(Editor’s Note: This communique comes from the Indigenous Magonista organization CIPO-RFM. Demanding freedom for their political prisoner Pablo López Alavéz, the safe return from exile of their compañero Raúl Gatica Bautista, and justice more generally for the Indigenous communities of Oaxaca, they have installed an encampment in the Zócalo of Oaxaca city. The timing of the action is strategic, as the government prepares for the Guelaguetza festival–a festival of the rich where they commodify and sell the Indigenous culture of Oaxaca to national and international tourists, while the Indigenous communities suffer poverty, marginalization, exploitation and repression).
July 20th, 2018
To the Honest People of Oaxaca
To the National and International Visitors
We are men, women, boys, girls, grandmothers, grandfathers and youth, Indigenous Mixtecas, Zapotecas, Chinantecas, Mixes and Triquis. We form part of the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca “Ricardo Flores Magón”. Our communities are far away with dirt roads and little transportation meaning five, eight even ten hours to arrive to the capital city of Oaxca. We leave our other compañeros in charge of the goats, chickens or bulls, our houses and our fields to come to the capital of Oaxaca. We do not ask for handouts but that the government of Alejandro Murat, governor of the state, knows that there is an Indigenous man that has spent eight years imprisoned in Etla without having committed a crime. He is in prison because he has spent his entire life defending the forest of his grandfathers, his children and his grandchildren. He is Zapoteco from the community of San Isidro Aloapam. The illegal loggers that have accused him of a crime are Antorcha Campesina, a paramilitary organization of the government that has a lot of money from selling wood and also has a lot of influence in the PRI government. They have bought judges and witnesses and have made the case very long for our brother Pablo López Alavéz. We have legally provided sufficient evidence of his innocence but we are do not have money nor power. Our brother continues imprisoned and they want to declare him guilty. Thus, we are here hungry and cold. Five days have passed without the government wanting to attend to our demands. Surely what worries the government is that the show called Guelaguetza 2018 goes well, where they show off the cultural richness of our peoples: dances, food, hand crafts, languages, customs, drinks, clothing, all represented by Mestizo people, while the Indigenous people are here asking not for charity, not for a shirt, nor coffee or bread. We are here asking that they give a guarantee the safe return from exile of our compañero Raúl Gatica Bautista, who for 13 years has been in refuge in Canada because Jose Murat Casab and Ulises Ruiz Ortiz persecuted and tried to assassinate him for defending the rights of the Indigenous peoples. He has been kidnapped, tortured, imprisoned, and persecuted for struggling for the autonomy of the people. Our brother Raúl is teacher, poet and Indigenous Mixteco writer. He could have had a life of comfort. He has won various international awards and has been invited to universities like Cambridge, Sapienza Milán, Siena, Gotemborg, Complutense, Valencia, Hamburg, Cauca among others. However, he prefers to be with the people, which is why we want him back.
All the while the Alejandro Murat government spends millions of pesos and prepares their spectacle called Guelaguetza 2018 with the money of the people, with the money for services and infrastructure of the Oaxacan people, a grand luxurious party for national and international visitors who leave their money with foreign owners of hotels and businesses. That is why today they expel the street vendors who make an honest living. Without employment how will their families and children eat? How will they live and dress themselves? And why is there a governor of Oaxaca? What does he do to fulfill his obligation to protect families? Why does Alejandro Murat not fulfill human rights and constitutional guarantees? What do we have to do so that he listens to us? What do we have to do so that he sees us? We have not come to beg. We have come for justice. We the poor Indigenous people, from the most distant towns of Oaxaca, the Magonistas of CIPO-RFM.
We hope that the people of good hearts, those honorable and sincere, will listen to us, see us, understand our words, and help seek justice.
For the Freedom of Pablo López Alavéz, Indigenous ecologist prisoner!
For the return from exile of Raúl Gatica Bautista!
Work, housing, health and education for our most distant Oaxacan communities!
For the reconstitution and free association of our peoples!
Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca “Ricardo Flores Magón”