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Mexico: Unending Violence for Indigenous People


Mexico: Unending Violence for the Indigenous People of San Juan Copala

by International Cry
10 September 2010 12:37

altDespite a growing outpour of international support and solidarity, there is no end in sight to the paramilitary violence being waged against the Indigenous Triqui people of San Juan Copala in Oaxaca, Mexico. Just this week, two more Triqui women were attacked by members of the Union for the Social Well-being of theTriqui Region (UBISORT), a group that was formed in 1994 to help keep the Zapatista uprising in the nearby state of Chiapas from spreading into Oaxaca.

According to Mariana Flores, a spokesperson for the Triqui Women and Children who have occupied Oaxaca City’s main plaza, 42-year-old Natalia Cruz Bautista and 45-year-old Francisca de Jesús García were passing by the community of La Sabana in Santiago Juxtlahuaca, when they were confronted by the

UBISORT members. When the two women resisted, one of them was shot and the other was beaten and then raped.

“We are sure that this aggression was committed within the framework of the national and international campaign in which we are demanding justice for Bety Cariño. We are convinced that these attacks are done with the goal of making impunity pacts with the federal government, as well as as an act of pressure against the new government”, says the Campaña de Justicia Bety Cariño Y Jyri Jaakkola in a statement issued on the day of the attack, September 7th.

A major part of that campaign right now is the ongoing protest camp in Oaxaca city. Currently the camp is being led by 20 Triqui women and 25 children.”Triqui women are playing increasingly vital roles in San Juan Copala”, says Kristen Bricker, an independant journalist in Mexico. “Residents believe that the paramilitaries are more likely to kill men than women.”

That was certainly true in previous months; but now the paramilitaries have adjusted their campaign to specifically target women. As Kristen Bricker recently noted on her website, in the past four months:

“UBISORT murdered Bety Cariño, a non-Triqui Oaxacan community organizer, along with Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola, during an aid caravan to San Juan Copala on April 27. It is believed that Cariño was targeted. On May 15, UBISORT leaders beat and attempted to kidnap two Copala women. Later that day, UBISORT members kidnapped 12 women and children who had snuck out of San Juan Copala to purchase food.

“On May 20, unidentified assassins murdered Cleriberta Castro Aguilar and her husband Timoteo Alejandro Ramírez, one of the founders of the autonomous municipality. On June 24, sharpshooters shot and wounded 8-year-old Miriam Martínez in San Juan Copala.

“On June 26, sharpshooters shot and wounded Marcelina de Jesús López and Celestina Cruz Ramírez as they left a meeting in San Juan Copala. On July 26, Maria Rosa Francisco disappeared near her home in San Juan Copala when sharpshooters opened fire. She had left her house to look for firewood and is feared dead. 

“On July 30, when women attempted to repel the paramilitary/police raid on San Juan Copala, two girls aged 17 and 14 were shot. The 14-year-old was paralyzed when a bullet fired by the UBISORT lodged in her spine.”

Triqui men are still being targeted as well. For instance, two days before the attacks on Natalia Cruz Bautista and Francisca de Jesús García, four armed men with ties to the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle (MULT) and UBISORT murdered the municipal agent (mayor) of Agua Fría, Copala, Pedro Santos Castro, including Pedro Santos Castro, Bety Cariño, Cleriberta Castro Aguilar Timoteo Alejandro Ramírez, a total of 25 members of the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala have been murdered.

The Oaxaca government, meanwhile, refuses to do anything in support of the Triqui. It’s as if the government wants them to just sit down and die. However, that’s one thing the Triqui won’t do, as the women in Oaxaca city made all too clear in the following statement:

“Our indigenous Triqui people continue to be attacked, there is no disastrous day which our people are not familiar with, the pain and rage are in our hearts, women, children, old people, men, all of us and them, suffer injustice from institutions, from paramilitaries, from the death of comrades who are merely counted as unending statistics. While the bank accounts of the pseudo-leaders of the left continue to grow, those of us from the Autonomous Municipality who use our words to denounce them only receive rhetoric and demagogic speeches, and we note the growing politics of paramilitarism which is nothing but a never-ending spiral of violence that condemns us to death.

“How much more do we need to say that our struggle is for dignity, justice, freedom, work, respect? How much more do we need to call on the people who are silent and bowed? How much more so that they join the struggle for freedom, for respect for their rights, for autonomy and self-determination, to decide our destiny as indigenous peoples, to protest against the Mexican state which violates our rights!? What use are international treaties if an old and obsolete constitution does not guarantee the rights of the peoples of Oaxaca?

