For the Dignity of the Peoples of Oaxaca, Don’t Forget June 14

October 5, 2006 – Flyer from the Walking March to Mexico City

“For the Dignity of the Peoples of Oaxaca, Don’t Forget June 14”

To National Public Opinion:
To the peoples of Mexico:

On May 22nd of this year, a period of struggle without precedent began in the State of Oaxaca, the primary objective of which was that the government of Oaxaca attend to the teacher strike demands delivered on May 1. The essential demands were for rezonification (adjustment of salaries for cost of living) and social demands such as student breakfasts, scholarships, uniforms, medical attention, shoes and school materials, for students in the most needy populations. Until June 13, there was no response from the government.

Instead of prioritizing dialogue, repression was used, first through the information media, which spent more than 5 million pesos in only one week; later the spurious Association of Parents was used, headed by the unlucky Efraín Morales, who took on the task of insulting the movement; the Chamber of Deputies, serving the governing class and forgetting who appointed them, in a servile manner backed the repression, in coordination with some municipal agents and presidents who formed a ridiculous “Coordinating group in favor of education”.

On June 14, the fascist government tried with full force and police brutality to disband the teachers, using tear and pepper gases and firearms, which the teachers heroically repelled, confirming the incompetence of the illegitimate governor to solve the historic and legitimate demands of the peoples, who have been suffering a series of abuses for more than 70 years. From that moment the direction of the struggle changed course, converting itself into a popular-teacher movement, which counted on the support of the citizens of Oaxaca, and this made possible the joining together of all the various voices into one, giving birth within a month after the police repression to the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), a space in which more than 350 organizations (unions, groups of indigenous peoples, students, campesinos, women, neighborhoods, and among them, the democratic teachers of Oaxaca, which itself is made up of more than 70,000 workers).

From that moment the struggle has become a journey of peaceful civil resistance. Through acts of resistance, communication media have been taken over, barricades have been raised, the seat of the three government bodies has been blockaded, 5 megamarches have been called, the last one bringing together about 900,000 persons, a historic event (and this in the city alone) and taking over 24 municipalities in the state. A state of constant repression is felt, brought about by those who believe they have power, which actually they lost on June 14. There have now been 5 deaths, among them a child and two adults who belonged to MULTI, and our compañeros José Jiménez Colmenares, killed during a peaceful march, and Lorenzo Sanpablo who was assisting to protect a radio transmitter used to maintain contact with our people. Added to the list of repressive actions are our five political prisoners: Evangelio Mendoz Gonzáles, Catarino Torres Pereda, Ramiro Aragón Pérez, Germán Mendoza Nube y Pedro García, jailed unjustly because they are social fighters.

Seeing no other alternative and as a political action, the Walking March “For the dignity of the Peoples of Oaxaca, June 14 will not be forgotten” began on September 21. Our blistered feet and fatigued bodies do nothing more than plant rage and rebellion, propelling us with all the force of our social movement into the Federal District. We denounce that the federal government has ignored the problem, and that to this point no response has been given to our central demand, THE IMMEDIATE REMOVAL FROM OFFICE OF ULISES RUIZ ORTIZ as governor of Oaxaca. We are marching with the objective of asking the Chamber of Senators for the removal of powers in our state, in order to initiate a normalization in the state and to establish a popular government that knows how to rule by following (the peoples’ will).

The march continues with giant steps, while a red alert is maintained in the state of Oaxaca because of the tension that rules there. The inhabitants of the city have entirely joined the movement; wherever you go, barricades have been constructed and there is a fraternal bond that unites us as we face the possibility of another brutality by the tyrant and his followers, who have used the psychosis of terror, disappearing and jailing social fighters in order to terrify compañeros who are in the different encampments. Intimidation used by the tyrant URO is a desperate attempt to hold onto power. The white guards and the death squadrons are eager to receive possible orders from the Secretary of Governmental Affairs. Opting for a violent path will generate a social explosion that, far from helping to solve the conflict, without doubt will complicate it further.

For this reason, we continue to call for national and international human rights organizations, social organizations, non-governmental organizations, and all those who have not yet turned their attention to this struggle, to join us, for this is a true struggle. In these last days, the federal government has opted to defend a governor who has not governed for a long time, and who has forgotten that it is the people of Oaxaca who have the last word. It is ludicrous that URO claims he was elected by the people, yet he contradicts this by fearing that a plebiscite be conducted, which he surely would lose by a wide margin.