Oaxaca: Buisness Strike Failed; Destabilizing Operations Coming to Light
APPO Infiltrated by Government Operatives Planning Violence
By Hermann Bellinghausen
September 29, 2006
OAXACA CITY, September 28th: The 48-hour strike, which was called by the private sector in Oaxaca, failed almost completely. Aside from middle-sized businesses and gas stations, the call from the chamber of commerce was not heeded by the majority of businesses. Markets, big warehouses, the majority of franchised restaurants and some service shops remained open during the designated strike.
The main bus lines and taxi services ran as usual, even after agreeing to the strike two days ago with the Popular Assembly of the Pueblos of Oaxaca (whose acronym in Spanish is APPO). Only in the historic downtown area and in some residential neighborhoods were there partial strikes in a few of the small businesses. This strike was no larger than similar strikes done in the recent past. A similar situation was reported throughout the state of Oaxaca.
The newspaper La Jornada obtained trustworthy information about an operation organized by the state government to provoke chaos and vandalism during the business sector strike, especially during the period when the Federal Preventive Police (PFP, Spanish acronym) was designated to enter the city to “re-establish the order.” Four PRI (Revolutionary Institutional Party) groups, all affiliated with the Revolutionary Confederation of Peasants and Workers (CROC) and the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM), as well as policemen and municipal government employees, were said to be preparing an assault on population and the media while masquerading as members of APPO.
The actions were to be carried out by 300 people previously trained and organized into four different groups by the PRI leaders David Aguilar and Nahum Carreno, the police chief Aristeo Lopez and the contractor Hugo Ruiz Ortiz (the governor’s brother). The operation was headed by the Government Secretary, Heliodoro Diaz Escarraga, and the leader of the Civil Protection, Lino Zelaya Luria.
The detailed accusation was made by members of the National Action Party (PAN) and the Green Ecology Party (PVEM) who currently hold intermediary positions in the local administration, including some who have been elected to public office. These individuals have identified themselves to this reporter, but have requested that their identities remain anonymous for fear of state repression. Similar information appeared in an article by the columnist Luis Ocejo Martinez, in the editorial column of today’s edition of the newspaper Noticias.
Some individuals from this government infiltration operation have been involved in the the APPO’s barricades for more than a month to “follow their behavior” and to win the confidence of the authentic activists. Two or three of these individuals even participated in last Saturday’s blocking of the Camino Real hotel “disguised as Appos” with casual clothes and hats and armed with sticks. They not only helped the deputies accompanying journalist Ricardo Rocha to flee, but they also appeared on the program “Oaxaca: The Pure Truth” that aired on TV Azteca this Tuesday.
They also own vehicles already “painted” as if they belonged to the APPO, among them a gray four-door pick up. Most alarming is that the individuals who had infiltrated the APPO had planned to participate in the state’s repression with firearms in the case of resistance to the PFP, which would presumably be unarmed. The assignment of the infiltrators was to shoot against the agents. “If one or more dead police officers appeared to be killed by members of the social movement, immediate intervention would be justified and a state of siege could have been declared,” some claimed.
“They need an excuse to make an example of the APPO and to repress the people’s rebellion,” they added. One of them argued, “I am a member of the PAN. I never voted for Ulises Ruiz. I do not align with either the APPO or the teachers, but I do not understand why my political party supports this governor.”
Finally, the interview revealed the existence of a plan to block phone lines, radio signals and to take down the cellular signals during the operation of the PFP, which is scheduled to occur in the next few days.
In a potentially related event, part of the radio station XEYG, La consentida, of Matias Romero, was set afire in the early morning by strangers who left the walls painted with the signature of APPO and threatened veteran radio announcer Romualdo Santiago with death. XEYG is owned by the Convergencia party federal congressman Humberto Lopez Lena, who witnessed shootings outside the Camino Real hotel in the capital city, perpetrated by the local police, last Sunday. There, before media outlets, he condemned “Ulises Ruíz’s Oaxaca.”
The Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (Ucizoni), member of the APPO condemned the attack claiming the action was “committed by people affiliated with the government, who are retaliating due to the ample coverage this radio station has given to the civil movement.”
The facts “coincide with the provocations orchestrated on Wednesday by Luis Alvarez, the representative of Ulises Ruiz in this region, who, in conjunction with well known members of the PRI, fruitlessly attempted to resume classes in the Demetrio Vallejo high school of Rincon Viejo in the Petapa municipality, reported Ucizoni. “Up until now, the provocations and violent acts have come only from the group that pertain to the governor.” He adds that the threats against Fredy Landa and Leonel Gómez (indigenous radio personalities), Migdalia Espinoza and Carlos Leonardo, as well as the aggression suffered by the popular movement in Maria Lombardo and the penal harassment to the activists “have come from municipal presidents, agents of the Public Ministry, delegates of the government, transportation authorities and policemen, all members of a web of corruption with links to Ulises Ruiz.
Ucizoni declared, “The violent acts are an example of the desperation of a political group that is on the edge of losing its privileges,” and denied any violent acts perpetrated by the APPO, since such acts would set the stage for repressive state intervention.
In total, more than 40 civil, academic, indigenous and human rights organizations came together this afternoon in a symbolic act that took place at the ‘Fountain of the Seven Regions’ with the chant, “Ulises Ruiz, stained with the blood of the Oaxacan people.” The convocation denounced the use of force against the public and the use of any form of government repression as a means to “resolve” the social and political conflict. The organizers held the state and federal government responsible for the human rights violations against the citizens of Oaxaca. “We energetically call upon the federal government to remember that complicity is as grave a as the unjust acts that have already been committed against the people of Oaxaca,” they stated.
A group of women dressed in white cut themselves, drawing blood before dozens of television cameras and reporters and then threw their blood against a life-sized portrait of the governor of Oaxaca. Afterwards, the women put the portrait of Ruiz in a cage of wood resembling a prison alongside photographs of other state officials, all of which were stained in blood. “If the state of law existed, Ulises Ruiz would be in jail,” they affirmed.
Translation: CASA Collective
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