November 9th, 2006 – ojos en oaxaca writes: Many activists from Boston and other U.S. cities have traveled to Oaxaca in the past weeks/months to help record, report on, and work in solidarity with the people’s movement there. Below is one of many reports to come from one such Boston indy reporter who is currently in Oaxaca, but has preferred to remain anonymous.
URGENT: HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN OAXACA
November 9th, 2006
Oaxaca is living a brutal government represión of the social movement, where there are disappearances, torture, detentions, killings, and many injured. Given the situation, it is difficult to know exactly how many people have been affected, but there is no doubt that there are severe violations of human rights. According to one list, compiled by local activists, from June 14th through November 5th, there were 145 detained, 34 of who have been freed, 17 dead, and 33 seriously injured, including 5 journalists injured and one killed. Some sources speak of 65 disappeared. There are numerous people who have also received death threats.
Below is an interview with one of the members of a collective working to defend human rights and documenting cases of violations.
From the “planton” of Santo Domingo, Oaxaca:
What is the human rights situation here in Oaxaca?
Human rights basically do not exist here anymore. All human rights are out of order. You can be at any moment kidnapped by people who call themselves police. They can be mercenaries. They can put you in jail. They can make you disappear. And you don´t have any human rights.
This is ironic because Mexico, this year, is in the human rights leadership in the UN. They should watch and guard human rights, but they are the first to do away with them.
What violations of human rights have there been?
The violations can be killing them, torturing them, beating them. We have now reports of people who were in jail. They were kept for two, three days without any food, nothing to drink. They wanted to go to the toilet but they didn´t give them a toilet, just made them urinate in their pants, this kind of abuse. They are threatening their families.
And we also have numbers. We are talking about at least 45 disappeared people. We have the first report of people who saw with their own eyes how a teacher was thrown out of a flying helicopter. Also we have a report, not verified yet, of a doctor who works in a hospital, who saw twenty dead people the 2nd of November (the day of a major confrontation between government and popular forces). This was in a hospital of Oaxaca.
We are still in the process of verifying all this. There is a danger that days go by and that a lot of these crimes cannot be proved anymore. Therefore, it is very very important that everybody join us, gives us a hand to document this.
Is it known how these people were disappeared?
Some were kidnapped from their houses. The police entered in the middle of the night, at one, two in the morning, without arrest warrants, and they took our compañeros away. Others disappeared from the barricades. Others we know were walking on the street and they took them away also. Others disappeared last Sunday, when there was a march here in Oaxaca and there was great national support. People came from Mexico City, Chiapas, and there were military checkpoints. There they also disappeared various compañeros.
Do you have documented cases of people who have been killed or detained?
We know that from the 14 of June (when the government repression began) until today, November 9th, there have been 17 dead people. We have the names of all of them, their age. Two were children, one a 14-year-old child and one a 12-year-old child. Detained, from the 29th of October (when the federal police force came in) until the 5th of November, we have 87 people who were detained. But one should say they were kidnapped because there were no arrest warrants. 34 of them have been freed.
What information is there in terms of who is responsible for these killings?
We know that the responsible is the government of the state of Oaxaca, Ulises Ruiz (the “governor”), and some of his police force, dressed in civilian clothes killed some of the 17 people. Some of the 6 people who have been killed in the last few days were killed by the PFP, the federal police force, which was sent in on the 29th of October.
Besides this, we are getting everyday reports of shootings at the university campus, where Radio Universidad is. It´s almost a daily affair. People come and take out their guns and shoot at the students.
What are the efforts that are being done to protect human rights?
Here, we are working hard with volunteers and lawyers. We have a collective. First we try to locate the prisoners in the jails, and to liberate them. But the work has to go much further. We have to find the disappeared! The liberated come back and can report on the abuses, the violence, the beatings. But we are very very worried about the disappeared.
What would you ask of people listening to you from other parts of the world?
We ask for solidarity. You can create committees in solidarity and put pressure on your local politicians where you live and also demand from the Mexican embassies and consulates wherever you are that human rights be respected here and to call an end to this violence.
Aside from the detained, the disappeared, I already have seen with my own eyes, people who are obviously traumatized, and who have psychosis due to the violence they have witnessed. Yesterday, a woman came here who was crying, and the next minute she was laughing. This was the effect of the trauma that these people are suffering. Two days ago, a woman came by who was participating in a peaceful woman´s march, which passed the zocalo, where the police threw rocks and she ended up with her nose and mouth torn up and bloody.
There are many abuses. And here we cannot expect anything from the government, from the judicial branch, because they are the same people who are committing these crimes.
Anything else you would like to share?
I would like to call on all the compañeros and compañeras of the world, who hear this: international solidarity live on! The struggle of the people of Oaxaca is for a better world, and this is the same struggle that people in the United States, in Europe, wherever they are carry on.