Update on Oaxaca
Government Launches New Aggression Against the Popular Assembly Movement
By Nancy Davies
Commentary from Oaxaca
November 27, 2006
On Monday, November 27 “Citizen” Radio, operated allegedly without a license by the PRI in support of Governor Ulises Ruiz, called on PRI supporters to invade and burn the offices of EDUCA, one of the signatory non-governmental organizations which have allied with the Popular Assembly of the Peoples’ of Oaxaca (APPO). The call to destroy the offices also named the current director of EDUCA, Marcos Leyva, as an APPO activist. EDUCA is accused by Citizen Radio of manufacturing Molotov cocktails, and otherwise creating illegal and explosive artifacts. EDUCA is a civil organization based in Oaxaca City which works in various local communities in three regions of the state: the Central Valley, the Southern Sierra and the (Pacific) Coast. It seeks to promote local development and to strengthen local organizational initiatives in Oaxacan communities, while educating people about their civil and legal rights.
Ciudadana Radio is the same broadcast station which on November 25 called for people to drop acid or boiling water on the APPO marchers.
Also this morning, the Policia Federal Preventiva are reported to have detained 150 people, who have been shipped out of the state of Oaxaca, to the state of Nayarit. According to El Universal of November 27, 107 men and 34 women -141 persons detained for “violent acts” the past weekend in Oaxaca – were transported to the federal prison of San José del Rincón, in Nayarit.
They were moved at the request of the Secretary of Citizen Protection of Oaxaca, who argued that the prisoners have a high danger profile. They were first jailed in Miahuatlán and in Tlacolula, in Oaxaca state.
The relocated prisoners were grabbed the 24th and 25th of November, in accordance with orders for arrest for committing acts of vandalism, setting fire to various unmovable objects (offices) and sacking commercial establishments in the center of the city. None of these charges have yet been verified against any of the detained, who are alleged to be supporters of the APPO.
The federal SSP stated that the Secretary of Citizen Protection of Oaxaca requested assistance to move the prisoners to federal (and out of state) keeping due to the “dangerous nature of the prisoners” since within the state there are no facilities with sufficient security to guard them (“considering that the detainees are classified as highly dangerous and owing to the fact that the state doesn’t have the prison installations with sufficient security conditions to hold them.”).
The moving of the detained was accomplished in two groups, the first of 58 people and the second of 83 people.
In the city of Oaxaca, the normal tourist and relaxation venues such as Llano Park, the zocalo in the city center, the Tourist Walk (Andador Turistica), Santo Domingo Esplanade, the Carmen Alto Plaza, and the Plaza de la Danza are all occupied by PFP men in riot gear. Should a tourist accidentally pass through Oaxaca, it is, in my personal opinion, an ugly sight. Walking past the Santo Domingo church, a showpiece for past colonial wealth, I met up with a shop keeper I know. Although it may have nothing to do with the situation, she looked thin and aged. She said to me, “I have sold absolutely nothing – absolutamente nada!” There is no commercial activity in the city center; her shop is on the exclusive Cinco de Mayo street. She said that all a citizen can do is endure, powerless to stop the government.
Furthermore, the calls for violence and crime are spreading, to areas not considered hotbeds of rebellion or even political activism. The Welte Institute for Oaxaca Studies, a sedate research facility located in a pleasant neighborhood, has received anonymous emails, with threats, if the Welte allows a group to meet in their building to discuss the current social movement. The Welte board buckled to the threat, and have forbidden meetings for the purpose of discussing the APPO movement.
Although persons not known to be teachers or APPO supporters may still walk freely, there is no place to walk to. All bags must be inspected in places where the APPO might try to physically reoccupy territory. The city is very calm.
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