And For The Freedom Of All Political Prisoners
April 27th, 2007 – VOCAL writes:
Who is DAVID VENEGAS REYES?:
APPO council member: David Venegas Reyes is a young 24-year old Oaxacan student at the University of Chapingo. He is an APPO council member representing some of the largest barricades that carried on the resistance during the long months of the intense struggle of the Oaxacan people.
As a respected representative of the barricades, he was one of the most honest people in the APPO, who never remained silent in the face of attitudes that were contrary to the spirit of the social movement in Oaxaca; instead, he and himself to defend the independence of the APPO from the political parties that tried to lead the APPO into the electoral process. In recent months, as a result of his independent position and his refusal to demand “crumbs” or positions of power from the government of the state of Oaxaca or the political parties, he was accused of trying to divide the movement, when all he really wanted was a space in which all the different points of view of the Oaxacan people would be respected and in which one would not prevail over the other.
Nevertheless, those of us who know him know that he’s a person with nothing to hide—neither his actions nor his words. Because he is one of the people in the APPO who fought and continues to fight to defend the common space, he is now unjustly arrested. David Venegas was an obstacle to both the state and federal governments. Dignified people like David will never sell themselves to power by accepting money or a seat in the legislature, or by keeping silent. Even though he’s now being held prisoner, he will not be silenced, nor will thousands of other people who, like David, have dignity.
Member of VOCAL: Due to the lack of a space that could bring art and culture together with the resistance of peoples, collectives, individuals and groups struggling for autonomy as an alternative to the current political system, at the end of February, David, along with many other people, built an organization called “VOCAL: Voces Oaxaqueñas Construyendo Autonomía Y Libertad (Oaxacan Voices Creating Freedom and Autonomy)”. Part of the work that VOCAL took on was to accompany the families of people who had fallen in the struggle in a walk with crosses through Santa Lucía del Camino, where policemen killed the Indymedia comrade Brad Will. David actively contributed to this activity.
VOCAL works with peoples in resistance in the Mixteca as well as in Oaxaca’s Isthmus (La Venta, Zanatepéc, Santo Domingo Petapa), the central valley region known as Valles Centrales (Zaachila), and in other communities and organizational spaces. This enabled David to carry the art, information, and voice of the barricades to other places in resistance.
ARREST, CHARGES, AND TRANSFER TO THE PENITENTIARY AT IXCOTEL OAX.:
David was tortured, beaten, and arrested on Friday, April 13, and presented 8 hours later at the Small Drug Sales Unit (UMAN), where, the next day, he had to give a statement, an ordeal that took 5 hours. At this point he could have been released in absence of proof of the charges against him, yet the federal prosecutor at the unit decided to deny him his right to get out on bail.
On the morning of April 14, he was transferred to the Central Penitentiary at Ixcotel. When he arrived at the prison, an arrest warrant awaited him, “File # 157/2006 arrest warrant for damaging the Oaxaca courthouse on November 25, 2006” (Excelsior newspaper, March 11, 07).
Both state and federal authorities accuse him of crimes against health (sales or possession of small quantities of drugs), sedition, burning buildings, and disobedience to particular people.
The truth is that they arrested him while he was walking along the street with two other people. Without showing an arrest warrant, the Ministerial Police beat him and took him prisoner. When he was brought before the public prosecutor and the news media, they planted drugs on him. According to what David has told us, they tried to plant a very large package on him that he could not see but that he supposed contained drugs; however, when the policemen saw that the package didn’t fit in the bag David was carrying, they planted a smaller bag of white powder on him, apparently cocaine and heroin.
When they were about to take pictures of him in order to present him to the news media as a drug dealer, David received several blows for refusing to hold two issues of the magazine La Barrikada, upon which the bag of white powder, seemingly cocaine or heroin, had been placed. David does not know where he was at the time this happened.
When he gave his statement at the UMAN, they presented David with two smaller bags of white powder, with which he was forced to be photographed.
Despite these irregularities, he is still being held prisoner.
The very same day mobilizations against his unjust arrest began. On April 15, people demanding his freedom marched to the door of the penitentiary where he is being held. The prison authorities offered him privileges as a political prisoner, but David did not accept them. All he wants is his freedom.
This questionable legal process that the state government of Oaxaca has imposed on our comrade David Venegas Reyes, treating him as a common prisoner in order to disparage his political work, is aimed at striking fear in the hearts of people who have an honest commitment to the principles of the social movement.
To the peoples of the world:
To the people of Oaxaca:
To the peoples of México:
We call on all people, collectives, and individuals of Oaxaca, Mexico, and the world to refuse to remain silent in the face of heavy repression against the people of Oaxaca and to mobilize in any way possible to demand the freedom of all our comrades who are imprisoned.
We cannot allow people who are prisoners of the struggle to be forgotten. People who defended the barricades are now prisoners.
Just as there was support for the popular movement of Oaxaca at its strongest point, and admiration for the strength of the barricades and those who defended them, support is now vital for those who are imprisoned as a result of their resistance and who have very little chance of attaining justice and freedom, which will only come if we protest and struggle for it.
• Demonstrations at Mexican Embassies and Consulates.
• Sending letters of solidarity to David Venegas Reyes and all political prisoners: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Press conferences and informative talks about the case of David Venegas Reyes and all political prisoners.
• Writing to Mexican authorities to ask for the immediate freedom of David Venegas Reyes and all political prisoners.
• Marches, hunger strikes, cultural events, street theatre, video showings and talks about Oaxaca…
THURSDAY, APRIL 27
MARCH FROM BRENAMIEL TO THE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
FREEDOM FOR ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!
FREEDOM FOR DAVID VENEGAS REYES!
Strengthen the struggle in Oaxaca and the whole world: Freedom for all prisoners for the struggle!!
International solidarity with the political prisoners of the world!!
Immediate and unconditional freedom for the prisoners of Oaxaca!!
Economic support in solidarity with David Venegas:
Nº Cta. 319708 Clave 044180001003197086 Zwip mbcomxmm BCO 044 Scotiabank Inverlat in the name of Irina Arellano Salazar
Voces Oaxaqueñas Construyendo Autonomía Y Libertad
(Oaxacan Voices Creating Freedom and Autonomy)
This post is also available in: Spanish