Bloody Crackdown on Mexican Teachers Spurs Crisis

  • [Latest News:  200,000 Mexican doctors plan to join the teachers on strike, on June 22: ”
    Doctors’ leaders have condemned the killing of at least eight people during a teacher’s protest last Sunday in the state of Oaxaca.

    As protests led by the militant CNTE teachers’ union in Mexico continue, the country’s doctors are set to join in the job action, calling for a national strike on June 22 to protest a neoliberal reform to the health system imposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto…..The group #YoSoyMedico17, which is comprised of doctors, pediatricians, surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses, has been joined by more than 200,000 physicians from 32 states in opposing the so-called Universal Health System reform by Peña Nieto. The medical professionals say the measure is a “disguised way of privatizing health in Mexico,” and said doctors were not consulted on the reform, according to Animal Politico…..The doctors’ protest will join the ongoing national general strike by teachers. (Report from Telesur)]

    Policemen clashing with dissident teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico, June 19, 2016.

    Policemen clashing with dissident teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico, June 19, 2016. | Photo: EFE

Special Report from Oaxaca by Frontera NorteSur,  June 21, 2016

The June 19 government crackdown on striking Mexican teachers culminated in deadly violence in the southern state of Oaxaca, transforming a showdown between the Pena Nieto administration and the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) into a larger political crisis that once again cast Mexico in the international human rights spotlight.

Even as the controversy over the still-unresolved forced disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa college students in 2014 simmers on the world stage, the Oaxaca episode garnered fresh denunciations from non-governmental organizations and activists in Europe, South and Central America, Australia, and the United States.  Jan Jarab, Mexico representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, condemned the latest violence.

Weeks of intensifying protests against federal government’s 2013 education reform, which many public school teachers and their supporters oppose as an infringement on labor rights and a step toward privatization, took a violent turn Sunday, June 19, when federal and state police attempted to dislodge CNTE members and supporters from the town of Nochixtlan, Oaxaca. Continue reading

US Border Patrol troops’ free-fire zone over borders

[Once, when a country attacked another by force of arms, it was called WAR, and human rights violations were identified as WAR CRIMES.  Now, as the US shoots Mexicans in Mexico, it is called an approved, acceptable, police action.  It is another obscenity of arrogance and impunity.  Frontlines ed.]

mexico

US border patrol agent looks towards Mexico from the bank of the Rio Grande River. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

US border agents shouldn’t have the courts’ permission to shoot people in Mexico

If you shoot an unarmed teenage boy in the head, 3 days of administrative leave isn’t nearly enough punishment

A United States court has all but declared open season on Mexican nationals along the US-Mexico border. Border patrol agents may shoot foreign nationals in Mexico with impunity – provided that those at whom they aim are standing within feet of US territory.

According to a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit last week, agents who shoot and kill people in Mexico while standing on US soil will never be held to account, except before their administrative agencies. No court will ever review these actions and the families of the victims will be left with no avenue for justice. An agent’s actions will not be governed or restrained by the constitution nor subject to review by US courts.

This isn’t a hypothetic situtation: all of this has already happened.

Continue reading

Mexico and US actions link Ayotzinapa, Ferguson, Garner

Weekly News Update on the Americas, December 9, 2014

Hundreds of Mexican immigrants and other activists held actions in at least 47 US towns and cities on Dec. 3 to protest the abduction of 43 teachers’ college students by police and gang members in Mexico’s Guerrero state in September; each of the 43 students had one of the actions dedicated to him.

The protests were organized by UStired2, a group taking its name from #YaMeCansé (“I’m tired now,” or “I’ve had it”), a Mexican hashtag used in response to the violence against the students, who attended the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in the Guerrero town of Ayotzinapa. The protesters focused on US government financing for the Mexican government—especially funding for the “war on drugs” through the 2008 Mérida Initiative—but they also expressed outrage over the US court system’s failure to indict US police agents in two recent police killings of unarmed African Americans. Continue reading

Rage and Fury Sweep Mexico, the World: Justice for Ayotzinapa

By Frontera NorteSur, Censored News, Friday, October 10, 2014

Swelling outrage over a police massacre and the forced disappearance of scores of students swept Mexico and the world this week.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators demanded justice for six people killed September 26 and 27 by municipal police officers and paramilitary gunmen in Iguala, Guerrero, as well as the safe return of 43 Mexican students from the Raul Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa reported kidnapped and disappeared by the same aggressors.

