I am writing to oppose the petition reproduced below, which is being circulated on various lists, that calls for United Nations intervention -- including possible "peacekeeping" military intervention! -- in Mexico.
The history of U.N. economic sanctions and "peacekeeping" interventions is clearly a history of service to Western, mainly U.S., imperialism. Some examples that come to mind:
* In 1947, heavy U.S. arm-twisting got the U.N. General Assembly to sanction the creation of the colonial-settler state of Israel on the land of the Palestinian people. Although that same General Assembly has since then often overwhelmingly passed resolutions condemning Israel actions, the practical actions of U.N. "peacekeepers" have interfered with Palestinian and Lebanese freedom fighters while stepping aside to let Israeli tanks and troops pass (e.g., when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1978 and 1982).
* From 1950 to 1953, the U.N. served as cover for the U.S.-led war against the people of Korea which killed about 2 million people, left the northern half of Korea in ruins and kept the southern half under the brutal, reactionary puppet dictatorship of Syngman Rhee.
* In 1960 and 1961, U.N. intervention in the Congo directly led to the murder of the nationalist Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, and the eventual installation of the rapacious, pro-imperialist Mobutu dictatorship that lasted for three decades.
* Since 1990, the U.N. has provided a (tattered) cloak of respectability to the U.S. war and sanctions against Iraq that have killed over a million Iraqis and left millions more permanently damaged.
* Since 1992, the U.N. Security Council has imposed sanctions on Libya to back up the outrageous U.S./British demand that two Libyan officials -- accused by the U.S., without evidence, of being responsible for the explosion of a U.S. passenger plane over Scotland in 1988 -- be sent to the U.S. or Britain for trial! (Can one imagine, for example, U.N. sanctions to force the U.S. to send to Iran for trial any of the U.S. officials responsible for shooting down an Iranian airliner in 1988?)
The best that could be expected from U.N. "peacekeeping" in Chiapas would be a "peaceful" dissolution of what remains of Zapatista and autonomous power, with at most a few cosmetic reforms of the old order that wouldn't seriously impact U.S. and Mexican capitalist interests. At worst, such "peacekeeping" would interfere with armed actions -- offensive or defensive -- by the EZLN, EPR and others without impeding military/police actions by the U.S.-backed Mexican state.
As for "trade restrictions and cultural sanctions on Mexico":
1) Does anyone believe that any such sanctions could be imposed without the support of the U.S. imperialist ruling class?
2) Why in the world would those in solidarity with the Mexican people want to support any such sanctions, especially cultural sanctions?
We can not expect to use imperialist institutions like the U.N. to aid the struggle of people around the world against capitalism and imperialism. If we want to force the Mexican state and its imperialist backers to let up on the people of Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, etc., we should -- in addition to traditional solidarity activities of all kinds -- publish the names, addresses and photos of business people and politicians around the world who are most complicit in the Mexican state's repressive actions, so that whatever war their minions in Mexico carry out against the people can be brought home to them wherever they are.
- Aaron <aaron at burn.ucsd.edu>
P.S. I like this quote from Dean Tuckerman <resist at infinex.com>:
"U.N. peacekeeping forces have never ... helped oppressed people which the people of Chiapas definitely are. If there shall be peacekeeping done in this world, it shall be the peace kept by the oppressed creating justice and freedom for themselves and when that happens, and only then, can there be true peace. There was "peace" in Chiapas before the Zapatistas struck on New Years Eve in 1994. It was the peace of poverty, the peace of starvation, and the peace of extinction. The U.N. even with all its high-falutin' rhetoric has never really tried to stop the day-to-day war of the rich against the poor that disguises itself as the peace of status quo existence here on planet Earth."
>From: marilyn at deliberate.com (Marilyn Davis)
>Subject: NCZ: Petition blurb
>To: ncz at deliberate.com
>Date: Sat, 20 Jun 1998 20:47:07 -0700 (PDT)
>To the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights and the General
>WE ARE GRATEFUL for High Commissioner on Human Rights Mary Robinson's
>attention to the situation in Chiapas, Mexico, for her condemnation of
>the Mexican government's and Army's gross violations of the Human
>Rights of the Indigenous people of Chiapas, and for her call for a
>reduction of troops in the State of Chiapas.
>As independent people of conscience from around the world, we call on
>the United Nations to immediately apply increased diplomatic pressure
>on the government of Mexico in the form of United Nations sponsored
>peace mediation efforts to facilitate an immediate end to hostilities
>and ensure the human rights, autonomy, and economic opportunities for
>the all of the indigenous people of Mexico.
>If the Human Rights situation fails to improve immediately we ask the
>UN General assembly to impose trade restrictions and cultural
>sanctions on Mexico.
>As a last resort we would ask the UN Security Council to recommend
>intervention by United Nations peace keeping troops as a buffer to
>prevent further violence.
>== ==== ==== ========
>TO SIGN THIS PETITION
>== ==== ==== ========