilitate solving crimes more effectively. One prime example is a recent murder that occurred in Barranco, a popular district of Lima. On the afternoon of a recent Sunday, October 12, a man was shot in the head while standing outside the “Rincón Gaucho” restaurant. A surveillance camera managed to catch an individual with a motorcycle helmet walking behind the victim, shooting him several times and then fleeing. The surveillance tape, as well as a quick response by police units, aided the prompt arrest of three suspects.
Finally, it is also worth noting that apart from new hotlines and surveillance cameras, the PNP is also acquiring new police vehicles. This is an important development as new police cars are being deployed not only throughout Lima, but also throughout the country’s Northern and Southern regions. For example, in May, the Arequipa region received 12 new Nissan TIIDA patrol cars, valued at over US$100 thousand. The vehicles will be utilized to support police stations in communities within the region, such as Melgar, Miraflores, El Porvenir and Mollendo.
Terrorism was Peru’s number one internal security threat throughout the 1980s to early 1990s, but in the first couple of decades of the 21st century, crime in general is the country’s major challenge. Sadly, assassinations in public are becoming dangerously common.
Peruvians deserve to live in a country that not only is developing, but is also secure. New hotlines to report crimes, surveillance cameras and new other new equipment for the PNP are certainly important initiatives that should be applauded and supported. Hopefully, Peruvians will now do their part and report crimes since crime hotlines are only effective when they are properly utilized.
You can follow W. Alejandro Sanchez on his Geopolitics & Geosecurity blog and on Twitter:@W_Alex_Sanchez.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Interview: Voice of America: Uruguay: sondeos prevén segunda vuelta

"Uruguay: Sondeos Prevén Segunda Vuelta"
Por: Luis Alberto Facal
Voz de America
Octubre 23, 2014

La elección presidencial de Uruguay este domingo 26 de octubre probablemente no defina un ganador, por lo que habrá que realizar una segunda vuelta electoral en noviembre.
Sin embargo, para el analista Alejandro Sánchez, del Consejo de Asuntos Hemisféricos, un centro de pensamiento con sede en Washington, la posibilidad de que el candidato del oficialista Frente Amplio, el ex presidente Tabaré Vázquez gane en la segunda vuelta es alta.

VOXXI: Protests against Nicaragua’s ambitious canal

"Protests Against Nicaragua's Ambitious Canal"
W. Alejandro Sanchez
October 26, 2014
Originally published:

The Nicaraguan government, with Chinese aid, is about to begin a historic project: the construction of a new inter-oceanic Canal. But sections of the Nicaraguan population are discontent and protesting against this grand scheme. While Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega remains fairly popular, citizen restlessness over the Canal may cost him dearly.
Ortega has been labeled as a “vende patria” (“beytrayer of the homeland”) and that is not a nickname any head of state wants.

Growing discontent

In June 2013, Nicaragua’s National Assembly approved a deal with an obscure Hong Kong-based firm, the HKND Group, to build an inter-oceanic Canal that would rival Panama. A year later, Managua announced that construction will begin this December. The specifications of the proposed maritime corridor are: 278 kilometers in length, across the Great Lake of Nicaragua (also known as Lake Cocibolca), between 230 to 530 meters of width, and some 30 meters of depth.
This analysis will not discuss international concerns with this project (which are numerous) but rather focus on recent developments withinNicaragua. There are two major domestic concerns that are the sources of protests:
First of all, former presidential candidate Edmundo Jarquin claims that recent protests are due to governmental secrecy. Managua argues that the country’s economy will grow by 15% annually from the second year of construction onwards and it will generate between five to 50 thousand jobs. Nevertheless the government has not provided specific details about the project, such as construction timelines and potential environmental impacts.
The second reason is that Nicaraguans that live in the Canal’s proposed path will have to move. Case in point, there have been reports that HKND representatives, with Nicaraguan police officers and soldiers acting as guards, have appeared in various homes, taking measures and informing homeowners that their households will be purchased by the company.

