by members of la otra support committee:
International Day of Action in Solidarity with the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, Mexico
TO THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD
TO THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND ORGANIZATIONS
TO THOSE IN SOLIDARITY WITH THIS JUST CAUSE
The Triqui people of the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala in Oaxaca, Mexico, make a call-out for international solidarity to all the nations and peoples of the world, so that in the coming days solidarity actions are carried out as far and wide as possible, to exert pressure on the Mexican government and to shed light onto the situation that the people of Copala have endured since 2007. This situation has culminated in the events of the last days and in the Caravan of the Color of Blood, that is happening now, and whose intention is for the people of Copala, who were dispossessed and displaced because they exerted their right to autonomy, to return to their homes.
The Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala declared its autonomy January 1st, 2007, after members of the community had participated in the Oaxacan uprising of 2006, and from that day onward the Mexican government has maintained a politic of disrespect and destruction of that autonomy. The Mexican government has carried out this process through two political-paramilitary organizations which it has armed and financed; the UBISORT-PRI and the MULT-PUP.
Since 2007 in this war against the autonomy of the Triqui people of San Juan Copala there has been a death-count of more than 30 people – among them young children, women, men, elders, traditional leaders, and solidarity activists. Furthermore this war has made children orphans and women widows and survivors of sexual assault.
On April 7th, 2008 two comrades from the community radio station “The Voice that Breaks the Silence” were assassinated; their names were Teresa Bautista and Felicitas Martínez.
On November 28th, 2009 the comrades of the Peoples Front in Defense of the Land of San Salvador Atenco visited to share information on their political prisoners, but their entrance was denied by the paramilitary groups. It was on this date that the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala was put under a paramilitary siege. Consequently the water and lights began to be cut, and the school was closed, rendering the whole community without services.
After 5 months under siege national and international solidarity came through the Humanitarian Caravan of Peace. On April 27th, 2010 the caravan was ambushed just outside of Copala by the paramilitary group UBISORT, who murdered Beatriz Cariño (human rights activist) and Jyri Jaakola (Finnish internationalist). Other participants in the caravan were shot and wounded and had to spend three days in hiding in the mountains. This is how the camp of resistance and struggle began in the main plaza of Mexico City to demand justice.
Later, on May 29th, 2010, MULT-UBISORT assassinated Timoteo Ramírez Alexander, traditional leader and tireless promoter of the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala, along with his wife Cleriberta Castro, leaving their six children orphaned.
On June 8th, 2010 the second Humanitarian Caravan, named after Bety Carino and Jyri Jaakola, was organized to go to the MASJC (Municipio Autonomo de San Juan Copala), with truckloads full of supporters, medical supplies, and food, but could not enter, once again, due to the paramilitary and military repression. From this moment the threats and repression intensified. The women of the community were forced to traverse the mountainside in search of food and supplies, and were often detained, beaten, tortured, raped, sexually assaulted, kidnapped or killed by the paramilitaries if discovered. This is how the paramilitaries behave towards the indigenous Triqui women.
On August 11th, 2010 comrades of the MASJC initiated a protest camp in the main plaza of Oaxaca City to demand justice and punishment to the people in charge of the attack on the sisters Selena (17 years old) and Adela Ramirez Silvas (15 years old), who is now paralyzed after being shot by the paramilitaries.
On August 23rd, 2010 a caravan of widows and orphaned children had been planned but could not leave because of an ambush of its organizers by the paramilitaries. Three people were killed and two were injured with high caliber guns; their names were Rigoberto González, Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ramirez. The caravan would have arrived in Mexico City to denounce the repression and its consequences.
On September 14th, 15th and16th, 2010 the MULT-UBISORT paramilitary attacked the community with guns, leaving many families wounded and several dead. Many went towards the mountains, which began the displacement of the 700 families of the MASJC.
9 months of the protest camp have gone by in Oaxaca City and a year in Mexico City. These camps have been comprised mainly of women and children, living in the street in very difficult conditions, without bathrooms, houses, school or medical attention, and sometimes lacking food. Due to these factors the joint-decision was made by the displaced MASJC and its Communitarian Assembly to reclaim their houses and the territory of which they were displaced. To this end the Caravan of the Color of Blood was organized. The caravan departed May 23th, 2011 from Oaxaca City for Mexico City with the aim of recovering the territory on May 28th, 2011. However, the caravan, formed by the people of Copala, and accompanied by social organizations and national and international activists, has been called on by the governor of Oaxaca, Gabino Cué, who was pressured through their political work to personally arrive in Mexico City on May 27th, 2011. The people were warned that the security conditions do not exist for the return of the displaced to their community and were summoned to a meeting in Oaxaca City, where it was proposed to them that in a maximum of 10 days the necessary conditions will be fulfilled, conditions which the National Commission of Human rights previously recommended on May 24th, 2011, on the basis of recommendations by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights in Washington, D.C on October 7, 2010.
The Caravan of the Color of Blood and the MASJC, without trusting the governor, grant this term to the government, thus to be able to enter in a peaceful way and to secure the success of one of the objectives of this Caravan, that is the return of the displaced to their community. We ask the international community to be attentive to the events of the next 10 days, which are decisive, and that as far as possible to take diverse actions as a show of solidarity with the autonomous movements of the world and in particular with the autonomy of the Triqui people and the MASJC who decided to exert their right to self-determination by their own free will based on their traditions and customs.
We summon all in their respective countries to a day of mobilization and action on June 3rd, 2011, or on any and all of the next 10 days:
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE AUTONOMOUS MUNICIPALITY OF SAN JUAN COPALA, OAXACA, MEXICO
Organize demonstrations or telephone calls at Mexican embassies and consulates in different countries, or any other action that with your creativity or possibilities you can carry out to exert pressure on the Mexican government as a show of international solidarity with the Triqui nation and in defense of its autonomy.
The demands of the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala are:
THE RETURN OF THE DISPLACED TO THEIR TERRITORY.
JUSTICE AND PUNISHMENT TO THOSE RESPONSIBLE (PHYSICALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY) FOR THE MURDERS OF MORE THAN 30 COMMUNITY MEMBERS (AMONG THEM CHILDREN, WOMEN AND
RESPECT FOR THE SELF-DETERMINATION AND THE RIGHT TO AUTONOMY OF THE TRIQUI PEOPLE AND OF ALL THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD.
send news of actions to cdefensayjusticiamasjc.blogspot.com and municipioautonomodesanjuancopala.wordpress.com
This post is also available in: Spanish