On Aug. 31 about a dozen armed and masked people blocked the highway from Oaxaca city to Guelatao in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca and passed out two communiques which according to the Mexican daily La Jornada were from the rebel Democratic Revolutionary Tendency-People’s Army (TDR-EP). The Spanish wire service EFE reported instead that the armed individuals were members of the Revolutionary Popular Army (EPR), from which the TDR-EP split in 2000. The literature demanded the removal of the state government, headed by Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, a central demand in a three-month-old protest of striking Oaxaca teachers and their allies. (La Jornada, Mexico, Sept. 1; El Diario-La Prensa, New York, Sept. 1 from EFE)
On Sept. 1 a leader of the Oaxaca teachers, Enrique Rueda Pacheco, suggested that the appearance of a supposed rebel group was a set-up by the state or federal government “to contaminate and make more complicated” the situation in Oaxaca. Some participants in a “megamarch” of tens of thousands strikers and their allies in Oaxaca on Sept. 1 derided the idea that they were linked to rebel organizations. One group of marchers carried an effigy identified as an “urban guerrilla from Huatulco” (a region in southern Oaxaca) armed with “high-caliber rocks.” (LJ, Sept. 2).
But the EPR has been active in Oaxaca state in the past. Aug. 28-29 was the 10th anniversary of its first big military operation, in which up to 15 people died in Guerrero and Oaxaca, including several in Santa Maria Huatulco. The EPR marked the anniversary with an Aug. 26 communique warning of a possible return to military action as the “ultimate recourse.” (Miami Herald, Aug. 27 from EFE)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Sept. 3