Teachers demand Professor Román Salazar be returned alive

March 17, 2011
By Octavio Vélez Ascencio, Noticias
Translated by Scott Campbell

Oaxaca, Oax. – Teachers from Section 22 of the National Educational Workers Union (SNTE) marched yesterday to demand the live return of their compañero Carlos René Román Salazar, member of the Educational Studies and Development Center (CEDES), in charge of the development of the Education Improvement Program, an alternative to the Alliance for Quality Education (ACE), disappeared since last Monday night.

At a rally in front of the Government Palace, the union’s Secretary General, Azael Santiago Chepi, reported that the professor — founder of the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca – Ricardo Flores Magón (CIPO-RFM) and member of the Magonist Libertarian Collective –, left his home, located in Villa Los Laureles, Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán, on Monday afternoon in his Mazda truck, in order to carry out work-related activities.

Around 8 PM, he contacted via text messages another member of CEDES, Guadalupe Bautista Ramírez, to tell her that he was in the town of Santa Rosa and that it was raining heavily.

However, she explained that Román Salazar, originally from Huajuapan de León, did not arrive home, and as a result his wife Marisol Ricárdez Contreras, also an educational worker, requested the intervention of Section 22 of the SNTE and then went to the State Attorney General’s Office to submit a criminal complaint, resulting in the opening of criminal investigation 70/SM/2011.

She said that her compañero could have been disappeared for political reasons by the Mexican state as a result of his involvement in the elaboration of the Education Improvement Program and given the recent “political persecution and media campaign” against the teachers’ movement.

“We don’t discount that it is a matter involving the federal and state governments,” she affirmed.

Given these facts, she demanded an urgent meeting with the state government to address the case and that they immediately obtain the live return of Román Salazar.

She also called on the members of Section 22 of the SNTE and organizations from the popular movement to be alert to a call to participate in protest actions.

For his part, the Section 22 Secretary of Judicial Matters, Gustavo Tomás Hernández Cruz, revealed that the grey Mazda truck, with the Puebla license plate TWS 4400, was found this afternoon in the official compound of the nearby municipality of San Jacinto Amilpas.

The vehicle was brought there by the municipal police after being reported as abandoned on Álamos Street, in the Jardines de la Primavera neighborhood.

The union leader also emphasized that Section 22 of the SNTE brought a complaint before the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and a legal action demanding his presentation should he have been detained by any police body.

Meanwhile, the Interior Minister of the state government, Irma Piñeyro Arias, excluded the state administration from any responsibility in the disappearance of the professor, as there exists in the state an unrestricted respect for the freedom of thought and expression.

“I sent three messages to this cell phone and he didn’t respond. I called him between 11:15 and 11:30 at night and was sent to his voicemail. At dawn I was calling him and they were again sent to voicemail. And as far as I know he hadn’t received any death threats. He was born in Huajuapan de León, he is 54 years old”: Marisol Ricárdez Contreras.