Political Statement from VOCAL on the paramilitary attack against the Observation and Solidarity Caravan to the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala on April 27, 2010
In a violent episode on April 27 of this year, the Observation and Solidarity Caravan to the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala, in which our organization participated, was fired upon by the paramilitary group UBISORT-PRI, whose bullets killed our comrades Bety Cariño Trujillo and Jyri Jaakkola. This attack reveals the level of violence and impunity with which the ruling PRI party keeps the killer Ulises Ruiz Ortiz and local caciques in power, as well as the nature of the paramilitarism that sustains this party in indigenous and campesino communities in the state of Oaxaca.
Yesterday, April 29, 2010, at approximately 12 noon, our VOCAL comrades Noe Bautista and David Venegas were finally able to break through the paramilitary cordon and get to the town of Juxtlahuaca, where they announced that reporters of the Contralinea magazine David Celia and Erika Ramírez were still alive and in need of rescue due to David Cilia’s wounds that made it impossible for him to walk. Thanks to the pressure exerted by family members and co-workers, and to the video evidence that our comrades handed over to the family, a successful rescue operation was finally carried out yesterday, and both reporters are now recovering from the violence they were subjected to.
Nevertheless, the recovery of the bodies of people killed, healing of wounds, and rescue of the missing people doesn’t resolve the basic problem in San Juan Copala that the Caravan was formed to deal with: the state of siege around the autonomous municipality and the murders of community members committed by PRI-UBISORT with total impunity and the complicity of the Ulises Ruiz Ortiz state government. From November of 2009 until now, 19 people from Copala have been killed by the PRI-UBISORT, which has also cut off the electricity and set up a military check-point at the entrance of the community to keep food from being delivered to the women.
During the days that the comrades were missing, all the world could see that these armed attacks against San Juan Copala are ongoing and that the complicity of the state government is barefaced. We firmly believe that a more deadly paramilitary attack is now being prepared against community members.
We think the main objective of such an attack and its aftermath is to destroy the process of unifying the Triqui nation through the autonomous organization of an indigenous people that has suffered division and internal violence provoked by the PRI party of state to further its own interests of political control.
We also think the attack is aimed at destroying the processes of building autonomy engaged in by Oaxacan communities and organizations that are struggling for a way of life outside the realm of the power of the state and the political parties.
We hold PRI-UBISORT as the direct perpetrators of the crimes of April 27, as well as Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, whose tolerance of such groups reaches extremes of complicity. We also accuse the PRI party candidate for state governor Eviel Pérez Magaña; given the macabre traditions of power in Oaxaca, such acts of violence stem from “iron fist” electoral campaigns aimed at keeping the society under control through terror.
We urgently call on all the organizations in the APPO and on all national and international social movements to help organize an enormous solidarity caravan in the immediate future to break PRI-UBISORT’s siege around the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala, and we call on the entire autonomy movement nationally to join forces in the defense of autonomy being built everywhere in Mexico that peoples, organizations, and movements are opting for a life of justice, well-being, and freedom via political, economic, and cultural autonomy.
We call on international observers to stay abreast of the struggle of the peoples of Oaxaca that are subjected to an increasingly intense spiral of violence and aggression by the government and paramilitary forces, as evidenced by the brutal ambush of April 27.
We demand that the murders of Bety Cariño, member of the CACTUS human rights organization and tireless activist in the defense of our Mother Earth, and of Jyri Jaakkola, international observer for peace with justice and dignity, not go unpunished. And we call on people to channel all the state, national, and international attention that this attack has aroused in the society, social movements, and the press towards the cause that led us to embark on the solidarity caravan that fateful day of April 27. WE MUST BREAK THE SIEGE AROUND SAN JUAN COPALA AND STOP AN EVEN HEAVIER ATTACK BY PRI-UBISORT.
We also stand in solidarity with our comrades Omar Esparza of CACTUS and Jorge Albino, spokesperson for the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala, due to the death threats they have received from UBISORT and the Ulises Ruiz government.
We hold Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, Eviel Pérez Magaña, and UBISORT-PRI responsible for any attack that may be perpetrated against VOCAL members.
Oaxaca de Magon, city of Resistence, April 30, 2010.