<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
 English | Español August 15, 2018 | Issue #56

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Citizens Show Support for Marcelino Coache

Protesters Demonstrate Against the Murders of Activists, and the Detention of Political Prisoners in Oaxaca

By Nancy Davies
Commentary from Oaxaca

March 12, 2009

The APPO march to show anger and support for Marcelino Coache Verano left the Siete Regiones Fountain in Oaxaca with between 600-800 people on foot. The demonstration also protested the murders of APPO activists like teacher Sampablo Lorenzo and the detention of political prisoners, several of whom are still held. Coache’s wife and son led the march.

D.R. 2009 – Photos Nancy Davies
Participants and supporters climbed onto the kiosko in the zocalo with the microphone in the hands of Gabiel Lopez Chiñas of Section 22 (of the teacher union), who underlined that the teachers popular movement will not permit more repression. Lopez Chiñas stated that the teachers and the APPO “won’t permit more state repression by the government against their followers and will respond blow for blow, eye for eye and tooth for tooth.” The crowd shouted the slogan used along the route, “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, Ulises Ruiz your account will come due.”

This slogan reflects a lessened spirit of non-violence and patience in the face of government repression than did positions two years ago. In my personal opinion, the teachers under the leadership of Santiago Chepi are less willing to take shit, although no specifics for action were given or threatened.

Although Coache at first thought he would not press charges due to his fear, he has now agreed to do so. Prior charges placed by Coache or others have never received any satisfactory response (we are talking about the state where impunity is the norm). According to the newspaper Noticias, civil human rights organizations are backing Coache’s complaints in hopes that national and international attention and response will follow.

For security reasons Coache had not marched, and when he was introduced he walked through the parted crowd and went up accompanied by his wife and two young children. Other speakers included Emeterio Cruz and the widow of Sampablo Lorenzo, as well as APPO representatives.

Gabriel Lopez Chiñas (Left), Marcelino Coache Verano (Right)
Coache stands about five foot four and weighs maybe 120. By Oaxaca indigenous standards he is average size; his position up on the kiosko stage highlighted his fragility, or maybe because the sky was losing light he appeared like a straw in the wind. If the kidnapping and torture has drained him badly he nevertheless spoke clearly, with his daughter tucked under his arm. The largest banner proclaimed “We are with you Marcelino Coache.” He thanked the crowd for their support.

As an aside, along the route and in the zocalo there were no Stalinist Leninist slogans, although red flags carried on wooden sticks were common. The other banner already in the zocalo referred to the teachers’ rejection of ACE (Agreement for Quality Education) and school privatization. Among the marchers, the largest banner (on black) was from Zaachila, a town in constant bitter conflict against the PRI and in support of the APPO since 2006. It looks to me like Section 22 has firm control of the official structure of the movement. We’ll see where that leads.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America