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