This Week in Oaxaca: The Continuing Lies and Their Truths

What the government and the mass media say about the struggle in Oaxaca and what people know to be true.

By Magdalena Dubois, Centro de Medios Libres, CML
Translated and edited by Calamity Barucha, CML
Centro de Medios Libres, CML, Mexico City

November 2, 2006First lie. In an interview with the EFE news agency, President Fox declared that the conflict in Oaxaca is a serious problem but that it doesn’t suggest instability of the country of Mexico because it is a problem with a local character. This is not true. The mobilizations that have occurred in the last few days in Mexico and the rest of the world demonstrate that now it is not only a problem of the state of Oaxaca.

Yesterday there were spontaneous highway blockades in the following states: Yucatan, Queretaro, Veracruz, Chihuahua, Chiapas, State of Mexico …

Second lie. In the same interview, Fox defended the actions of the “forces of order”, and ensured that “It was not a armed intervention, also it was announced, because there has to be order and law within the reclaiming of the city.”

It is not true. The police forces that occupy the city of Oaxaca launch projectiles of tear gas directed at the bodies of the protesters (Jorje Alberto Lopez died because of the impact of of a tear gas canister that was aimed at his chest). They also have heavy weaponry (such as AK-47, R15 and small arms) and nightsticks.

Third lie. At 9:30 today, November 2nd, the commanding general of the Preventive Federal Police (PFP), Ardelio Vargas, highlighted that the intention of the police operative was not to enter the University of Oaxaca and that in the case of an arrest or detention, the person would be immediately let go. Not true. Reports from the University Radio speak of the PFP entering the university since 8 in the morning.

At 8:08 there was a report that the PFP were shooting in the air, towards the radio (the shots could be heard over the radio). Moreover, at least twenty people have been detained in the morning, and they have not been let go. At 1 in the afternoon, when various commercial media were speaking of the entrance of the PFP into the university, Ardelio Vargas insisted the contrary. They also spoke of the entrance of six tanks shooting water with identifying ink that cannot be washed off, and two helicopters flew low overhead, one of them launching tear gas.

Fourth lie. The media speaks of the retreat of the tanks, which implies the retreat of the PFP. Its not true. The tanks are not retreating, they only move back to refill water deposits in order to continue repressing people who are defending the radio (though one tank was reported to have been burned).

Fifth lie. The APPO movement is associated with guerrillas (the EPR, the Popular Revolutionary Army). This is not true. The EPR is an armed resistance and the oaxacan people have been civil and peaceful.

Sixth lie. Fox denied that the police forces were responsible for the deaths of the resisters in Oaxaca. He affirmed that there were some human rights violations, and that the government would act immediately to resolve these violations. But this is not true. The two suspected responsible parties in the death of Indymedia videographer Bradley Will, Abel Santiago Zarate (local politician of a Oaxacan community and member of the PRI party) and Orlando Miguel Aguilar Coello (lead bodyguard for PRI party political members), were detained and presented before the judicial authorities. They were identified in photos of the shooting. However, the government and the Attorney General of Oaxaca have denied that these men were involved in the shooting against the APPO in which Brad Will died, even though there are testimonies from the neighbors declaring the contrary.

The Attorney General acquitted beforehand the suspects, with the argument that the neighbors that were witness “presume the innocence of the citizens in virtue that they were repelling the aggression of violent people.”

We must put the information siege to an end!