|English | Español||February 20, 2018 | Issue #43|
Federal Police Authorized to Enter Oaxaca
A Day Of Killings While Teachers Negotiate in Mexico City
By Nancy Davies
Photo: D.R. 2006 Nancy Davies
The state assembly of the local teachers’ union, Section 22, called on URO to resign before November 30 and to guarantee the physical safety of teachers returning to work, pay salaries in arrears, release political prisoners, and retract arrest warrants for the leaders of both the APPO and Section 22, among other demands. These demands were part of the decision of the teachers’ vote to return to the schools, scheduled tentatively for October 30.
While Section 22 spokesperson Enrique Rueda Pacheco was in Mexico City talking with Interior Secretary Carlos Abascal about the conditions for a phased-in regional opening of schools, the attacks began in Oaxaca. The problem for URO of course was that returning to the classrooms did not imply lifting the APPO’s occupation of the city center, nor the return of government buildings to the government. The teachers’ voting to return also included the condition that they would continue their struggle to oust URO.
Meanwhile, URO refused to resign or take a leave of absence. During the teachers’ assembly meeting, shooting and bus burning went on outside the Hotel Magisterio, where the meeting took place.
On Friday morning, the day scheduled for the onset of the big anti-URO strike, I walked up the north-south street close to my house. The newly constructed small neighborhood barricade consisted of three men, six women, a snarl of barbed wire, a banner, and a barrel. On the main road, traffic was light and getter lighter. In the middle of Niños Heroes Street, a woman held an umbrella against the sun with one hand and with the other tossed aside the rocks that impeded traffic in front of her shop. When she reached the sidewalk where I was watching, she snarled, “Ya basta! That’s enough of these blockades!” It appeared she not did not understand that, no more than 300 meters behind her, two busses were being maneuvered into position for a complete blockade of the avenue.
The peaceful appearance of this shut-down was brief. By the time I returned home the radio told a different story. URO had been sighted in Santa Lucia, and people were reminded not to overreact.
By mid-day on Friday, a mechanic, Gerardo Sanchez, was abducted by two plain-clothes men and one woman in a vehicle near the El Rosario Bridge, and driven to Tlocolula where the prison is located. His abductors were later identified as state ministerial police.
Photo: D.R. 2006 El Universal
During the afternoon three other teachers were abducted and taken to the city prison, where another shootout occurred. Emilio Alonzo Fabián, a 42-year-old teacher from Loxicha in the Pochutla region, was shot and killed when he ran with others to intercept a car identified as one of those used by the police.
Attacks continued throughout the afternoon in San Antonio de la Cal, in the La Experimental neighborhood, where the Oaxaca state prosecutor’s office is located; in Santa Lucía del Camino; and in Santa María Coyotepec.
Three people were dead before the 11 o’clock news came on. During the Oaxaca segment of TV Azteca news, URO announced firmly that four were dead but that the shooting was done by the APPO, while his police were all in their barracks. Photographs and videos emerged later revealing the shooters as members of the ministerial police. URO was interviewed via phone by TV Azteca, which was simultaneously showing people with sticks in their hands running away from what could be heard as gunshots. In the video clip, they were carrying the body of Brad Will, a U.S. Indymedia reporter, who was killed during the afternoon in Santa Lucía del Camino during a confrontation with ministerial police. Along with him, a photographer from Milenio was shot in the foot. Santa Lucia del Camino is now in the hands of the PRI.
In Santa Maria Coyotepec twenty-four people were wounded by 11 p.m. in an attack on the people at a barricade. According to citizens who were present at the time, the victims were shot by police in plain clothes, and thrown into prison with no medical treatment.
During this same long day, Enrique Rueda Pacheco was in Mexico City negotiating a return to classes with Carlos Abascal. When he called the radio station about ten o’clock, he didn’t seem too angry, but the others who followed him on the radio were stronger in their outrage. The kindest thing said about Rueda was, that “he’s young, he’s a politician.” Joel Castillo, the state’s PRI interior secretary, was named on Radio Plantón as being behind the attacks. “The conditions to go back to classes don’t exist,” said one spokesperson for the teachers.
At noon on Saturday, October 28, we are waiting for the entrance of the PFP. The announcers on Radio Universidad are saying neither the barricades nor the zocalo will be surrendered.
- The Fund for Authentic Journalism