<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
 English | Español August 17, 2017 | Issue #60


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Oaxaca Government Seems to be Yielding to Section 22’s Popular Demands

"The Oaxaca LX Legislature in a extraordinary session agreed to initiate removal of power from the authorities in San Pedro Jicayán"


By Nancy Davies
Commentary from Oaxaca

September 13, 2009

The 60th Oaxaca Legislature, in a extraordinary session, agreed to initiate removal of power from the authorities in San Pedro Jicayán, including suspension of powers of the city council, simultaneously declaring the town in a state of ungovernability (referred to as a “disappearance of powers”). Salary payments to teachers of the break-away union Section 59 have been suspended.


D.R. 2009 Noticias
However, the men who shot at SNTE Section 22 teachers, killing Artemio Norberto Camacho Sarabia and wounding a woman teacher, have not yet been arrested. A third man shot in the confrontation has been moved to a hospital in Oaxaca city.

The bad news is that the legislature authorized Ulises Ruiz Ortiz to use his constitutional executive power to designate a provisional administrator to take charge.

The local population, headed by a new popularly chosen municipal president Alberto Lopez Ortega, rejects an outsider’s appointment. Lopez Ortega demands the government respect the decision of the great majority of the population, who met in non-party assembly to choose a council and president.

An indigenous primary school teacher, Lopez Ortega a was quoted in Noticias on September 13, 2009 stating that the ouster of the PRI town council “permitted a return to peace and tranquility in the town.” However, the municipal palace remains under the guard of state police. That causes some problems, since the building houses offices of the council itself, the cattle-breeders local group, and the telephone-telegraph service.

The PRD legislator Wilfredo Fidel Vasquez Lopez reminded the legislature that “disappearance of powers” had first been solicited after the assassination of Beatriz Lopez Leyva, who was shot in her home on April 6 in this same community. As a PRD activist, she supported Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. No charges resulted from that murder. Huge banners went up in the zócalo of Oaxaca city with pictures of Lopez Leyva’s bloody corpse on the floor. Next to it was displayed a well-known government election message declaring that the PRI fulfills its promises. Alongside this banner, Section 22 called for social justice.

On April 16, following the shooting of Beatriz Lopez Leyva, the PRD asked the state congress to declare ungovernability in San Pedro Jicayan, “since in that moment we believed that the constitutional guarantees of citizens living in that jurisdiction had been lost, and we were right. We foresaw that some ill-fated event would happen there if we did not take the necessary measures…”

And sure enough, it did.

Seeking recognition of ungovernability, the Permanent Commission of Government declared that evidence exists regarding a clear confrontation between neighbors and the members of town council of San Pedro Jicayán, presided over by the PRI member Leonardo Silva Palacios. According to Tomas Basaldú Gutierrez, director of the Democratic Campesino Union, Silva Palacios never represented the population of Jicayán because he was appointed from the city of Pinotepa Nacional. Historically, he never participated in the ongoing community activities. Basaldú requests that the government investigate what became of resources assigned to the municipality during Silva Palacios’ control, suggesting that misuse of funds lies behind the violence which has plagued Jicayán. In addition to the murders, a thousand copies of Noticias were burned, and two spokespersons of the press were jailed.

In what appears to be a victory for Section 22, a notice paid by the PRI was published in Noticias on September 12. In it the State Institute for Public Education (IEEPO in its Spanish initials) declares it will regularize the schools and cancel school modules staffed by Section 59. It won’t tolerate self-located and self-appointed teachers or external persons hired by municipal authorities and “padres de familia,” the PRI parent group. In a few self-congratulatory phrases, IEEPO director Abel Trejo Gonzalez states that a mere 100 schools still remain embattled, compared to the 2,321 in conflict in 2006. Seventy-six schools have been recuperated and 61 modules have been canceled. After this week, he states, paychecks will not be sent to modules not recognized by the IEEPO (see note). Trejo Gonzalez called on both teachers and parents to act responsibly.

It remains to be seen how the governor will act, and whether the people of San Pedro Jicayán will themselves act on their decision to revert to traditional usos y costumbres and dismiss political parties.

Note: the photo of a school module in a trashed bus should not be regarded as a condemnation of Section 59, but of the government. Education monies for infrastructure are alleged to be siphoned off for political campaigns.

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