Ulises Gives A Face to Corruption

October 12th, 2006 – danielsan writes: These days there is a lot of speculation and rumor, waiting for the outcome of the negotiations happening far away in the Capital City (Ciudad de México, D.F.). There are propositions, leaked deals, and infinite possibilities, and some impatience, too. But nothing is concrete yet. Each side has a central demand, but at this point it isn´t clear whether a deal can be made: APPO and the people of Oaxaca have made perfectly clear that Governor URO cannot remain in power, since he has not been in power for several months now. Any step forward depends on his resignation, voluntary or otherwise. The Government, ruled by a coalition of the PRI and the PAN parties, demands the abandonment of the central plaza (Zócalo). Obviously there are many more demands, but those two seem central and foremost to each side at the bargaining table. Seems like an equitable enough trade, but…

Photos on Santa Cruz IMC

In calling for Ulises Ruiz Ortega´s permanent and formal ouster, people have varied cause: most cite his culpability in the June 14th desalojo (eviction) of the Zócalo that resulted in several killings by the government. His patently fraudulent election is also a given, since the PRI has held power here in Oaxaca (and in several states) despite losing Federal power to the PAN when Fox was famously elected a few years back. [For decades, the PRI returned 100% election results victories in several states in México, but primarily in indigenous-majority states like Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Guererro] There are also numerous stories of corruption: some fishy mining deals, money extracted to Swiss banks, etc. He´s a scapegoat, and as a tag I saw today put it, Ùlises de cara a la corrución´ (Ulises gave a face to the corruption).

Today I read stories in El Noticias about the escalating protests at Mexican embassies in California, including the formation of APPO-LA and APPO-San Diego. These stories of solidarity amongst emigrated Oaxaqueñ@s gives heart to cross & contra border organizers everywhere. I’ve also read about further action in other cities in Oaxaca state. Continuing protests against the presence of the Méxican Navy on the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca, protests taking over government posts in Ixtepec and other Oaxacan cities, which brings me to the big news of the day (yesterday), when four people were shot during a protest at the SEPROCI office (Secretary of Citizen Protection).

A delegation of federal Senators and Congresspeople is in town, observing the city as part of the negotiations with APPO. As the past few days had been spent in expectation, in recovery, in waiting for word from DF, yesterday people decided to ramp it up and get busy again, as there was a delagation in town. Thus all the painting you´ll see below. The call was to demonstrate the INGOVERNABILITY (ingobernabilidad) of Oaxaca and the strength of public support and continued resiliance. It seems to have motivated APPO supporters.

A large group commandeered a couple of buses and rode around the city from government office to government office (most had already been closed and occupied, some had been returned to the gov´t, some had been left alone until yesterday), taking over the buildings and protesting the corrupt government, in particular the continued incarceration of several organizers arrested both at the June 14 desalojo and since (One captured student was recently released after detention and torture at the hands of the federales). But while `president elect´ Calderon presents his 2030 plan for the development of México and `lame-duck president´ Fox says that he´ll set up a fund to restore the tourism industry in Oaxaca (what a plan!), a car-load of thugs got out and opened fire on the protesters, shooting two in the leg, another had a wound to the head (looks like a ricoche?) and another unknown (to me) injury.

These small skirmishes have been the only violence in recent weeks: some of the faces of the thugs are apparently starting to look familiar. Some people who were at the CEPROCI office said that the shooter was the same as the man who shot at protesters a couple weeks ago when URO was apparently in town at a local hotel. There have been drive-byes at barricades in the evening.

But large scale violence is something everyone wants to avoid, obviously, and even as people grow impatient with the negotiations and the difficulties of living with a `government´ built on consensus and participation (APPO declared itself the governing power several weeks ago), everyone hopes for a peaceful solution, and while many look to the talks in DF with some skepticism, all have hope for a positive outcome.

source and more photos: