Oaxaca: another teacher killed as Senate committee blocks solution

Following an extended debate, a Mexican Senate committee voted 11-3 late Oct. 18 not to dissolve the Oaxaca state government, while demonstrators demanding a solution to the five-month crisis announced plans to escalate protests. In Oaxaca City, a teacher was shot and killed by unknown assailants after leaving a late-night meeting with other teachers.

With the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) in support of the measure to dissolve the Oaxaca government, and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) opposed, the ruling National Action Party (PAN) was poised to tip the scale – but its lawmakers were clearly divided.

Meanwhile, two dozen teachers and activists from Oaxaca entered their third day of a hunger strike they started Oct. 16, pledging to continue until Gov. Ulises Ruiz is removed from office.

Following the impromptu news conference at the group’s camp in Alameda Park, outside the congress chambers, Oaxacan activists lined up to have blood drawn from their arms. The blood was then sprayed on a banner demanding the resignation of Ruiz.

President Vicente Fox’s spokesman Ruben Aguilar guaranteed a solution to the conflict before Fox leaves office at the beginning of December. “The president has said it on various occasions, and I reiterate: We are going to resolve the problem,” Aguilar said (El Universal, Oct. 19)

The murdered teacher, Panfilo Hernandez Vasquez, was shot down from an automobile as he left a meeting of the Popular People’s Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO) in the municipality of San Luis Beltran. APPO spokesman Florentino Lopez Martinez said the killing represents “the beginning of a new offensice of death by Mr. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.” APPO has declared a “total alert” and called on the federal government to intervene to “prevent a bloodbath.”

APPO said the gunmen were presumed to be state police officers. APPO has stepped up its occupation of police headquarters around Oaxaca City, and has detained officers who have attempted to take back the occupied stations. (Noticias de Oaxaca, Oct. 19)

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