Letters to the Other Campaign from Oaxaca’s Political Prisoners
Written for the Day of Action Against Police Brutality
By Oaxacan Political Prisoners
Oaxaca Zapatista Network
March 16, 2006
Oaxaca Central State Penitentiary, March 15, 2006
To “The Other Campaign.”
To the organizations that defend human rights.
To the people of good will.
To the non-governmental organizations.
To the people of Oaxaca, of Mexico and of the world.
To the democratic teachers’ union Secion 22, Oaxaca City, Oaxaca.
To the communications media.
I send to you from this prison a warm and fraternal salute, and express to you the following:
My name is Isabel Almaraz Matías, held prisoner in the Ixcotél prison of Oaxaca. My liberty has been unjustly taken away from me for three years and eight months now. The authorities accuse me of an endless number of common crimes, crimes that I never committed. As you are now aware of my imprisonment, I will take the opportunity presented with this work that the Other Campaign is doing for the freedom of political prisoners beginning today, March 15, to reveal the injustices that I am still being subjected to by the state authorities.
I was arrested on June 25, 2002, here in Oaxaca City. A few days before my arrest I left my town, the marginalized and forgotten San Agustín Loxicha, where there is no doctor and much less any kind of specialist. My mother was dying, and this obliged me to leave my hometown to search for a specialist that could attend to my mother. Once I was here I had my mother interned at the Hospital Civil. I went to impossible lengths to save my mother from her sickness but unfortunately I had no luck; death came and took from my side the most beloved soul in my life. In the midst of this pain and sadness, injustice came for me, simply for being from Loxicha, where the state legal authorities accuse me of kidnapping and a supposed relationship with the EPR (Popular Revolutionary Army), all of which are completely false accusations.
I have been separated from my children since my arrest. In that year my first daughter was four and my second one year and six months. These two girls were left completely abandoned by the hateful policies of the state government. I have now spent three years and eight months deprived of my freedom, but the authorities have shown no political will to deal with and resolve the problem. They have gravely violated my rights as a woman, but in their speeches they prattle on and chant slogans about how their main goal is attention to the indigenous groups, that they are serving in the tradition of (liberal mid-19th century indigenous president Benito) Juárez. Our rulers tell great lies.
As an indigenous woman, I cannot keep my arms passively crossed. From this place, I raise my voice and say, I have the freedom and the right to fight for the liberty I long for. The authorities have oppressed the indigenous people of the Loxicha region, but I when I think about the fact that I did not commit the crimes that they accuse me of, that gives me strength to keep fighting for my freedom.
I demand that the state government stop the dirty war against the indigenous people of the Loxicha region.
I call for the immediate release of the political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in different prisons across the country.
I ask that the country’s democratic organizations support me as I continue to struggle for my freedom. I hope that you take on the problem that I am living through, as this missive is open to all people of good will.
Thank you for listening to my words.
Isabel Almarás Matías
* * *
To the Compañeros and Compañeras of the Other Campaign
To the National and International Communications Media
To the General Public
We know that, as an initiative of the Other Campaign, today, March 15, a day in which people all over the world demonstrate against police brutality and repression, actions will be held for the freedom of this country’s political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.
Up to today the state governor has done an excellent job at continuing the dirty war against dissent and non-conformity, of which there is a great deal. There are now about 50 prisoners here in jail for political reasons. We prisoners are not pedophiles, we are not rapists, we are not drug traffickers, we are not white-collar criminals, because if we were, we would be enjoying our freedom and living in prosperity and opulence.
Faced with this situation, in addition to saluting this initiative and recognizing the brave stance you have taken in supporting the cause of those of us who are now paying for the crime of thinking differently, the crime of dreaming of a different Mexico with peace, justice and democracy, the crime of struggling to make real those dreams that we share with you. From our lonely cells we call out to you to keep building unity, and from us comes a commitment not to give up and to contribute to this with our best efforts.
Freedom for political prisoners and prisoners of conscience!!
Down with repression and police brutality!!
Pedro Castillo Aragón
Prisoner of Consicience
Santa Maria Ixcotel Central Penitentiary, Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, Mexico, March 15, 2006
* * *
Oaxaca Central State Penitentiary, March 15, 2006
To the Network of Democratic Organizations of Oaxaca
To the People of Good Will
To the Progressive Students and Professionals
To the Democratic Teachers’ Union of Section 20 of the SNTE
To the Communications Media
We the undersigned, the 13 indigenous political prisoners and prisoners of conscience from the Loxicha region, direct ourselves to you to send a warm and fraternal salute to the participating organizations and the written and electronic communications media for their important work and express the following:
The prisoners of the Loxicha region add our support to this day of diverse activities that the Network of Democratic Organizations is undertaking at this step in the struggle in search of FREEDOM for all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in this country.
We welcome the initiative and the will and interest of each of the organizations in speaking out and demanding mechanisms to win the release of we who are victims of injustice and today remain deprived of our liberty because of various crimes that we never committed.
We know that the struggle you are beginning is not easy, but as long as there is will and effort on the part of each of the participating organizations, we must together and overcome any obstacle that we find along our way. We must achieve our objective with the UNITY and STRENGTH of all who are conscious and struggle always to move forward.
From the Central State Penitentiary we call on all organizations and people of good will to ensure that unity and brotherhood prevail in order to face the wicked policies of the state and federal governments. Because the politicians today prattle on in their speeches about governing in the tradition of Juárez, but this is really a great lie to society, because Juárez was a person who fought from his heart to defend his indigenous brothers and his country.
Indigenous Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Conscience of the Loxicha Region
C. Juan Díaz Gómez
C. Ricardo Martínez Enríquez
C. Fortino Enríquez Hernández
C. Álvaro Sebastián Ramírez
C. Estanislao Martínez santiago
C. Justino Hernández José
C. Urbano Ruiz cruz
C. Agustín luna valencia
C. Mario Ambrosio Martínez
C. Cirilo Ambrosio Antonio
C. Abraham García Ramírez
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