“Your dignified rage is our rage,” stated a communiqué from the general command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), shortly before 20,000 masked Zapatistas staged a silent march October 8 through the streets of San Cristobal de las Casas in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.

On the other side of the country, hundreds of people marched in Ciudad Juarez in the biggest local demonstration of its kind in more than three years. The demonstration was led by students from Ayotzinapa’s sister school of Saucillo, Chihuahua. At the march’s conclusion protesters blockaded the Bridge of the Americas connecting Juarez with neighboring El Paso, Texas, for a half-hour on the evening of October 8.

Continue reading

Mexico: Students Walk Out In Mass Protest Over Curriculum Changes

[The declining quality and conditions of education are being challenged throughout the world–from Puerto Rico, to Brazil, to Jadavpur University in India, students in Hong Kong, Colorado, many places.  What spurs people into action at each location differs, but they all turn into challenges to a bourgeois electoral system that cuts short on meeting the needs and interests of students.  Here, the latest from Mexico. — Frontlines ed.]

9/25/2014

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About 15,000 Students or more from the National Polytechnic Institute marched on the Interior Circuit northbound to the Zacatenco unit, to address the Directorate General of IPN.

On Thursday, the Unity Professional Interdisciplinary Engineering and Social and Administrative Sciences UPIICSA ) joined the strike along with the College of Engineering and Architecture (ESIA ).

From an early hour, students from different campuses CECYT concentrated outside various schools to join the mobilization.

Continue reading

Rejecting Doomsday Prophecies, Indigenous March in Spirit of Defiance and Resurgence

Zapatista March: The Deafening Silence of Resurgence

Written by Tim Russo, Photos by Tim Russo   —  http://upsidedownworld.org
Saturday, 22 December 2012
Only the resonating echo of rain pattering down on the cobblestone streets of Chiapas’ colonial cities sounded as tourists from around the globe awaiting the end of the world in the center of the Mayan Civilization were surprised by the silent marches of more than 40,000 masked Mayan Zapatistas who descended on their apocalyptic misinterpretations of the Mayan 13 Ba´ktun.

A faint sound of a baby’s cry would occasionally emerge from a bundle beneath a plastic tarp on the back of a masked Zapatista in the endless lines of Mayan rebels who quietly held formation in the rain. They marched four file booted and bare-footed into the same cities they surprised on a cold new year’s eve night 19 years ago, shouting their first YA BASTA!Yesterday’s weapon, differing from the 1994 armed indigenous uprising, was the Zapatista silence, their moral authority, the echo of a unified and deafening silence that shouted YA BASTA! once again. A silence that in their massive presence in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Ocosingo, Altamirano, Las Margaritas and Palenque shouted without a word that the a new Mayan era has begun and the Zapatistas are present. A silence that was meant to remind Mexico’s recently inaugurated President Enrique Peña Nieto and his PRI party that the root causes of the Zapatista struggle are as prevalent today as they were 19 years ago: lack of health care, education, housing, land, food, indigenous rights, women’s rights, gay rights, dignity, and justice. A silence that reminded the returning PRI that there is a Mexico profundo, a Mexico jodido, a Mexico con hambre, and a Mexico dispuesto a luchar and in struggle. The Zapatistas and the EZLN need not say a word today, their actions and silence said enough. Aqui estamos!

As early as 4 a.m. the Mayan indigenous, Tzeltales, Tzotziles, Tojolobales, Choles, Zoques, and Mames began their mobilizations from their five cultural centers of resistance, known as Caracoles, emerging from the Lacandon jungle, the Chiapas Canyon lands, and the rain soaked highlands. They quietly moved along the mountainous, fog-bearing roads towards the same cities (plus Palenque) that they descended upon when these ill-equipped ragtag rebels launched their armed uprising on January 1st 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement went in to effect.
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Mexico: Police Kill Two Guerrero Students at Protest

Two Mexican students were killed by police gunfire around noon on Dec. 12 as police agents and soldiers attempted to disperse protesters blocking the Mexico City-Acapulco highway near Chilpancingo, the capital of the southwestern state of Guerrero. The victims, Jorge Alexis Herrera Pino and Gabriel Echeverría de Jesús, were students at the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in the nearby village of Ayotzinapa, and they had joined about 500 other students and their indigenous supporters to demonstrate for improvements at the school.

