In Oaxaca, Ulises Ruiz send assassinate the leader of CODEP

junio 11, 2009

ulises 2For several weeks, from the highest levels of the government of [Oaxaca governor] Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, a state-wide campaign of defamation, harassment and persecution has been orchestrated and unleashed against the Committee in Defense of the Rights of the People (CODEP-APPO), a campaign that brings as one of its first consequences the assassination of Sergio Martínez Vásquez, member of the State Council of CODEP. It is important to mention that this calculated murder was preceded by the police surveillance and tracking of our offices and of veiled and open threats against different members of CODEP.

Comrade Sergio worked as a taxi driver and according to initial reports, yesterday, June 7, he made a trip to the Pino Suarez agency in the district of Juxtlahuaca, Oaxaca, was assassinated last night with high-powered weapons, and his body was found today, June 8, around seven in the morning. The way in which it was done and due to some information gathered everything points to the fact that the material actors of this assassination were paramilitary groups that Ulises Ruiz has operating in the region.
It is clear that the campaign against CODEP, orchestrated by the government and carried out by different individuals and groups in the state, is trying to destroy one of the oldest and most important organizations in the state (this year we turn 28), made up of indigenous Mixtec, Triqui, Zapotec and Mazatec communities, now that we have been denouncing groups that in brazen or hidden ways have acted on behalf of state or federal government interests, dividing movements, taking control of them, or completely surrendering them in exchange for group or personal benefits and cushy positions. It is a situation that has intensified as a result of CODEP’s work against the mines in the Ocotlán Valley communities, work which has extended to other regions in the state and has linked up with other ecological struggles on a national level.

policia reprimiendo en las minas de ocotlanAs part of the aggressions against CODEP it is pertinent to mention that during the removal of the blockade of the mine in San José del Progreso, Ocotlán, after almost beating to death comrade Agustín Ríos, when the effects of the beating began to appear, the government issued arrest warrants for this comrade and several other comrades, including those who were not in the state, such as Professor Jaquelina López Almazán, which is evidence of URO’s discretionary and perverse application of the law.
As a result of the assassination of comrade Sergio Martínez Vásquez, and the attacks and assaults that aim to isolate and destroy CODEP, we call for the broadest solidarity from individuals and organizations, nationally and internationally, to participate and call widespread attention to the denunciations and information about the activities we will be carrying out.

AS A RESULT OF THE ABOVE, WE DEMAND:
1. AN IMMEDIATE EXPLANATION REGRADING THE MURDER OF COMRADE SERGIO MARTINEZ VASQUEZ.
2. AN END TO THE AGGRESSION AND HARASSMENT UNLEASHED AGAINST CODEP.
3. THE JAILING OF ULISES RUIZ ORTIZ FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST THE PEOPLE OF OAXACA.
• WE HOLD THE GOVERNMENT OF ULISES RUIZ ORTIZ RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING THAT MAY HAPPEN TO MEMBERS OF CODEP.
• WE REPUDIATE THE DEFAMATION, HARASSMENT AND AGGRESSIONS AGAINST CODEP
THREE YEARS SINCE THE ATTEMPTED DISPLACEMENT,
FOR OUR DEAD, DISAPPEARED, AND POLITICAL PRISONERS,
NEVER FORGIVE, NEVER FORGET!

COMMITTEE IN DEFENSE OF THE RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE – POPULAR ASSEMBLY OF THE PEOPLE OF OAXACA

COMITÉ DE DEFENSA DE LOS DERECHOS DEL PUEBLO-ASAMBLEA POPULAR DE LOS PUEBLOS DE OAXACA

CODEP-APPO


Armed Police Raid Communities around Trinidad Mine Oaxacan civilians blockade road, occupy mine to keep Fortuna off their land

mayo 8, 2009

http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/2644

Armed Police Raid Communities around Trinidad Mine
Oaxacan civilians blockade road, occupy mine to keep Fortuna off their land

by Komala Ramachandra

SAN JOSÉ DEL PROGRESO, OAXACA–Early on the morning of May 6, a helicopter was spotted flying low near the Canadian-owned Trinidad mine in San José del Progreso, Mexico. In the hours following, approximately 150 trucks filled with between 740 and 2500 police arrived at the mine site.

The silver mine has been peacefully blockaded by community members since March 16.

Fear of environmental contamination and dwindling water resources are motivating the nearly two-month-long permanent civilian occupation of the mine and all its installations. Neither the Mexican government nor Fortuna Silver, the mine’s operator, was able to reach an agreement with protesters, so police were sent in to clear the blockade.