“Today, after almost 518 years of displacement and discrimination, of genocide against our people, governments like that of Ulises Ruiz continue to repress us. It is enough to say that with their racist and discriminatory politics they seek to remove us from the public spaces because the Indians, the Triquis, we give Oaxaca a bad image. What will the tourists think? To protest is our right; however, we are not here because we want to be. Ulises Ruiz, like Jorge Franco and Evencio Martínez, knows that they are the ones who have set fire to our region and that we indigenous Triqui women are the ones who suffer the violence for which they are responsible, which is why we have nothing to celebrate as they have left us outside of history.

“This is why we call on all the women and men of Oaxaca who have struggled against these tyrants, those who have lost their comrades, those who have taken to the streets to demand justice: to fight for dignity so that they do not silence us once again and to reinforce our encampment of Triqui women, mothers, comrades, wives, and children from a town that has risen up to shout – Enough! They want to do away with our encampment and we will not let them. If necessary, we will defend it with our lives!”

If UBISORT is just going to kill them anyway, what choice do they have?


Please send your appeals to:

Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
President of Mexico
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos, Casa Miguel Alemán, Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, México DF. Tel: +52 55 27891100; Fax: +52 55 527 72 376. E-mail:

José Francisco Blake Mora
Secretary of the Interior
Bucareli 99, 1er. piso, Col. Juárez, Delegación Cuauhtémoc, México D.F., C.P. 06600, México, FAX +52 (55) 5093 34 14. E-mail:

Arturo Chávez Chávez
Attorney General of the Republic of Mexico
Procuraduría General de la República, Paseo de la Reforma nº 211-213, Piso 16, Col. Cuauhtémoc, Del. Cuauhtémoc, México D.F., C.P. 06500, Fax: +52 55 53 46 09 08; + 52 55 27 89 11 13 (If a voice answers, say “fax tone, please”), E-Mail: /

S.E. Sra. Ulla Marianna Vaisto
Embassy of Finland, Mexico
Embajadora Extraordinaria y Plenipotenciaria
Monte Pelvoux 111, piso 4, Lomas de Chaputlepec, 11000 México DF
Tel. +52 (55) 5540 6036 Fax +52 (55) 5540 0114 E-mail:

S.E. Sr. Roland Michael Wegener,
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Mexico
Embajador Extraordinario y Plenipotenciario
Horacio 1506, Col. Los Morales, 11530 México D.F.
Tel.+52 (55) 5283 2200 Fax +52 (55) 5281 2588 E-mail:

S.E. Sr. Boudewijn E. G. Dereymaeker,
Embassy of Belgium, Mexico
Embajador Extraordinario y Plenipotenciario
Alfredo Musset 41, Col. Polanco, 11550 México DF
Tel. +52 (55) 5280 0758; fax +52 (55) 5280 0208 E-mail:

S.E. Sr. Roberto Spinelli,
Italian Embassy in Mexico
Embajador Extraordinario y Plenipotenciario
Paseo de las Palmas 1994, Col. Lomas de Chapultepec, 11000 México DF
Tel. +52 (55) 5596 3655 Fax +52 (55) 5596 2472 y 5596 7710 E-mail:

Gabino Cué Monteagudo
Governor of the State of Oaxaca
Fax: (+52) 5020530

Ma. De la Luz Candelaria Chiñas
Attorney-General of the State of Oaxaca
Fax. 01951 5115174, 019515115121

Javier Rueda Vázquez
Secretary of Public Security of the State of Oaxaca
Heroico Colegio Militar 317
Reforma, 68050 Oaxaca
Cómo llegar, 01 951 132 5748

Dr. Raúl Plascencia Villanueva
President of the National Human Rights Commission
(55) 56 81 71 99, E-mail:

Dr. José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez
Head of Unit for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – SEGOB
Av. Paseo de la Reforma 99 Piso 19 Tabacalera, Cuauhtémoc, Distrito Federal, 06030, Tel: (55) 5551-28-00 Ext: 11863, E-mail:

S.E. Sr. Juan José Gómez Camacho
Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations Offices in Geneva
Fax +41 (22) 748 0708, E-mail:

S.E. Sra. Sandra Camila Fuentes-Berain Villenave
Ambassador of Mexico to the European Communities and Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe
Fax +32 2 644 08 19 Tel. +32 (2) 629 0777 E-mail:

Sr. Alberto Brunori
Representative in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Fax +52 (55) 5061 6358; E-mail:

Sr. Santiago Cantón
Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Fax +1 (202) 458 3992 E-mail:

Sra. Navanethem Pillay
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Fax +41 22 917 9000 E-mail:

Please send a copy of all writings to:

Centro Regional de Derechos Humanos “Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño” A. C.
Mariano Azuela 203, Col. José Vasconcelos, C. P. 68120, Oaxaca México
Tel/Fax (01951) 51 4 16 34, E-Mail:
Intercontinental Cry (IC), founded in 2004, is an independent online journal that provides news, videos, and action alerts on the struggles of Indigenous Peoples to reclaim their lands, defend their cultures, enact their rights, and to quite literally survive. 

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