The Mexican Chapter of the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) (www.tppmexico.org) was born in 2011 ‘from below’ and, for that reason, has not appeared in the country’s main media outlets – focussed as they are on counter-information and misinformation. As a result, the efforts to make what is happening in Mexico known to the rest of the world have been effectively hidden from view. In our country, we are experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe marked by structural violence and a massive, extensive, systematic attack on human, social and collective rights. These violations manifest themselves in the economic, political, cultural and social spheres of society.
The PPT has organised workshops, assemblies, convoys, specialist forums, lectures, systematic collection of documentation and, above all, more than 40 court hearings. These hearings vary in focus, and will culminate in a judgement of the Mexican State in November 2014. In this process, over 400 organisations, networks, and collectives have collaborated with specialists, academics, and renowned civil society personalities from Mexico and the international community. It has also received the support of guarantors who are responsible for the coordination, finances, rigour, and effectiveness of the work undertaken. The Mexican Chapter was established with a declaration including the necessary formal requirements that would allow it to receive support, as of October 2011, from the PPT – an international organisation composed of 130 international personalities named by the Lelio and Lisli Basso Foundation (http://www.internazionaleleliobasso.it/?page_id=207&lang=en). This ethical court is the oldest and most prestigious in the world, whose predecessor (the Russell Tribunal) tried the USA for its crimes in Vietnam and investigated the repression perpetrated by the Latin American dictatorships of the Dirty War.
The Mexican Chapter of the PPT has focussed its efforts on “Free Trade, Dirty War, Impunity, and the Rights of the People”. This question, in turn, can be broken down into seven more specific issues: 1) femicide and gender violence; 2) migration, asylum, and forced displacement; 3) environmental devastation and the rights of the people; 4) ‘corn violence’, food sovereignty, and autonomy; 5) violence against workers; 6) misinformation, censorship, and violence against journalists; and 7) dirty war and repression as violence, impunity, and lack of access to justice. Within these central themes, in turn, particular cases related to different states, regions, and specifications have been studied.
Throughout the process, the concept of ‘diverting power’ has been key to understanding our country and the worst criminal acts committed by the Mexican governments who have pushed their neoliberal doctrine on the people. This ‘diversion of power’ is defined in several internal documents of the organisation as follows: a) the seditious use of law and political power to unilaterally favour the interests of large multinational corporations and undermine the constitutional guarantees of the Mexican people; b) in order to implement this betrayal, a form of fraudulent constitutional and institutional engineering takes place, ensuring a constant social war and internal occupation. This attack is systematically fortified by the legal infrastructure of the State, opening up possibilities for corporations and narrowing the legal possibilities of the population, who see their yearning for justice obstructed by the very institutions which are meant to defend and protect them; c) violence, dispossession, fragmentation, and devastation have become government programmes; d) the State has abandoned its fundamental duty of looking out for the best interests of the society, in favour of instead satisfying the interests of corporations and small, specific sectors of society; e) the institutional and structural protection by the State of private economic interests as part of capitalist globalisation, and the use of its power to repress any resistance to this model.
The concept of ‘diverting power’ in Mexico clarifies the relationship between economy and law: the way in which rights are trumped by capital. The CIDH (Inter-American Commission for Human Rights) defines such ‘diversion of power’ as the systematic practice of using the mechanisms of the State to openly contradict the fundamental rights of the people. The main charge put forward by members of Mexican civil society to the PPT is as follows: The free trade agreements (such as NAFTA) are used as tools to divide people and nations, forge new alliances, and obtain new markets and extraordinary profits (resulting from the overexploitation of workers and nature, monopolist manipulation of markets, dispossession, financial speculation, and the extermination of ‘additional’ citizens). This practice takes place in all parts of the global economy and has been accelerated by technological advances, global over-accumulation, and environmental destruction. The treaties mentioned are the central instrument used to impose this ‘diversion of power’.
Moreover, this process is complemented by State terrorism – the policies planned and executed with the aim of illegally repressing popular resistance, justifying the suspension of constitutional guarantees, establishing states of exception (to justify oppression in the name of the common good) and violating human rights.
Popular participation and support of the Mexican Chapter of the PPT is an act of collective memory. The State must not be allowed to continue its plundering and betrayal of the Mexican people!
Translated and adapted from an article by Gilberto López y Rivas found at http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/01/31/opinion/023a1pol
Desvío de Poder http://www.diccionariojuridico.mx/?pag=vertermino&id=1676