Protests on the rise

A couple of the most recent protests occurred in early October around La Unión, located in the Región Autónoma del Atlántico Sur, RAAS, in Eastern Nicaragua. Some three thousand inhabitants marched with signs that read “The land is not for sale… Nicaragua will not give up!” as well as “Ortega: betrayer of the homeland!”
The people demanded that the construction of the Canal must not pass through their lands. In fact, an indigenous representative, Brooklyn Rivera Bryan, highlighted that the Canal’s current plan passes through a community of the Rama indigenous people, which the government should protect instead of evict.
The indigenous and afro-descendant inhabitants of the Rama y Kriol territorial government (GTR-K), located in the RAAS, are similarly concerned. A July press release in the GTR-K’s government website declares that a deep water port will be built as part of the Canal; it will be located close to the current homeland of the aforementioned Rama community, known as Bang kukuk/Punta del Aguila – the proposed construction will jeopardize the lifestyle of local inhabitants as it will destroy the local environment and biodiversity. The GTR-K press release declares that Managua has not discussed with them the potential environmental, cultural or archaeological impacts caused by construction.
Similarly, in late September some 250 inhabitants of a community in the department of Rivas carried out a peaceful march protesting the likely evictions that the Canal will cause.  “We are fishermen and we have livestock, we cannot live in the city, we cannot take the lake and the livestock [when we move]” one local leader declared.
These protests can be tied to the aforementioned points made that Managua has not engaged in an open dialogue with citizens about the true costs of the Canal. This promotes distrust and anger.
Meanwhile, the government has generally minimized protests. When the aforementioned manifestation in Rivas was announced, a government spokesman said “we respect the people but we know that the population will end up supporting the Canal.” The government has also hinted that the population is being “manipulated” by political groups that are against the project.

Overtly ambitious dreams?

In July, Managua and HKND Group announced that the Canal will be completed by 2019. In other words, it will take half the time the U.S needed to construct the 77km-long Panama Canal (1904-1914). This is a very ambitious timeframe that may not be feasible. Some high-level Nicaraguan policymakers claim that the country is not ready to begin construction in December, as preliminary projects like building temporary housing for workers and engineers must begin first. There is also a deficit of qualified workers, including electricians and carpenters.
President Ortega currently enjoys positive approval ratings. However his popularity is being affected by opposition to the Canal by inhabitants of regions through which it will pass. Hence, he cannot afford that the Canal suffers major delays.
Nicaragua will have elections in 2016, when the Canal’s construction will be well underway. In other words, Ortega’s legacy, as well as the future of his presidency (if he runs for another re-election), is now firmly tied to the Canal.

VOXXI: Why Uruguay’s elections matter

"Why Uruguay's Elections Matter"
W. Alejandro Sanchez
October 23, 2014
Originally published:

On Sunday, October 26, Uruguay will have general elections and the (very) popular President Jose Mujica is constitutionally prohibited from running for a direct re-election. Therefore, the Uruguayan government in the post-Mujica era will have to address a variety of issues, ranging from internal security, the future of marijuana legalization and relations with neighboring Argentina.

Game over?

It seems that the Uruguayan population already knows the winner: Tabare Vazquez of the ruling Frente Amplio coalition and also a former president himself (2005-2010). An early October poll reports that 61 percent of 720-polled citizens believe that Vazquez will emerge victorious. Representative Luis Lacalle Pou of the Partido Nacional came in second with 23 percent, while Senator Pedro Bordaberry of the Partido Colorado came at a distant third place with barely 2 percent.
It is worth noting that the Frente Amplio hired the Equipos polling company to conduct the aforementioned poll. Nevertheless, in spite of a possible bias, previous polls carried out over the past year generally favor the former head of state, although Lacalle’s support has significantly improved. Other polls also put Vazquez first with around 40 percent, Lacalle with 28 percent and Bordaberry with a more expectant 11 percent.
According to Uruguay’s electoral laws, if no candidate gets a majority of the votes a runoff between the two top candidates will occur on November 30. A similar situation happened in late 2013 in Chile (when Michelle Bachelet returned to power), and is currently taking place in Brazil (which will also have a presidential runoff this Sunday).
It seems likely that Vazquez and Lacalle will be the chosen candidates to go for the runoff and, unless there is a major surprise, Vazquez will be re-elected.
Additionally, it is important to remember that Uruguay will also have congressional elections. The country’s General Assembly is constituted by two chambers: a Senate with 30 seats (plus the vice president) and a Representatives Chamber with 99 deputies. All seats will be up for grabs on Sunday.
According to the polling company Interconsult, the Frente Amplio has around 43-44 percent of support, while the Partido Nacional has between 33-34 percent and the Colorado Party has 14-15 percent. This means that the Frente Amplio is not expected to maintain control of either chamber. The likely presidential runoff and likely future composition of congress will force the Frente Amplio to form alliances with smaller parties to comfortably govern.

