Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Paramilitaries Attack Caravan Headed to Oaxacan Autonomous Town, 15 Wounded, 1 Disappeared

Phone Calls to Governor Urged So That He Orders State Police to Rescue the Wounded

by Kristin Bricker

A solidarity caravan headed to the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, was attacked on Tuesday afternoon.  The caravan came under fire as it passed through La Sabana, a town controlled by UBISORT, a paramilitary organization that is allied with the ruling Institutional Revolution Party (PRI).

One young woman managed to make it to a hospital where she is being treated for a gunshot wound in the back.

There are reports of approximately 15 wounded people.  Alberta Cariño, the director of the community radio organization CACTUS, is reported as disappeared.

The Puebla-based human rights organization Nodo de Derechos Humanos reports that the Oaxacan State Police who are in the area refuse to rescue the wounded "because they don't have orders to do so from the State."  Nodo reports that the UBISORT paramilitaries have the area sealed off.  Another source confirms that no one can leave or enter the area.

The caravan was headed to San Juan Copala to bring food, water, clothing, and other basic necessities to the town, which has been the victim of an extended paramilitary blockade.  The UBISORT blockade has made it nearly impossible to bring supplies into the town.

San Juan Copala declared itself autonomous following the 2006 uprising in Oaxaca, and the autonomous government declared itself adherent to the Zapatistas' Other Campaign.  The autonomous municipality has been the target of paramilitary violence ever since.  Countless San Juan Copala residents have fallen victim to paramilitary violence.  The most prominent case was the execution of two young Triqui radio journalists.  This past November, paramilitaries opened fire on San Juan Copala's town hall during  a caravan that was traveling to San Juan Copala from San Salvador Atenco.  UBISORT had put up a highway blockade to stop the caravan, which was comprised of People's Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT) members.  While the FPDT was trapped outside the town, paramilitaries attacked the town hall. They shot four children, killing one of them.

The official action alert from the Nodo de Derechos Humanos is reposted below.  They request that people call Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz to demand that he orders the State Police to rescue the wounded.  Here's a quick line in Spanish: "Que manden la policia estatal a rescatar los heridos en San Juan Copala." It means, "They need to send the state police to rescue the wounded in San Juan Copala."

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URGENT: The solidarity caravan that was en route to the Autonomous Municipality San Juan Copala in the Triqui region, which was made up of international observers, members of CACTUS, VOCAL, Section 22 of the teachers union, the the APPO, was attacked with firearms in the La Sabana community, which is controled by the organization Unidad de Bienestar Social de la Region Triqui (UBISORT). This organization is impeding the rescue of the wounded. Reports indicate that there are at least 15 wounded, it is unknown if there are any deaths. It is reported that Alberta Cariño, director of CACTUS, is disappeared. We fear that this action constitutes a provocation that could be used to justify the militarization of the Triqui region.

Requested Action

Call the Government of Oaxaca and demand that the necessary conditions be established so that the State Police and rescue teams can rescue them and provide them with medical attention.

Governor of Oaxaca

Ulises Ruiz Ortiz

Tel. +52 951 5015000 ext. 13005

Fax. +52 951 5015000 ext. 13018

The action alert can be found in Spanish here.
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