Section 22 of the Teacher's Union and the broader Oaxcan social movement take to the streets to protest the arrival of fraudulent President Calderon. Federal Police open fire with live rounds and tear gas grenades, resulting in at least 14 people wounded and hospitalised.
Today, February 15, federal and state police, thugs dressed in civilian clothes, and snipers located on the roofs of various building in the historic center of Oaxaca provoked and repressed the peaceful teachers' and Oaxacan people’s protest against the presence of Felipe Calderón in Oaxaca.
On the afternoon of Monday, February 14, an enormous deployment of federal and local police bodies, together with the army, took the Zócalo and the adjacent streets of the historic center. At 11:30 in the morning today, February 15, a group of teachers belonging to Section 22 of the SNTE-CNTE carried out a peaceful protest in one of the intersections leading to the Zócalo when the Federal Preventive Police (PFP) attacked, leaving two teachers wounded, one of them the union’s press secretary - Meliton Santiago - and a compañero from the social movement who was shot in the head. In the face of this aggression, the teachers defended themselves and as a means of protest detained three members of the Federal Preventive Police, which later resulted in a PFP operation where the PFP occupied the union’s building - CEPOS 22 - where the teachers had held the PFP agents, resulting in the violent detention of four professors who were in the building. Upon regrouping at around 2pm, the teachers and the people in general continued their protests in the area while more professors and members of the general public headed towards the Zócalo, where they were dispersed with tear gas and gunfire from snipers located on the roofs of various buildings in the historic center. On Cinco de Mayo Street, still several blocks away from the site of the protests, compañero “kalamar,” who is a member of the Hormigas Libertarias Collective, was hit with gunfire to the head. We feel obligated for the moment to withhold the name of the compañero for legal and security reasons.
On the roof of the Casa Azul Hotel, located on Fiallo Street in the historic center, the repressive police chief Daniel Camarena - an inheritance of Gabino Cué from the murderer Ulises Ruiz - was seen in the company of individuals dressed in civilian clothes who were carrying large firearms, likely sniper rifles.
After two in the afternoon, tens of SUVs drove at high speed through the tourist pedestrian area towards the former Santo Domingo convent where 50 meters from the entrance there was a blockade consisting of 12 soldiers. These SUVs carried some of the committee members of the state and federal governments, who entered the patio of Santo Domingo surrounded by tens of federal police. At approximately 2:30pm at least 50 federal police were in the tourist walkway to reinforce the siege.
Meanwhile, confrontations with the police stretched from the Zócalo to the nearby streets. During this time on Hidalgo Street at Mier y Teran Street, a black car with Puebla license plates TWM 9318 was seen leading a caravan of eight military transport vehicles which carried tens of soldiers and tens of individuals dressed in civilian clothes (at least 100) with striped t-shirts and dark glasses who were “released” into the historic center to carry out destructive acts in order to attribute them to the protesters, among them the burning of a PFP trailer in the Zócalo and apparently a bus on the road to Xoxocotlan. At the same time, the arrival of a PFP airplane at the city airport carrying more federal reinforcements was observed.
As of the time of writing this communiqué, 14 people have been confirmed wounded, two with wounds to the head, the result of shots fired from snipers located on the roofs near the Zócalo of Oaxaca, and one other individual wounded with a live round to the body, as well as two other people who have wounds as a result of being hit by tear gas canisters, all of whom have been hospitalized as a result of the wounds they received.
In ISSSTE hospital in the city of Oaxaca four members of the teachers’ union - two wounded by gunfire and two by tear gas canisters - were admitted. In the same hospital the PFP carried out an impressive operation including patrol vehicles, ambulances and fire trucks to “remove” four wounded members of the PFP who had also been admitted to the same hospital.
This evening, tens of police officers and soldiers are based at Hotel Parador Crespo, located on Crespo Street in the historic center, a location which is less than two blocks from CASOTA, the building where our organization, VOCAL, is based out of.
