Monday, January 22, 2007

Oaxaca, Mexico: Bullets instead of ballots still the rule in Oaxaca

Two opposition political leaders have been assassinated in the past five days in Oaxaca state.

On Thursday past, indigenous leader Roberto García was gunned down in San Juan Copala. García had just announced that his indigenous group would declare the town an "autonomous" zone.

In Mexico there are about 500 villages and towns ruled by "usos y costumbres". The federal government permits these indigenous areas to be governed by the people according to traditional indigenous customs, usually by a committee of tribal elders. It is somewhat like the Indian Reservation governments in the United States or First Nations reserves governments in Canada.

But not in San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, Mexico.

The previous day, in Santo Domingo de Morelos, Pochutla, Oaxaca, Fructuoso Pedro García, was gunned down right in front of his wife. He had the day before announced his candidacy for municipal president. He was a member of the PRD.

This news broke several days after the murder because, as allege his family members and political allies, Oaxaca Attorney General Lizbeth Caña sealed the area and released no information to the press, "to avoid the political implications and allow the murderers to escape."

García's family is preparing to come to this, the capitol city, along with a contingent of townspeople to demand Caña's resignation and that the assassins be found and brought to justice.

He was shot nine times in the back by two subjects who escaped. Also wounded in the attack was a 15 year-old girl who happened to be passing by. Her leg is shattered and docors say they will probably have to remove it.

The state PRD accused the current Municipal President, of San Domingo de Morelos, Pochutla, Roberto José Cortez, of ordering the murder.

"The Municipal President knew that Mr. Fructuoso would win the elction and that would be a danger to them (the PRI) because there have been a lot of problems with the municipal government. This must be the first line of investigation," said Raymundo Carmona Laredo, board member of the PRD.

He added that the State Attorney General and not initiated any investigation of any alleged political implications, much less arrested anyone.

In the U.S. and Canada we play Rock, Scissors, Paper. In Mexico they play Lead, Paper, More Lead.

By Susan Waxley, Oaxaca, Mexico

Please visit the Pale Horse Galleries online store
for art, gifts and collectibles -- all hand made
by Mexican indigenous artists.

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