January 14, mobilizations begin in the city of Oaxaca for the freedom of Pedro Castillo Aragón and all the political prisoners and prisoners of conscience of Oaxaca and the country
CODECI, OIDHO, UCIZONI write:
The struggle for our political prisoners will continue until we stop State terrorism.
To the news media
To the independent social organizations in the country
To the broad social movement
As the years go by, it’s all the more clear that the Mexican State and its repressive misgovernments, like that of Ulises Ruiz in Oaxaca, are still determined to label all those who struggle for equality and justice as criminals. The coercive, repressive mechanisms implemented by the political powers-that-be have many names and many facets.
In the country as a whole we count our political prisoners by the hundreds and witness constant political assassinations, forced disappearances, torture, military police harassment and abuse, and extra-official harassment by paramilitary groups. All three branches of government have played a role in legalizing this police state: the legislative branch legalizes the repression of social movements with its new reform of the penal code; the judicial branch protects criminals and grants them impunity, as in the case of the governor of the state of Puebla; and the executive branch devotes itself to protecting and administering the interests of the political and corporate class.
The people of Oaxaca have historically struggled against these misgovernments. The popular teachers’ movement that emerged a little more than a year ago is not a phenomenon that is isolated from history or from the national political scene. This movement couldn’t be explained without speaking of the people who gave their lives and liberty years before, who defied the powers-that-be and helped to build an important part of our righteous Oaxaca. Such is the case with our comrade Pedro Castillo Aragón, who has been kidnapped by the State since 2002 and is held captive in the Santa Maria Ixcotel Penitentiary. We use the word “kidnapped” because his offenses were totally fabricated with malice aforethought.
On June 23, 2002, our comrade Pedro Castillo Aragón, who was both advisor and student, was disappeared and rigorously interrogated with a number of torture techniques. Two days later he was accused of belonging to different guerrilla groups and charged with kidnapping, attempted homicide, resisting arrest, car theft, criminal conspiracy, and possession of arms. Due to the lack of proof of his guilt, we won a protective order on five of the charges, which reveals that the one remaining charge doesn’t hold water and irrefutably exposes their clumsy efforts to criminalize him.
During his interrogation, Pedro was questioned about his activity in different communities in the Sierra Sur, the Isthmus, and the Basin of the state of Oaxaca and was pressured to identify certain social leaders and professors in Section 22 of the National Education Workers Union, who the government says may have ties to armed groups.
During the same days, three people were arrested who didn’t know each other; nevertheless, they were charged as Pedro’s co-defendants. One of them, an ex-leader of the teachers’ union, was identified in police inquiries as the head of the supposed guerrillas; he was released as the result of political negotiation. Those who are still held prisoners along with Pedro are Isabel Almaraz Matías and Gonzalo López Cortés.
Pedro’s case is best seen in the framework of the intransigent criminalization of the social struggle, now continued by today’s rulers. The result of this is the permanent, bestial State terrorism that keeps wounds open in Oaxaca just as it does in Chiapas, San Salvador Atenco, Guerrero, and many other places where dignity has flourished, along with hope for a new life without poverty, but with freedom and justice.
In view of all this, we announce the beginning of mobilizations on January 14 in the city of Oaxaca, for the freedom of Pedro Castillo Aragón and all the political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Oaxaca and in the country. We call on the movement as a whole and all the independent organizations to strengthen the struggle for the freedom of all our political prisoners as a major axis, as well as the struggle for justice for our dead, the live presentation of our disappeared people, and, above all, an end to the repression.
FREEDOM FOR PEDRO CASTILLO ARAGÓN
FREEDOM FOR THE PRISONERS OF THE LOXICHA REGION, SANTIAGO XANICA, SAN BLAS ATEMPA. FREEDOM FOR ISABEL ALMARAZ MATÍAS, GONZALO LÓPEZ CORTES, FLAVIO SOSA VILLAVICENCIO, VICTOR HUGO MARTÍNEZ TOLEDO, MIGUEL ANGEL GARCÍA, DAVID VENEGAS REYES, ADAN MEJÍA LOPEZ AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS IN THE COUNTRY.
COMMITTEE OF CITIZEN DEFENSE (CODECI), INDIAN ORGANIZATIONS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN OAXACA (OIDHO), UNION OF INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES OF THE NORTHERN ZONE OF THE ISTHMUS (UCIZONI).
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