Friday, November 16, 2007


Less than a month after up to 40 arrests were made when Mexican police attacked a traditional ceremony in memory of the lives lost in the Oaxaca's popular struggle against the local authorities another protest today prevented the state's Governor from reading a report to the legislature.

In 2006, I am sure you remember, strikers from Section 22 of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE) and community activists in the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) occupied most of downtown Oaxaca and paralyzed the state government for five months. Thousands of Federal Preventive Police (PFP) agents took control of the city on Oct. 29, 2006, two days after an outbreak of violence that left three people dead, including US independent journalist Brad Will.

The following is from Prensa Latina.

Oaxaca Succeeds in Governor Protest

Leaders of the Teacher's Union and Oaxaca People's Assembly (APPO) called successful on Friday a protest in that Mexican state that prevented Governor Ulises Ruiz from presenting his report to the legislature.

Thousands of people started in three points of Oaxaca's capital, to arrive at the legislative palace, where the governor's report had to be presented in a document written by his Government Secretary Teofilo Manuel Garcia Corpus.

APPO head Ermeterio Marino and SNTE Section 22 leader Ezequiel Rosales asserted that the march denounced the assassination of 27 teachers and activists, of which they accused Ruiz' government.

In the demonstration, both organizations demanded from the Institutional Revolutionary Party governor's resignation, and protested detention of around 500 of its activists, after the protests in 2006.

They also denounced the situation of some families, the children of which have remained orphans, due to execution of their parents, as well as torture suffered by the detainees, practiced by police agents.

Deputy Zenen Bravo Castellanos, an APPO supporter, said the mobilization represents the voice of thousands of citizens of that state in the Mexican southwestern area, who have felt affronts in Governor Ruiz' repressive actions.

The Oaxaca legislator said repression there has caused in a year dozens of deaths and hundreds of detainees, besides missing people.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Report written by member of Friends of Brad Will who attended the recent hearing in D.C. on Plan Mexico. I believe the portion of the transcript provided below here includes the correction - mentioned in the report - of Assistant Secretary of State Shannon, at a moment in his testimony where he tried to confute the issue/s/ of narco-trafficking, organized crime and the murder of Brad.

Friends of Brad Will Launch Intervention at Congressional Hearing on Plan Mexico

The House Commitee on Foreign Affairs meeting is met by protests.

At the November 14th U.S. Congressional hearing on Plan Mexico, Friends of Brad Will shifted the talk from a 1.4 billion dollar package to bolster Mexico's security against narco-trafficing to a discussion on Mexican government impunity to commit human rights abuses against pro-democracy dissidents, labor activists, and journalists. At five different times during the hearing, Friends of Brad Will "corrected" Thomas Shannon, Assistant Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and David Johnson, from the Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. Friends of Brad Will argued that giving a military aid package to the Mexican government would lead to more human rights abuses like ones that have occurred along the U.S./Mexican border, Atenco, Chiapas, and Oaxaca, where Brad Will died covering the people's movement against Governor Ruiz.

Mr. Shannon began his speech by saying, "He (President Calderon) is reorganizing the federal police, putting new
and additional resources in the hands of his security services, deploying military units to support police operations, rooting out corrupt officials, attacking --." Friends of Brad Will interjected, "Civilians in Oaxaca!" Some members of the crowd laughed, including high school students on a field trip, before Chairman Lantos called for order. After a warning and another intervention where a member of FoBW told the story of journalist Brad Will's murder in Oaxaca, that member of our network was removed by a police officer and released outside of the hearing.

Other Congressman in the room began to join in with the criticism as well. The presence of the demonstrators seemed to empower others to make their voices heard. Many in the room echoed the demonstrators concerns over human rights abuses and argued that drug abuse should be curbed through public education at the point of consumption instead of at the point of production, where many join drug cartels due to poverty.

Representative Scott raised the question, " What's going on with the journalists? How many have been killed? And have there been any American journalists killed?" As Mr. Shannon replied, accusing drug cartels of killing Brad Will, a Friend of Brad Will named Brandon Jourdan corrected him, "Oh you mean the PRI, Pristas, policemen without uniforms linked to the government?" Representative Engel called for order and Jourdan complied. Audience members again chuckled and Shannon's tone became nervous.

After a brief recess, the hearing continued and so did the interventions. Mr. Shannon and Mr. Johnson continued their rhetoric on drug enforcement, but began to increasingly talk about human rights in response to protesters and inquiries from disgruntled Congressmen. As Shannon began a lengthy discussion on how Plan Mexico would help with human rights, another member of the audience - a close friend of Brad Will - again brought up Will's death, the impunity of Mexican police and military to commit acts of aggression, and the past problems with the militarization of Mexico. After refusing to comply with Representative Engel's call for order, she was removed from the hearing.

Due to the interventions from several Friends of Brad Will, the hearing on the Plan Mexico was turned into a hearing on human rights in Mexico. Plan Mexico has received widespread criticism from human rights and labor groups, such as the United Steelworkers.


Let me just ask briefly a few questions, though. What's going on with the
journalists? How many have been killed? And have there been any American
journalists killed?

MR. SHANNON: I'll get you the exact number of journalists killed, but it's
significant. And there have been American journalists killed, some of which
we heard today in this room regarding the case of Brad Will.

Violence against journalists in Mexico is a big problem, not just for the
larger profession of journalism, but for what Mexico is attempting to do in
fighting organized crime, because much of the violence against journalism
and journalists is directed by organized crime. And it has a purpose, and
that is to --


REP. ENGEL: Excuse me. The chair notes that there is a disturbance of the
committee proceedings. May I ask anyone in the audience to please cease. If
not, that person will be removed.


MR. SHANNON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.