By Jessica Cecilia Martínez/correspondent and Guadalupe Gómez Q.
Oaxaca, Oax., April 8, 08 (CIMAC).- Teresa Bautista and Felicitas Martínez, 22 and 20 years old respectively, reporters and announcers for the community radio La Voz que Rompe el Silencio (The Voice that Breaks the Silence) of the popular government of San Juan Copala, were killed in an ambush yesterday at Llano Juárez on the highway from Joya del Mamey to Putla de Guerrero, as they were traveling by car to the state capital along with several other people.
Wounded in the attack were Faustino Vásquez Martínez, the official in charge of Vital Statistics at Juxtlahuaca and a militant in the Social Welfare Unit of the Triqui Region (UBISORT); his 22 year-old wife Cristina Flores; and his children Agustín Gustavo and Jaciel Vásquez Flores, age 2 and 3, according to information provided by state judicial authorities and the Center for Community Support Working Together (CACTUS).
The two women and their traveling companions left for the city of Oaxaca around one o’clock in the afternoon. They were going to coordinate the discussion group on “Community and Alternative Communication: Community Radio, Video, Press, and Internet” at the Statewide Forum for the Defense of the Rights of the Peoples of Oaxaca, scheduled to begin tomorrow at the Teachers’ Hotel of the National Educational Workers Union (SNTE), Section 22.
The shooting occurred approximately 50 kilometers away from the town of San Juan Copala, 350 kilometers to the west of the city of Oaxaca. Those who were hit had several bullet wounds and were taken to the Amigo del Niño y del Madre Hospital in Putla de Guerrero.
In a telephone interview, the state Attorney General said that 20 7.62 caliber shells were found at the scene of the ambush––the kind commonly used in AK-47 rifles. The facts were noted in the previous investigation 105/2008.
FULFILLING A COMMUNITY OBLIGATION
The civil association CACTUS, based in Huajuapan de León, condemned the attack and demanded that state authorities investigate and punish those responsible for the crime.
In a statement sent out today, CACTUS members expressed “our pain, our rage, and our heartfelt sorrow” for the deaths of Felicitas and Teresa.
With them, recalls CACTUS, “we were on the road to the creation of the Triqui community radio, The Voice that Breaks the Silence. We remember their laughter and the way they felt so nervous when they saw that their voices gave voice to those people who had never had one. We will always be touched by the way they made the San Andrés Accords come alive as they exercised their right to autonomy and freedom of expression on live radio and put into practice their right to speak their mind as women, as indigenous women, as Triguis”.
The radio station, a project of the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala, was inaugurated by municipal authorities last January 19. Broadcasts began at the modulated frequency 94.9, in the framework of the gathering of communities and organizations to mark the first anniversary of the creation of the autonomous municipality.
At the inauguration, speakers said that the radio was created to broadcast information about the reality experienced in the Triqui region, to talk about local activities, the way life is there and in the state, and to report on federal and international politics because the region has been practically incommunicado. This would be a way to break the circle that has impeded communication with other communities in Oaxaca and in the country.
With this in mind, the two radio journalists were on their way towards fulfilling a community obligation through their participation in the Statewide Forum for the Defense of the Rights of the People of Oaxaca, in which The Voice that Breaks the Silence would coordinate the discussion group on Community Radio.
CACTUS members declared that the attack heightens the lack of security experienced in the state, as well as the state repression against autonomous municipalities and community radios exercising their right to communication stipulated in the International Labor Convention 169.
Add to this the climate of violence experienced in the Trigui region during the last few years in the westernmost part of Oaxaca and around Juxtlahuaca, Tlaxiaco, and Putla in the Mixteca, where several political groups are based, including the Movement of Unification for the Triqui Struggle (MULT), UBISORT and Independent MULT.