May 21 Press Conference about the Assassination of Timoteo Alejandro Ramírez and Cleriberta Castro in Copala

Friday May 21, 2010.


The Press Conference was attended by two officials from the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala, Jorge Albino Ortiz y Adalberto Hernández Álvarez, and assistance from 17 different media, including both official and independent electronic media, as well as magazines and newspapers. The atmosphere was tense and expectant of the statements of the officials of San Juan Copala in regards to the assassination of their top leader, Timoteo Alejandro Ramirez, and the continuing actions of the Triqui organization.

Jorge Albino began explaining that they were still waiting for the official communiqué to be issued by the Municipality in San Juan Copala, but that this document has been delayed due to the current state of activity experienced in the region following the murder, the autopsy, the preparations for the funeral, and the guarding of the body by several communities in order to provide security and prevent further conflict. The communiqué should be delivered on a later date to all participants, by electronic mail.

However, the press conference was filled with broad statements by these two officials, first, Jorge Albino Ortiz, strongly stated that the assault (to Timoteo Ramirez) would not stop either the convoy organized for June 8, nor the political project to bring autonomy to the Triqui region. He declared that the attack was a State Crime perpetrated because Timoteo opposed the creation of “Unidad Popular”, a political project sponsored by MULT which originated the dissidence since the creation of such political party was considered a departure from the objectives of the struggle for self-determination of the indigenous community.

Faced with questions from reporters, Jorge Albino explained that at the moment there had been no contact with the State Attorney of Oaxaca, nonetheless they have all the willingness to collaborate with the relevant investigation, and also noted the urgency of starting such investigations to clarify this homicide as soon as possible.

As part of their statement, Jorge Albino pointed out that there are intentions to stop the convoy to be held on June 8, including actions like these, as well as the breaking of the paramilitary blocking, however stressed that the organization will be strengthened to continue the political project of unification of the 32 Triqui communities and achieve autonomy and self-determination; he added that Timoteo never waged on the use of violence in order to resolve conflicts, and opted against the creation of political parties that only generate divisions between communities. On that note, he stressed the belief of the Autonomous Municipality, that the Mexican state, along with the “action arms” like MULT and UBISORT-PR were responsible, and that therefore this act qualifies as a Political Crime.

Regarding the information relevant to the assassination, Jorge Albino commented that despite the first testimonies of witnesses which point at a Cargo Truck, it was actually a white Volkswagen Jetta with no license plates that the murderers used; clarifying that the individuals are not from that region. Finally, Jorge Albino appealed to the federal government of Mexico to provide justice for this crime, and indicated that the General Federal Attorney (PGR) has not yet begun any investigation for the murders of the Finnish human rights activist Jyri Jaakola, and the local community worker Bety Cariño, ambushed last April, despite the testimonies of several witnesses, and sufficient evidence to start a federal investigation.

For his part, Adalberto Hernández Álvarez started by stating that the Triqui community is in shock after the assassination of the tirelesss social activist and main promoter of the autonomy and self-determination of the Triqui people.

He expressed the deep sense of anger generated by these violent acts, and that such crime far from weakens the organization, it makes them stronger, and he points out that, “the state apparatus as well as the federal had hit a member of the ‘Autonomous Municipality’, but this will in no way will stop our struggle, on the contrary, today one comrade has fallen, we feel that many Timoteos have been born, one is dead but thousands of Timoteos will be born.”

Comrade Adalberto duly states that the ‘Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala’ calls the “Otra Campaña” to position themselves politically after these events, and similarly requested their support to strengthen the Triqui struggle demanding justice for these crimes, the breaking of the paramilitary blockage and the construction of the autonomy in the region. He specified that it has been they who had joined the Zapatista struggle in 1994, and that it has been they who had taken part in several acts in favor of the Zapatista autonomous communities in the state of Chiapas as well as in Oaxaca, and that today, it is they who are being directly attacked with the beheading of the Autonomous Municipality, for that reason they ask for their solidarity as well as the unity of the social and political organizations within Mexico and Internationally.

Adalberto emphasized the fact that they have lost any confidence in State and Federal justice. They speak of Organized Crime, “but the Organized Crime is the State, because they went our comrade home to kill him, that for us is a State Crime”.

The Press Conference ended with stress on the demand for justice and respect for the autonomy, as well as the total rejection of the strategy to eliminate the San Juan Copala project, through the militarization of the Triqui region by the State and its paramilitary.