State Repression and Indigenous Resistance in Oaxaca

Three members of an Oaxacan state-wide alliance, COMPA (Oaxacan Anti-Neoliberal Popular Magonista Coordination) have been arrested as part of an escalating campaign of repression and human rights abuses by the PRI state government against an increasingly mobilized indigenous population.

The arrests took place the same afternoon in which members of COMPA were scheduled to meet with the PRI party governer Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, under the advisement of Dr. Jose Luis Soberanes, the president of the CNDH (National Commission on Human Rights) as part of an ongoing investigation of human rights abuses committed by armed state forces against the people. This meeting was taking place less than a month after a massacre in the community of Santiago Xanica on January 15, during a communal work day, in which three community members (also part of COMPA) were shot and arrested.

The three arrests, which took place hours before the scheduled meeting, are clear maneuveurs in a long campaign of repression against autonomous movements in the state. As with the Zapatistas in neighboring Chiapas, international solidarity may become a vital component in the survival of this potent movement against the neoliberal agenda attempting to advance in this resource-rich region.

For pictures of the detainees and background click here | Oaxaca Indymedia

Please take the time to send send this letter to the Mexican authorities and demand the release of these political prisoners.

Continuing coverage at Austin-IMC and CMI-Mexico

On January 15, 2005, just weeks after PRI party governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz took office, Oaxacan state police surrounded the community of Santiago Xanica during a communal work day and opened fire in broad daylight upon the villagers. Three people were shot and nine injured. The community members defended themselves with bricks and stones and managed to thwart an attempted massacre. The three wounded community members were arrested and accused of assaulting a police officer. These detainees belong to CODEDI (Committee in Defense of Indigenous Rights), an organization that is part of a state-wide alliance named COMPA, (Oaxacan Anti-neoliberal Popular Magonista Coordination).

COMPA was founded in the summer of 2002, after a group of five masked men massacred twenty-six Zapotec saw mill workers from the community of Santiago Xochiltepec, at a place known as Agua Fria. This incident (in all likelyhood orchestrated by the state through a private paramilitary group) provided the pretext for the detention of 17 people from Las Huertas Santo Domingo Teojomulco. The repression faced by this community during the arrests prompted a permanent sit-in at the Oaxacan capitol, and the beginning framework for COMPA, now the largest anarcho-indigenous network in Mexico.

After the attempted massage and detention of the three CODEDI members in Xanica last month, COMPA mobilized a caravan to the Zocalo in Mexico City. There COMPA met with Dr. Jose Luis Soberanes, the president of the CNDH (National Commission on Human Rights) who arranged for a dialogue between COMPA and the Oaxacan governor Ulises Ruiz two days later in Oaxaca City.

This Thursday, February 3rd, at around 10:00am, the Oaxacan Sub Secretary of Governance Joaquin Rodriguez Palacios asked COMPA members to meet him at the Los Olivos Hotel to set the agenda for the meeting with the governor, which was to take place at 1:30pm that afternoon. Upon leaving the meeting with Palacios around 11:30am, Alejandro Cruz Lopez along with two other COMPA members were arrested in the hotel parking lot. The two other COMPA members were promptly released but Lopez was transported to Ixcotel prison and brought up on trumped up charges of kidnapping and taking hostages during a direct action he led at a Oaxacan district court in 1998. The case had since been closed and now Lopez is facing double jeopardy for the same charges. All this in addition to having been beaten on every inch of his body by police while in custody (in 1998), as reported by state, federal, and international human rights groups.

After the arrests COMPA members Samuel Hernandez Morales and Jaqueline Lopez Almazan made their way to their office to prepare a response to the arrest. They made phone calls to the media, the CNDH, and local officials. Around 1:30pm their office was surrounded by state ministerial police and they were both taken into custody. Both were brought up on trumped up charges of their own from a direct action they lead against the Secretary of Transportation in 2001.

Austin-IMCstas have been working with COMPA since its inception in 2002, and have a close relationship with two of the arrestees. Information will be made available on Austin-IMC as the situation continues to develop.

add a comment on this article


SIMON 10.Feb.2005 00:53

Austin IMC just received a comunique from COMPA. Today they mobilozed thousands of people to the Zocalo in Oaxaca city to protest by having a forum against repression in Oaxaca. At 5:12pm today several armored SWAT style vehicles and other police have cordoned off the area and are not allowing anyone to leave. Plain-clothes foreign relations agents have been trying to coerce the few international observers who are there to abandon the COMPAs. Please, if you haven't sent the letter yet, do so now.

Fotos of Oaxacan Zocalo around 5pm wednesday

SIMON 11.Feb.2005 03:37

Fotos from COMPA of protestors being surrounded, no word since then.

Alianza Magonista Zapatista

amz 14.Feb.2005 05:52

La web de la Alianza Magonista Zapatista está agrupando la información sobre la represión a organiaciones indígenas en Oaxaca.