Mexico, Oaxaca, Urgent Support Needed For CIPO-RFM

INCREASED REPRESSION AGAINST THE CIPO

On March 4, 2003, at 1:30 p.m., in the Attorney General's office, in Avenida Independencia, in Oaxaca, Mexico, a group of Federal Police attacked and tried to detain, without an order of arrest, Raul Gatica, a member of the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca - Ricardo Flores Magon, CIPO-RFM, after he had finished placing charges (file: A.P/IIII/110/2002) against the paramilitary groups of San Miguel Aloapam, headed by Conrado Garcia and Cayetano Santiago.

ANTECEDENTS: We are the CIPO-RFM, an organization of indigenous communities that fight for the defence of our collective, human rights, the development of our peoples, for justice, freedom, the defence of nature, women, autonomy and practice of helping each other, working collectively, deciding everything in assemblies and having our own view of the cosmos. Since our founding, November 18, 1997 until now, we have suffered repression, jail, murder, disappearances, exclusion, marginalisation and all types of aggressions from the Federal and State government, in general, all of the major violations against basic rights: 195 men and 17 women detained (without an order of arrest); 47 members, all men, kidnapped; 22 members, all men, tortured; 195 men and 82 women wounded; besides nearly 500 orders of arrest. Some of the most outstanding are:

a) The arrest and torture of 106 members of our indigenous community on April 18, 1998, that made the CNDH (the National Commission of Human Rights) to emit their recommendation of 26/99.

b) The kidnapping and torture of 46 members of our indigenous community on January 1, 2002 that made the CNDH emit their recommendation of 15/2002

CURRENT SITUATION.

1) On March 4, 2003, around 1:30 p.m., Raul Gatica together with Reyna Perez Hernandez, Cesar Chavez and Mayolo, of the Teachers Union, went to place charges (filed as A.P.IIII/110/2002) against the paramilitary groups of San Miguel Aloapam. After placing the charges, when leaving Attorney General's office, a group of 6 federal police, without an order of arrest, without showing any identification, began to interrogate Raul Gatica with great violence, surrounding and trying to grab hold of him, saying "you are under arrest." Our comrade made it very clear that he would not let himself be arrested very easily. There was a lot of turmoil, as we would not let the police seize him. Before the mayhem got out of hand, a person who had left to consult came back and shouted "the order is a 50", and the police said: "go, but we will arrest you later." Although on this occasion the company of Reyna, Cesar and Mayolo of the Teachers' Union frustrated the arrest, the threat continues alive against all the organization.

2) Due to this, and seeing as the following comrades are about to go and declare in other court cases (Cesar Chavez Garcia, Fernando Torija, Carmen Perez Chavez and Raul Gatica) together with the following citizens (Celia Martinez Altamirano, Reyna Perez Hernandez, Gonzalo Santiago Garcia and Adelina Perez Cruz), we are worried that they might be arrested when arriving to declare.

3) It is clear that the repression against the CIPO-RFM has become worse after we denounced the paramilitary groups and the government of Murat, because it is not just by chance that they wanted to arrest us after ratifying the charges against the paramilitary groups.

4) Without a doubt this is part of a new wave of pressure and harassment against our organization and in particular against Raul Gatica who we fear may be arrested, kidnapped, "disappeared" or murdered in any moment, or that a wave of repression hits our communities and other members of the organization, as is suggested by the following facts:

a) On 3 November, 2002, a commission of the CIPO-RFM formed by Reyna Perez Hernandez, Simon Illescas and Raul Gatica denounced before the group of experts of the U.N. Working Committee on Arbitrary Arrests, formed by Louis Joinet, Miguel del Alama, Pierre del Prado and Soledad Villagra, the endless number of arbitrary arrests that they have been subjected to as members of CIPO-RFM, with the complicity of Governor Jose Murat and of the paramilitary groups of Sierra Norte and Tuxtepec, headed by Jacobo Chavez and Cesar Toimil.

