Friday, January 19, 2007

Oaxaca Redux

Today highwayscribery updates the situation in Oaxaca where prior posts have been done on the little-commented death of journalist Brad Will, and the new Calderón government’s decision to repress with violence the potent uprising of APPO, or the Peoples Popular Assembly of Oaxaca.

A few weeks ago, our primary source for information on Oaxaca, “La Jornada,” published an account by a student/demonstrator who was detained when Presidente Calderón unleashed federal shock troops on the commune established by APPO in the capital city.

His chilling account included “the crackle of condom wrappers opening,” the gagging sounds of forced oral sex, and the taunting by rapist/soldiers of those who moaned at being sodomized.

"¿Mmmm qué?” said a federale at his victim’s muffled expression of pain. The witness said that at one point the police were looking for a particular young man they coveted and lifted his face up by the hair and then shoved it back down into his chest because his was not the coveted flesh.


Meantime, the “San Diego Union-Tribune” ran an unsigned editorial lauding Calderón’s firm-hand in putting down the uprising, citing charges of violence and terrorism made exclusively by the governor, Ulíses Ruiz, whom the rebels want out of power for corruption and institutional violence.

Only “La Jornada,” a left-wing outfit out of Mexico City, had much to say about the student’s claims, and the Revolutionary Democratic Party, which promised denunciations and filings before the proper tribunes.

Now a more impartial source, the International Commission for Human Rights Observation, issued a report covered in this article by Octavio Velez Ascencio, regarding what it said were the, “grave violations” of APPO members and sympathizers’ individual rights and guarantees.

During one month of investigation the group conducted 350 interviews with APPO members, non governmental organizations, indigenous groups and communities, media outlets as well as public functionaries at the state and federal levels.

What they found were violations of the right to free movement, the right to demonstrate, to self-expression, and to occupy a public space. Illegal detentions, inhumane or degrading treatment and, God help them, extra-judicial executions at the hand of paramilitary forces organized by Ruíz and his government of thugs, were also on the laundry list of transgressions.

It is unconscionable that these things can happen in so beautiful and rich a country populated with so many noble persons. It is inexplicable that, coming out of hotly contested elections which almost tore Mexico apart (or did they?), the new president thought violence and a 40 percent increase in the price of the tortilla were the best ways of meeting his pledge to heal the county.

It is worse that this government was desired and supported by the United States of America and that nobody has said a damn thing about the crushing of lives, aspirations and hopes of Oaxacans whom, really, the government is supposed to be serving.

In Oaxaca the age-old anarcho-syndicalist query rears its noble head yet again: Who is to protect us from the protectors?

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