MEXICO : INDIGENOUS AUTONOMY
State Repression and Indigenous Resistance in Oaxacabb 10 Feb 2005 00:35 GMT
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.