Some 300 security agents were sent to remove the protesters, who were blocking a well-traveled highway on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a popular holiday for Mexican Catholics. The agents—including state troopers, members of the state Attorney General’s Office, federal police and some soldiers from the Mexican army—used tear gas on the protesters, who responded by throwing rocks and some molotov cocktails. The shooting began after one of the firebombs landed at a filling station near the protest and set a gas pump on fire. In addition to the two students killed, one other protester was hospitalized with serious injuries, and more than 20 were arrested. The buses that the students came in were hit in the shooting, along with a truck.

Gen. Ramón Arreola Ibarría, who headed the contingent of state troopers at the scene, denied that any agents were armed, and Guerrero attorney general Alberto López Rosas immediately charged that the students were responsible for the shooting. One student, Gerardo Torres Pérez, was arrested for allegedly firing an AK-47 automatic rifle.

By the end of the day more than 200 Mexican human rights organizations and other nonprofit groups had placed the blame on the security forces, which have a long record of abuses in Guerrero. The federal government’s Public Security Secretariat (SSP) announced on Dec. 13 that according to its analysts at least some of the gunfire came from a state Attorney General’s Office agent dressed as a civilian. Most of the detainees were released on Dec. 13. Gerardo Torres was freed in the evening; he said that after he had been arrested, federal agents and agents from the state Attorney General’s Office beat him and took him to a vacant lot, where they forced him to fire an AK-47 five times.

Guerrero officials announced on Dec. 13 that Gov. Ángel Aguirre Rivero had removed Attorney General López, Public Security Secretary Ramón Almonte Borja and Gen. Arreola from office. (La Jornada (Mexico) 12/13/11, ___, 12/14/11; AFP 12/13/11 via Univision)

The students from the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college had been demanding a meeting with Gov. Aguirre, who they said had failed to keep four appointments. They were seeking resumption of classes, which had been suspended since Nov. 2 because of a dispute, and an increase in the student body from 140 to 170 for the 2011-2012 school year. Mexico’s 16 rural teachers’ colleges, which were mostly established by the center-left government of President Lázaro Cárdenas (1934-1940), have suffered from neglect and budget cuts. The problems at Ayotzinapa have been ongoing for decades, according to alumni who joined current students and other activists at a protest march in Chilpancingo on Dec. 16. The marchers insisted that they weren’t satisfied with the dismissal of the attorney general and the public security secretary. “There’s no one more guilty than Gov. Aguirre, who gave the order for the removal of the protesters,” said Daniel Gómez Ruiz, a student leader at Ayotzinapa. (LJ 12/13/11, 12/17/11)

Aguirre was elected governor last January as the candidate of a coalition that included the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), the small leftist Workers Party (PT) and the social democratic Convergence party. Previously he had been a leader in the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which dominated Guerrero politics for decades, often through violent repression. Aguirre was interim governor from 1996 to 1999 as the handpicked successor of the PRI’s Rubén Figueroa Alcocer, who was forced to leave office in the aftermath of a June 1995 massacre by state police of 17 unarmed members of the leftist South Sierra Campesino Organization (OCSS) at Aguas Blancas near Acapulco [see Updates #320, 381].

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http://weeklynewsupdate.blogspot.com/2011/12/wnu-1109-two-mexican-students-killed-at.html

Latin America: thousands of indignados join the “occupy” protests

WW4, Weekly News Update on Tue, 10/18/2011

Joining others in more than 900 cities around the world, Latin American activists protested on Oct. 15 to demonstrate their discontent with the global economic system. The demonstrations got a significant boost from Occupy Wall Street, a US movement that started with an action in New York on Sept. 17, but the Latin American protests also referenced the Real Democracy Now movement that developed in Spain last spring; the Spanish protests were inspired in turn by protests in Tunisia and Egypt at the beginning of the year. In Spanish-speaking countries the movement is widely known as “15-M,” from May 15, the day when protests started in Madrid. Like the Spanish protesters, Latin American participants call themselves los indignados and las indignadas—”the angry ones,” or “the indignant ones.”

