Narconews: Davies and Donahue - Updates on Oaxaca
Davies and Donahue: Updates on Oaxaca
December 23, 2006
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Widespread repression continues to rear its ugly head in Oaxaca. Commentator Nancy Davies reports on further developments from the Southern Mexican State, including more kidnappings and beatings, the supposed end of the teacher support of the APPO, and the PFP withdrawl from the city, replaced by State Police forces.
"Florentino López, spokesperson for the APPO, speaking on the program Primero Noticias, said that his kidnapping, along with two other companions, took place after a meeting of the State Council of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (CEAPPO, in its Spanish initials). 'Several persons dressed in civilian clothing intercepted and stopped us. They had firearms of diverse calibers. They took us to a secure house and while on the road we were tortured.'
"...After being interrogated, the men were taken by local police to Military Air Base number 15, where they were put in the hands of federal forces, again interrogated and photographed. Padilla, quoted in Noticias, said, '... here they treated us a trifle better, they didn't beat us. They gave us a medical exam to show that we were fine so that afterwards we couldn't complain to the Human Rights organizations. These people were hooded, although one could see the insignias on their uniforms.' Padilla recognized Barrita through an open office door.
"...304 people have been arrested in Oaxaca from June 14 to present, among them teachers, university students, leaders of civil society and members of the APPO. Since the return to classes several teachers have been apprehended in classrooms, right in front of their children students. On the November 25 confrontation between the APPO and the Federal Preventive Police (PFP, in its Spanish initials) many were arrested and tortured with no cause. All the arrested suffered arbitrary insults including no communication, denial of legal defense, denial of medical attention, as well as physical and psychological abuse."
Also on Oaxaca, Sean Donahue gives a different perspective of the current struggle, that of a much longer and older fight to preserve a culture.
"The guide books speak without irony of the beauty of the city's colonial architecture. Colonial is the operative word. The architecture is a triumphant monument to violent attempts to subjugate the Zapotec and Mixotec people of the region.
"The Spanish conquest of Mexico coincided with the height of the witch burnings in Europe -- in both Europe and the Americas, the eradication of sacred traditions that saw the world as alive was necessary to transform the land and the minerals beneath it as commodities to be bought and sold. On three continents, intertwined powers of church and state jailed, tortured, and executed practitioners of nature-based religions, and divided up the land among the members of a rising white middle class.
"...But the biggest force responsible for Oaxaca's poverty is a global economic system bent on eradicating subsistence agriculture, replacing small farms with massive plantations, and turning farmers into low wage factory workers, all in the name of economic efficiency and maximizing profits. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) destroyed Oaxaca's millennia-old corn growing culture in the 1990's. Oaxaca is the place where the world's first corn was grown. But when tariffs and other protections were dropped, small farmers growing traditional varieties of corn to feed themselves and sell to their neighbors could no longer compete with massive government subsidized corporate corn farms in the Midwestern U.S. growing genetically modified corn using petroleum fertilizers and pesticides. To add insult to injury, when a few farmers planted the corn they bought from the U.S., the pollen from their fields contaminated neighboring corn fields, ruining Oaxaca's genetic treasury by turning heirloom varieties of corn into strange hybrids.
"...'There are legends in Oaxaca of people hiding beneath the rocks, and then coming back as animals. So maybe that's what's happening right now, people are hiding during this incredible strife that is happening right now. But perhaps they will return.'
"A people who have survived 500 years of outsiders trying to eradicate their culture are a force to be reckoned with."
Read the full reports in their entirety at The Narco News Bulletin:
Oaxaca: Contininuing Conquest, Continuing Resistance
By Sean Donahue,
Abductions of Civil Movement Leaders Continue in Oaxaca
Three Men Kidnapped, Beaten and Released While Rueda Pacheco Says Teachers Have Left the APPO; Ulises Ruis Denies Role in Recent Apprehensions
By Nancy Davies
Commentary from Oaxaca
December 21, 2006
Be sure to check out the "Illustrations From Below" gallery by the artist Latuff, a collection of pieces on the current struggle in Oaxaca.
Happy Holidays from the entire Narco News team!
From somewhere in a country called América,
David B. Briones
The Narco News Bulletin