Three letters from political prisoners David Venegas and Efrén Hernández from Ixcotel Prison in Oaxaca

Efrén Hernández and David Venegas Translated by Scott Campbell

Letter on March 30, 2013

Thursday, March 28, we, Feliciano Efrén Hernández Pablo and David Venegas Reyes, were violently detained by members of the State Investigatory Agency (AEI), accused of robbing a taxi driver who minutes earlier had given a ride to David Venegas Reyes and two compañeras, and who tried to rob them but they didn’t allow it. After getting out of the taxi, they arrived at the house of Feliciano Efrén Hernández Pablo, and when we left for the store the agents detained us, and without any explanation, violently put us in police vehicles in spite of the fact that several neighbors tried to stop them because there was no reason for our detention. To avoid more violence, we decided to let them take us. Yet in spite of that, David Venegas Reyes was beaten in the face, back and chest by an agent during the drive to the State Attorney General’s Office (PGJE), in La Experimental, Oaxaca, and later was again beaten in the face and stomach by another agent in the PGJE building.

From there we were taken to the PGJE cells in Ciudad Judicial in Reyes Mantecon, Oaxaca, and it is from this location on March 29 we learned we are accused of the crime of violent robbery for which we have no right to bail. The PGJE accepted the accusation and brazenly lied about the fact that the police violently detained us. They released a statement saying the police were present during the robbery and attack on the taxi driver and had caught us “red-handed,” which is absolutely false. It would take a long time to describe here the series of lies the government of Oaxaca has uttered in order to detain us and deny us bail. But everything became clear on Friday afternoon upon entering the Central State Penitentiary and we learned that they issued a second arrest warrant for David Venegas Reyes for injuries caused to Griselda Gomez Lorenzana and other PRI leaders during a December 2 march against the imposition of Enrique Peña Nieto to the Mexican presidency, and where these women physically attacked David and to which he responded to the aggression. This case remains pending before the court and David was ordered released by the court and as such cannot be detained for this incident.

The behavior of the PGJE and the government of Gabino Cué show that the clear intention behind the fabrication of this robbery is to criminalize us for robbery and thereby be able to issue another arrest warrant against David Venegas Reyes in order to please the PRI and Enrique Peña Nieto. The government of Gabino Cué has acted as a cudgel to defend the PRI since the APPO movement in 2006 and up until now in the struggle against the imposition of Peña Nieto. We will continue the struggle against the PRI and its neoliberal, privatizing policies. Gabino Cué forgets that he and the whole corrupt clique that surrounds him came into power not because of who they are but because of the complete rejection of the PRI, that we the people of Oaxaca have opposed and which since 2006 murdered 26 compañeros and compañeras of Section 22 and of the peoples of Oaxaca during the government of the murderer Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.

Gabino Cué betrays the trust of those who at one time believed in him, but no, not us, as we never believed in the farce of the so-called “bourgeoisie” in Oaxaca, and we always understood that a change of masters and of political parties in power means nothing for those yearning for justice, freedom, dignity and peace that we the peoples of Oaxaca and Mexico have fought for over the past 500 years. The sellout Gabino Cué continues on the path of all those oppressors of the people, signaling a dark future for Oaxaca. We make a fraternal and urgent call to all those persons, organizations and peoples who share our desire for justice to actively join us in solidarity in order to obtain our physical freedom. The powerful are very sure that the movement is weakening and is incapable of rebelling in the face of the abuse of power.

Second letter from Feliciano Efrén Hernández Pablo and David Venegas Reyes

March 31, 2013

Today, March 31, 2013, being held in the Santa María Ixcotel Penitentiary in Oaxaca, we want to denounce that instead of being sent to the preventive holding section as is the norm, we were placed in a section for prisoners who have already been sentenced. We are the only two who have recently been placed in this area. Yesterday (March 30), at approximately 10am, the section we were in had a “routine” inspection that consisted of humiliating treatment for all the prisoners, including those who have sentences, and we were stripped totally naked and forced to do squats in front of the prison guards in order to show that we weren’t hiding drugs in our anuses. Why would there be drugs inside of a prison? After this inspection and while we were giving statements to the Public Ministry, a book and toilet paper were taken from the cell we are being held in.

Where we are, we are only allowed to leave to go to the bathroom and bathe twice a day for a very short time, which does not meet our needs.

We are not asking for special treatment or privileges of any kind. We are political prisoners of the government of Gabino Cué and we demand they do not humiliate us or violate – more than they already have – our human rights. We are willing to face trial for what the government and its PRI figureheads accuse us of. We are sure that if this trial is based in truth and justice we would not be here; however the government of Oaxaca abuses the power which the people of Oaxaca have confided in it and which Gabino Cué has betrayed. Not just because of our unjust imprisonment but because of the enormous series of injustices and attacks that the “new government of the sellouts” has committed against communities, organizations and people who struggle.

