Communiqué of the Community Council of the Municipio Autónomo de San Juan Copala – January 29

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
To the national and international Other Campaign
To the workers of the field and the city

The Caravan to San Juan Copala is advancing, but the Oaxaca state government has definitely abandoned its responsibility to guarantee life and safety to the displaced women returning to their town.

Today Sunday January 29, 2012, the Caravan composed of displaced and solidarity organizations woke up in the town of Yosoyuxi, and from there, we started marching to San Juan Copala once again.

Once more, a police squadron of more than 200 riot police blocked our way three miles outside Yosoyuxi on the way to San Juan Copala. At that point, third and fourth rate government functionaries from the Oaxaca State government showed up, most of whom had never participated in any of the talks. The Secretary of Indigenous Affairs Adelfo Regino was among them. The officials said they would not let the displaced people proceed until they accepted the government proposal for 10 representatives to participate in a “community assembly” scheduled for Sunday in San Juan Copala.

The MASJC said that despite governmental arbitrariness, they were anxious to make some advances in the talks and would therefore agree to send a delegation to the assembly composed of 20 people on the condition that their security would be guaranteed, that only townspeople from San Juan Copala would attend the meeting, and that the government would search and control the area to avoid the presence of paramilitary forces.

After several hours, given governmental incompetence and their own desire to arrive at a solution as quickly as possible, the MASJC agreed to send a delegation of only 10 people, as the government demanded.

It was clear that the functionaries had no legitimate arguments to stop the caravan from advancing, and people were already making the police cordon look ridiculous by walking around it on the road to La Sabana. It was then that Eréndira Cruz Villegas gave the order through Heriberto Cruz Ponce to the state police to violently arrest David Venegas (Alebrije) of VOCAL, who was beaten and taken away. His whereabouts are unknown at this time.

After having staged a provocation aimed at terrorizing people in the Caravan, the authorities dismantled their illegal police blockade and withdrew. The 122 displaced women and around 20 children were left in a highly dangerous situation just outside La Sabana, the place where paramilitary forces killed Jyri Jaakola and Bety Cariño.

We repeat that we are open to dialogue in order to find a peaceful solution that will allow an honorable return of the families who have been displaced ever since September of 2010 by paramilitary groups that finally took control of San Juan Copala through bloodshed. We state our opposition to the violence used to capture David Venegas and demand his immediate and unconditional release. We hold the Gabino Cue government and the federal government responsible for our security and for that of our comrade David.

We call on all of you to immediately reinforce the Caravan for the return of the displaced people. Next Wednesday, February 1 at 8 pm a bus will leave the Zócalo camp in Mexico City for Oaxaca. Given the incompetence of the Gabino Cue government in assuring safety for the Caravan and his complicity with the paramilitary killers, the civil society will take responsibility for providing security.

Tomorrow we will resume our journey to San Juan Copala.

Community Council of the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala

January 29, 2012