Promises, challenges and marijuana

The challenges that Uruguay’s future policymakers will face are well known as the population’s major concerns are internal security, quality of education, and inflation.
Apart from promising to fix the aforementioned issues, presidential candidates have made their standard campaign promises. For example, Lacalle promised in August that if elected, learning how to drive would become a requirement in schools’ curriculum. The goal is to decrease the number of motor vehicle accidents, which have become a problem in Uruguayan highways.
Finally, we must address the decision that placed Uruguay, and President Mujica in particular, in the international spotlight: marijuana legalization. The Frente Amplio’s platform for 2015-2020 briefly explains that a new Frente Amplio-led government will “evaluate the accomplishments of marijuana legalization,” and also establish, control and tax mechanisms.
On the other hand, the opposing Partido Nacional and Partido Colorado have similar opinions. Both parties have pledged that they will overturn Law 19.172, which legalized the production, distribution and sale of marijuana in the country. The language of the Colorado Party’s platform is interesting when it addresses marijuana legalization: it mentions (several times) that marijuana does not promote a healthy lifestyle and it goes against “sports values.”
In other words, for the Uruguayan marijuana experiment to continue, the incumbent party must win.


Finally, we must briefly discuss Montevideo’s foreign policy. Of particular interest will be the future relations between Uruguay and Argentina. In recent years, Montevideo and Buenos Aires have been at odds due to a controversial pulp mill that was constructed on the Uruguayan side of the River Uruguay, which forms an international border. Hence, it is no surprise that elections in Uruguay are regarded by Buenos Aires as an opportunity for a fresh start.
However, a “reset” of relations is debatable, at least while President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner remains in power in Argentina. Vazquez was no friend of Buenos Aires as it was under his presidency, during which the pulp mill was constructed. Moreover, even the challenger Lacalle is not Kirchner’s ideal candidate, as the Partido Nacional has historically been closer to peronismo than tokirchnerismo.
According to the polls, former President Vazquez looks like the likely winner in Uruguay’s upcoming elections. If the elections (including the run off) go as expected, we will have to see how Vazquez performs during his second presidential term. Addressing domestic problems like internal security are particularly pressing, but so are issues that have international ramifications, like progressive drug policies (namely marijuana legalization) and the future of Uruguay’s relations with Argentina.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

VOXXI: How the midterm elections will impact US and Latin America relations

"How the Midterm Elections will Impact U.S. and Latin America Relations"
W. Alejandro Sanchez
October 15, 2014
Originally published:

On Tuesday, November 4th, the U.S. midterm elections will take place and Latin America is, most decisively, not an issue that will be on the ballot. The U.S. has a plethora of pressing issues that must be addressed, including a revamping economy and a new military venture in Iraq. As for Latin America, while immigration is a relevant (and divisive) issue, Latin American affairs in general are not a priority for the American citizenry.

