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Mexican Farm Leader Arrested; Leads Fight Against Speculator Control of Agro

Baltazar Valdez, one of the national leaders of the National Front to Save the Mexican Countryside (FNRCM), was arrested by federal authorities on May 15, and released by a judge the following day after arraigning him on charges of “sabotage” of federal facilities, including a Pemex oil company facility and the Culiacan, Sinaloa airport. The incidents go back to a May 2023 march and tractorcade by thousands of peasants and farmers organized by the Front, which authorities claim blocked access to a Pemex plant and the airport. Valdez was freed pending his trial, which begins May 23, conditional upon his not engaging in any actions similar to those of last May.

The case is obviously political in nature. The Front has led the fight in Mexico against the takeover of national food production by international speculators, demanding a return to parity pricing and urging the Mexican government to look to options outside the Wall Street speculative system, including that of the BRICS. For example, one of the Front’s banners during their 2023 rallies read: “Get wheat and corn out of the Chicago Board of Trade! Parity prices for grain!”

A group of 22 U.S. farm leaders sent a strong message of support to a March 15, 2024 meeting of the Front, addressing “our common fight to save independent family farming, and independent national economies everywhere.” Valdez read the message read to the gathering, which received it with loud support. “It is clear that the problem is international,” Valdez stated at the time, “and we have to see it that way in order to be able to measure our forces accordingly.”

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