Since 1993, more than 4,000 women - workers and students - have disappeared in Ciudad Juarez. According to Amnesty International, 327 of them have been found tortured, raped, mutilated and murdered, after having been kidnapped in the centre of the city at the end of their workday in the maquilas [assembly plants in the US border region], or leaving their computing academies, their bodies abandoned on vacant land.

The year 2004 is beginning and with it also the second half of Vicente Fox's term in office. On the international level, turbulence and crises on all levels will be on the agenda. While it is certain that there is a possibility of economic growth, this does not mean that the crisis of Mexican capitalism has been resolved, nor that stability will be possible. On November 27, for the first time, a packed public square chanted the slogan of a general strike. But this is only the beginning; the principal struggles of the workers, in defense of their economic interests, as well as against the capitalist system, have barely started.

The political situation in Mexico is heating up. The anger of the masses has been aroused by the political interference of the United States in the internal affairs of the country and that anger is threatening to boil over into an all out social explosion. The most popular candidate in all polls for next year’s presidential election, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), has not even officially announced his intention to run as PRD candidate for the presidency, and US imperialism and Mexico ’s ruling class are already trying to block him from running for office.

On the same day that Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador officially announced his intention to run for the presidency in front of some 500,000 supporters, he was also stripped of his political immunity, and could face trial over charges for ignoring a court order to stop building a road to a hospital. If the case against him is not resolved before the middle of January 2006, he will be ineligible to run in the campaign next year.

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