This past October 25th, 2018, compañero Noel Castillo Aguilar was assassinated at the intersection of the community of “Barra de la Cruz” in the municipality of Santiago Astata, Tehuantepec, Oaxaca. There, the compañero was engaged in a struggle together with his whole family in defense of the lands and beaches in his community against a group of caciques that have been evicting various citizens to pave the way for hotels and other tourist businesses on the beaches of the community.
In recent days, we have carried out a series of mobilizations in the coastal region to demand that the state government immediately intervene and solve this crime. It should be remembered that the compañero Noel Castillo is the fifth compañero of CODEDI assassinated this year alone. This past February 12th, an armed command ambushed the vehicle where compañeros of CODEDI were returning from a meeting in Oaxaca city convoked by the state government. In this ambush, Luis Angel Martínez, Ignacio Ventura and Alejandro Diaz were assassinated. Just a few months afterwards, July 17th of this same year, an armed command dressed in military uniforms kidnapped compañero Abraham Hernández Gonzales from his house in the community of Salchi, Pochutla, Oaxaca. He was found hours afterwards tortured and assassinated.
Thus far, nobody has been held responsible for these crimes and the government of the state, far from seeking justice, has sought to criminalize, persecute and detain compañeros of the CODEDI organization under whatever pretext. In addition, the state prosecutor’s office of Oaxaca, led by Rubén Vasconcelos, has initiated legal cases against compañeros of the organization. The government of the state of Oaxaca led by ALEJANDRO MURAT, far from seeking justice, has acted as an ACCOMPLICE and PROTECTOR of the criminals that have attacked and assassinated members of the organization.
The way the prosecutor’s offices handling these cases have acted is infuriating. And even more serious, on November 6th and 7th of November, the family members of Noel Castillo have reported incidents of harassment in their homes. Since October 25th, precautionary measures from the National Commission of Human Rights have been solicited to guarantee the safety of the family members of NOEL CASTILLO as well as the National Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. Until now, there has been no response in implementing measures to provide security in the face of everything that has happened to the family. We conclude that the inaction makes them accomplices with all levels of government. Thus, we declare:
- We hold responsible the Federal and State Government for the security of the family members of NOEL CASTILLO
- We demand punishment to those responsible for the assassinations and we demand guarantees of security for the family of NOEL CASTILLO and all of the members of CODEDI
- We call on the society, on the human rights organizations, media, and organizations in general, to denounce the climate of harassment against our organization.
Santa María Huatulco, Oaxaca
Thursday, November 8th, 2018
Fraternally and Combatively,
Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Rights (CODEDI)