<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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Mexican Government Snubs Immigrant Demonstrations Supporting the Fight of the APPO in the United States

“We will use other methods,” if the repression continues, warn Oaxacans; In California, New York, Texas and Massachusetts preparations are made for protests against the government


By Margarita Salazar
The Other Journalism with the Other Campaign on the Other Side

October 9, 2006

LOS ANGELES, October 3, 2006: The sense of community is always a prevalent one among the Oaxacan people, and these changing times are no exception. Until three o’clock this afternoon, a demonstration of around two hundred people had gathered at the steps of the Mexican Consulate-General in Los Angeles to show their support for the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO in its Spanish initials) demanding the dismissal of Governor Ulises Ruiz and condemn the presence of armed forces in the state.


Photos: D.R. 2006 Margarita Salazar
Beginning at eight o’clock this morning, the demonstration, having been announced by the Broad Front of Solidarity and Support of Oaxaca, began to draw Oaxacans from various regions of the state. Mexicans from a diverse mixture of states, as well as sympathetic locals, also arrived in support.

The Oaxacans wrote messages on straw mats in support of the popular struggle, repudiating the government. In view of a large number of citizens who came and went from the consulate building, the protesters expressed themselves with phrases like “Oaxaca will not be silenced with tanks and bombs,” “Long live the APPO,” “God bless the Oaxacan teachers” and “No to repression, yes to education.”

Like so many times before – since the early 1970’s, when Oaxacan immigrants began to organize – the protestors sang the hymn that has since become their symbol of cultural resistance: the Mixteca song. “Oh land of the Sun, I yearn to see you,” repeated voices laden with profound emotion.

The majority of those present took the opportunity to speak or shout their feelings and thoughts about what is happening in their homeland from the microphone. At noon a commission was formed to pursue an interview with the Consul General, Rubén Beltrán Guerrero. As had happened this past August 30th, when immigrants delivered a letter directed at president Vicente Fox, the public servant was unavailable to respond to their request.

In Guerrero’s place, the consul of Protection, Marco Antonio Fraire, received the general coordinator of the Indigenous Front of Bi-National organizations (FIOB), Rufino Domínguez Santos. He was accompanied by Nacy and Serafín Pérez, representatives of the Organization for Assistance to the Macuiltianguenses (people from the Oaxacan community of San Pablo Macuiltianguis), as well as Victor Narro of the National Lawyer’s Guild. After a diplomatic introduction the Oaxacans questioned Fraire about why the Consul General was not able to meet with them. “He is away from the consulate,” was the reason given. Rufino Domínguez subsequently explained that the reason for their presence in these offices was the strong resolve that exists in the international community against the threat of violence made by President Vicente Fox in response to the demands of the Oaxacan people.


With the Consul of Protection, Marco Antonio Fraire
Fraire explained that the letter was delivered the same August 30th to the office of the Sub-secretary for North America of the Department of Foreign Relations (SRE) “but lamentably, up until this date, we have not received a reply.”

“That we are given no response is disrespectful,” commented Victor Narro.

The consular official argued that his office was only able to serve as a means of communication to the authorities of any manifestation of Mexican peoples’ right to freedom of speech.

“Then write in your report that we came here with respect, but if the government does not respect us now, the next time we will use other methods,” said others present.

Fraire contested that the consulate was respectful of all those who attended his office and began to narrate a series of “tragedies” that he regularly had to deal with in his office, like today when an immigrant from Jalisco committed suicide in a detention center.

“The lack of options provided by the Mexican government is pushing us to take such desperate measures,” answered a woman dressed in traditional huipil blouse. “We have more than one hundred Oaxacans who came to this country in search of what we cannot find in ours,” commented the Mixteco leader Rufino Domínguez.

Subsequently a letter was delivered addressed to president Vicente Fox, to the Secretary of the Interior Carlos Abascal Carranza, to the Attorney General Daniel Cabeza de Vaca, to the Permanent Commission of the Senate of the Republic, to the parliamentary coordinators of the PAN and PRI, to the president of the National Commission on Human Rights, José Luis Soberanes, and “to international public opinion.”

In the document, the FASAO – an integration of diverse organizations like the FIOB, ORO, and Neighborhood Union, among others – demands that representatives of the Mexican authorities not send repressive forces such as the Federal Agency of Investigations (AFI), the Federal Preventive Police or the army into the state of Oaxaca.

“The cause of this conflict was the inability of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz – both morally and politically – to continue governing the state. The broad and popular mobilization of the peoples of Oaxaca reflects the shared feeling of many Oaxacans, both in Mexico and the US, that URO must resign his governorship in order to lay the groundwork for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”

The missive clarifies the widely held view that demands for the renunciation of the governor “are not a caprice of a few, but the principal cause of the popular Oaxacan movement. Such a renunciation or dismissal would be the first step in the reconstruction of a new political pact in Oaxaca.”

To add to this, the entire population “has risen up with one voice emanating from the organized teachers, the indigenous communities and their authorities, and the popular organizations and unions to demand that URO leave the state now. We must all remember that the sovereignty of the state resides in the people; the people of Oaxaca have already spoken conclusively to support the renunciation of Ulises Ruiz.”

The front of solidarity has added itself, says the document, to the call of the popular movement embraced in the Declaration of the People of Oaxaca. This declaration has convened the development of a United Political Program based on a New Political Pact in Oaxaca guided by principles of inclusive dialogue and justice in all sectors.

“We, all good women and men, have come together – Oaxacans and not, in Mexico and the US – in support of our struggle for justice and dignity for the Oaxacan people by signing this letter and making sure it is sent to the corresponding authorities. Ulises Ruiz out of Oaxaca! Justice and dignity for all!” they concluded.

Before leaving the office of Consul Fraire, Rufino Domínguez informed him that the immigrants would continue mobilizing in front of the consulate pending a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The next protest, he indicated, will be on October 9th, when the March for Dignity arrives at the capital of the country.

“We hope that then there will be an answer from Mexico,” said Domínguez, who asked for a written receipt of their petition before leaving. At that moment, Consul Velázquez entered and in a haughty manner said his job was not to make copies; he reiterated that those present had made it so the Fraire would rush to produce the document.

To inform the rest of the protestors about what happened, those involved chanted words repudiating the conduct of the official and continued the demonstration that, apart from speeches by those present, included a reading of journalistic articles, a video presentation of various stages of the popular struggle, and a candlelit vigil at night.

These types of actions are being carried out in San Diego, Fresno, Oxnard and San Francisco, California; places where the FIOB has a high presence.

On the Other Side in Austin, New York, and Boston protests will continue in front of the Mexican consulates.

Article originally published in Spanish October 4, 2006

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