We call specifically on human rights organizations in Oaxaca, the country and the world to be alert to and to check if they attack our human rights inside of this central penitentiary of Santa María Ixcotel, Oaxaca.

Fraternally and combatively,
Feliciano Efrén Hernández Pablo
David Venegas Reyes “Alebríje”

“Do all the good that you can, by all the means that you can, in all the ways that you can, in all the places that you can, at any hour that you can, with all the time that you can.”
- Graffiti on the walls of our cell.

Statement from David Venegas Reyes

April 2, 2013

In my defense:

I have not been to many countries, the farthest I’ve reached is Guatemala, but I am convinced that the Oaxacan media is the worst in the world.

Pragmatic mercenaries who without ideological distinction sell themselves to the highest bidder. Their objectivity is a joke and their subjectivity is money. Among them, the worst are the ones who are the most consistent, the minority who loyally follow their respective masters and political parties. Be they in power or not, they are their loyal lackeys. The “best” are the majority, and they change their opinion just as money changes hands.

Fortunately, and as always, there are exceptions; serious journalists dedicated to the truth. But they are the exception that proves the rule. They are like new thread used to mend a rotten rag – a regrettable waste.

In recent days, since my incarceration in the Central Penitentiary of Santa María Ixcotel, some media outlets have said that I am a career criminal and recall that I was jailed in 2007 under the murderous government of Ulises Ruiz, accused of possession of cocaine and heroin; as well as having set fire to eight buildings in the historic center of the city of Oaxaca on November 25, 2006, the day of repression by the Federal Preventive Police (PFP) against the peoples of Oaxaca. Other media outlets say that I am a disgraced ally of Gabino Cué. But what no media outlet says is that since my detention and incarceration on April 13, 2007 and up to this moment, I have been detained seven times by two governments. Twice during the government of the murderer Ulises Ruiz and five times during the current government of the hypocrite Gabino Cué; as well as surviving the PRI-UBISORT paramilitary attack against the humanitarian caravan to San Juan Copala on April 27, 2010, ordered by Ulises Ruiz, where Bety Cariño and Jyri Antero Jaakkola were murdered. Much less do these media outlets mention that in all these cases I have been freed after proving my innocence of the various crimes they made up and that this shows the deceitfulness of the governments who accused me.

I have never taken legal action against those who have accused me, nor have I cared about what the governments, political parties and media think about me. Unlike all of them, who live to sell to the people of Oaxaca – of course, even if they believe it – a false image, created by themselves, of themselves as democrats; I live from my job as a waiter, handing plates of food to workers on their way to their jobs. However, when one of these lies manages to makes its way through the walls of this prison, I can’t but help to respond with a little bit of truth, in the hope that it can make its way back from this little prison to the great vision out there.

Each version, different from one another, does nothing but reveal the source of the poison. The PRI press, which says and shouts loudly that I am a disgraced ally of the government of Gabino Cué, as well as the Gabinista press which says that I am a career criminal to whom the law is finally being applied, and finally I am where I belong. Each of them are somewhat right, which I will explain: The day I was detained with my compañero Feliciano Efrén Hernández “El Gallo,” we shared a cell in the PGJE – and now in prison in Ixcotel – with a man detained for robbing some pills and moisturizer from an Aurrera store while the Oaxacan media was bought and bribed with a trip to Mexico City, paid for with money from the peoples of Oaxaca, by the government of the sellout Gabino Cué and his countrymen from the Spanish company Moreña Renovables. All so that they could see with their own eyes the wonder that are the wind parks in Oaxaca, “wonders” that seek to impose themselves with blood and fire against the will of the Binizaa and Ikjootg peoples who resist being displaced from their lands and who fight to defend their ancestral way of life in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec against these foreign wind power companies.

The Oaxacan media are modern-day Malinches, dazzled by the mirrors of the Spanish companies, who like the monarchies of 500 years ago grunt like pigs searching for gold in our lands.

They are right, today everyone is where they should be and with whom they should be. They – the Oaxacan media – rely on and eat from the hand of the government of Gabino Cué and from the foreign companies who loot Mexico, while I, like the mess food in prison, in the company of criminals of poverty, ignorance, hunger and lumpenization, yes, everyone is where they should be and with whom they should be.

But just as today they share the riches with the looters and the corrupt, they will also share the fate that the people of Mexico hold for them in a not too distant future.

A fraternal greeting to the free, alternative and dignified media, and to those few serious and honest journalists in the mainstream media. But primarily to all those free men and women who think for themselves, and with the light of their own intelligence illuminate the darkness which the mass media wishes to submerge us in.

We remain here, resisting and certain that in the end, as always, the truth will triumph and will set us free.

From the Central Penitentiary of Santa María Ixcotel,
Oaxaca de Magón, April 2, 2013.

David Venegas “Alebríje”

This post is also available in: Spanish

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