We denounced these events and hold Felipe Calderón and Gabino Cué Monteagudo directly responsible. Cué has very quickly betrayed the trust of the people of Oaxaca who believed in his promises that never again would the police be used to repress protests.
We denounce the gravity of these events, above all the use of paramilitary shock groups and snipers, as part of a clearly fascist strategy to repress and intimidate the people of Oaxaca and its organizations and organized sectors.
We denounce the institutional and media siege which have roundly denied and ignored the presence of snipers and paramilitary shock groups who infiltrated today’s protests.
We denounce the cynical and perverse attitude of Gabino Cué, who has immediately called for dialogue with the Oaxacan teachers’ union and we point out the danger and strain that the entire Oaxacan social movement may be faced with if these grave events remain unaddressed as a result of political agreements between the government and the leadership of the teachers’ union.
We call for international and national attention to be paid to these events in Oaxaca which appear to inaugurate an era of state fascism on behalf of Felipe Calderón and his flunky in Oaxaca, Gabino Cué Monteagudo.
Today on the streets of Oaxaca it was heard: He’s fallen, Gabino has fallen!
Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Freedom (VOCAL)
Oaxaca de Magón, City of Resistance, February 15, 2011
In Spanish Gabino Cué y
Gabino Cué y Felipe Calderón reprimen al magisterio y pueblo de Oaxaca
El dia de hoy martes 15 de febrero policias federales, estatales, grupos civiles de choque y francotiradores ubicados en las azoteas de diferentes edificios del centro historico de Oaxaca provocaron y reprimieron la protesta pacífica que el magisterio y pueblo oaxaqueño realizaban por la presencia en Oaxaca de Felipe Calderón.
Desde la tarde del lunes 14 de febrero, mediante un enorme despliegue de las corporaciones policiacas locales y federales junto con el ejército tomaron el Zócalo y calles aledañas del centro historico. A las 11:30 horas de la mañana de hoy martes 15 de febrero un grupo de maestros pertenecientes a la Sección 22 del SNTE-CNTE realizaba una protesta pacífica en una de las bocacalles que conducen al Zócalo de la ciudad, momento en que la Policía Federal Preventiva (PFP) arremetió contra ellos y donde resultaron heridos dos maestros, uno de ellos es secretario de prensa del sindicato de nombre Meliton Santiago y un compañero del movimiento social quien recibió un impacto de arma de fuego en la cabeza. Ante esta agresión los maestros se defendieron y en forma de protesta retuvieron a tres elementos de la policía federal preventiva, lo que motivó que más tarde un operativo de la PFP tomara el edificio de la seccion 22 -cepos 22- donde los maestros retenían a los agentes de la PFP y detuvieran violentamente a cuatro profesores que se encontraban ahí. Una vez reagrupados los maestros y pueblo en general alrededor de las 2 de la tarde, continuaron las protestas en las inmediaciones de la plaza, mientras más profesores y personas del pueblo en general se dirigían al Zócalo, mismas que fueron dispersadas con gases lacrimogenos y con disparos de armas de fuego que francotiradores desde las azoteas de diferentes edificios del centro histórico realizaron. En la calle cinco de mayo y aún a varias cuadras del lugar de las protestas el compañero “kalamar” quien es miembro del colectivo Hormigas Libertarias, fue derribado de un disparo en la cabeza. Nos vemos obligados a reservar por el momento el nombre del compañero por razones jurídicas y de seguridad.
En el hotel “casa azul”ubicado en la calle de fiallo en el cetro historico fue observado en la azotea del mismo al jefe policiaco represor Daniel Camarena herencia del asesino Ulises Ruiz a Gabino Cue en compañia de civiles que protaban armas largas probablemente francotiradores.
Pasadas las dos de la tarde, decenas de camionetas circularon a alta velocidad sobre el andador turistico con rumbo al ex convento de Santo Domingo donde a 50 metros de la entrada ya se encontraba un reten de 12 militares; estas camionetas transportaban a parte de la comitiva de los gobiernos estatal y federal, quienes ingresaron al patio de Santo Domingo rodeados por decenas de policas federales, aproximadamente a las 2:30 pm al menos 50 Policias Federales caminaron por el andador para reforzar el cerco.
Mientras tanto los enfrentamientos con la policía se extendian del Zócalo a las calles aledañas, en esos momentos se observó en la calle de Hidalgo a la altura de Mier y Teran, un coche de color negro con placas del estado de Puebla TWM 9318 que encabezaba una caravana de 8 camiones militares tipo costeros que transportaban a decenas de militares y a decenas de sujetos vestidos de civil (al menos 100) con playeras a rayas y lentes negros quienes fueron “soltados” en el centro histórico para generar actos de destrucción para atribuirselos a los manifestantes, entre otros actos fue incendiado un trailer de la PFP en el zócalo de la ciudad y al parecer un camion de trasporte hacia el rumbo de Xoxocotlan. En esos momentos se observó la llegada de un avión de la PFP al aeropuerto de la ciudad de Oaxaca con más refuerzos federales.
Hasta el momento en que se escribe este comunicado, se tienen confirmados 14 personas heridas, dos por heridas de bala en la cabeza, producto de disparos provenidos por fancotiradores ubicados en las azoteas próximas al Zócalo de Oaxaca y una más herida de bala en el cuerpo, además de otras dos personas que tienes lesiones por impactos de gas lacrimogeno, las demas se encuentran tambien hospitalizadas por los golpes recibidos.
En el hospital del ISSSTE de la ciudad de Oaxaca fueron internados cuatro miembros del magisterio dos heridos de bala y dos más por granadas de gas lacrimogeno. En este mismo hospital se observó la llegada de la PFP quien en medio de un operativo impresionante que incluia además de patrullas y ambulancias, hasta camiones de bomberos que fueron a “sacar” a cuatro miebros de la PFP heridos, quienes habian sido internados en este mismo hospital.
Por la noche decenas de policias y militares se instalaban en el Hotel Parador Crespo ubicado sobre la calle de crespo en el centro histórico lugar donde permaneceran esta noche a escasas dos cuadras de la CASOTA lugar donde radica nuestra organización VOCAL.
Denunciamos estos hechos y responzabilizamos directamente a Felipe Calderón y a Gabino Cué Monteagudo quien demasiado pronto ha traicionado la confianza de los oaxaqueños y oaxaqueñas que creyeron sus promesas de que nunca más la policía sería usada para reprimir la protesta social.
Denunciamos la gravedad de estos hechos sobre todo el uso de grupos de choque paramilitares y francotiradores como parte de una estrategia claramente fascista para reprimir y amedentrar al pueblo de Oaxaca y sus organizaciones y sectores movilizados.
Denunciamos el cerco mediatico e institucional que ha negado e ignorado rotundamente la presencia de francotiradores y de grupos de choque paramilitares infiltrados en las protestas de este dia.
Denunciamos la actitud cinica y preversa de gabino Cué quien inmediatamente ha llamado al diálogo al magisterio Oaxaqueño y alertamos del peligro que se cierne sobre todo el movimiento social oaxaqueño si estos hechos tan graves quedan impunes por acuerdos políticos entre el gobierno y la cupula magisterial.
Hacemos un llamado a la observación internacional y nacional sobre estos hechos en Oaxaca que parecen inagurar una etapa de fascimo de estado por parte de Felipe Calderón y su lacayo en Oaxaca Gabino Cué Monteagudo.
El dia de hoy se escuchó en las calles de Oaxaca el primer ¡Ya cayó, Gabino Ya cayó!