The 2014 Senate

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs, but the main focus is on the Senate as the Democratic Party is in dire need of retaining control.
Currently, the Senate’s composition is: 53 seats held by the Democrats, 45 by the Republicans while two are Independents who tend to favor President Obama’s party. A total of 36 Senatorial seats will be decided in November. According to experts, nine races in states like Colorado, Michigan and North Carolina will be closely examined, as various incumbent Democratic senators will not have an easy time being re-elected due to the growing popularity of Republican challengers.
As for how the midterms will impact U.S.-Latin America relations, one name to keep in mind is Senator Tom Udall, a Democrat from New Mexico, known as the “most liberal” senator. He also happens to be the chairman of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere and Global Narcotics Affairs, the Senate branch that deals with Latin America and the Caribbean.
Should Udall lose, or if the Republicans gain the Senate, we could see a drastic re-arranging of a legislative body that is critical to U.S. relations with the Western Hemisphere. Whether this is a positive or negative scenario depends on your point of view regarding Washington’s initiatives towards Latin America under theObama presidency.


The future of the Senate is critical, as it will heavily influence the future of U.S. policy towards Latin America. For example, even though the U.S. is becoming militarily involved in Iraq (again), Washington must also promote a comprehensive hemispheric security policy to combat transnational crimes, particularly drug trafficking. Even with a reduced budget, U.S. security agencies have scored some important victories against regional organized crime. For example, in March, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Canadian Navy seized two suspicious vessels in the Caribbean; hidden in both ships was a combined cargo of 3,300 tons of cocaine.
The aforementioned senate subcommittee for the Western Hemisphere and global narcotics is precisely the type of legislative body that must support security agencies like the Coast Guard so they have the necessary resources to continue carrying out successful operations.
Unfortunately, Washington’s focus in Iraq and Ukraine, we will not see major developments towards Latin America after the elections.
This is problematic given major issues dealing with the Western Hemisphere that must be addressed. Case in point is immigration reform, which enjoyed an important momentum this summer due to the ample media coverage of Central American minors who are trying to enter the U.S. via the Mexican border. Nevertheless, an important and timely issue such as this remains unchanged. According to The New York Times, President Obama has not addressed immigration because “the issue is politically too hot.” It is difficult to foresee the U.S. president addressing it after November since he will be focused on other issues to cement his legacy (i.e. leaving Afghanistan). In the meantime, the Republican Party will attempt to block major presidential initiatives before 2016.
As for the upcoming mid-terms, the Senate and House candidates have generally focused their electoral campaigns around domestic issues. In spite of this internal focus, Latinamericanist analysts will closely follow the fate of candidates like Senator Udall, as it will affect the composition of the Senate’s subcommittee for Western Hemisphere affairs.

After November: Where to Begin?

Ideally, the 114th Congress will address Western Hemisphere affairs as a whole, not solely drug trafficking and immigration; two topics generally regarded as national security problems.
The future of U.S.-Cuba relations is an obvious place of where the Senate’s subcommittee for the Western Hemisphere should begin. In 2011, President Obama managed to ease some restrictions on travel and remittances, but most of the decades-old embargo remains in place. In recent developments, Panama has pledged to invite Cuba to attend the 2015 Summit of the Americas (diplomatic tensions over this possibility occurred in the 2013 Summit in Colombia).
Ideally, in the coming months policymakers in the White House, State Department and Congress will have serious discussions on whether this upcoming gathering can serve as a launch pad to reinvigorate U.S.-Cuba relations. However, this will largely depend on the composition of the Senate after November. (A Republican-led Senate, or subcommittee, will probably support perpetuating the status quo).
While Latin America will certainly not be in the ballot on November, that does not mean that the region will not experience the repercussions, for better or worse, of the upcoming midterms.