Thousands of Chileans marked the global day of action by marching with music and dancing from the University of Chile campus in central Santiago along the Alameda avenue to the O’Higgins Park. They called for reform of the political system and for a constituent assembly to write a new constitution to replace the current document, which was created under the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990). The protesters also backed the demands of student strikers for a free public education system and expressed opposition to the HidroAysén project, a plan to build a complex of five dams that environmentalists say would threaten fjords and valleys in the Patagonia region [see Updates #1081, 1100]. Organizers estimated that 5,000 people participated; the police didn’t give an estimate. Similar protests were scheduled for other cities, including Arica, Iquique, Coquimbo, La Serena and Valparaíso. (Radio Universidad de Chile, Oct. 15; Observador Global, Argentina, Oct. 15; Adital, Brazil, Oct. 14)

More than 1,000 Argentines, many wearing masks or costumes, marched on Oct. 15 from the Plaza del Congreso de la Nación in central Buenos Aires to the Plaza de Mayo. The marchers included Juan Marino, the leader of the Revolutionary Piquetero Tendency (TPR), part of a movement of the unemployed that developed in response to the neoliberal policies of former president Carlos Saúl Menem (1989-1999) and the financial crisis of 2001. “It can’t go on like this,” said another marcher, Bernardo Molina. “The rich created the crisis, and we, the poor, always end up paying.” Argentines also demonstrated in La Plata, Córdoba, Mar del Plata, Rosario, Mendoza, Tucumán, Jujuy and other cities. (People’s Daily, China, Oct. 16)

In Brazil, some 200 people, mostly youths, gathered under a heavy rain at Sao Paulo’s Museo de Arte on Paulista Avenue in the banking and commercial district, while others met in the Largo de Sao Bento, a colonial building in the center of the city. Some participants were from political parties, but one group of youths carried a sign saying they rejected parties. There were also protests in Rio de Janeiro and other cities. (ANSA, Oct. 15)

About 500 Peruvians marked the global day of action with a gathering at the Plaza San Martín in the center of Lima. Slogans on their signs included: “Wake up,” “Raise your voice, demand change,” and “The earth and the water belong to the people, not to the businesses.” The mobilization was “peaceful, apolitical and nonpartisan,” Luis Álvarez, from the Take the Plaza collective, which had called the protest, told Radio Programas del Perú (RPP). (EFE, Oct. 15, via Qué.es, Spain)

In Colombia about 70 indignados and indignadas met at Bogotá’s National Park to call for a regeneration of the democratic and economic system. The group originally planned to march to Plaza de Bolívar, in front of the presidential palace, but participants decided to stay in the park and develop the movement by holding an assembly in which they exchanged opinions on what should be the principles of the “15-O” (Oct. 15) movement. They also made signs expressing themes of the global movement, such as “Real democracy now,” mixed with references to local issues, such as “No to mining.” (EFE, Oct. 15, via El Espectador Bogotá)

Like their Colombian counterparts, the approximately 400 protesters who gathered at the Monument to the Revolution in Mexico City on Oct. 15 focused on both local and global issues, from the Mexican government’s “war on drugs” to consumerism and fraudulent banking practices. The group that called for the mobilization, the Permanent Assembly of Mexican Indignados, read a communiqué saying that “the country is hurling itself into the disaster of daily and widespread violence; into unemployment and hunger; into the violation of the most fundamental rights; into the destruction of the social fabric and the loss of human values.” “If those below get moving, those above fall down,” “Less tele and more vision,” and “If they won’t let us dream, we won’t let them sleep” were among the signs, along with “We’ve had it up to here” (Estamos hasta la madre), a slogan which has dominated Mexican demonstrations for much of this year [see Update #1079].

There were protests in 20 other Mexican cities, including a sit-in at the Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada de Jalapa plaza in the eastern state of Veracruz and at the Explanada de los Héroes in the central plaza of Monterrey in the northern state of Nuevo León. (Observador Global Oct. 15/11; La Jornada (Mexico) Oct. 16)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Oct. 16.

