Re: Foreigners protesting

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Escrito por ZihuaRob desde ( el día martes, 20 de noviembre, 2007 a las 20:09:51 horas :

En respuesta a: Foreigners protesting escrito por Jared desde ( el día martes, 20 de noviembre, 2007 a las 15:22:38 horas :

That's a very valid concern, and I'm glad you brought it up. Chapter 33 of the Mexican Constitution says the following:

"Los extranjeros no podrán de ninguna manera inmiscuirse en los asuntos políticos del país."

"Foreigners may not meddle in any manner in the political affairs of the country".

The question is thus: Is protesting for or against a federal government-sponsored project a political affair?

The answer has to be yes, it is. There really is little room for doubt when the question is expressed in such a manner.

But then, what would be a valid reason that would allow a foreigner to protest? We have seen foreign ecologists, landowners, crime victims, religious followers, and even globophobics protest in Mexico legally for various causes. Is this protest an ecological protest? It could be construed as such, though it really isn't because even if an environmental impact study concluded that said some plan for a pier would not harm the bay and could possibly even help it, it would not change the minds of the great majority of people currently opposed to a pier in the bay. It's not just about pollution or marine health or aesthetics. It is about all of those and more. It is about love for our bay and our community, it is about respect for our wishes NOT to privatize any more of the bay, seeing as Puerto Mío has already caused so much unpunished destruction to the bay and some of its beaches. It is also about greed and corruption and the imposition of unpopular projects by an unresponsive and unrepresentative government. It is about both political and non-political issues. Therein lies the conundrum.

But the reality in Mexico is that people in power often twist the law to suit their purposes with complete impunity, so there is always a risk when standing up to those who wield power and influence.

Before I became a Mexican citizen I participated in two marches against the pier as well as others involving crime and security. I suppose I could've been arrested or deported for those acts or numerous other politically related acts I "committed" before being legally permitted to do so, but being a person who tries to live by my principles I was willing to take the risk. In the case at hand I believe it would be utterly stupid and counterproductive if the government even so much as hinted at bothering any foreigner who demonstrated against the pier, much less arrested or deported them. It would make international news instantly and easily at the most crucial time of the year for Mexico's tourist industry, and a significant number of people would cancel reservations. I also believe it would kill any chance the pier backers have of attaining their goal. One thing locals care deeply about is the treatment of our foreign visitors. Pity the poor bureaucrat or public functionary connected to any arrests or deportations of any of our foreign visitors for protesting against this highly unpopular and dubious project.

So while I certainly can't urge or endorse anyone to possibly violate Mexican law, I will hope you do what you feel compelled to do by your conscience and your convictions, especially if you are a landowner, business owner, or even just a repeat visitor who hopes to continue returning to Zihuatanejo.

Cheering support from the sidelines and attending the arrival of the marchers at the plaza municipal (zócalo) should certainly be considered low-risk means of participating, if you choose not to march. Nevertheless, I have seen foreigners march in three anti-pier protests in recent years and I have yet to hear of any foreigner being harassed, arrested or deported for doing so.

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