Oaxaca: escalation follows assassination of activist
Protesters held four people captive for hours Aug. 11, charging they were behind the assassination of a protester in the conflicted southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. The Federal Agency of Investigation said protesters were finally induced to turn the captives over to its agents at a local television station that had been seized by the protesters. The protesters demand the four be charged in the death of Jose Jimenez, 50, who was killed the previous day during a march by the Popular Assembly of the State of Oaxaca (APPO) calling for the resignation of Gov. Ulises Ruiz. The shots were fired from a house as the march of some 8,000 protesters passed; protesters later set fire to the house. Jimenez, a mechanic and the husband of a striking teacher, was dead on arrival at hospital. APPO, which accuses the governor of using force to repress dissent and rigging the 2004 election to win office, charged Ruiz was behind the shooting. The governor denied the allegations and condemned the violence. (Seattle Times, AP, Aug. 12; La Jornada, Aug. 11) The Oaxaca state government has threatened to arrest all APPO leaders. Four have already been arrested, and APPO charges three more were "disappeared" the night of Aug. 10 (La Jornada, Aug. 11) One of the arrested APPO leaders, German Mendoza Nube, is a paraplegic who suffers from diabetes. Witnesses say he was beaten with a rifle butt when he was arrested by plainclothes state police. (La Jornada, Aug. 10)
In related news, student supporters of APPO who have seized control of the radio station at Benito Juarez Autonomous University reported Aug. 9 that the transmitter had been sabotaged the previous night with sulfuric acid. They said they had detained three "porros" (provocateurs) who were responsible. (La Jornada, Aug. 10)
Attacks are also reported on APPO supporters in remote rural areas of the state. On Aug. 9, three Triqui indigenous leaders from the Independent Movement of Triqui Unification and Struggle (MULTI) were killed in an ambush by unknown gunmen on a mountain road. (La Jornada, Aug. 10)
See our last post on Mexico and the Oaxaca crisis.