Al Jazeera: “Mexicans march against drug-related violence”

[A significant movement is growing in Mexico , where tens of thousands of peasants, workers, and indigenous people have been killed in wave upon wave  of battles for control of the drug trade between massive criminal syndicates (gangs) that are part-and-parcel of the corrupt and oppressive Mexican police and military.  The international media routinely paints this picture in racist slanders against Mexican people, or as a moral campaign against drugs–and never portray it as it is — the result of bankrupt comprador political relations and of an economy so dominated and suffocated by imperialism (and its instruments such as NAFTA) that the people have been forced into either starvation, virtual enslavement by drug lords, or the migrants’ life  — the dangerous forced migrations to el Norte, where xenophobia and criminalization and repeated deportations by ICE frame much of the life.  Today, there is a growing mass movement to stand up to these criminal gangs AND the corrupt police, expressed in part by this weekend’s protest march from Cuernevaca to the Zocalo in Mexico City. — Frontlines ed.]

AlJazeeraEnglish on May 8, 2011

The protesters say they are frustrated with the growing violence between warring drug gangs and security forces.

Al Jazeera’s Franc Contreras reports from Mexico City

Mexican indigenous community takes on armed gangs

[One minute video (en espanol) showing the protest in Cheran, Michoacan, last week. — Frontlines ed.]
May 03, 2011

Mexico City: Around 17,000 people from an indigenous group in western Mexico have blocked access to their community and declared a “state of siege” against armed groups protecting illegal loggers, a spokesman said.

“It’s a desperate measure” faced with the lack of security from federal authorities, a spokesman for the Purepecha community told a news conference yesterday in Mexico City, wearing a face mask to remain anonymous.

It was a “self-imposed state of siege” that started April 15 in the village of Cheran, in Michoacan state, not far from famous sanctuaries for migrating Monarch butterflies, the spokesman said.

The community started the blockade after armed men fired on some of its members after they captured illegal loggers to hand them over to the authorities, he added.

An armed group entered the community on April 27 and killed two people. Since 2008, nine have been killed and five others have disappeared, he said.

Illegal loggers have deforested 80 percent of some 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) of the region’s forests in more than three years, according to the community. Continue reading

Mexican Consulate in NYC Occupied

April 5, 2011

The Mexican Consulate in New York has been occupied by the Movimiento por Justicia en el Barrio in solidarity with five political prisoners from the community of Bachajón, Chiapas. On February 3, Chiapas state police raided the community and arrested 117 people. After worldwide protests erupted in response, the government released 112 of the prisoners. But five remain in jail, facing charges of murder or attempted murder.

The Bachajón Zapatista supporters are adherents to the Other Campaign, which was initiated by the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) in order to form national and global alliances amongst leftist organizations and movements.

The arrests stem from a confrontation between rival indigenous groups that occurred the previous day in San Sebastian Bachajón, which is an ejido, or communally held lands. Marcos García Moreno, an ejido member who belonged to the faction that allied itself with the government, was shot and killed during the confrontation with ejido members who are Other Campaign adherents. The government accuses the Other Campaign adherents of murdering García Moreno and attempting to murder a second man who was shot during the confrontation. The Other Campaign adherents deny the charges. They say they were unarmed, and that the government-allied ejido members were shooting guns into the air during the confrontation.

The government has attempted to paint the conflict as a dispute between rival indigenous factions over control of a tollbooth that charges a fee to enter the Agua Azul waterfalls, one of Chiapas’ most popular tourist attractions. However, the Bachajón adherents and their lawyers at the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (“Frayba”) say that they have proof that the tollbooth confrontation was designed to provoke government intervention and police occupation of the region. The Bachajón adherents argue that the government orchestrated the confrontation at the tollbooth “as a pretext to take over the Agua Azul Waterfalls Ecotourism Center for its transnational interests and projects.” Continue reading

Mexico’s indigenous peoples won’t celebrate ‘independence’

Hill ravine settlement of indigenous people, forcibly displaced from their ancestral lands by profit-hungry companies, real estate developers and speculators

Bicentennial Nothing to Celebrate, Say Indigenous Peoples

 

By Daniela Pastrana

MEXICO CITY (IPS) – “I don’t understand why we should celebrate [Independence]. There will be no freedom in Mexico until repression against indigenous peoples is eliminated,” says Sadhana, whose name means “moon” in the indigenous Mazahua language.

Over the course of the year, the Mexican government has organised a series of lavish celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the start of the war of independence against the Spanish Empire, Sep. 16, 1810. The main events, held Sep. 15, included a military parade with soldiers from several other countries and a fireworks display.

But to many of Mexico’s indigenous peoples, the festivities are an alien concept.

