Napoleon Gomez Urrutia has been on the lam for some three years. And now that his government wants to put him on trial again, he doesn’t mind hiding indefinitely. Gomez is – or was, depending on how one looks at it – general secretary of Mexico’s National Union of Miners and Metalworkers, or “Los Mineros.” Now with roughly 280,000 members, it’s one of the nation’s largest and most powerful labor organizations. The Mexican government insists it’s also one of the most corrupt. That might not be saying much in light of the standards his accusers have set over the years, but they are convinced the Oxford-educated Gomez Urrutia is a crook all the same. The problem is that he’s been living in exile with his wife in Vancouver, British Columbia since 2006. And he’s not planning on leaving.
On December 30, the Mexican government formally submitted a request … Read More ➡
Mexico never has been a paragon of political stability. That country’s civil war (1910-20) was at least as brutal as our own, and resulted in the execution or assassination of five consecutive presidents. The era of one-party rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that began in 1929 and ended with the election of President Vicente Fox in 2000 provided only the illusion of stability. Its main legacy is a culture of corruption that has become next to impossible to erase. The near future may find things getting even worse. In fact, the aftermath of the recent and still-contested presidential election might even produce another civil war. The situation has been exacerbated by several factors: accusations of corruption at the nation’s steelworkers and miners union; a mine explosion in February that killed dozens of workers; and the shooting deaths of two workers at a steel mill by riot police. The … Read More ➡
So you think we’ve got labor problems here in the U.S.? South of the border, the miners’ union is on the brink of a civil war – and possibly a showdown with the Mexican government. On Tuesday, March 7, more than 20,000 workers belonging to the National Miners and Metal Workers Union marched through downtown Mexico City, protesting the government’s decision to oust the union’s general secretary, Napoleon Gomez Urrutia. The 250,000-member union already had staged a two-day strike in support of Urrutia, currently under government investigation for corruption. The strike, which shut down most of the nation’s coal, steel, copper, zinc and silver mines, comes in the wake of a major mining disaster and accusations of massive corruption.
For now, the union has a new leader, Elias Morales. At least some people say he’s the leader. Mexican officials are citing documents filed by pro-Morales members of the union’s oversight … Read More ➡