An urgent action issued yesterday by Comité de Defensa de Los Derechos del Pueblo (CODEP) describes how “twenty-five hundred members of the federal police, AFI, judicial police, and the bomb corps entered the mine with a wealth of weapons: using tear gas, shots from various types of firearms, police dogs, savagely beating the people, and searching the homes of the people who were peacefully guarding access to the mine.”

Eye-witnesses estimate that there were approximately 150 people from the community blocking the mine when the police arrived.

During the raid, police began arbitrarily entering and searching homes, as well as confiscating personal possessions in the community of Magdalena, and in the municipality San José del Progreso. They were also arresting people randomly on the streets.

Twenty-three people, and possibly as many as 28, were detained. At least two people, and likely several more, are missing. As of May 7, the state had released 19 people, while at least four remain incarcerated.

“We are struggling for our lives and we are defending our territory, the territory where we were born, raised, lived and will probably die,” said one resident from the community of Magdalena, Ocotlán. “We sometimes forget that we poor people have the right to life, that we poor people can also defend all that we have.”

Environmental concerns are at the forefront of the protests led by Indigenous Zapotec people against Fortuna.

Independent laboratory tests by Sanica, a clinical analysis laboratory, confirmed the presence of cyanide, mercury, arsenic, and lead contamination in regional water supplies stemming from activities at Trinidad and other local mines.

Reports of the deaths of at least twenty heads of cattle in the last three months have provoked outrage among residents.

They are also concerned with the mine’s massive water demands.

“All the water that is at the bottom is water that the company moved down to be able to work at the lowest levels of the mine,” said one local farmer. “Now, all the water is contaminated with different heavy metals and it’s coming up to contaminate soil on the surface.”

During the first stage of exploration, the water table had already dropped noticeably.

The primary mine shaft, which has been mined since colonial times, is estimated to be a few kilometers deep. Rising water levels inside the mine currently only permit access to 960 meters.

In response to the environmental effects that are starting to make themselves manifest after only three years of exploration, the residents of San José del Progreso held a community assembly on March 14. There, the community decided they wanted the mining company to leave.

According to Ríos Cruz, “Our objective is the cancellation of the project, and the outright refusal from every one of the communities, a ‘No’ to mining.” Ríos Cruz, a resident of nearby Ocotlán and a member of CODEP, has since been disappeared, according to his family.

“All the authorities, state, federal and some municipal, are delivering our homeland, our soil, our land to the companies, but we can’t give the land away. It is our children’s and we are simply taking care of it for the moment.”

Local authorities, most notably the mayor Venancio Oscar Martínez Rivera, Quintín Vásquez Rosario, and the head of the commission that administers the ejido, stood opposed to the decision of the people, going as far as to threaten them if they dared take action against the mine.

Residents who attended a meeting with authorities on March 24 allege that the mayor used a gun to physically threaten members of the Coordination in Defense of the Natural Resources and Our Mother Earth, a group that was formed earlier in the year to organize resistance to the mine.

El Imparcial, a local newspaper, reported that the local officials are being paid by the company to maintain their support for the project, and that the mining company has armed paramilitary groups to intimidate people who oppose the project.

Regardless of these tactics, people decided to blockade the mine site. Days after the closing of the mine, several trucks filled with soldiers arrived at the mine site.

When the people refused to give entry to the army, soldiers began to provoke and threaten them. When the army did gain access to the site, they proceeded to remove more than 30 tons of explosive material from the tunnels. This shocked local residents, and generated more questions about the safety and environmental impacts of that quantity of explosives.

A month into the occupation of the mine, the members of San José del Progreso and neighboring communities Maguey Largo and Magdalena, among several others, decided to shut down a federal highway between the capital city of Oaxaca and the coastal town of Puerto Ángel.

They entered the highway in the early hours of April 20 and declared that they would not lift the blockade until the authorities responded to their demands.

The following day, at least nine trucks of riot police and one truck of soldiers arrived to oust blockaders. An agreement was reached to end the road blockades in exchange for negotiations with the state government, which have thus far not borne fruit.

Previous to the May 6 raid on the mine site, there were reports of harassment and threats by police against people resisting the mine. Ríos Cruz was among those threatened by police.

****

Fortuna Silver has responded with demands that the government protect their nearly $30 million worth of investments in the mine.

The company, through its fully owned subsidiary Cuzcatlán, holds dozens of concessions that cover tens of thousands of hectares of land. (The average farmer in Ocotlán owns less than 5 hectares.)

