While visiting Mexico City during the Guadalajara Film Festival last week, Manu Chao made some statements concerning the 2006 uprising that occurred in San Salvador Atenco, a town just a few miles north east of the capital. Referring to a protest by flower-sellers against a local commercial development—which was met by fierce resistance by the Mexican police and fueled riots—the singer told journalists, "What happened in Atenco was, in some way, state terrorism."
The riots ended with 2 people dead, 200 injured and almost 30 women sexually assaulted according to Mexico's National Human Rights Committee. "Officials 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,'" Chao continued.
Manu Chao is known to support a variety of global causes and political discussion is not a rarity at most film festivals, but apparently the singer violated a little known law in the constitution of Mexico which states that "foreigners cannot in any manner interfere in internal political affairs" while allowing the government "the executive power to force them to leave national territory." Shortly after the comments were made, the Minister of the Interior confirmed that they were investigating the rock star.
Eventually, Peter Gabriel (super random, we know) stepped in on Manu Chao's behalf after visiting Mexican president Felipe Calderon, telling press that the singer had "absolutely" every right to comment on the situation in Atenco. Apparently, Gabriel's statement helped as the Mexican government quickly issued a press released denying they were ever considering expelling Chao from the country.