Oaxaca: activist survives stabbing attack

Oaxaca activist RubĂ©n Valencia NĂșñez was harassed and violently attacked on the night of Jan. 10, and it is believed that his life remains under threat. He is a member of Oaxacan Voices Building Autonomy and Liberty (VOCAL), which is part of umbrella organization Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO). APPO led widespread protests in Oaxaca state in 2006 and 2007, calling for the resignation of the state’s governor.

On the night of Jan. 10, as RubĂ©n Valencia was walking in Oaxaca City center with a friend, he was accosted by three men in a car who shouted insults at him, including “bloody APPO” (pinche APPO). Valencia and his friend went into a cafĂ©, fearing for their safety. Five minutes later, one of the men came into the cafĂ© and stabbed Valencia with a knife, wounding him in the head and neck. In the struggle, a waiter was also stabbed in the neck. Valencia was taken to hospital, but has since been discharged.

Valencia had publicly spoken out against state and municipal police following a raid they carried out Dec. 8 on a house where a group of young activists organize cultural and political activities. The police used batons and tear gas to force their way in to the house.

Another member of VOCAL, David Venegas, was detained by state police in central Oaxaca City in April 2007. No warrant was produced for his arrest, and according to his testimony and photographic evidence, he was kept incommunicado and tortured. He was charged with possession of drugs, assault and resisting arrest. The evidence for his arrest appeared to have been fabricated. He was released on bail one year later after winning several federal injunctions against his detention.

Amnesty International is calling for appeals urging the authorities to ensure that RubĂ©n Valencia NĂșñez is given appropriate protection and to investigate the attack. Appeals can be addressed to the Mexican interior secretary:

Lic. Fernando Francisco GĂłmez-Mont Urueta
SecretarĂ­a de GobernaciĂłn
Bucareli 99, 1er. piso,
Col. Juårez, Del. Cuauhtémoc,
MĂ©xico D.F., C.P.06600, MEXICO
Fax: +52 55 5093 3414

From Amnesty International, Jan. 16

See our last posts on Mexico and the struggle in Oaxaca.