miércoles, abril 28, 2010
* Possible Ubisort ambush; there could be 15 persons injured and several disappeared
* On Monday, the organization's leader warned that he would not let them pass
* They were trying to arrive in San Juan Copala, autonomous municipality, under siege by gunmen
* The state government distances itself
By: Octavio Vélez y Matilde Pérez, Correspondent and Reporter
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, April 27.
Armed men, apparently members of the Triqui Region's Social Welfare Union (Ubisort, its Spanish acronym), linked with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), shot at an international civil observation caravan that was headed for San Juan Copala autonomous municipality, in the Mixtec region, headquarters of the Triqui Unification and Struggle Movement-Independent (MULT-I, its initials in Spanish), with an unofficial result of 2 dead, 15 injured and an undetermined number of disappeared.
Wilfrido Almaraz Santibáñez, regional assistant district attorney of Justice in the Mixteca (region), said that one of the injured commented that two members of the caravan died, "apparently foreigners." The reporter Erika Ramirez and the photographer David Cilia, from the magazine Contralinea, who were covering the tour, were listed as disappeared by that media.
At the close of this edition, the police had not been able to approach San Juan Copala because alleged members of the Ubisort were repelling them with bullets. The agents declared that some of the caravan's vehicles were destroyed and it is presumed that those attacked fled into the "fields." The police will attempt to reach the community this Wednesday.
Francisco López Bárcenas, from the Mexican Alliance for Self-Determination of the Peoples (AMAP, its initials in Spanish), said that the whereabouts of Viris Jacola and Meni Morne, of Finland; David Casinori, of Italy; Martín Santana, of Belgium, and of the Oaxacans David Venegas, David Arellano and Rubén Valencia are also unknown.
Jorge Albino Ortiz, spokesperson for the autonomous municipality, said that San Juan Copalá is under siege by “paramilitaries” from the Ubisort and “there is no electricity. They have cut off the water, there are no classes since January, there is no doctor (and) the women are pursued when they leave in search of water or food.”
In a communiqué, the Diocesan Commission of Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Antequera Oaxaca (Codijup), the Regional Human Rights Center Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño (Barca-DH) and the Front of Social Organizations of the Left (Fosdi) reported that the mission, made up of human rights defenders from Finland, Italy, Belgium and Germany, as well as organizations adhered to the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), professors from Section 22 of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE) and members of the Network of Radios and Indigenous Communicators of the Mexican Southeast, were traveling in several vehicles when they were attacked around 2:50 PM near La Sabana, a village just before San Juan Copala, by armed men posted at the side of the road.
The caravan was trying to deliver food, clothing and blankets to the community of the autonomous, because in the last two weeks the Ubisort closed the only access to San Juan Copala. At the same time, the observers intended to supervise the return of the professors from Section 22 of the SNTE –who left the village four months ago due to the violence– and to document the abuses against the population.
Just this Monday, the Ubisort's leader, Rufino Juárez, declared to reporters that “under no circumstance” would they permit the caravan's entry and he would not respond as to “what might happen.”
In an interview with a local radio station, Jorge Albino, inhabitant of the autonomous municipality, confirmed the attack on the group, which he calculated was composed of 40 persons. “They were entering the autonomous municipality when they were attacked with fire arms. The number of injured and disappeared is not known and as of now only two dead are known," he said.
In a communiqué, the state's Secretary General de Government lamented the acts but separated himself from them, because “at no time did he have formal knowledge of the caravan or of its objectives, participants, itinerary and organization.
“Unofficially it is known that the caravan was being realized at the initiative of the authorities of San Juan Copala's municipal agency without taking into account the conditions that rein in the zone, that are not conducive to this type of action, because of the social problem existing in the region.
“We have unconfirmed information that at approximately 4:00 PM, at the entrance to San Juan Copala, some of the vehicles were hit by shots, resulting in an injury to Mónica Citlalli Santiago Ortiz,” who was transported to the IMSS rural hospital # 66, in Santiago Juxtlahuaca.
The state government maintained that it has impelled dialogue between the Ubisort, the MULT-I and the Triqui Unification and Struggle Movement.
The State attorney General of Justice has opened an investigation.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Wednesday, April 28, 2010