Peru This Week: Peru upgrading airports in bid to become regional hub

"Peru Upgrading its Airports in Bid to become Regional Hub"
W. Alejandro Sanchez
Peru This Week
October 13, 2014

Peru is experiencing an important momentum regarding economic development and infrastructural initiatives, thanks to which the Andean country’s airports are receiving much-needed upgrades. Apart from the expansion of major airports, like Lima and Cusco, smaller regional terminals are also being developed. Such projects are very important as they will transform Peru into a “hub” of regional air traffic, which will contribute to the country’s coffers.
In mid-September, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala visited Tacna, in Southern Peru, to declare that the city’s “Coronel FAPCarlos Ciriani Santa Rosa” airport will receive an investment of around S/. 50 million (slightly over US $17 million). The funds will be utilized to refurbish a landing strip and the terminal. The goal of the upgrades is to help the airport attract flights from Chile and Argentina, which will in turn help increase tourism to Peru’s Southern regions.
Additionally, the country’s main international airport, Lima’s “Jorge Chávez,” is slowly expanding its operations. On September 22, Interior Minister Daniel Urresti Elera announced that 24 new migration posts began operating in said airport and will continue to operate 24 hours a day in three shifts. Thanks to the extra stations, a larger number of travelers will be more promptly attended as they prepare to enter or depart from the country, which will hopefully help to prevent flight delays.
It is important to stress that upgrades to the airports in Tacna and Lima are not the only recent positive developments, as new air routes are also being created. In early October, the Peruvian airline LAN Peru announced that it will commence flights between Lima and the Andean region of Ayacucho. Specifically, the airline will have flights three times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays) between Lima and Ayacucho’s “Coronel FAP Alfredo Mendívil Duarte” airport. The aircraft selected for this route is the Airbus A320 which, according to Airbus’s website, can seat up to 150 passengers in a two-class cabin. This will be the airline’s 15th route, and the newest once in years as LAN Peru last inaugurated a route in 2008 (between Lima and Cajamarca, in the north).
As for new airports, a major development occurred in April, when the Consortium Kuntur Wasi (constituted by Peru’s Andino Investment Holding S.A. and Argentina’s Corporación America S.A.) won a contract to construct an international airport in Chinchero, Cuzco. The Consortium will control the airport for forty years. According to official information, the terminal will encompass 40 thousand square meters and will be capable of handling up to 4.5 million passengers per year. The estimated cost of the new airport is US $538 million.
Unfortunately, in spite of the aforementioned positive ongoing initiatives, other projects to upgrade airports have been slow to materialize. One prominent example of major construction problems is the delay regarding the new runway and terminal for Lima’s “Jorge Chávez” airport.
On February 14, 2001, the liability company Lima Airport Partners (LAP) signed a concession agreement with the Ministry of Transportation via which the former obtained control of “Jorge Chávez” for three decades. One of LAP’s major ambitions is to expand “Jorge Chávez,” but these plans have been delayed because the government has faced problems with securing the terrain that will be utilized for the new infrastructure. It is now expected that construction will (finally) commence on January 1, 2016 and, in the best case scenario, the project will be finished by 2020.
This presents a major obstacle for the Humala administration as it wants to transform Lima into a hub for flights over South America’s Pacific Coast. In an interview with the Peruvian daily El Comercio, Luis Sicheri, a dean at Peru’s Universidad Científica del Sur (a Peruvian university located in Lima’s posh Miraflores district), warns that Peru must significantly upgrade and expand “Jorge Chávez” in the near future “otherwise the hubs of Bogota (Colombia), Quito (Ecuador) and Santiago de Chile (Chile), will pass it over.”
In other words, it is a priority for Peru to upgrade its network of airports, not simply because it is a natural consequence of population growth, but also in order to become a regional leader in air travel. President Humala has less than two years left in office, and he should devote this time to further supporting the improvement of Peruvian airports, not just major ones in Lima and Cuzco, but also smaller ones like in Ayacucho and Tacna.
You can follow W. Alejandro Sanchez on his Geopolitics & Geosecurity blog and on Twitter: “@W_Alex_Sanchez”:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

VOXXI: Mexico: Violence prompts protest by Zapatistas

"Mexico: Violence prompts protest by Zapatistas"
W. Alejandro Sanchez
October 10, 2014
Originally published:

Accusations that police killed 43 students in Iguala have unleashed protests throughout Mexico. Should the Mexican government continue delaying an in-depth investigation into the massacre, including the arrest of officials that have mysteriously disappeared, these demonstrations will certainly continue.
One group in particular that the government should not want to alienate are the Zapatistas, which carried out a non-violent protest demanding the punishment of the massacre’s culprits this past Wednesday. In the 1990s, the Zapatistas became a global household name that continues to enjoy international support today, and the Mexican government would be ill-advised get on their wrong side.