We made the experts aware that we could suffer reprisals for the abovementioned charges. This situation was summed up when arbitrary arrests were made against Reyna Perez Hernandez and Raul Lopez in Ixtlan de Juarez Oaxaca on November 18, 2002; against Luis Rey Matadamas in Sta. Cruz Huatulco on November 19, 2002; against Juan Diaz and Elizabeth Luna in Sta. Cruz Huatulco on November 20, 2002; and the attempt to arrest Raul Gatica on that same day, in front of the palace of government of Oaxaca. In all the cases, the policemen who arrested our comrades said: "this is to remove the trouble makers so they stop speaking badly about the Murat government."

b) On January 29, 2003, a Commission of the CIPO-RFM, formed by Carmen Perez, Leonor Heredia and Abundio Bautista, met the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Andres Compass, to denounce the climate of aggressions that we are suffering in San Isidro Aloapam by paramilitary groups and the Murat government, as well as the climate of repression that has become worse against the social organizations and its representatives, particularly against the members of the CIPO-RFM and its representatives

c) As an answer to this, on February 11 at 1:30 p.m. troops of the national special preventive police forces went to the community of Sta. Maria Yaviche, entering through the forest and invading the community, intimidating all the community members. They asked for the authorities and for the representatives of the CIPO-RFM. As nobody helped them, they said: "if you continue speaking badly about the paramilitary groups and don't respect the government, we are going to 'chingar' you." Then they left along the mountain paths and returned to the highway where patrol cars 845 and 846 were waiting for them.

d) From February 14 until March 3, at the entrance to the town of Juquila Vijanos, parked next to the church, 3 patrol cars of the special preventive police forces have remained in the community, asking for and investigating the representatives of the CIPO-RFM.

e) On February 17, 2003, a group of armed people of Sta. Lucia Monteverde who had invaded our lands and are at the service of Governor Jose Murat, attacked the community of Plan de Zaragoza, Nuyoo, Tlaxiaco, a member of CIPO-RFM, with very powerful firearms

f) On March 2, patrol car number 478 of the national Preventive Police based in Tlacolula went to Santa Maria Yaviche, Ixtlan, Oaxaca, looking for the municipal authorities to arrest them.

For all the above-mentioned we request that you:

Firstly, spread information about the situation the indigenous peoples of CIPO-RFM are suffering.

Secondly, send letters to the representatives from Mexico in each one of your countries demanding an end to the violence against the CIPO-RFM and a solution for their just demands of justice, lands and means of production, etc.

Third, make a phone call asking for the situation of Raul Gatica and the other members of the CIPO-RFM, requesting precautionary measures for all of us.

Fourth, collect signatures to send to the government of Mexico and the mass media, demanding an end to the repression of our peoples.

Fifth, request measures to avoid any type of repression against us.

For the rebuilding and the free association of our peoples!

For the Organizing Committee of the CIPO-RFM: Cesar Chavez Garcia, Carmen Perez Chavez, Reyna Perez Hernandez, Leonardo Lopez Sarabia, Fernando Torija, Gonzalo Santigao, Leonor Heredia Marin, Dolores Cuamatzi, Procoro Pascual Lopez, Martial Perez Sarabia, Luis Rey Matadamas, Raul Lopez Diaz

PROPOSED E-MAIL:

The undersigned have received information from Oaxaca, Mexico, and are writing to you to express our concern for the many occasions that the individual members and communities that are members of the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca - Ricardo Flores Magon (CIPO-RFM) are harassed and attacked, particularly their representatives. Especially since we have recently been informed about the harassment and threats that the federal police are showing against Raul Gatica and the true fear of the organization that something might happen to him, due to the charges he has placed against the paramilitary groups that operate in Oaxaca.

For the above-mentioned reasons, we request that you take the pertinent measures to assure that their rights are respected, because if something happens to Raul Gatica, we will be certain that the government has given its consent.

Sincerely,
Signed:
Date:

Send protest e-mails to:

*Jose Murat, Governor of the State of Oaxaca: gobernador@oaxaca.gob.mx
*Felipe Sardain, Secretary to the Governor: felipezardain@oaxaca.gob.mx
*Hector Anuar Mafud, Secretary-General of the Governor: sriagral@oaxaca.gob.mx
*Carlos Moreno Derbez, Sec. of Indigenous Affairs of Oaxaca: saioaxaca@hotmail.com
*Vicente Fox Quezada, President of M