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Repression

CODEP Communiqué: “For Our Dead, Prisoners and Disappeared, Not One Step Back!”

December 9th, 2006 – translation by Colin McKenzie of the latest CODEP note, and accompanying article (from today’s La Jornada), follows.

The following newspaper article gives an account of the criminalization of the protest in Oaxaca by means of falsification of the crimes of the members of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) and the particular persecution of members of social organization.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES IN OUR STATE!

LEAVE, ULISES RUIZ AND THE FEDERAL OCCUPYING FORCES!

DISMANTLE THE PARAMILITARY GROUPS!

IMMEDIATE AND UNCONDITIONAL FREEDOM FOR THE POLITICAL PRISONERS!

PRESENT, ALIVE, THE DISAPPEARED!

PUNISHMENT OF THE ASSASSINS OF THE COMPAÑEROS DURING THE STRUGGLE!

FOR OUR DEAD, PRISONERS, AND DISAPPEARED, NOT ONE STEP BACK!

For the Defense of the Rights of the People, Constructing the Popular Power!
All the power to the people!

COMMITTEE FOR THE DEFENSE OF THE RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE

POPULAR ASSEMBLY OF THE PEOPLES OF OAXACA

Pending, arrest warrants against 35 members of the APPO

ISRAEL DAVILA, CORRESPONDENT

Almoloya de Juárez, Mex., December 7th. There exist arrest warrants against another 35 members of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) […] The above mentioned was made known during audiences in which judges of the state of México tried to gather testimony from Flavio Sosa Villavicencio, member of the state council of the APPO, related to the five lawsuits which are disputed in the federal penitentiary of Almoloya de Juárez, known known as Altiplano.

As in the case of lawsuit number 71/06 in the mixed trial [i.e., lower] court of Ocotlán de Morelos, Oaxaca, where Flavio Sosa and his brother Horacio are accused of kidnapping, causing injury and violent robbery against municipal functionaries for the events of August 15th, the judge Manuel Agustín Esquivel Valois also has pending the carrying out of arrest warrants against [Enrique] Rueda Pacheco.

In this lawsuit, also, there are pending arrest warrants for Daniel Rosas Romero, Rosendo Ramírez, Rogelio Pensamiento Mesinas, César Mateos, Jorge Sosa, Daniel Sosa, Marcelino Mateos, Gustavo Sosa Villavicencio, brother of Flavio and Erick Sosa Villavicencio, who has already been sent to the prison of Nayarit.

In lawsuit number 70/06, […] warrants against María del Carmen López Vásquez, Ulises Hernández López, Rogelio Pensamiento Mesinas, Alberto Martínez Vásquez, Samuel Hernández Morales, Jacqueline López Almazán and Mario Cruz López are pending.

Teachers’ [union] leadership arrested

In lawsuit number 102/06, for crimes of destruction of property and destruction—with criminal intent—by arson, against the government of Oaxaca, of the Guelaguetza auditorium on July 17th, under the direction of the judge of the the mixed trial court of Tlacolula de Matamoros, María de los Angeles Vásquez García, there are arrest warrants pending to be carried out against Ulises Hernández López, Rosendo Ramírez Sánchez, Alejandro Cruz López, Samuel Hernández Morales, Alberto Martínez Vásquez, Armando Toledo Aquino, Aurelio Gómez Pedro, Rogelio Pensamiento Mesinas, José Antonio Hernández Santos and Daniel Rosas Romero. Only Catarino Torres Pereda, member of section 22 of the National Educational Workers Union (SNTE, by its Spanish acronym) is currently detained, in the Altiplano prison.

With respect to lawsuit 58/06, under the direction of judge Esquivel Valois, for the crime of robbery committed specifically against the municipality of Miahuatlán, for the events of August 5th 2006 relating to the robbery of a pipe and a backhoe, whose cost is calculated to be 370 thousand pesos [~$37,000 USD], arrest warrants are pending against Tomás Martínez Pinacho, Venancio Ojeda Figueroa, Leopoldo Valencia Santiago, Raúl Zárate, Luis Hernández López, Rogelio Pensamiento Mesinas, Samuel Hernández, Miguel Angel Shultz Dávila and Rosendo Ramírez Sánchez.

Lastly, in penal lawsuit number 136 of 2006 in the first penal-trial court of Etla, Oaxaca judicial district, for the crime of aggravated plundering against the Oaxaca Radio and Television Corporation, Channel/Canal 9, on August 1st, arrest warrants against Jacqueline López Almazán, Margarita García García, Esmeralda Martínez Martínez, Hortensia Luis López, Maribel Martínez, Rogelio Pensamiento Mesinas, Ulises Hernández López, Omar Olivera Espinoza, Maria del Carmen López Vázquez, Carmen Sosa, Sandra Cancino Armenta and Aline Castellanos Jurado are pending to be carried out.