The massacre of Iguala

The incident that became known as the massacre of Iguala occurred on September 26th, when a number of students from the Escuela Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa that were travelling via bus were fired upon by a group of police officers. While details are still emerging, it appears that the police officers involved were subordinates of the Guerreros Unidos cartel.
Furthermore, recounts by survivors and confessions of police officers involved explain in detail the brutal way in which several students were taken to a mountain by Pueblo Viejo, a town in the state of Guerrero, to be executed. A total of 43 students are missing. As a result, authorities have been combing the area. So far, a number of pits have been found with the charred remains of some 28 individuals, though so far it is unclear if the bodies are those of the missing students.

The Zapatistas

The massacre has prompted protests throughout Mexico, particularly in the state of Guerrero and Mexico City. The Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN), popularly known as the Zapatistas, has joined the demonstrations.
The Zapatista movement, made up of indigenous Mexicans, gained national and worldwide prominence in 1994 when they staged a series of protests demanding greater autonomy. The EZLN’s reliance on non-violent initiatives and the eloquence of its long-time leader, sub-comandante Marcos, helped the group garner international support. To this day, scholarly analyses highlight the Zapatista movement as an example of a successful, non-violent, indigenous initiative.
While the Zapatistas are not as active nowadays as they were in the 90s, they still carry out significant activities. For example, in June, President Enrique Peña Nieto visited Madrid, during the trip, he gave a presentation at the Teatro Real as part of an investment forum. Prior to his speech, two Zapatista sympathizers pulled out signs and began yelling that the Mexican government must pull out paramilitary groups from Chiapas. The Mexican head of state minimized the severity of the incident, declaring that it demonstrated the plurality of his country.
While the Madrid incident was generally low-key, a more tragic incident that prompted a new wave of Zapatista protests was the May 2nd assassination of Jose Luis “Galeano” Solís López, a Zapatista schoolteacher. His death was caused by a paramilitary group called the Central Independiente de Obreros Agricolas y Campesinos Histórica.
“Galiano’s” murder sparked outrage not only domestically but internationally as well. A May 25th op-ed in the Mexican daily Jornada memorably declares that the political class “in Mexico accumulates hate towards the Zapatistas. It does not forget that the EZLN brought to light its shortcomings, including its mediocrity, its betrayal to the revolution’s principles … and selling the country to transnational companies.” Additionally, protests by pro-Zapatista groups occurred not only in Mexico but also in countries like Argentina, Brazil, Spain and the U.S., all demanding justice for the late “Galiano.”
In other words, the Zapatistas continue to have a strong record of civic activism, as well as a general distrust of the country’s government.

The EZLN and Iguala

As for the Massacre of Iguala, this past Tuesday October 7th, the EZLN, now led by sub comandanteMoisés, called for a mass protest in San Cristobal de las Casas (in Chiapas) to showcase support for the missing students. In a communiqué, Moisés declared that the students “are not alone, their pain is also our pain, your dignified rage is ours also.”
The silent, non-violent demonstration took place on Wednesday, October 8th. According to reports, hundreds of Zapatistas walked throughout San Cristobal, including the town’s cathedral.
In recent days, there have been a plethora of commentaries about how the massacre of Iguala will affect the Peña Nieto presidency. These analyses understandably focus on how political parties will react to the president’s decisions regarding the punishment of politicians (i.e. Iguala’s mayor José Luis Abarca) that may have ordered the students’ murders as well as the police officers that carried them out. However, not much has been written about the recent actions taken by the Zapatistas; this is a mistake as the group carries a gravitas that should not be overlooked.
Throughout the 90s and as recently as the aftermath of “Galeano’s” murder, the EZLN has proven to be highly successful at accomplishing its goals and making an international splash.  The Mexican government would be ill-advised to not take protests and statements by the Zapatistas seriously.