<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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“Forward, People! Let’s Take Back Oaxaca”

“Neighbors” Armed with AR-15 Rifles Enjoyed Complete Impunity During the Bloodiest Day of the Oaxaca Conflict


By Diego Enrique Osorno
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

October 28, 2006

On 99.1 FM, the clandestine and recently created “Citizen’s Radio,” claimed that “the town is finally liberating the city from the grip of the APPO.”

An anonymous speaker on the powerful pirate station reported that “the neighbors of Santa Lucia del Camino decided to clear the barricades and were attacked by Flavio Sosa’s friends.”

And while they continued urging listeners “to follow the example of Santa Lucia del Camino,” on the streets of Calicanto in this Oaxaca suburb, the so called “neighbors” – as they were described on the pro-government radio station – had AR-15 rifles with which they shot at APPO members that had heard the alert call from the real neighbors of the area.

Those “neighbors” were the ones that killed photographer Brad Will, the ones that shot and wounded photographer Oswaldo Ramirez, from the Milenio newspaper, and the ones that wounded another two residents in this populated zone of Oaxaca’s capital.

The radio station considers governor Ulises Ruiz Ortíz and state attorney Lizbeth Caña Cadeza heroes, and Flavio Sosa, Enrique Rueda, Carlos Abascal and Gabino Cué the villains, and continued to urge the listeners: “Forward People! Let’s Take Back Oaxaca”.

Meanwhile “neighbors” – off in the distance and still bearing their AR-15 rifles – continued to smile and enjoy impunity that is given to presumed policemen serving the PRI municipal government in Santa Lucia del Camino.

* * *

When the shooting began someone said that it was just some fire crackers. He was immediately recriminated by his compañeros, “Shut up, you’re acting just like that damned Ulises Ruiz,” all of them veterans of the conflict and residents of the suburb of Santa Lucia del Camino, who quickly ran to see where the shots came from.

After two months of barricades, the neighbors are accustomed to shootings against them, to tense nights and to the fear, but they are not accustomed to death, which came very close to them yesterday.

* * *

“Hey. It’s Brad from Indymedia New York and I’m on the way to Mexico for a day this Saturday –please write to me– I am going to Bolivia to help over there so I won’t be able spend much time in your beautiful city, but we’re going to find solidarity. Brad Will.” This is the last message placed by the American photographer on the alternative news agency’s Web site which he regularly contributed to.

Brad was not a novice. During the time spent guarding the auditorium of Section 22 (Oaxacan local chapter of the national teachers’ union), he used to talk about his trips to Brazil, where he reported on land-related uprisings, and to Bolivia during the indigenous revolt led by now-President Evo Morales.

The thing he enjoyed least was to report on official meetings, that is until he covered a meeting between governor Ulises Ruíz Ortíz and a group of senators in a hangar at Oaxaca’s airport two weeks ago. After the meeting he repeated several times that “this is the most surreal official act I have ever recorded in my life,” insisting that it would serve as the introduction to the documentary that he was filming, that he was filming, that he was filming…

* * *

What happened in Oaxaca yesterday that the gun powder was unable to stop? According to the state government: “Today more than three hundred barricades in the city, and additional highway blockades throughout the rest of the state, trampled the fundamental rights of Oaxaqueños, preventing free transit and disrupting their daily activities.

“These confrontations, which have had very regrettable consequences, happened because the citizens are fed up with the APPO’s permanent violence, threats and blockades.”

* * *

Below are monologues of confrontation and despair. Monologues that were also the prelude to the use of two firearms by supporters of the APPO:

First monologue: “Where are the fucking pistols? Where are they? We have to use them now because these damned little rockets aren’t going to do anything to them! Bring them, hurry, go get them on the motorcycle. Go as fast as hell. The Press? Forget about them, don’t you see that they just killed one of theirs. Go get the guns (four shots are heard from the other street). That’s what I’m talking about. Go now.”

Second monologue: “This time we’re going to fuck them up. Go ahead, shoot now. Just make sure to aim well and that the photographers don’t take pictures. No, no, no. No fucking way. Turn the camera off, turn it off. Don’t you see that they just killed one of your compañeros? Didn’t you see that they wounded the guy from Milenio? Turn the camera off. Or better yet, just go somewhere else so they don’t take any pictures of us. They might say that we killed their compañero. That’s how nasty they are.”

Third monologue: “This damned pistol does nothing to them! They’re using an AK-47 while we’re using this piece of shit (.38 revolver)! But we’re going to win, even if it means losing blood, we’re going to thrash these minions of Ulises Ruiz.”

* * *

It is already night, close to eleven. The “Citizen’s Radio,” re-baptized “Radio URO,” for the initials of Ulises Ruiz Ortíz, reports: “The law is not negotiable, it is enforced” and public officials are reminded that when they took possession of their posts “they promised to fulfill and to enforce the law.”

Another intense communication to the listeners: “The flagrant violation of the law is a daily matter. The barricades, the occupation of public buildings, the aggressions toward public employees, the controlling of radio stations, the burning of buses, the closing of streets, the damage to historical and cultural heritage, as well as many other actions that these demonstrators have perpetrated, continue hurting us while nothing is done to solve the problem.”

It seems that yesterday the authorities, at least the municipal ones, decided to do something.

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