COMPA, the Oaxacan Anti-neoliberal Popular Magonista Coordination, is an indigenous farmworkers rights group in Oaxaca, Mexico composed of over 300 communities around the state.
COMPA has been under constant attack by successive Institutional Revolutionary Party or P.R.I. governors determined to uproot an entire population. In 2004, Oaxacan Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz took office and outlawed most forms of political protest and freedom of press, detaining hundreds and murdering others.
On February 3rd, 2005, at an agenda setting meeting with the secretary of governance, everything felt fine until three COMPA leaders left the meeting and were detained by state police in the parking lot. Two of the three were released and a third remains in prison. Hours later, militarized state police entered the COMPA office in Oaxaca City and arrested another two COMPA members, one of which has been released due to international pressure.
In January of 2005, Ruiz imposed a P.R.I. municipal president, Sergio Garcia Cruz, in the COMPA community of Santiago, Xanica by using election fraud and brute force. In response, the people of Xanica refused to participate in anything organized by Cruz, including communal workdays. Independent of Cruz, the people of Xanica organized their own own communal workday. This challenge would push the P.R.I. land baron to violence. With the help of Governor Ruiz, Cruz ordered state police to surround the community members during their workday, and open fire.
Three COMPA members were shot and arrested. The rest of the community thwarted any further violence against them with sticks, bricks and stones. COMPA immediately organized a caravan to Mexico City where they met with Jose Luis Soberanes, the President of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH). Soberanes scheduled a meeting with Governor Ortiz and members from COMPA to be witnessed by three human rights observers from CNDH.
The Austin Independent Media Center and el enemigo comun have been instrumental in gathering information and raising consciousness with regards to COMPA’s many struggles over the last six years.
more information is available at Indymedia.org
COMPA (Oaxacan Anti-neoliberal Popular Magonista Coordination) was created in the summer of 2002 in response to in response to the Travesty of Teojomulco; the detention of 17 scapegoats from the community of Las Huertas Santo Domingo Teojomulco, accused of the massacre of 26 indigenous workers from the community of Santiago Xochitltepec.
The massacre of the 26 indigenous people took place on 31 May, 2002 in a place known as Agua Fria. The 26 indigenous workers were being transported in the back of a dump truck when stopped by 5 masked men with high-powered rifles in Agua Fria. The 5 paramilitaries opened fire into the bed of the truck and then ordered the driver to dump the bodies into the road. At which time, the killers opened fire once again.
Among the 17 detained Teojomulco prisoners were two grade-school children, 2 middle-school children, and a 69 year old woman. Teojomulco was a PRI community which, then governor, Jose Murat expected to fall through the cracks. However, the community was able to count on the support of a popular power organization known as the Sierra Sur Front, which then mobilized the otherwise apolitical community to a permanent sit-in at the Oaxacan state capital. At the sit-in, the FSS was approached by other organizations such as CODEP (Committee in Defense of the Rights of the People), the UCP (Union of Poor Farmworkers), AMZ (the Magonista/ Zapatista Alliance), OIDHO (the Oaxacan Indigenous Human Rights Organization), and other organizations. Put together, they decided to create COMPA.
For 3 years, right up until the last days of Murat’s governorship, COMPA demanded the release of all Teojomulco prisoners; the last 4 of whom were released on the last day of Murat’s term. COMPA effectively used escalating, direct-action strategies, over the course of the last 3 years, to gain freedom for the prisoners. Today, COMPA’s political prowess is the driving force behind the Promotora National (the National Promotional Body against Neoliberalism).
COMPA – La Coordinadora Oaxaqueña Magonista Popular Antineoliberal se conformo en el verano del 2002 como resultado de la detención de 17 chivos expiatorios de la comunidad de Las Huertas, Santo Domingo Teojomulco acusados de una masacre de 26 indígenas de la comunidad de Santiago Xochiltepec.
La masacre de los indígenas se llevo al cabo el 31 de mayo, de 2002 en el paraje de Agua Fria. Los 26 indígenas se trasladaban en un camión volteo cuando 5 hombres encapuchados con rifles de alto poder los detuvieron en el camino. Los paramilitares abrieron fuego en el volteo y luego le ordenaron al conductor que alzara la tapa y tumbara los cuerpos en el camino. En ese momento los asesinos volvieron a disparar sobre los cuerpos una vez más.
Entre los 17 detenidos de teojomulco dos eran niños del primario, dos de las secundaria, y una anciana de 69 anos. Teojomulco era un comunidad PRIsta cual el gobernador José Murat esperaba que cayeran en el olvido. Pero, La comunidad pudo contar en el apoyo de una organización de poder popular conocida como el Frente de la Sierra Sur que movilizó a la recientemente política comunidad aun planto permanente en el palacio del gobernador de Oaxaca. En el plantón, se le acerco al FSS por varias organizaciones como el CODEP, la Unión de Campesinos Pobres, la Alianza Magonista Zapatista, la Organización Indígena de Derechos Humanos de Oaxaca, y otras mas cuales decidieron conformar la COMPA.
Para tres anos, hasta las ultimas días del gobernador Murat la COMPA demando la libertad de todos los presos de Teojomulco, los últimos 4 cuales fueron libertados, el ultimo día del reino de Murat. COMPA efectivamente utilizó estrategias de acción directa escaladas, durante el curso del último 3 anos para lograr la libertad de los presos. El día de hoy, el poder político popular de la COMPA has ido la fuerza detrás de la promotora.
Fotos of Oaxacan Zocalo around 5pm on February 9th, 2005
Fotos from COMPA of protestors being surrounded.