Simon Ridgway, a Canadian citizen and the chairperson of Fortuna Silver, has also worked for Glamis Gold and Radius Gold. Ridgway left Honduras in 2000 after the Special Prosecutor’s Office on the Environment issued a warrant for his arrest, related to Glamis Gold’s charges for crimes including water usurpation, aggravated damages, forest crimes and disobedience to authority. The warrant against Ridgway was never executed.

In a press conference in late April, Canadian trade and environmental officials Paul Connors and Paula Caldwell St. Onge said the Canadian government embraces corporate social responsibility, and that Canadian companies in Mexico respect that position. They also indicated that the Trinidad mine could be in production within a year.

At the same press conference, Mexican government officials went on to deny reports that the water around Trinidad is contaminated or that any animals have died as a result.

Protests that shut down the mine were dismissed as “a media stunt by people that are certainly trying to obtain benefits,” according to Joaquín Rodríguez Palacios, sub-secretary to Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, the controversial governor of Oaxaca. “It’s a small group, we all know it, who have a protagonistic attitude.”

As this article went to press, the Trinidad mine was still occupied by police forces, and has yet to recommence operations.

Click here for videos and updates about the repression in Ocotlán.

Komala Ramachandra is a law student at Harvard who has been working in Oaxaca for the last seven months.


URGENT ACTION

mayo 8, 2009

URGENT ACTION

THE GOVERNMENTS OF FELIPE CALDERON and ULISES RUIZ, REPRESS THE PEOPLE OF OAXACA WHO DEFEND THE ENVIRONMENT AND ITS NATURAL RESOURCES
On Wednesday May 6 2009, at around 8:30 AM, with excessive violence; using teargas, with shots from different firearms, police dogs, beating our compañeros (comrades) savagely and searching the homes, of those who were peacefully keeping guard at the entrance of the mine; more than 2500 elements of the FEDERAL, AFI (Federal Agency of Investigation), and JUDICIAL police forces and fire-fighting forces entered. Members of the media who were also present were also beaten and had their access to the area blocked, from very early on a helicopter was flying above, at about 15 or 20 metres height, terrorizing the population.

In a generalized manner, they have detained 20 compañeros: Ignacio Vásquez Gómez, Hilario Vásquez, Joaquín López, Víctor Sánchez Martínez, Juan García, Elías López, Bernardo Vásquez Gómez, Silvino Vásquez Mérida, Alfonso Ruiz, Alfonso Rodrigo López, Luis Ruiz Martínez, Víctor Ruiz Martínez, Juan Carlos López, Agripina Vásquez Sánchez, Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, Víctor Ortiz Hernández, Apolinar García, Carmela González, Ubaldo González, all from San José del Progreso and Alejandro Aquino Cosme from Magdalena Ocotlán.

Between 12:00 and 12:30 pm, the police seige in all the forces present was reinforced in order to search house by house the municipality of Magdalena Ocotlán and they were detaining whoever was in the street–such that there are now 20 detained.

With this operation, the police siege continues on the community of San José del Progreso, while the communities of Magdalena Ocotlán and Santa Lucia, El Maguey Largo, are re-organizing themselves, to break the police siege on San José del Progreso, Ocotlán, as well as organizing actions for the freedom of the detained.

The intents to dialogue with the Ministry of Environment (SEMARNAT) and the Ministry of Economy, PROFEPA, National Water Commission, and with the Ministry of Governance, have not been successful–these are the institutions that give permissions to mine, according to an environmental impact study, to mining company CUZCATLAN (subsidiary of Fortuna Silver Mines). It is necessary to recognize who the real owners of the land are.

However, what has prevailed has been the deceptions and the lies of the company CUZCATLAN (subsidiary of Fortuna Silver Mines), because as one can see on May 6, today, the Federal and State governments are giving all of their support to the mining companies, without considering the opinion of the people, that are being affected by the consequences of the poisoining of the water, soil, atmosphere, by the noise, the destruction of the cements of the homes, as a consequence of the dynamite explosions that the mining company carries out at night. None of the actions that we have peacefully carried out has been able to generate sensibility-compassion with the authorities so that the demands of the people be heard. This is shown by Felipe Calderon’s support on April 21 on national TV and in the newspapers, of the mining companies in Mexico, which shows that the government of Felipe Calderon is kneeling before foreign companies.

In the face of this situation, we demand:
• An end to the brutal repression and violation of human rights that the national
• Immediate freedom to the political prisoners of the communities Valle de Ocotlán and the state of Oaxaca.
• Immediate and unconditional exit-departure of the mining companies that poison the water and destroy the environment.
• That the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH), guarantees the physical and psychological security of the detained and that it pronounce itself against the violation of human rights committed in the attacks.
• Out of Oaxaca to the criminal Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (the governor of the state).

