Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: Sosa denies leadership role in APPO. Government says, "We don’t negotiate."

Blogger down all morning. I'm just now able to post.

Lots of news to report today.

Flavio Sosa, appearing before a Ministerio Público in Mexico City, denied having any leadership role in APPO. "Yo soy miembro de un partido, el PRD," he said. (I’m a member of a party, the PRD) Sosa appeared before the MP with a makeover -- his hair cut and beard and moustache shaved. His own lawyer, Eduardo Miranda Esquivel, said he did not recognize him at first. Sosa said that APPO’s leadership was comprised of 200 persons and the he, Sosa, was a member of the Assembly Organizing Commission.

When asked by the MP, “What is the purpose of APPO?” Sosa at first replied, "That’s a good question." After a few seconds, he said, "To promote democracy in Oaxaca." Reforma, a little tired of having its reporters and photographers repeatedly assaulted and beaten by APPO thugs, cattily points out that Sosa, "Wore himself out for six months claiming that APPO’s purpose was to get rid of Governor Ulises Ruiz."

Sosa launched his defense strategy which will be, besides the makeover in his appearance, that Ulises Ruiz Ortiz salted the APPO ranks with infiltrators who were the ones who committed all of the crimes. Sosa has been charged with assault, both simple and aggravated, arson, kidnapping and armed robbery, all committed as a part of an organized gang, which is also illegal here.

For its part, the office of the Secretary of Interior said that it would not "negotiate" with anyone. A spokesman said that Interior would facilitate dialog with people in Oaxaca in an effort to resolve differences but would not negotiate with APPO nor anyone else.

The government’s statements came after four members of APPO met with government representatives and were in response to APPO’s comments about the firing of Governor Ruiz Ortiz and "ongoing negotiations". The government spokesman pointed out that any action taken in Oaxaca would be within the law and institutionally and there had not been and would not be any negotiations.

The APPO delegation arrived with demand in hand that Ruiz Ortiz leave the government. The government responded that "We are working for Oaxaca. We are not considering whether any particular person goes or any person stays." The government did promise not to arrest any of the members of the APPO group, at last through Friday when a second meeting is scheduled.

The APPO group demanded that the new Secretary of the Interior himself, Francisco Ramírez, be present at Friday’s meeting. Interior said it would let them now on Friday.

And here is something you may find interesting. At the press conference two hours before his capture and arrest, Flavio Sosa, who now claims not to be an APPO leader, said, "APPO will willingly sit down with the government and talk. The new president and Secretary of Interior must lead the way. We insist that Oaxaca will lead the country in the transition (from Fox to Calderón) or in confrontation. They (the new government) must choose the road." When asked about his demand of safe conduct, Sosa said he was waiting for the government’s answer. 2 ½ hours later he got it.

Political pundits are claiming that the arrest of the APPO leaders in Mexico City on federal charges was a reward to the PRI by Calderón for the PRI’s standing with the PAN against the PRD in the Chamber of Deputies and helping to guarantee that Calderón could take the oath of office last Friday.

Meanwhile, in Oaxaca, the state Secretary of Government Policy, Heliodoro Díaz, absolved the state from any responsibility for arrests and disappearances of APPO activists. He said that the federales, (the PFP) and APPO were responsible.

He reiterated the state government’s willingness to engage in a dialog "very seriously, more concretely and with more proficiency, unless they want a confrontation."

Note: I received an Email a couple of weeks ago from a gentleman who said he was a witness to the entrance of the PFP into the city. He said he was happy to see the PFP but not so happy to see the "federales". Federales and PFP are the same thing. I started using the word "federales" a couple of months ago in place of the English "feds", which means "federal forces". There are no "federales", as such, in Mexico. The term federales comes from back in the 1910 revolution when Mexicans referred to Diaz’s troops as federales. No one calls them that today. In Mexico the term federales still carries negative connotations. Up along the border they are called "rurales" but I’ve never heard that word used anywhere south of Tamaulipas.

APPO is claiming that there are 214 of its followers in custody, which pretty effectively puts the lie to the wild claims of 500 or more being made by the PRD, Indy Media, Narco News and the Anglican priestess, Emilie Smith.

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