Oaxaca: opposition declares parallel government

The Popular Peoples Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO) has officially announced the replacement of Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz with an alternative government. The organization said the only government they consider legitimate, after 106 days of political crisis which has paralyzed the state, is APPO.

APPO said it will maintain its blockades of local radio stations and government offices in the state capital, Oaxaca City. The announcement came as federal Government Secretary Carlos Abascal met with Gov. Ruiz Ortiz prior to a fourth meeting with APPO leaders in a still-fruitless effort to settle the political crisis. (Prensa Latina, Sept. 6)

On Sept. 3, the mayor of Juchitan, Alberto Reyna Figueroa, asked that Gov. Ulises Ruiz not go ahead with the planned transfer of the seat of his government to the provincial town, as had been planned for Sept. 5, because “the conditions do not exist.”

That morning in San Blas Atempa, local APPO militants agreed to a popular mobilization in order to stop the transfer of powers, pledging to bring protest occupations to Juchitan. The Juchitan sector of the teachers’ union, meeting in the city’s Technological Institute, also formally moved to join the mobilization, as did other civil organizations in the town.

The transfer of Ruiz’s government to Juchitan was to coincide with official commemorations of Sept. 5, 1866, when local Zapotec combatants defeated the invading French army. The celebrations will go ahead as planned, but APPO scores it as a victory that they will not be exploited by Ruiz.

The Juchitan municipal council consists of activists from the Coalition of Workers, Peasants, and Students of the Isthmus (COCEI), which despite its populist roots, now “sympathizes” with Ruiz, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which has long ruled the state. Anti-Ruiz graffiti now appears on many walls in Juchitan.

The popular resistance in the nearby Zapotec town of San Blas Atempa pioneered the movement against Ruiz. On Jan. 1, 2006, the people of Atempa, in a large assembly, refused to recognize the mayor, who they considered “imposed” by the PRI cacique (local political boss) Agustina Acevedo, a local legislator and later a candidate for the national congress. Since then, Francisco Salud has headed the popular council which became the real power in Atempa.

On Feb. 6, large crowds turned out for the Other Campaign and Subcomandante Marcos in Atempa. Three weeks later, on March 1, the police expelled the popular council from the municipal presidential building. The building remained a no-man’s-land until June 14 when, in response to the police attack against the teachers’ strike in Oaxaca City, the people retook the plaza and nearby government buildings of San Blas Atempa. The parallel government of Dr. Salud functions by consensus and tequio, a traditional system of collectively organizing work.

On May 4, the treasurer of the Atempa popular council, Faustino Acevedo, was assassinated on the doorstep of his house as he was preparing to leave for the second National Indigenous Congress, held in San Pedro Atlapulco in the state of Mexico. (Hermann Bellinghausen for La Jornada, Sept. 4, translated by NarcoNews)

More info at the APPO website.

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