dirty war in mexico (1970-80) - update
- Sun, 2 Sep 2007
From: Robert Jereski justiceforbrad@lists
dirty war in mexico (1970-80) - update for today
The u.s. congress will decide in the next month or two whether to provide further weapons and 'training' to the mexican police and military; activists focused on oaxaca and mexico might take inventory of the last decades and the privileged position we in the u.s. have to allow us to take real, effective steps together to address and end the violence in mexico for which our govt (and therefore we) bear some responsibility.
Five police offices were arrested on August 27, according to La Noticias, for the beating on July 16 of Emeterio Marino Cruz, who fell into a coma as a result of blows to his head administered by police after he had been taken into custody. Emeterio was reported dead; he was not. Instead he has come out of the coma unable to speak, walk, or use the right side of his body. He was transferred from the hospital to his home this week. Photos show a man with a baseball cap perched lopsided on his head, his body ruined, his face distorted, weeping at the sight of his home, as he was carried to the door in a wheelchair.
Two other men, teachers, were also attacked by police that same day and their case is also being "investigated".
The five detained men include one from the Federal Preventive Police (PFP), three Municipal Police of Oaxaca, and one member of the Bank, Industrial and Commercial Police. They were clearly identified in videos and photos taken at the time. The occasion was the teargas and beating confrontation with the APPO and teachers as they tried to enter Fortin Hill for the presentation of a people's Guelaguetza.
So now there will be an "investigation" to see if the assailants, or the coordinator of Public Security, or the Secretary of Citizen Protection, or anyone else of this Oaxaca government, should be held responsible.
In the history of human rights violations, going all the way back to the 1960s and 70s, to my knowledge no government official has been convicted of abuse of power, or murder, or assault.
Coincidentally, the national forum entitled "Twenty-First Century: Forced Disappearance, A Current Policy in the Nation of Mexico" (Siglo XXI: La DesperaciÃ³n Forzada, Una PolÃtica Vigente en el Estado Mexicano) was held at the Law School in Oaxaca center on Friday, August 28. I guess the audience was about one hundred fifty. Diego Orsorno didn't make it; a chapter of his book was read aloud by someone.
The other speakers were to my ear, quite good, intelligent, thoughtful. The stuff below was written fo narco, and may show up there in a formal way. I did take photos, but they are the usual talking heads, not too exciting visually...
"There's no such thing as a clean war," asserted Manuel Martinez Camarillo, Doctor of Sociology emeritus from the Benemerito University of Puebla, the third of nine presenters at the forum. Martinez sees the situation as a confrontation of the power of brute force meeting the power of resistance. There is no "return of the dirty war," he claims, but a permanent intense war of extermination. Cultures, people and languages disappear due to socio-economic situations. Disappearance by force is the prerogative of the state, and has been used for decades, especially against indigenous leaders in Oaxaca.
The event also observed the recent disappearance of two Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) activists, plus that of a third EPR man who vanished three decades ago. On the panel appeared the sister of that man, who told us she didn't recognize him from the photo the event was using -there's some confusion about identities and names, but she didn't say that, I did.
Another woman involved for reasons of family was NadÃn Reyes Maldonado, from the Associacion Hasta Encontrarlos, who served as moderator. Her voice broke after the testimony of Juan Sosa Maldonado, who was abducted and tortured for 25 days before being imprisoned in the maximum security facility of La Palma. Many of the women in the audience wept. It is clear that the burden of seeking the disappeared, and mounting anti-government campaigns, falls on the wives, mothers, and sisters.
Sosa testified to the arrests in Loxicha of persons like himself, against whom charges were never substantiated although his imprisonment lasted from 1998 until 2007. He declared, "The worst is not the torture...they try to make us forget we are human beings...the worst is for the family who doesn't know where we are." The nine years of dirty war against the Zapotecs in Loxicha, according to Sosa, affects not only social struggles but families who don't dare to file a complaint. "Keeping silence is the worst we can do," he went on. "Being silent is a guarantee for the police, military and politicians so that they can continue with impunity. Surely many (of the disappeared) are dead, but their families want to know where they are buried, to at least place a flower." Sosa's voice rose in anger and subsided. "Our children don't know us or where we went... Those who were not interested in politics are now raising their voices to overcome their fear. Say no to silence, denounce the torturers. We know who they are and the interminable list of those who must be held responsible. Against illegal arbitrary arrests we must keep on raising our voice," he asserted, and overcome the "mechanisms of intimidation."
Also referring to Loxicha, the Oaxaca lawyer Israel Ochoa Lara spoke of ten men, including an artist, a teacher and a reporter, who vanished in 1996. He said the same thing is taking place now not just in Oaxaca, where about thirty people have been disappeared, but also in Guerrero, Chiapas, Veracruz, MichoacÃ¡n, and Mexico DF. Not surprisingly these are states which also established popular assemblies similar to those of the Popular Movement of Oaxaca.
Ochoa pointed out that when people are grabbed with no arrest warrant it is very difficult to find them. The families must search in various places to see if the missing person has been held under a different name, so that identification requires a physical presence. "The authorities do not respond with any aid to find them. When the missing are finally located the authorities don't admit they have been held. With no explanation judges agreed to jail them on unfounded accusations."
In other words, when a governor, as in Oaxaca, controls the judicial system as well as the police, there is no justice. According to Adrian RamÃrez Lopez, the president of the Mexican League for Human Rights (Limeddh), there is no legal method to demand the presentation of these illegally kidnapped people. The only recourse is an appeal to international and national voices, using reporters and the families of the disappeared, and all those who assist in various organizations. It comes down to creating a public scandal and a public embarrassment for the person in authority. So here's my thanks to those of you who have answered calls to email and write embassies and officials, to besiege them with our voices.
Ramirez told the audience, "to fight for the disappeared is to fight for human rights and against impunity, naming the guilty by name, and showing photographs," as was the case with Emeterio's assailants. "Historic judgments catch up with people like Pinochet and Echeverria. Most important is the use of social organizations to educate and demand (the end to impunity); the media; unity among organizations against impunity; and La Otra CampaÃ±a to demand freedom for political prisoners." Ramirez seeks to confront the state and national government's use of force. The occupation of Oaxaca by the PFP reflects an agreement between Felipe Calderon and Ulises Ruiz to use judicial and political repression against individuals, one by one, often at random, to create fear and intimidate any opposition. But things are different than they were in the 70s, and 80s, he believes, because of international backing. "Regarding the social cost paid by the movement's activists, now we can say go and find your disappeared. Carry your babies on your back and your bag of food. Go find them. We can help you."
In the past year Amnesty International among other Human Rights organizations has visited Oaxaca more than once and declared that violations took place. The Mexico national committee to investigate human rights violations has been forced to send investigators for a second time; the first time they declared Ulises Ruiz in violation but nothing happened.
The forum sponsors were the Association Until They are Found (La AssociaciÃ³n Hasta Encontrarlos), The Association of Families of the Detained Disappeared and Victims of Violations of Human Rights in Mexico (AFADEM, in its Spanish initials), The Foundation Diego Lucero, and Limeddh.