The real story of extortion occurring in Mexico mines

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s article about what he calls the human rights of the miners in Mexico is curious to say the least. Better still, it’s an uninformed and biased apology of Napoleon Gomez Urrutia, Mexico’s former and controversial Miner´s Union boss.

The article pretends to speak out for the Mexican miners and their union, especially on the issue of a long and complicated strike at Cananea, Mexico’s largest mine in the State of Sonora. However, every now and then, Mr. Trumka´s essay falls into what it really is, a lengthy defense of Gomez Urrutia, and a fugitive of Mexican justice.

Yes, Mr. Trumka’s article turns a blind eye to the fact that Gomez Urrutia is living a comfortable and luxurious life in Vancouver, British Columbia, while Mexican “mineros” stage one of the most grinding and contentious strikes in recent Mexican labor history. The truth of the matter is that Gomez Urrutia lives in Canada in order to avoid several arrest warrants issued by Mexican courts. Gomez Urrutia is wanted for embezzlement of $55 million and money laundering charges.

Gomez Urrutia has not been acquitted of embezzlement charges. He lives not in exile, but at large from the arm of Mexican justice. Gomez Urrutia has retained the most expensive legal team and admitted to paying legal fees worth millions of US dollars. The Cananea strike persists because dismissal of criminal charges has been the one and foremost condition to renew labor talks. Such petition besides extravagant is completely illegal as criminal charges cannot be a bargain chip in labor relations. Gomez Urrutia has thus abused the union and the strike in order to pursue illegitimate ends. Such is the true story of the labor strife revolving around the Cananea mine.

Mexico City, Mexico

Ad amounts to nothing more than propaganda

From Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Co-Chair, Congressional Caucus on Vietnam

I am writing to express my outrage at the advertisement that appeared in Monday’s edition of The Hill (“35 Years After the Fall of Saigon, Vietnam Wants Dialogue With Expats,” p. 10). I am disappointed and appalled the Capitol Hill Publishing Corp would accept propaganda from a government known for its brutal repression of basic human rights and freedoms.

As a long-time defender of the First Amendment, I find it hypocritical and insulting that the government of Vietnam is using our freedom of the press to spread propaganda while they continue to oppress democratic speech and the press in their own country. The advertisement published Monday is little more than revisionist propaganda. Its reference to the to the fall of Saigon in 1975 as the “Liberation of Saigon” – a period during which the Communist government established a totalitarian regime, forced hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese soldiers and government officials into “re-education camps” where tens of thousands were tortured or killed, and forced hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese to flee – demonstrates the mentality of this government.

I’m truly appalled by the lack of judgment that your organization has shown on this matter and believe that you owe an apology to the countless victims of this repulsive regime.

Washington, D.C.