This post is also available in: Spanish

By El Enemigo Común

A bilingual website in solidarity with social movements in Mexico. // Un sitio web bilingüe en solidaridad con los movimientos sociales en México.

1 reply on “CODEP Communiqué: “For Our Dead, Prisoners and Disappeared, Not One Step Back!””

Letter from a Political Prisoner in Mexico

Friends, I’m sending the English translation of this letter from Antonio Cerezo Contreras, one of the Cerezo brothers arrested, tortured and imprisoned August 13, 2001, in Mexico City, charged with putting some homemade firecracker based explosives in several banks. Even though it came out in the “trial” (essentially a hearing before a judge) that there was absolutely no evidence that they had done it, they were sentenced to 7 years. The only “evidence” was literature that they had from different groups including the zapatistas, public organizations, and published communiques from some guerilla orgs. In reality, they’re being held hostage with the aim of smoking out their parents, who are members of the ERP (Revolutionary Peoples Army), one of Mexico’s “other” guerrilla groups. (This is the case with a number of Mexico’s political prisoners.) Antonio, Hector, and Alejandro Contreras, along with the indigenous man Pablo Alvarado, were sentenced to seven years. Alejandro and Pablo had their sentences reduced, and Hector and Antonio are still in maximum security prisons, punished for the least infraction of rules (such as receiving a letter not written by hand or a letter containing a flyer) with the loss of “privileges”. They’re now in isolation and aren’t even permitted to have books, magazines, or art supplies. They’ve managed to get some of the things they’ve written out.

Their brother Paco and sister Emiliana and friends formed the Comité Cerezo, which has now constituted itself as a human rights organization and works for the freedom of their brothers and all the other political prisoners here. They’ve documented the cases of over 500 political prisoners in the country and give human rights workshops to other movement groups. All the committee members have had death threats and are constantly followed and harrassed.
The reference to suicide in the first part of Antonio’s letter is due to the fact that Hector has been placed on “special observation,” something like “suicide watch” for over a month and guards have asked Antonio things like “Why do you want to commit suicide?” So they think they’re being set up to be knocked off inside. Carolina

*LETTER TO THE WORLD from CEFERESO # 1 by Antonio Cerezo Contreras*

_When the impossibility of replacing a person is accepted, this opens the way for man to fully assume responsibility for his existence. A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears towards a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the _why_ of his existence and will be able to withstand almost any _how_._

Víktor E. Frankl,/ Man_s Search for Meaning, /p/. 117/

In these lines, Víktor E. Frankl reflects on his own life and on life in a Nazi concentration camp where people suffered truly inhuman treatment. Nevertheless, there, where life was _the object of extermination,_ he clung to his existence and struggled to survive day by day.

Héctor and I don_t live in a Nazi concentration camp. Although things happen here that closely resemble one, this reality is a long way from that. The adversity of our own circumstances, however, has led us to take responsibility for struggling for our freedom.

We know that we have an enormous commitment to all the people and organizations that have shown solidarity with us throughout these long years of reclusion. Our commitment becomes concrete in our daily task of surviving and creating. We know that the people who love us are anxiously waiting for us, and we are also anxiously awaiting that encounter, a new encounter with freedom.

Moreover, we await the possibility of finishing our studies and developing a rich professional life, without forgetting that there will still be prisoners to struggle for and new injustices that we must try to overcome.

We have people that we care for, goals to fulfill, an inevitable and irrevocable commitment to life and to our people, and above all, to those who are conscious and who struggle for better conditions of life.

People who know us are aware that resisting and struggling is, and has been, a duty that has guided us during our time in jail. They know that we_ll never renounce this duty because that would be to renounce our condition of being free men, even though they_re holding us prisoner; it would be to renounce our own dignity, to renounce our principles and values.

Given the current context of social struggle, which we couldn_t extract ourselves from even if we wanted to, and the response of the State to this struggle, it_s necessary to reaffirm that neither Héctor or I, for any reason whatsoever or in any circumstance whatsoever, would ever make an attempt on our own physical or emotional integrity. Our well-being is in the hands of those who have held us prisoner for more than five years. Although some may try to make people believe that murder is suicide, as they did in the case of Digna Ochoa, this is NEVER true. Once again, we reaffirm our commitment to life itself and to our struggle for a better world.

