A group of students from Oaxaca’s autonomous State University allied with the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO) occupied Radio Universidad—the University radio station—on April 30. The students said it was a limited take-over to last until 8 PM, May 2. As of 4:45 Oaxaca time on that day, Internet connections for Radio Universidad were down. It was not apparent why. Nor was it known if the station was broadcasting or being jammed.
The occupation was timed to cover a large Mayday march in Oaxaca City. This year’s march has the added impact of a large state workers union that is furious over the privatization of the federal workers pension system. Big actions are planned for May 2, including another march to the Zocalo in the center of Oaxaca City. Opposition to the pension privatization has become a principle demand in the marches.
Radio Universidad was a key element in last year’s Oaxaca rebellion, where students unionized teachers and other workers joined under banner of the Popular Assembly of the APPO to demand the ouster of unpopular PRI governor Ulises Ruiz. DJ used the booth to monitor police action and mobilize civil protests. The rebellion was heavily repressed and sent underground through a series of arrests and extrajudicial actions by state police and their un-deputized allies. Many activists and students remain imprisoned. Few have been formally charged.
On campus, students said they would abandon the radio station between 6 and 8 PM on May 2, but said that the frequency would stay under community control.
Oaxaca is bracing for a resurgence of anti-Ruiz activity, since the Section 22 teachers union is preparing for their annual strike, which served as a catalyst for civil dissent against Oaxaca’s entrenched political elite last year.
Jason Wallach for Upside Down World, May 3
See our last posts on Mexico and the struggle in Oaxaca.