Voces Oaxaqueñas Construyendo Autonomia y Libertad (VOCAL)
Oaxaca de Magón, Ciudad de la resistencia a 15 de febero de 2011
Snipers shooting demonstrators marks new level of repression in Oaxaca
by Scott Campbell
Oaxaca. February 15, 2011
Felipe Calderon came to visit Oaxaca and brought with him more than 150 uniformed federal police. There were snipers stationed on the rooftops of hotels. There were also several army trucks full of either police or military dressed in civilian clothes. Allegedly, after the clashes finished, these individuals set some cars on fire near the second class bus station in an attempt to lure protesters there to be arrested (and of course also to blame the protesters for the act).
Earlier today, as people were gathering for a march called by Section 22 against Calderon’s visit, snipers opened fire on those gathering. Two teachers were hit. One in the butt and another in the head. Two other individuals were hospitalized as a result of taking direct hits from tear gas canisters. One in the head – Marcelino Coache, a prominent APPO member – and another in the chest. All four will reportedly be fine. The march went on and as the police tried to block them from getting into the zocalo, clashes erupted.
Photos: Protest Against Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Oaxaca
People report that the police fired tear gas indiscriminately all over the zocalo, which at the time was full of tourists. At one point, three federal police officers were detained by activists to exchange for those arrested by the police. That plan didn’t work out as the federal police raided the location where the officers were being held, arresting more people. For most of the afternoon, protesters and kops were battling it out on Independencia and in the Alameda. Protesters used rocks and one or two molotovs. Police used rocks, tear gas, and I also saw one throw a molotov at the protesters. A tractor trailer parked in the zocalo was set on fire and burned for at least an hour. After the truck started burning, the police left and people just gathered taking photos. It was reported around 6:30pm that clashes had started up again, presumably after the fire had been put out and the police moved back in.
Section 22 held a press conference at 7pm. Initially it was reported they have called a halt to negotiations with Oaxaca’s new governor, Gabino Cué Monteagudo, as a result of the repression. Now it is unclear. In a gesture to brush this under the rug, Cue has announced that the 14 people arrested today will be released without charges. Four people remain hospitalized. There will be a march leaving from IEEPO at 10am tomorrow morning. The shooting of demonstrators in the head with live fire from snipers – which has passed unmentioned by most of the media – marks a major escalation in the level of repression being deployed against the social movement in Oaxaca.
|n response to this
|n response to this repression Section 22 will today completely close the 13,500 schools of Oaxaca, block highways throughout the state and will shortly begin a march through the state capital.
link to La Jornada article
More images here:
Mexico’s Federal Police Open
Mexico’s Federal Police Open Fire on Protesters, Throwing Merida Initiative Accountability Into Question
February 21, 2011 by glasgowchiapassolidaritygroup
Written by Kristin Bricker
Thursday, 17 February 2011 17:51
Mexican Federal Police allegedly shot radio journalist Gilardo Mota Figueroa as he covered a protest last Tuesday against President Felipe Calderón’s visit to Oaxaca City. Mota Figueroa told Crónica de Oaxaca that during clashes with Oaxaca’s teachers union, a Federal Police officer opened fire on the crowd from a distance of about six meters (or about twenty feet). One of the bullets struck Mota Figueroa in the leg. Another 2-4 bullets were embedded in an armored SUV that authorities had left parked on the street.
During the protest, Federal Police also fired teargas canisters directly at demonstrators at point-blank range, severely injuring at least two people. According to the teachers union, middle school teacher Raymundo Servando Santiago Sánchez was hospitalized with a bruised lung after a teargas canister struck him in the chest. Another canister—this one allegedly fired by state police—struck protester Marcelino Coache in the face,fracturing his skull and causing brain trauma. Additionally, two reporters filed charges with the State Attorney General’s Office for physical injuries and damage to their equipment from teargas canisters that struck them during the protest.
In order to be considered a “less-than-lethal weapon,” teargas canisters must be fired into the air or onto the ground. Teargas canisters manufactured by Combined Tactical Systems Inc., which produces the teargas launchers used by Federal Police on Tuesday, carry a warning label that states: “Danger: Do not fire directly at person(s). Severe injury or death may result.”
