The Narco News Bulletin
January 24, 2018 | Issue #44
narconews.com - Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America
Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (URO) keeps one law for the people and another for his government of Oaxaca. Supporters of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO, in its Spanish initials) have been thrown in jail on charges of "impeding public transit," or blocking access on public roads, or access to public buildings. URO repeatedly has maintained the Oaxaca Zócalo and the plaza in front of Santo Domingo Church as "no-go" areas in order to prevent a return of the APPO encampments. On February 3 he outdid himself by erecting razor wire barriers, bringing in attack dogs, police with billy clubs wrapped with barbed wire, and the presence of 4,000 riot police (as reported by Las Noticias), many of them mounted on horses.
D.R. 2006 George Salzman
A friend dropped by on Thursday to inform me of two important items: one, that Molly Ivins had died, and the other that the teachers had pledged to march. She was eager to tell me that the teachers, in the midst of trying to reconstruct their damaged union, had met and decided to maintain their support of the APPO. They would march despite the confusion generated by Enrique Rueda Pacheco, who declared two months ago that the teachers were dissociating from the APPO.
My friend also told me that flyers advertising the march were being placed under windshields of cars parked along the streets. She appropriated one, justifying her act by telling me, "Well, nobody with a car is going to this march anyhow!" But how else are people learning about it? Mostly, through word of mouth. The people of Oaxaca perform miracles of self-organizing and information dissemination while using no formal media outlets.
Las Noticas published an article on Friday quoting an APPO spokesperson who denounced foreseen efforts of the government to infiltrate the march with troublemakers. Watching the procession from the sidelines, I heard one group of young men shouting "To the Zócalo! To the Zócalo!" - but nobody followed them. For the government's part, Ulises Ruiz assured the citizens that the march could proceed with no government intervention, but with a warning that the marchers better not cause trouble. To "reduce" the possibility of trouble, riot police were deployed and all entrances to the Zócalo were barricaded. The Santo Domingo area was guarded by troops with attack dogs, who spent the day dozing in the sun.
Barbed-wire billy clubs
D.R. 2006 Chesley Hulsey
Beforehand, the greatest anxiety among the public had been the uncertainty surrounding participation of Section 22 of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE, in its Spanish initials). Their long-delayed state assembly finally took place outside of the city of Oaxaca, in the town of Huahuapan de Leon, without the assistance of Enrique Rueda Pacheco, who has been labeled a traitor. (Rueda did not show up at the march for "reasons of security"). On February 2, Section 22 of SNTE issued a flyer, with the same declaration as an ad in Las Noticias, addressed to the general public. It states, in sum, the following:
"In the face of this situation, we education workers can not sit with our hands folded. The democratic teachers are in the struggle; we have not surrendered and we won't surrender, and on the basis of a mature policy, we go on united and organized until we achieve our objectives and those of the people of Oaxaca."
D.R. 2006 Chesley Hulsey
The scene was lively enough to assure me that the Peoples Popular Assembly of Oaxaca has not vanished. It is apparent that the governor has misjudged the tenacity of the people, and he is keeping a hard hand on the repression.
Since the governor is making no political concessions, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, in its Spanish initials) legislative and party leaders proclaim that they will win the August statewide elections. The APPO has declared itself willing and ready to work against the re-election of the PRI state legislators and PRI mayors (whose election takes place in October). According to APPO spokesperson Florentino López, the APPO reserves the right to back candidates in the united anti-PRI campaign, without itself becoming a political party.
It has been suggested that after the elections the APPO will evaporate or be co-opted by the new legislators. I personally don't think so. Much remains to be seen of how the APPO and the teachers will organize and strengthen during the next six months.