Death Squads in Oaxaca

[ An AK-47 bullet entered Faustino Vásquez’s chest and exited through his shoulder. Another shot pierced his wrist. ]

The Mexican government ignores the assassination of two community radio activists

By John Gibler

SAN JUAN COPALA, Mexico — Driving through the back roads of western Oaxaca state in southwestern Mexico, one could often hear 94.9 FM, Radio Copala, “The Voice that Breaks the Silence.” In one of the station’s tag-lines played several times a day, a slow, piercing violin gave way to the languid voice of a woman singing in Spanish: “I am a rebel because the world has made me that way, because no one ever treated me with love, because no one ever wanted to listen to me.”

But amid such overwrought sadness, a strong — and perhaps hurried — young woman’s voice would interrupt: “Some people think that we are too young to know.” And then a second young female voice interjects: “They should know that we are too young to die.”

Those voices belonged to Teresa Bautista Merino, 24, and Fel’citas Mart’nez Sánchez, 21, two of six young producers and hosts at Radio Copala — a project of the recently autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala, and the first radio station to broadcast in both Spanish and the Triqui indigenous language.

The broadcast launched in January. By April, Teresa and Fel’citas were dead.

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Fact Sheet on the Murder of Felicitas Martínez and Teresa Bautista and Plan Mexico


Felicitas Martínez and Teresa Bautista, ages 22 and 20, were Indigenous Journalists assassinated on April 7th, 2008 in a shooting by government supported paramilitaries near San Juan Copala in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico. According to survivors six men began firing at their car with AK-47 assault rifles. The police found twenty spent bullet cases on the road.

Their murders are only the latest in the massive Government violence against journalist and everyday people in Mexico. According to Reporters Without Borders annual report Mexico is the most deadly country in the Hemisphere for Journalists. In 2007 two were killed and three vanished and in 2006 nine journalists were murdered and three were missing, making the country second only to Iraq for the number of journalists killed.

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Two Community Radio Announcers Killed in Copala, Oaxaca

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).

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Community Radio Producers Murdered in Oaxaca

On April 7th, 2008, two indigenous Triqui women who worked at the community radio station La Voz que Rompe el Silencio (The Voice that Breaks the Silence), in the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala (Mixteca region), were shot and murdered while on their way to Oaxaca City to participate in the State Forum for the Defense of the Rights of the Peoples of Oaxaca. Three other people were injured.

According to the state attorney general, the victims are Teresa Bautista Merino (24 years old) and Felícitas Martínez Sánchez (20 years old). Francisco Vásquez Martínez (30 years old), his wife Cristina Martínez Flores (22 years old), and their son Jaciel Vásquez Martínez (three years old) were also injured in the attack.

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Oaxaca, Mexico – repression and resistance

January 2007 – from Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group: The New Year has seen more brutal repression in Oaxaca, including the murder of teacher Enriqueta Santiago Santiago by a death squad after her abduction on 12th January.

Resistance such as street and prison demos is continuing (though with fewer people than earlier) while indigenous Triquis have declared an autonomous municipality. A “megamarch” has been called for 3 February in Oaxaca City.

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