18 of December, 2006 – APPO writes: At approximately 7:30 pm the van carrying comrades Florentin López Martínez, Otalo Macario Padilla and Pedro García García was intercepted on Guerrero Street.
The three left a meeting of the State Council of the Peoples of Oaxaca that was being carried on at the building of Section XXII of the National Union of Education Workers which is located on Armenta and López, a street of the former Government Palace [an ornate building], an area surrounded by state and federal police. Florentino López is the current spokesman of the APPO, Otalo Macario is the representative of the Ocotlán sector of Section XXII of the SNTE, and Pedro García is a student leader in the UABJO [the Benito Juárez Autonomous University of Oaxaca].
The van in which they were traveling was followed by paramilitary groups that caught up with them in Guerrero Street near Cinco Señores Square. Two vans blocked them there and individuals in civilian clothes with heavy-duty firearms pointed guns at them while they got down from the automobile, knocking them to the ground. “Alejandro Barrita was handling this operation” said Macario Otalo, whose face was bloodied, at a press conference.
“We understand that this is due to the fact that we are continuing the struggle without pause and demanding immediate response to all the demands that were made in the letter of petition, in which the principal point is the exit [from the governorship] of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.”
Thousands of ears and thousands of eyes
“Thanks to the people, with whom as always we have confided, who have thousands of ears and thousands of eyes, that today we are free” said Florentino López, with his torn shirt and his body full of blows.
“The only thing I noticed were various firearms, some small and others large, aiming at us while they surrounded us. I felt the boots on my head, they threatened us and put the three of us up in a van while some of them climbed up in the van that we had been traveling in.
“They talked among themselves that the people would pay, that they could see a motorcycle following. Then one of them gave the order: remove it, get rid of it. We feared for the life of that unknown person who followed us.” The spokesman López Martínez talked in front of the Rectory.
Immediately on being kidnapped with a great deal of violence, the three members of the State Council of the Peoples of Oaxaca were taken to a clandestine dungeon through a long stairway of terraceria where they were separated in different cells and were tortured. “They pressed a gun against me.”
“Don’t you do anything, stupid, Lopez Nelio is your dumb brother.” They questioned Florentino in one of the state government’s efforts to tie the APPO with that political party, given that López Nelio is a local deputy of the PED:
We are the death squadron
“Do you know who we are? God willing when you’re farthest on (close to dying?) you (will) agree with us, we are the death squadron, we who carry an insignia of the interlaced red-colored cross.
After a first session of blows and kicks, they arranged Florentino López’s hair and clothes to take photographs of him. Then they also photographed him undressed. “First they take the photos and then the rest” said a head of the torturers. After the photographs they continued dealing kicks to his stomach, to his head. They pressed a gun to his temple while questioning him. “What were you doing? What are you committed to?” Questions and more kicks. They insistently questioned “What are the agreements?” in the midst of a rain of blows, referring to the agreements taken in that session of the Council that day. Kicks and blows that didn’t allow him to breathe, while threatening to pull the trigger to obtain the information. But Florentino refused to give any information.
The threats were constant, the psychological torture was about the idea of throwing them into the ocean from an airplane.
After the torture in this clandestine cell they put them in a van, amidst threats. On getting them out, behind the Plaza Soriana, they shoved them against the van, putting the pistol to their heads and threatening to fire. There they abandoned them. On seeing that the hired assassins had gone they approached a group of youths who were about 50 meters away.
“We told them who we were. We asked them what they were waiting for, and whether they knew that if the next day we didn’t show up they (the shooters) would denounce them (the youths) as they (the shooters) could, since they (the kids) had seen us here. We asked them to leave the place, in case they (the shooters) tried to return or carry out some assassination because surely they were watching us.” Narrated by the spokesman of the APPO to the communications media.
With one of the cell phones that was returned they managed to communicate with the comrades and to leave the place. The paramilitary group robbed a report and a laptop that contained agreements of the APPO and the Popular Revolutionary Front, organization (I think this refers to the FPR, not sure) to which the three who were kidnapped belong.
Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca.