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3 COMMUNIQUÉ in Solidarity with Oaxaca and Condemnation of Armed Attack on the Caravan

By • May 1st, 2010 • Category: News & Analysis

Source: El Enemigo Común –

Communiqué from VOCAL about the Armed Attack on the Caravan

Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca. April 29, 2010.

To the news media
To the peoples of Oaxaca
To the peoples of Mexico
To the people of the world


Armed attack on the Support and Solidarity Caravan to the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala, Oaxaca

On April 27, 2010, brutal state and paramilitary repression came down on the autonomy process being constructed in the San Juan Copala community. The Caravan was fired upon approximately 4 km before reaching the La Sabana community, where the road was blocked with stones. In this cowardly attack, around 15 paramilitaries at the service of the killer Ulises Ruiz Ortiz’s government used firearms of an unknown caliber that left the vehicles destroyed.

We are sorry to say that two comrades lost their lives in this paramilitary attack. They are CACTUS member ALBERTA CARIÑO TRUJILLO (BETI CARIÑO), whose death we deeply regret, and JYRI ANTERO JAAKKOLA, an international observer from Finland who belonged to Barco Stelle and ISI TULLI. He was a comrade who loved Oaxacan communality and volunteered to work with VOCAL on food sovereignty and climate change projects. We deeply regret the loss of our friend and brother JYRI. Both comrades died of bullet wounds to the back and the head.

Our comrade MONICA CITLALI SANTIAGO ORTIZ was wounded in the back by splinters from a rebounding bullet described as high-caliber by medical personnel of the IMSS Hospital. She was released on April 28 and her condition is completely stable.

Our comrades appeared today, April 29. At approximately 12:00 am DAVID VENEGAS REYES and NOE BAUTISTA JIMENEZ were able to get to the town of Juxtlahuaca. We hold Ulises Ruiz Ortiz and government officials at all levels responsible for anything that may happen to them on their way home. We call on human rights organizations and the news media to be vigilant.

David and Noe were in hiding in the hills with David Cilia and Érika Ramírez and have brought the news that these disappeared reporters of the Contralinea magazine are alive and need to be rescued. Érika Ramírez has not been wounded, but is dehydrated and weak. David Cilia has a bullet wound in his left foot and was grazed by a bullet in his waist. These are not wounds that put his life at risk unless he continues to go without food. We urge their immediate rescue.

Other comrades, including international observers who participated in the Caravan, are safe, although the details of their situation are not clear.


– that the government of the killer Ulises Ruiz Ortiz put an end to paramilitary attacks in the Triqui Region, and to the financing, arming and impunity of these paramilitary groups in our state;

– that the paramilitary blockade around the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala be withdrawn and that the autonomous indigenous communities be respected;

-that the physical and moral integrity of our comrades who were in the Caravan be guaranteed, especially that of RUBEN VALENCIA NUÑEZ, who was threatened with death;

-that the murders of our slain comrades ALBERTA CARIÑO TRUJILLO and JYRI ANTERO JAAKKOLA be punished;

-and that the immediate live presentation of the reporters Érika Ramírez and David Cilia be accomplished.

WE WISH TO THANK the people of Oaxaca, Mexico, the international community, and the social organizations, embassies, collectives, and groups for your visible solidarity and support, and we ask you to keep demanding the live presentation of the disappeared people and punishment for those responsible for their murders. We also ask you to demand an end to the conditions of violence imposed on the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala.

Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Freedom (VOCAL)

CACTUS communiqué on Oaxaca caravan attack

Update regarding the attack on the humanitarian mission that was visiting San Juan Copala, Oaxaca: The death of Bety Cariño is confirmed

(28/04/2010 1:15 PM)


The humanitarian caravan, comprised of international observers, human rights advocates, journalists, teachers and members of various Oaxacan organizations, which was headed to the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala, was ambushed by a group of armed men, leaving several people injured and some presumably dead.

Official information regarding the number of people dead or wounded is not available as the local government has refused to enter the area. For its part, the federal government has ignored the appeals of several civil society organizations and Deputies and Senators to go in and rescue the victims.

Only the lamentable, sad and painful death of our comrade and sister Bety Cariño, director of CACTUS and member of the Indigenous Community Radio Network of Southeast Mexico, and of Jyri Jaakkola, a Finnish human rights observer, have been confirmed.

Bety Cariño Trujillo was a human rights worker for more than 15 years; she accompanied communities in the Mixteca region, building the capacity of the indigenous peoples of the region and offering solidarity and advice to the women of the area so that they may defend their rights. Similarly, she spurred the creation of economic mutual aid networks in several communities in the area and together with several organizations succeeded in creating the Indigenous Community Radio Network of Southeast Mexico. At the time, she was accompanied by an international organization for the protection of human rights workers given the risks she faced in carrying out her work in defense of the rights of indigenous peoples.

Bety will be remembered as a comrade and tireless fighter who lost her life accompanying a humanitarian caravan that sought, as she always did, to benefit the poorest of the poor; as a reliable comrade, committed and untiring, who will join our struggles with her spirit and who will not let us stop until justice and punishment is achieved for this stupid act of barbarism and violence perpetrated by a paramilitary group which acts under the orders of the state government of Oaxaca.

At the time of sending this communique, at least six people can be considered to have been disappeared from the area of the attack.

Among the disappeared are one Belgian citizen, three members of VOCAL, and two journalists from the magazine “Contralínea” who accompanied the humanitarian mission. The state authorities have refused to enter the area to check on the status of the mission members, though according to comrades’ reports, in Juxtlahuaca there is a convoy of approximately 45 state police officers in the company of the District Attorney and specialists who were to enter the area of the attack today at 10 AM. At this moment the result of that operation is unknown.

At this moment the following are disappeared:

1. Martin Sautan – Belgium
2. David Venegas – Oaxaca – VOCAL
3. Noé Bautista – Oaxaca- VOCAL
4. Fernando Santiago – Oaxaca – Brigadas Indígenas (Indigenous Brigades)
5. David Cilia – Contralínea
6. Éricka Ramírez – Contralínea

As a result of this brutal attack against human rights defenders and international observers, of representatives of the media, and of the horrible murder of our comrade Bety Cariño, we demand that the federal and state authorities:

– Enter the area of the attack, recover the bodies, rescue the disappeared or kidnapped, and attend to the wounded.

– Live presentation of the disappeared activists, advocates and journalists.

– Guarantee the security of the wounded and the survivors.

– Involve the Federal Attorney General’s Office in the investigation of these events.

– Investigate and sanction the material and intellectual authors of these events, some of whom are inhabitants of La Sabana Copala, as the attack was carried out from houses in the town, and who presumably belong to the paramilitary organization known as Unity for the Social Well-Being of the Triqui Region (UBISORT).

– An impartial, expedient, and accurate investigation led by the Federal Attorney General’s Office in order to punish the murderers in this paramilitary group.

– Immediate dismissal from office of the State Interior Minister, the State Attorney General, and the State Minister of Public Security and Public Protection for refusing to intervene in a timely manner once they were aware of the events, preferring instead that the attacking paramilitary group act with impunity.

We request the involvement of national and international civil society organizations to denounce these events, for the media to make them known, and for all of society to jointly demand their clarification.

Center of Community Support Working Together A.C. (CACTUS)
Indigenous Community Radio Network of Southeast Mexico
Mexican Alliance for Peoples Self-determination (AMAP)

translation courtesy of Scott Campbell,

Urgent Call: Raise Your Voice in Solidarity with Oaxaca and Against Militarization

The following is an URGENT call for solidarity in order to highlight the increased militarization in Oaxaca and in other communities throughout the world. We recognize that the recent armed attack against the compañeros participating in the Support and Solidarity Caravan for San Juan Copala, Oaxaca (which includes two dead, one wounded, and many disappeared) have deep roots extending to histories of imperialism and white supremacy. Imperialism, because repression is historical and based on domination, subjugation, and displacement. White supermacy, because violence is systemically and institutionally perpetuated against indigenous peoples, so-called third worlds, people of color, and other marginalized groups in an effort to maintain privileges of wealth and power. We recognize this broader context, that the injustices in Oaxaca do not operate in a bubble, that repression is a global phenomena situated in very different local contexts.

Military Aid in Mexico

In Mexico, militarization has considerably increased in the past years. Since 2008, the U.S. government has used the “war against drugs and organized crime” to justify the funding of the Merida Initiative (also known as Plan Mexico by its opponents), which provides funding, training, and military equipment to the Mexican government. But in reality, the Initiative criminalizes social movements and contributes to systemic human rights violations. The Initiative was first signed by the Bush-Rice Administration and is now supported by the current Obama-Clinton Administration.

In 2010, the Merida Initiative was extended and the budget was increased by 15% by U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who states that Mexico has met the human rights conditions of the bill. Clearly, the U.S. has negated military and paramilitary violence against autonomous communities, grassroots organizations, social justice activists, and community-based media groups in resistance.
Context of Triqui Region

The indigenous Triqui Region, located in the mountainous western part of Oaxaca, is known for its immense levels of violence instigated by the state government and paramilitary groups. Beginning in the Spanish invasion and leading up to contemporary times, the Triquis have historically resisted against colonial powers and the Mexican government attempting to steal their lands, autonomy, and self-determination. Throughout recent years, infiltration from political parties and divide-and-conquer methods have deeply divided the community and organizations. Numerous organizations throughout the Triqui Region have split; in 2006, the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle (MULT) split and formed the Movement for Triqui Unification and Independent Struggle (MULTI). And another organization, the Social Welfare Union of the Triqui Region (UBISORT), which is identified as a paramilitary group with ties to the PRI political party, also has a presence in the Triqui Region. In 2008, two young women from a community radio station in San Juan Copala, were shot dead by gunmen for their political participation in the radio and values for autonomous processes. Their cases remain unsolved.
Attack on Support and Solidarity Caravan

On Tuesday, April 27th, a caravan headed to San Juan Copala was attacked by gunmen identified as members of UBISORT, an organization with affiliations with the PRI (Independent Revolutionary Party) political party. At least two are reported dead, Beatriz Carino, director of CACTUS, and Jyri Antero Jaakkola, an observer from Finland, several are missing, and at least one is wounded.

The caravan was organized to provide basic necessities, such as water and food, and to accompany teachers from the Section 22 teacher’s union who were denied from entering the community for over 5 months. Participants of the caravan includes: representatives from the Assembly of Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), Center for Community Support Working Together (CACTUS), members of Independent Triqui Movement of Unity and Struggle (MULT-I), Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Liberty (VOCAL), Mexican reporters, and international observers from Belgium, Finland, Italy, and Germany. VOCAL reports in a press release the injustices in San Juan Copala: “electricity has been turned off, the community has no access to drinking water or medical personnel…and (the community) is subjected to permanent harassment from military troops that set up roadblocks just outside the town”.
Call for Solidarity

For these reasons, we make a humble call to action to all organizations, solidarity collectives, youth groups, students, cooperatives, community-based media groups, LGBTQ communities, workers, teachers, and cultural centers to denounce the militarization and state-sponsored terrorism and violence in Oaxaca and throughout the world, to denounce the funding of the Merida Initiative signed into law by the U.S. government, and to demand a thorough investigation and punishment for those responsible for the current violations in Oaxaca.

We also ask friends and allies to keep posted as new information rolls through, to keep fighting against injustices and militarization in your local communities, and to consider sending letters to your Mexican Embassies and to authorities in Oaxaca.

CASA Chapulin Collective, Oaxaca
Colectivo Contra Impunidad, Urguay
Friends of Brad Will, New York
Mujeres sin miedo, Mexico City
chicagotra, Chicago


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