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Mexico City bombings… maybe not so serious

7 November 2006

Last night, I was speculating that the bombings COULD be the work of agentes provacateurs… there were similar bombing incidents (late at night, designed to do minimal property damage, and … more importantly, done with the idea of blaming “leftist radicals” for the result) before, like the one in Tlanapantla, Morelos when that municipio’s people rose up to throw out a corrput PRI presidented, who had been fraudulently elected, but was defended by the state’s PAN governor (himself having barely survived impeachment through open bribery of the legislators).

There COULD be a few guerilla groups working to destabilize …. well, any number of situations, but the APPO and the Lopez Obrador folks are denying any connection to these guys. The only guerilla group with a conection to the APPO, the ERP also denies any connection… and they normally do take credit for actions when they can.

These other groups may be “fronts” for PRI — or PRI dissident — factions. Still too soon to tell. Kelly Arthur Garrett, as always, has the clearest, best reporting on the bizarro-world of Mexican politics. I’m not likely to post today… I’ve got to make a living, and am busy reporting on the muy bizarrolandia of Texas politics. It’s election day in the U.S., and this is the strangest election I’ve ever seen, even compared to Mexican ones.

After blasts, tense calm in the capital

By Kelly Arthur Garrett The Herald Mexico/El Universal

Martes 07 de noviembre de 2006

Despite three pre-dawn bomb blasts in strategically targeted buildings, Mexico City stayed calm Monday and business proceeded as usual – or at least what passes for usual in these times of daily street-blocking protests, occupied monuments, graffiti-marred historic buildings and competing “legitimate” presidents-elect.

Security at the international airport was heightened Monday, but the alert level stayed at the same phase (“2”) that it´s been at since September 11, 2001. The Foreign Relations Secretariat building was briefly evacuated at mid-morning, but officials insisted that action was a “drill.”

Still, the concern level notched up as evidence emerged late in the day that the three explosions at the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) headquarters, the federal Electoral Tribunal building and a Scotiabank branch are not all of what had been planned.

The armed revolutionary organizations that took credit for the blasts said another bomb had been planted at the PRI building and one at a Sanborns across the street from it. Two bombs were planted at the tribunal site and two at the Scotiabank, as well as one other at another bank branch.

Mexico City´s police chief, Joel Ortega, said Monday evening that it was entirely possible that eight explosive devices were set to go off. Thus it was likely that the three explosions were from two bombs each, while the Sanborns and second Scotiabank devices were discovered by police before they detonated.

Ortega also said that the claim by five armed groups that they were responsible for the violence was credible. “We think there is one more group involved in these acts as well,” he said during a radio interview.

Ortega did not name the sixth possible group, but he could have been referring to the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) that has been closely identified with the Oaxaca movement. On Friday, the EPR released a communiqué congratulating demonstrators from the Oaxaca People´s Assembly (APPO) for preventing the Federal Preventive Police (PFP) from entering the Benito Juárez University in Oaxaca.

But the EPR did not sign on to the message sent to the media Monday afternoon claiming credit for the bombings, which caused no injuries.

Two of the clandestine organizations taking credit for the bombings had previously threatened violence if the Fox administration sent police or military troops into Oaxaca. In a communiqué dated September 24, the Democratic Revolutionary Tendency-Army of the People (TDR-EP) and the Lucio Cabañas Barriento Revolutionary Movement (MRLCB) said, “If the Mexican army and the various police bodies enter Oaxaca to remove the teachers and citizens,” the armed groups would “enter into action.”

The PFP entered Oaxaca on Oct. 29 and the bombs went off in Mexico City just after midnight on Nov. 6.

APPO was quick to distance itself from the bombings Monday, although they were carried out, according to the armed groups´ statement, with the same aims that APPO has expressed – the ouster of Gov. Ulises Ruiz from office, the removal of federal forces from Oaxaca, and a radical political reform in the state.

“We don´t have anything to do with those bombings,” said APPO spokesman Flavio Sosa. “Our compañeros (in Mexico City) are encamped peacefully in front of the Senate.”

Before the five clandestine groups made their statement, representatives for the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) said they suspected that the bombings were the doing of right-wing forces seeking to discredit the Oaxaca popular movement.

The PRI, the one party directly victimized by the violence, demanded a full investigation. Emilo Gamboa Patrón, coordinator of PRI deputies in the lower house of congress, called on President Fox to cancel his upcoming trip abroad in the final weeks of his presidency to focus on the inquiry.

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