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San Juan Copala, Oaxaca Information Night

Thursday June 3 2010

Venue: Organizing Centre for Social and Economic Justice
Address: 672 E. Broadway @ Fraser
Cost: Free

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Round of actions to protect the human rights defenders in Oaxaca, Mexico

Information night (Thu, June 3rd), Rally (Sat, June 5th)

To the men and women that work for a better world:

The situation in the Oaxaca region in Mexico is critical. The Triqui indigenous people living in the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala have been under siege for months now (since December) by paramilitary groups. They are being shot during days and nights. They can´t leave their homes to buy supplies or be out in the streets freely. Also, their water pipes have been cut. They don’t have electricity. They are feeding themselves only with hard tortillas and water. There have been more than 25 reported deaths since the siege began. In short, they are in a situation of war and extermination. All of this is being sponsored by the government (state as well as federal) as they continue to support the paramilitary group UBISORT in carrying out the siege.

On April 27th, a caravan of human rights observation tried to break the siege, taking supplies to the town. It was attacked and activists Bety Cariño and Jyri jaakkola were killed. A few days before, the UBISORT warned that they wouldn’t let the caravan through and the government paid no attention.

Another, larger caravan is scheduled on the 8th of June possibly including two of our members. Recently the UBISORT has made another threat to the defenders of human rights through its leader Rufino Juárez Hernández stating that he doesn´t ¨guarantee the security of the caravan”. He even goes as far as to say that ¨the presence of long haired blondes with blue eyes wouldn’t solve the problem¨. A few days later, Timoteo Alejandro Ramírez, along with his wife, was murdered. He was one of the most recognized leaders of the autonomous municipality. The response of the governor Ulises Ruiz was simply to say that it was due to a personal vengeance of an internal conflict between the organizations.

The government and the mass media want to discard the situation as a conflict between three violent protagonists, the MULTI, MULT and the UBISORT. This is a ridiculous way to hide the role of the state in the aggression against the autonomous municipality. The UBISORT was first created in 1994 with civilians affiliated to the ruling party (PRI) to oppose the actions of the grassroots group MULT. Since then it has been protected, and maintained by the state government. They are a paramilitary group that kills with impunity and now is being used to exterminate the autonomous community.

Join us on the evening of June the 3rd at 6:30 pm at the Organizing Centre for Social and Economic Justice (672 East Broadway @ Fraser) to get informed on the situation of the region and to know what you can do to help our partners to make their way safe to the community. A rally is programmed for June 5th at noon in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

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