The Federal Police are fully aware that a direct hit from a teargas canister can be lethal. In 2006, during a joint operation between state and federal police in San Salvador Atenco, a teargas canister killed 23-year-old protester Alexis Benhumea when it struck him in the head. As a result of the police’s “illegitimate use” of their weapons during the Atenco operation, the Mexican government’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH)recommended that the Federal Preventative Police (PFP, which later became the Federal Police) and state police undergo training in “proper use” of their weapons. The head of the PFP rejected the CNDH’s recommendation, and five years later the Federal Police are still shooting teargas canisters at protesters’ heads.
Maureen Meyers of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) argues that the police’s violent response to Tuesday’s protests “underscores the lack of any real accountability mechanisms within the Federal Police.” She notes that the Federal Police currently rank third in the number of human rights complaints filed against government agencies, with 595 complaints filed with the CNDH against the Federal Police in 2010. “There’s been more and more accounts of abuses committed by the Federal Police,” Meyers says. On October 29, 2010,Federal Police shot a young protester in the stomach with live ammunition as he painted graffiti during the 11th “Walk Against Death” in Ciudad Juarez.
More Merida Initiative Funding
The day before Federal Police opened fire on protesters and the press in Oaxaca, United States President Barack Obama unveiled his 2012 budget request. The budget includes $291.5 million for Merida Initiative programs in Mexico.
Mexico’s Ministry of Public Security (SSP in its Spanish abbreviation) is in charge of the Federal Police, and it is one of the biggest recipients of Merida Initiative funding. Through the Merida Initiative, the Federal Police receive equipment, training (from US and Colombian police, as well as private contractors), and even Black Hawk helicopters. While Obama’s 2012 budget request reduces Mexico’s Merida funding by about $250 million from the previous year, it increased International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE) funding by $500,000. INCLE funding is what funds most—if not all—aid to the Federal Police.
Some Merida Initiative funds are designed to reduce corruption within the Federal Police. That aid, notes Meyers, “focuses more on centros de control de confianza [police recruiting and vetting centers] and polygraph tests. That obviously doesn’t attend to this widespread pattern of abuse.”
Meyer notes that there are three accountability mechanisms that would, in theory, assure that Merida Intiative assistance doesn’t fall into the hands of human rights abusers like Federal Police officers who open fire on unarmed demonstrators. The first is the Leahy Amendment, which prohibits any US foreign assistance from funding “any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible evidence that such unit has committed gross violations of human rights” and hasn’t punished the offender(s). The US Embassy tracks individual human rights abusers in a database, but Meyers points out that the strength of the database depends on the amount of information the US Embassy enters into it. Kent Patterson from the Americas Program has criticized the United States’ enforcement of the Leahy Amendment: “Mexico, like Colombia, sidesteps the question by selecting for training only individuals from tainted units instead of having entire units trained.”
The other two accountability mechanisms that apply to US drug war assistance to Mexico are attached to the Merida Initiative itself. A mere fifteen percent of Merida Initative assistance is conditioned upon Mexico improving accountability and transparency in the Federal Police and military. Additionally, in order to receive the conditioned funds, Mexico must demonstrate that it is investigating and trying soldiers and Federal Police who are credibly accused of human rights violations. “The latter is where we really haven’t seen any cases that we’re aware of where Federal Police who have been implicated in abuses have been effectively investigated and sanctioned,” says Meyers.
Despite the rampant impunity for security forces’ human rights abuses, Merida’s human rights conditions have not significantly affected the flow of drug war aid to Mexico. The US Congress has symbolically withheld some of the funds, but thus far the human rights conditions haven’t delayed Merida Initiative money for much longer than standard bureaucratic red tape has held up the other 85% of unconditioned funds.
Freelance journalist / periodista freelance