We ask organizations and national and international celebrities-people to pronounce themselves against the repression and violation of human rights that is being committed in Mexico against the indigenous that defend the environment and its natural resources, sending letters of condemnation to the Mexican and Oaxacan State governments, to the Mexican Embassies in your respective countries, and where conditions exist, hold protests of condemnation to these actions by the spurious governments of Felipe Calderón y Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.

SINCERELY
“FOR LIFE, WE DEFEND OUR MOTHER EARTH”
COUNCIL OF THE POPULAR MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF SAN JOSÉ DEL PROGRESO OCOTLÁN
COMITÉ DE DEFENSA DE LOS DERECHOS DEL PUEBLO (CODEP) (Committee of Defense of the Rights of the People)
COORDINADORA EN DEFENSA DE LOS RECURSOS NATURALES Y NUESTRA MADRE TIERRA DEL VALLE DE OCOTLÁN – EJUTLA (Coordinating Body in Defense of the Natural Resources and our Mother Earth of the Valley of Ocotlan)

SAMPLE MESSAGE

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

We have been made aware, that the governments of Felipe Calderón and Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, have unleashed a violent repression against the indigenous communities of San José del Progreso and Magdalena Ocotlán, for defending the environment and its natural resources, by opposing the establishment of the mines of FORTUNA SILVER MINES Y CUZCATLÁN, who, in addition to highly contaminating and predatory towards the environment, we have been told, have started their work without having the proper permissions and documentation established by the corresponding laws. We are concerned that the Mexican government represses its people and violates human rights in benefit of companies that do not even act according to national laws.

Because of the abovementioned, we demand:
• The immediate suspension of repression and violation of human rights of the indigenous people of the Valleys of Ocotlan, for the “crime” of defending the environment and its natural resources, which should be a priority of all governments of the world.
• The immediate and unconditoinal release of all persons unjustly detained, because we know of the Mexican government’s ability to fabricate crimes against social activists.
• The fulfillment of the demands of the people for the exit-departure of the mining companies of the Valley of Ocotlan, for contaminating the water and the environment.

We hope that your response to this petition will be positive. We will keep attentive to the happenings in San José del Progreso Ocotlán, Oaxaca.

SIGNATURE

SEND YOUR LETTERS TO

LIC. FELIPE CALDERON HINOJOSA
PRESIDENTE CONSTITUCIONAL DE MÉXICO (President)
FAX (55) 52 77 23 76
felipe.calderon@presidencia.gob.mx

Ministro Presidente Guillermo I. Ortiz Mayagoitia
Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (Supreme Court of the Nation)
portalSCJN@mail.scjn.gob.mx

FERNANDO FRANCISCO GÓMEZ MONT
SECRETARIO DE GOBERNACIÓN
DIRECCIÓN: BUCARELI 99 EDIFICIO COBIAN PISO 1 JUÁREZ
CUAUHTÉMOC, DISTRITO FEDERAL, 06600
CORREO: secretario@segob.gob.mx

LIC. EDUARDO MEDINA MORA ICAZA
PROCURADOR GENERAL DE LA REPÚBLICA (Attorney General)
TEL. (55) 53 46 09 08 MAIL: ofproc@pgr.gob.mx

DR. JOSÉ LUIS SOBERANES
PDTE. DE LA COMISIÓN NACIONAL DE DERECHOS HUMANOS (President of the National Human Rights Commission)
FAX (55) 56 81 71 99, correo@cndh.gob.mx

RPTE. DE LA OFICINA DEL ALTO COMISIONADO PARA LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS EN MEXICO (Representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights In Mexico)
FAX: (55) 52812409
MAIL: oacnudh@hchr.org.mx

LIC. ULISES RUIZ ORTIZ
GOBERNADOR DEL ESTADO DE OAXACA (Oaxaca State Governor)
CARRETERA OAXACA-PUERTO ÁNGEL, KM. 9.5,
SANTA MARÍA COYOTEPEC, OAXACA C.P. 71254,
OAXACA MÉXICO EMAIL: gobernador@oaxaca.gob.mx
Fax: (+52) 951 502 0530


