For 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.
As 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