<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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Attorney General of Oaxaca Issues Arrest Warrants For Fifty Movement Leaders

Three Indigenous Triquis Shot Dead On The Road In Putla; Protest March Attacked Leaving One Dead, Two Wounded


By Nancy Davies
Commentary from Oaxaca

August 11, 2006

OAXACA CITY, August 10, 2006: The government of Oaxaca has advised the public that it will arrest all the leaders of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO) to “guarantee the safety” of the state, the Secretary of Public Security Lino Celaya Luria said yesterday.

This clarifies the sudden rash of plainclothes operators snatching men off the streets. That’s what they mean by “arrests.”


The August 10 march in which one demonstrator was killed and two others injured by unknown shooters.
Photo: D.R. 2006 Rochelle Gause
Celaya indicated that the government has identified sixteen leaders of social organizations who, along with leaders of Section 22 of the teachers’ union, have directed the complete blockade of government buildings and the taking of highways and public offices of the state of Oaxaca.

State Attorney General Lizbeth Caña Cadeza has begun to implement the ruling by issuing fifty previous warrants based on past crimes. Caña Cadeza said that the “leaders” of APPO are among those fifty names. The charges are based on both actual “crimes” and the intellectual authoring of those crimes, both common and federal.

One hour after this statement, state police intercepted the founder of the Union of Poor Campesinos, Germán Mendoza Nube, who is a member of the directing committee of APPO. Along with him, they picked up Eliel Vásquez and Leobardo López who were assisting Mendoza to leave his car because he uses a wheel chair and is unable to walk.

APPO immediately called for a blockade on every road out of town, to prevent the transportation Mendoza out of the state. The three snatched men have not yet been found. In addition, three others disappeared. They are teachers who set out looking for German Mendoza, and never returned. They have been identified by name, and the people asked to keep a lookout.

The wife of Leobardo López reported on Channel 9 Wednesday night, August 9, that she was shoved to the ground with her baby in her arms when the police carried out the “arrest”. She said that her husband was not affiliated with APPO but just happened to be helping Mendoza at that moment. The police were in civilian clothes and did not offer any reason or warrant when they hefted Mendoza into their vehicle and drove away.

In all these kidnappings the vehicles have been without license plates.

August 8, presumably before the warrants were issued, Catarino Torres Pereda, a leader of the indigenous rights group CODECI was “arrested” in Tuxtepec and secretly driven to the state of Mexico and imprisoned there, in the maximum-security prison La Palma. The charges against Torres Pereda were common crimes, leaving unexplained why he had to be transported out of state to a maximum-security prison.

The national daily newspaper Reforma reported on August 10 that seven other state governors from Oaxaca governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz’ Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) back Ruiz Ortiz in his efforts to recapture control of the state, although it was not explained what the nature of their backing might be. The governors issued a statement reported as, “We can not permit that the state of law be damaged with impunity and that a person democratically elected, by processes validated by the electoral authorities and public opinion, be subject to unreasonable pressure or intolerance.”

The PRI-ruled states named in the report are Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Colima, Oaxaca, Mexico, Durango, Chihuahua, and Hidalgo. Their statement was endorsed by the secretary general of the PRI, Rosario Green.

Meanwhile, members of APPO detained three of the five presumed thugs who infiltrated the movement to gain access to Radio Universidad, the student-occupied university radio station which had been broadcasting on behalf of APPO. Speaking for APPO, Rosendo Ramirez Sánchez identified by name the three who were captured and turned over to the Red Cross. One was wounded on the head.

The rector of the Benito Juarez Autonomous University of Oaxaca, Francisco Martinez Neri, said that the university has no connection to APPO, that the radio station was captured by students, and he has lodged a complaint with the Secretary of Communication and Transport. The radio station was damaged when the accused, (Carlos Alberto Paz Vazquez, Salvador Jimenez Baltasar and Rene Vazquez Castillejos), along with two accomplices who set afire a bus outside the station as a diversionary tactic, entered the station and threw corrosive acid on the equipment.

At 7:15 in the morning of August 8, two individuals, one of them reportedly armed with an Uzi, assaulted the offices of the local newspaper Las Noticias, which has supported the APPO. The assailants shot at the ceiling. Some 60 people were present in the offices on Independencia Street, where Noticias relocated after an attack on their previous building two years ago by the former PRI governor Murat. The attackers stole a laptop and a registration notebook, but they didn’t take the money from the cash box.

Six people were injured by falling pieces of ceiling and lights.

On this same day, an instructor of dentistry at the university was shot and killed in his car.

The Las Noticias headline from August 9 proclaims, “[Governor] Operating Undercover Terrorist Plan.”

No shit, guys.

APPO, for its part, called on the federal government to “stop the wave of terror against civil leaders, and not permit their transport to the maximum security prison.” APPO directly accuses Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz; the Secretary of Government, Heliodoro Díaz Escárraga; his predecessor, Jorge Franco Vargas, and the Secretary of Public Security, Lino Celaya Luría. APPO calls them “intellectual authors of this attack on constitutional rights.”

Then, Radio Cacerolas (the new name for the relocated Radio Universidad) reported early today, August 10, that three indigenous Triqui members of MULTI (Independent Unifying Movement of the Triqui Struggle) were shot near Putla last night. The radio reported that the Triquis, who belong to both MULTI and APPO were on their way to a meeting. They were killed by unknown shooters in an ambush on the highway 125 Putla de Guerrero-Santiago Juxtlahuaca, in the Mixteca region. Andrés Santiago Cruz, one of the victims, was a municipal agent of the community of Paraje Pérez, part of Santiago Juxtlahuaca, and a member of the commission for vigilance and safety of the APPO in the zoccalo encampment. The two other victims were Pedro Martínez Martínez, 70, a MULTI leader in Paraje Pérez, and a boy with them, Octavio Martínez Martínez, 12.

Jorge Albino Ortiz, director of MULTI and a member of the provisional committee of APPO, said that his companions were traveling on route to Paraje Pérez, when at about 1:00 they were attacked. Brothers Ignacio and Agustín Martínez Velásquez were wounded and taken to the Hospital for Women and Children, in Putla de Guerrero, where they were treated.

Thursday, a march of about 20,000 (this number consisted mainly of members the general public because many teachers remaining in the blockades) set out at 4:00 PM in repudiation of the governor’s actions. In the neighborhood of Ex-Marquesado three people were shot by unknown persons along the way. The victims were taken to the nearby Santa Maria Clinic. One of the three died of his wounds.

An APPO spokesperson on Radio Cacerolas at 9:00 PM said in part, “The march was to reply to Ruiz and the media and Fox and all the branches of government with a show of strength in the face of the detention of German Mendoza and his companions, and also to the detention of Catarino Torres, and to reply to the assassination of three MULTI companions including one twelve years old… The face of Ruiz was the face of these events and the stupid declarations of Secretary Celaya Luria regarding the leaders of the movement. This movement does not have leaders; it is built on the bases…Today the mobilization showed the strength of the people. APPO has ability to mobilize because it has lifted the hopes of the people. What produces rage in Ulises is that we are now building the bases, and transmitting the voice of the people… The solidarity of the people is the way to save this movement. Nobody else will do it for us… Repression and fascism cannot continue. Strengthen the encampments, everybody from all the neighborhoods come…”

The whereabouts of 500 agents of the Federal Preventive Police (PFP) is unknown.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America