How complex current reality is! And how sad it is in so many ways! One has to ask if it_s moral, legal, and just to break the law in order to enforce it. Because that_s what_s happened in relation to the social conflict going on in Oaxaca. The law has been broken by the government itself to demand that the social movement obeys it, in the event that it hasn_t done so at one time or another.

Breaking the law, twisting it, or failing to comply with it with the aim of forcing someone else to obey, is neither moral, legal, or just; thus, any of these actions is reprehensible and totally unjustifiable.

The social conflict in Oaxaca, however, cannot be reduced to who are the _good guys_ and who are the _bad,_ nor to who broke the law first or who has the material power to impose itself on others in its name.

If, as many analysts say, the problem of Oaxaca has deep roots in social and economic inequality, it is essential to go to the root of the problem in order to resolve the inequitable social and economic system that is now dominant in the state.

Repression doesn_t solve problems. It puts them off. It covers them up. It ends up exposing them, but nothing more.

When Porfirio Díaz ordered the massive deportation of the de Yaquis and Mayos to Yucatán or to the Valle Nacional, it didn_t resolve land problems. It just eliminated the evidence of the problems temporarily, because in the end, both the Yaquis and the Mayos joined the revolutionary forces in search of an effective solution to their problems.

Will the massive imprisonment of Oaxacan people and other participants in the social movement resolve Oaxaca_s social problems? Will federal prisons be the solution to discontent born in poverty, exploitation, and lack of development opportunities in all aspects?

The social movement in Oaxaca can be crushed and dismantled by repression, as was the case with the railroad workers_ movement in the 1950s and the popular student movement of 1968, but it_s important to remember that repression in and of itself never resolved the economic, political, and social problems of those years, but instead was largely responsible for the efforts of many people to transform social reality by other means.

Porfirio Díaz governed the country with an _iron hand. _Strike while the iron is hot_ was an effective solution for doing away with dissidence. The cemeteries of the prisons at San Juan de Ulua and the Valle Nacional of Yucatán were the destination of hundreds of people who opposed the dictatorship. The repressive method used by Díaz allowed him to convert his slogan, _Law, Order, and Progress_ into reality, at least in part. Industry and foreign investment increased dramatically in our country and Mexico was _modernized_ at the cost of the lives of its own people.

The army, rural guard, local despots, bourgeoisie, and omnipotent government rulers used force, money, and political power, but all this _Order,_ all this _Law and Progress_ created the material and ideological conditions for the revolutionary outbreak.

It_s true that repression guarantees the _Order_ desired by those who impose it in the short run, but not in the long run. On the contrary, repression creates instability in the sense that it generates potential inconformity.

If the situation of Oaxaca or Atenco is repeated in another state or in other towns, there won_t be enough prisons to resolve these conflicts. Repression can impose _Order_ in Oaxaca; it can use imprisonment, torture, murder, and even forced disappearances as a daily method of control. But for how long? How long will it be until the social explosion becomes more violent?

Moreover, achieving _Order_ and _Progress_ through repression is neither moral, legal, nor just. Justifications will be forthcoming. Books and articles will be written in this vein. But reality is more stubborn than the arguments used to cover it up, those that television programs use to try to create a fictitious reality, modifying it according to the interests of the State.

For the class in power, the social, economic, and political problems it now faces have nothing to do with morality, legality, or justice. They only have to do with their economic interests and ways of satisfying them. In any case, for them, appealing to what is moral, just, and legal is just a way to stay in power and keep raking in money and building up capital

Our social reality is of tremendous concern. We_d be wrong to close our eyes and refuse to commit ourselves to trying to transform it for the benefit of the entire society and not just a few. What does the future hold for us as a society? It_s up to all of us to determine. Meanwhile, we, who are prisoners of conscience and prisoners held for political motives are worried about the way in which our numbers are increasing and the possibility that prison conditions will worsen as punishment for struggling for a better world.

Our solidarity and our hearts go out to the new prisoners who are beginning a new and very difficult stage, both personally and in the social struggle, but also to all the other victims of repression and to their compañeros.

Democracy cannot be constructed at the expense of the lives of dozens of people, in total contempt of their freedom, in total contempt of their physical and psychological integrity. It_s not moral. It_s not legal. It_s not just.

*¡Freedom for all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience!*

*Five years and one month since the murder of Digna Ochoa*

*Five years and three months of illegal, unjust imprisonment*

*¡Prisoners today, forever free!*

Prisoner of conscience Antonio Cerezo Contreras

CEFERESO #1 November 20, 2006

¡FREEDOM FOR POLITICAL PRISONERS AND PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE!
nodo50.org/comitecerezo
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