Contra-Stye Paramilitary Operations In Oaxaca
Contra-Stye Paramilitary Operations Against The Movement In Oaxaca
August 28, 2006
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The repressive response of Oaxaca's government to the popular uprising against its corrupt rule has become more and more violent. Last week, State Attorney General Lizbeth Caña Cadeza made a statement to the press in which she called the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO) - a nonviolent movement made up of teachers, families, doctors, farmers and thousands of ordinary Oaxacan citizens - an "urban guerrilla group." As Diego Enrique Osorno reports today in The Narco News Bulletin, this was no verbal slip-up, but rather the unveiling of the state's new counterinsurgency strategy for dealing with the widening opposition movement.
Enrique Osorno writes about the August 22 murder of Lorenzo San Pablo Cervantes (which was reported in Narco News when it happened):
"And so, what happened early in the morning of August 22 turned out not to be an isolated incident, but rather part of a government strategy to stop the growth of the Assembly, where more than 400 social and political organizations (including the teachers' union) have come together to demand that Governor Ulises Ruíz, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), resign.
"In addition to hired gunmen, troops from the State Ministerial Police, the Federal Preventive Police and the local municipal police are all involved in implementing 'Operation Clean-Up.' A Mexican Army deserter by the name of Aristeo López Martínez is, working out of a municipal office, one of the principal participants in this operation inspired by the 'Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare' manual, written by the CIA in the 1980s for the Nicaraguan 'contras' in their war against the democratic government of that country.
"...Coincidentally or not, in the last few days several events have occurred that recall the CIA manual. Five leaders of the dissident Assembly - one of whom is disabled - have been detained under unclear circumstances. Three youths were also able to sabotage the transmissions from Radio Universidad, the first station that APPO had under its control. Upon being interviewed, the saboteurs acknowledged having received payment 'from someone from the PRI' to infiltrate an opposition brigade and carry out the counterinsurgency action."
Enrique Osorno's report is accompanied by José Alberto Cruz' photographs of heavily armed paramilitary forces in unmarked pickup trucks from the morning of August 22. Alberto Cruz and other journalists at the scene came under fire from the gunmen.
Read the full report, only in The Narco News Bulletin's special coverage of the ongoing Oaxaca revolution.
Also, don't miss the latest commentary from Nancy Davies in Oaxaca City. Davies writes of the "battle of Oaxaca" in the context of the nation-wide post-electoral crisis that Mexico faces:
"The second big truth is that plans are going forward to support the national 'revolution' - whatever form that may take. With 'two presidents,' AMLO may find his firmest base in the south. I was chatting with my pediatrician yesterday (he also does gerontology) and asked him flat out if he thought a civil war might come to pass. This guy is moderate in his views, a doctor with youngsters attending private universities. And he answered yes. In my personal poll of unimportant persons, that view was repeated by several people, including members of APPO. There's a lot of nervous anxiety, especially because of repeated reports of troops and further attacks. APPO's official take on it, reported on the radio, is that everything now depends on how the feds respond to the contradictions in Oaxaca, not least of which is APPO simultaneously asking for and rejecting federal intervention - to take out URO, to take out the federal military, to agree to the removal of URO before any negotiation can take place, and anyway, who can negotiate? Not URO, he's the 'ex.' That leaves the Secretary of Government (or Secretary of the Interior, if you prefer the US analogy), Carlos Abascál Carranza, arriving in Oaxaca to talk with the former bishop of Chiapas, Samuel Ruiz. Whoops, that's over. No mediation group can take on the task, it's impossible. Okay, APPO will talk to the Department of the Interior directly."
Davies also writes about a disturbing new website, "Oaxaca in Peace" (oaxacaenpaz.org.mx), which provides photos and home addresses of alleged APPO members. Those who have been killed already feature a red X drawn over their faces. According to the APPO, this online, public "hit list" was created with government support.
Don't miss one chapter in this continuing story:
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The Narco News Bulletin