Let's start with what the talking heads are saying.
1. The “official” news:
Franco-Spanish musician and political activist Manu Chao found himself under investigation by the Mexican interior ministry last week after the 47-year-old singer referred to a 2006 police crackdown as "state terrorism".
The singer was referring to a controversial police intervention that took place in 2006. On May 4th of that year, around 2,000 federal and local police occupied San Salvador Atenco, a town northeast of Mexico City, after a group of demonstrators held 11 officers hostage (a move that came after a protest led by flower-sellers against the construction of a Wal-Mart, became violent). According to an investigation by the Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (the National Human Rights Committee), over 200 people were injured, two killed, and 27 women raped by officers during the intervention.
In a press conference at the Guadalajara International Film Festival last Tuesday, Chao said that "what happened in Atenco was, in some way, State terrorism. [The authorities] are saying ‘don't say a word when we seize your land, because you better watch out, the same thing will happen to you as happened in Atenco'".
Video: Footage from the Atenco intervention (May 6, 2006)
On Thursday the Interior Ministry told reporters that they were investigating the singer, who subsequently didn't turn up to a concert that evening. (According to article 33 of the Mexican Constitution, "foreigners cannot in any manner interfere in internal political affairs" and the government has "the executive power to force them to leave national territory" immediately and without trial). The next day however, the authorities denied considering to expel him from the country.
Some members of the local media criticised the ministry of interior for "wasting time" over the affair. Radio host, Denise Maerker, commented on Friday during her show, that the measures the ministry took reminded her of the behaviour of [Venezuelan President] Hugo Chávez.
On Friday, the Mexican film actor, Diego Luna and British singer, Peter Gabriel, came out in defense of the French-Spanish songwriter. Manu Chao's political comment has generated a wide variety of opinions within Mexico. One reader of the daily news online Milenio Diario, said that "Manu is right, the thing is, that he's a foreigner. I have the same opinion concerning Atenco, but as a Mexican I can say it. He is not authorised to talk about something that doesn't concern him as a foreigner."
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