Oaxacan Activist Released: The Campaign Continues

On February 3rd three leaders of the Oaxacan Antineoliberal Popular Magonista Coordination (COMPA) were arrested in Oaxaca City immediately after meeting with the states Secretary of Governance, Joaquin Rodriguez Palacios. Jaquelina Lopez Almazan & Samuel Hernandez Morales were arrested in their office shortly after Alejandro Cruz Lopez had been arrested in the Parking lot of the Los Olivos Hotel after his meeting with Palacios. The three were actively engaged in a campaign against the detention of three other COMPA members: Abraham Ramirez Vasquez, Juventino Garcia Cruz, and Noel Garcia Cruz, who were arrested shortly after an attempted state sponsored massacre in Santiago Xanica, Oaxaca, which had been thwarted by residents of that community.

International attention through many mediums including the Indymedia network has aided in the release of Jacquelina Lopez Almazan, leader of the Oaxacan Popular Magonist Antineoliberal Coordination (COMPA). Rather than celebrating, COMPA is intensifying their campaign to release the remaining political prisoners and hold the president of the Mexican National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) accountable for human rights violations.

The Austin Indymedia Center has been working with COMPA and its affiliates for four years. Austin IMC has exposed intitutionalized paramilitarism, and state sponsored abuses in Oaxaca on multiple occasions. Most recently ATXIMC initiated a campaign to demand the release of these political prisoners.

Background at global imc | Alianza Magonista/Zapatista
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On February 3rd the leaders of COMPA were preparing for a dialogue with the governor that had been facilitated by the CNDH, in response to an attempted massacre in Santiago Xanica, Oaxaca. Instead of negotiations they were arrested and taken to prison on trumped up charges.

Recently, around 70 members of COMPA began a permanent sit-in at the entrance to the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) of Mexico to protest the commission’s complicity in the Oaxacan governor’s violations of constitutional guarantees. Castulo Lopez, a COMPA representative, stated that the sit-in will continue until their demands are answered. The right to free expression, organization, travel, and indigenous law mean nothing in Oaxaca and are not respected, asserted COMPA members. As of 5:00pm Thursday, March 3rd, the activists had not heard a response from the CNDH president Jose Luis Soberanes.

Among COMPA’s demands:

  • The resignation of Jose Luis Soberanes as president of the CNDH.
  • The reestablishment of constitutional guarantees.
  • Respect to all Oaxacan citizens.
  • Liberty for all Oaxacan political prisoners and COMPA members.
  • An end to violations of social activist’s civil rights, who live in fear for their lives.

Mexico is party to several international treaties that prohibit human rights violations, including torture, arbitrary detention, extrajudicial execution, and forced disappearance. The Mexican government’s obligation under these treaties is not only to prevent violations, but also to investigate and prosecute any violations that do occur.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has found that, “when the State permits investigations to be conducted by the entities with possible involvement, independence and impartiality are clearly compromised.” The result is “de facto impunity,” which “has a corrosive effect on the rule of law and violates the principles of the American Convention.”

This is the most recent campaign letter, endorsed by Noam Chomsky. Please read, send, and distribute.

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, have been notified of clear civil and human rights violations in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico.

It has been brought to our attention:

• That on the 15th of January, 2005, uniformed State Ministerial Police officers attacked the community of Santiago Xanica, Oaxaca during a communal work day (tequio), injured and then incarcerated three members of CODEDI-COMPA: Abraham Ramirez Vasquez, Juventino Garcia Cruz and Noel Garcia Cruz;

• That these individuals did not receive immediate medical attention for their injuries, nor have they been granted bail or been allowed to communicate with the outside world;

• That on February 3rd, 2005, in response to denunciations made by COMPA concerning the attack and detentions in Xanica, an additional three COMPA members were arrested: Alejandro Cruz López, Samuel Hernández Morales and Jaquelína López Almazán;

• That the arrest of Alejandro Cruz Lopez took place after a meeting with the Sub-Secretary of Governance Joaquín Rodríguez Palacios that was arranged by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) President José Luis Soberanes Fernández; and that three observers from the CNDH, Jesús Bustos Ángeles, Fernando Mendoza Elvira and Víctor Audirac Ochoa, were present during this arrest; and

• That these arrests are a politically motivated retaliation to the detainees’ involvement in social movements in Oaxaca, particularly the current sit-in at the Zocalo in Mexico City, protesting the January 15, 2005 attempted massacre in Santiago Xanica, Oaxaca.

We strongly urge the Mexican Federal and Oaxacan State authorities to:

• Carefully address the charges against JAQUELINA LÓPEZ ALMAZÁN, SAMUEL HERNÁNDEZ MORALES, ALEJANDRO CRUZ, ABRAHAM RAMÍREZ VÁSQUEZ, JUVENTINO GARCÍA CRUZ and NOEL GARCÍA CRUZ seriously, and without delay;

• Reinstate all constitutional guarantees afforded to its citizens without discrimination, including but not limited to: freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and free transit.

We have been notified of additional actions being taken by COMPA and other organizations in Mexico City and in Oaxaca City, and we will remain vigilant to ensure the preservation of their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and expression.

We will be setting appointments with local Mexican Embassies and consulates in order to initiate a direct dialogue with the Mexican Federal government about these matters.

We are gravely concerned about these matters and look forward to an immediate response to this letter.

Sincerely,

URGENT SOLIDARITY ACTION:
SEND THIS LETTER IN DROVES TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES, MAKE PHONE CALLS AND FAX

Dr. José Luis Soberanes
Pdte. de la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos President of the National Human Rights Commission
Fax: (52) 56817199, 56819239
correo (at) cndh.org.mx

Ulises Ruiz Ortiz
Gobernador del Estado de Oaxaca
Governor of the State of Oaxaca
gobernador (at) oaxaca.gob.mx

Lic. Jorge Franco Vargas
Secretario de Gobierno del Estado de Oaxaca Secretary of Governance of the State of Oaxaca
Tel. (951) 5153175, 5157490
sriagral (at) oaxaca.gob.mx

Lic. Sergio Segreste Ríos
Pdte. De la Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos de Oaxaca
President of the Oaxacan State Commission of Human Rights
Tel. 044 951 104 43 06 o envíe un mensaje al: 512 90 20 clave 956
Fax: (951) 5135185, 5135191, 5135197
correo (at) cedhoax.org

Lic. Vicente Fox Quezada
Presidente Constitucional de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos / President of Mexico
Teléfono: (55) 59992800
Fax: (55) 52772376
vicente.fox.quesada (at) presidencia.gob.mx

Lic. Santiago Creel Miranda
Secretario de Gobernación Secretary of Governance
ghuerta (at) segob.gob.mx

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