ONCE AGAIN THE ILLEGITIMATE AND FASCIST GOVERNMENTS OF FELIPE CALDERON AND ULISES RUIZ ORTIZ VIOLATE THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN OAXACA

octubre 28, 2008

The authoritarianism which has characterized the ILLEGETIMATE governments of Felipe Calderón and Ulises Ruiz Ortiz has sharpened in Oaxaca. The government has used police and para-police operatives against members of the APPO, under the supposed struggle against narcotraficking and organized crime as the following events show:
Today, October 25 at approximately one o’clcokc in the morning, with excessive violence, without showing any search order or any accusations, more than twenty persons of the PFP and the AFI entered the residence of Miguel Cabrera at 649, colonia Centro of the city of Oaxaca, destroying whatever they found int heir path, threatening with high powered weapons and beating the compañero Luis Ramón González López and the compañera Isabel and their children and grandson who is only five years old. They are all members of the Comité de Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo, (Committee for Defense of the Rights of the People) an organization which participates in the Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca (CODEP-APPO). Under the pretext of an operation against organized crime they violated the human rights of men, women and children without the State and National Commission for Human Rights (Comisión Estatal y Nacional de los Derechos Humanos) doing anything against this policy of state terrorism.
The CODEP-APPO is more than 25 years old, and of being in this space, through its Committee for the Defense of the Rights of Women (CODEM), in search of a dignified life for 17 families who live there, the majority of them indigenous mothers who count only on the protection and information of the organization for leaving and caring for their children, who were born and raised here. Some of us are teachers, others do domestic work to sustain our families. The PFP and the AFI, destroyed the few material goods we possessed, and attacked the well-being and health of our poor families. Now one clearly feels that the federal judicial reform has served the government by supporting its actions against the members of social movements, by authorizing the unlawful breaking and entering of a dimension which characterize a GESTAPO.

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THERE HAVE STARTED TO SURFACE THE SECRET TOMBS OF THOSE ASSASSINATED BY THE REGIME OF ULISES RUIZ ORTIZ

agosto 9, 2008

TO THE PEOPLE OF OAXACA
TO THE PEOPLE OF MEXICO
TO THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD

There have started to surface the secret tombs of those assassinated by the regime of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (URO) in 2006 – 2007 during the uprising of the people of Oaxaca which called for the removal from office of this criminal.

The exhumation of eight bodies from one of these clandestine graves in the Panteón Jardín, two of them children and six adults, shows in a blunt way the policy of state terrorism and para-militarism which the criminal Ulises Ruiz developed to try to contain the dissidence of Oaxaqueños, for all the crimes, violations of human rights and other atrocities which this assassin has committed against the peoples, authorities and organizations since his imposition as governor of Oaxaca.

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PROTEST IN CAMBRIDGE

febrero 10, 2008

PROTEST MEXICAN PRESIDENT FELIPE CALDERON’S

VISIT TO CAMBRIDGE , Massachusetts

Monday, February 11, 2008 – 6:00pm

In front of:

Harvard’s John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum

79 JFK Street, Cambridge.

Leer el resto de esta entrada »


Agreements, tasks and pronouncements APPO

enero 28, 2008

The agreements, tasks and pronouncements of the Extra-ordinary Assembly of the expanded council of the APPO which took place on January 19, 2008 are now available to the public.

Agreements (6)
1. To organize the Extraordinary state assembly  to take place on March 1 and 2, 2008, with the goal of reorganizing and reworking the structure of the APPO

2. To promote  mobilization for February 8, 2008 in coordination with the youth assembly, Section 22, and the Oaxaca society to  protest the raise in price for public transport, against repression, liberty for the political prisoners and the recovery by Section 22 of the  schools put into the hands of Section 59.

3. To hand over to the Supreme Court on January 24 the report on events of 2006 and 2007, simultaneously with making the report available to other government offices. This is the accounting of the crimes committed by the governor of  the state. What makes it especially interesting is that this same Supreme Court exonerated Marin, the governor of Puebla, in the face of overwhelming evidence of his complicity in a pederasty ring. The court was divided–  what will happen with URO? This divided court seems to be worth watching.

Tasks (5)

1. To consult with the families of the fallen, jailed, arrested, etc to head a march to the city of Mexico to accompany the handing over of the report to the Supreme Court.

2. Carry out a socioeconomic poll regarding the raise in fares, installation of parking meters, sentiments about the government with the heads of families of schools, colonias, workplaces.

4. Join an event organized by the piqueteros Argentinos (Hijos de la plaza de mayo) January 27, 2008 in the Carmen Alto plazuela.

5. Promote the march called by COMO for February 2 at 16:00 from Llano Park to the zocolo
 

Pronouncements (2)

1. call for producing the disappeared Chatino, Lauro Juarez


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