According to indigenous organisations, at least a third of Mexico’s 108 million people are of native descent. But the government’s National Council on Population says the majority of Mexicans are mestizo (of mixed European and indigenous ancestry), while 14 million belong to one of the country’s 62 native groups. Continue reading

Central America’s 60,000 missing migrants

Report reveals that from 1998 to 2008, 60,000 South and Central Americans went missing in Mexico on their way to the US

Emilio Godoy, al-Jazeera, 14 Nov 2010

Some 500,000 undocumented migrants from South and Central America cross Mexico every year [EPA]

The last time Estela Domínguez of Mexico saw her daughter Estela Paz was in April 2006, when the young woman left home with the goal of reaching Las Vegas, Nevada.

Paz, who was 27 at the time, planned to cross the US border at the town of Altar in the northwestern state of Sonora. She was travelling without documents, and with her six-year-old son Emiliano. She was heading back to her job making bracelets. But she never made it.

“I talked to her on the phone just before she was to cross the border, but I never heard from her again,” Domínguez, a supermarket bagger in Córdoba, a city in the southeastern Mexican state of Veracruz, said. Continue reading

Mexico: Oaxaca as a ‘Laboratory of Repression’– Interview with Human Rights Defender Alba Cruz


Written by Peter Watt and Alba Cruz, Upside Down World, 11 November 2010
Following the 2006 uprising in the city of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, the official crackdown on dissidents, social movements and human rights defenders reached unprecedented proportions. Human rights organizations note with alarm that the presence of around 50,000 military and police personnel patrolling the streets and controlling much of civilian life – often under the pretext of a war on narcotrafficking – has made Oaxaca and the rest of Mexico increasingly dangerous.

 

Alba Cruz, a human rights lawyer working with the Comité de Liberación 25 de Noviembre de Oaxaca, has experienced the climate of fear and intimidation first-hand. Since taking on over 100 cases relating to human rights violations in Oaxaca, which include the murder, torture and forced disappearance of activists, continual threats have been made to her personal safety. She represented Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno, the man wrongly convicted (and subsequently released in February 2010) of the murder of US independent journalist and political activist, Brad Will. Eyewitness accounts suggest that Will was shot by police dressed in civilian clothing.

Outside the Middle East, Mexico is now the recipient of the United States’ largest foreign aid program. After numerous declarations from civic and human rights groups that the program – the Mérida Initiative – closely emulates Plan Colombia, an aid program which allowed Colombia to become the most flagrant violator of human rights in the Western Hemisphere, US Congress blocked release of the funds to Mexico unless the administration of Felipe Calderón could prove it was committed to protecting human rights and investigating alleged violations. The prosecution of Martínez, who was released this year after Cruz and the Comité de Liberación 25 de Noviembre de Oaxaca presented evidence which demonstrated that he could not have murdered fellow activist, Brad Will, was a particularly cynical attempt to secure the funds of the Mérida Initiative, while justice for the real killers remains elusive.  Continue reading

Mexico: Indigenous activists murdered in Oaxaca

Demonstration of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) in 2006

Weekly Update on the Americas, October 26, 2010

Two unidentified men shot and killed Catarino Torres Pereda, general secretary of the Citizen Defense Committee (Codeci), at the indigenous rights group’s office in Tuxtepec in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca on the afternoon of Oct. 22. The murderers escaped in a car waiting for them nearby.

In the evening members of Codeci and other organizations protested the assassination with a demonstration at the Alameda de León plaza in the city of Oaxaca, the state capital.

Codeci was part of the protest movement against Oaxaca governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz that shut down much of the state for five months in 2006, and Torres was one of the first activists to be detained in the wave of repression Ruiz Ortiz used to fight the movement. Federal and state police arrested Torres on Aug. 6, 2006, and he was held in the Almoloya de Juárez federal prison until his release on bail on Mar. 8, 2007.

Torres continued his work for indigenous rights, and this year he participated in the Free Oaxaca State Democratic Convention, which supported coalition gubernatorial candidate Gabino Cué Monteagudo, who defeated Eviel Pérez Magaña, the candidate of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and Gov. Ruiz’s chosen successor. According to Tania Santillán, a Codeci leader, the assassins were wearing shirts with election propaganda for Pérez Magaña. (La Jornada (Mexico) 10/23/10) Continue reading