<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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The APPO Creates Municipal Autonomy in the Triqui Region

20 Communities Join with the Regional Popular Assembly

By Diego Enrique Osorno
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

January 17, 2007

Copala, Oaxaca – The Peoples Popular Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO) kicked off 2007 with the creation of the Free and Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala in the eastern region of the state, inhabited by the Triqui people.

A little after midnight yesterday, by means of an indigenous ceremony and in the name of 20 communities in this zone, a Council of the Elders conferred the symbolic scepter of rule to the popular president, José Ramírez Flores, a 32 year old farmer with a sixth grade equivalent education.

“They will have to govern according to Triqui principles and listen to the people in order to retain the power to remain in charge…they will have to remain incorruptible and will look for peace for the entire Triqui Nation,” was ordered to the integral functionaries of the new government in their language by one of the council members.

The Triqui peoples who decided to declare themselves autonomous form part of the three constitutional municipalities of Juxtlahuaca, Putla de Guerrero and Tlaxiaco. “We know that the government is not going to recognize us but we are going to as our own government and we are going to propel this forward. Already we have begun self-governance because they (the municipal governments) are not indigenous, are not Triqui and don’t know how to govern,” asserted Jorge Albino Ortíz, councilor to the APPO on behalf of the Unified Movement of the Triqui Independence Struggle (MULTI, in its Spanish initials).

“We had various internal assemblies and decided that organizations no longer exist and that a return to our roots to construct a Triqui government with a Triqui president, and to have a liberated municipality, autonomous and indigenous and because of this we believe the violence will end. This was something we also learned from the APPO, to make decisions ourselves about that which corresponds to us,” he related.

According to the integral members of the new Copala government, since the beginning of the administration of Governor Ulises Ruíz Ortíz, in December 2004, they have had 70 political assassinations in this zone. State authorities only recognize 48.

“We don’t want organizations anymore, because to follow with organizations is to be divided, like we were in MULTI, UBISORT and MULT, when what we really want is to work for peace,” Albino emphasized. About the political parties, the indigenous leader pointed out: “There is the United Popular Party, the PRI, the PRD, and they all don’t address the principal root of what is happening in the region. They don’t come to the indigenous, to the Triqui; they use the Triqui for their campaigns but do not come to see what is the fundamental problem regarding who lives, how they live, and if they truly live.”

The installation of the new municipality was celebrated in the municipal agency of San Juan Copala. Since January 1st it would be recognized as the official seat of the popular autonomous government. Around nine at night representatives began to arrive from some twenty communities in the vicinity (in which some estimated 20,000 people) to welcome the New Year with a dance.

After various ambushes occurred in the past few weeks, armed members of the Community Police of the new municipality manned the diverse entrances to Copala in order to avoid, they said, the presence of “the paramilitaries” that operate in the zone.

Originally published in Spanish January 4

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