Farmers Strip Down in Mexico’s Capital to Protest Corruption

For the last few weeks, Mexican campesinos have organized semi-nude protests in the streets of Mexico City to call attention to corruption in the southeastern state of Veracruz.

A group of topless women, joined by men wearing only loincloths decorated with the faces of Mexican politicians, routinely gather two blocks away from the Zócalo plaza, demanding to meet with Federal Attorney General Arely Gómez.

The group, known as the Movement of the 400 Nations, meets during the week from morning until sunset, obstructing Mexico City traffic to make their voices heard.

Among their complaints, the group is calling for an investigation into the finances of Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares, a federal official who is accused of looting the Social Services and Social Security Institute for State Workers.

On September 4, representatives from the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) presented evidence suggesting Linares had amassed a wealth of MEX$100 million (US$5 million), and demanded Attorney General Gómez speed up the investigation.

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“The strength of the information we are revealing today … leaves no place for doubts that Linares engaged in acts of corruption against the Mexican state,” said Congressman Alberto Silva Ramos, adding that the total sum Linares embezzled may have surpassed MEX$159 million (US$9.4 million).

“Today, we continue with our protest in Bellas Artes, as we wait for an answer from the attorney general regarding our complaint filed against Yunes Linares.”

With politically themed cumbia music in the background, the group’s semi-nude protests have also targeted former Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard. They say the former mayor abused protesters and is guilty of corruption involving the construction of the city’s subway Line 12.

The Movement of the 400 Nations, founded in the 1970s and primarily made up of Nahuas indigenous people, has been staging naked protests since 2002 to demand the government provide “arable land for agriculture.”

“We are just campesinos; we don’t have other weapons. All we have are our bodies to attract attention,” movement leader Nereo Cruz told Univisión in 2007.

Sources: Infobae, El Financiero.

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