Oaxaca: Ruiz and APPO both reconsider strategy

From El Universal, Nov. 12 via Chiapas95:

As APPO deliberates, Ruiz to alter Cabinet
The Oaxaca People’s Assembly (APPO) resumed their organizational congress on Saturday in Oaxaca City, while the state’s embattled governor announced the beginning of a massive Cabinet overhaul in hopes of preserving his job.

The APPO congress suffered fits and starts during Friday’s session as participants awaited the arrival of delegates and guest observers from across the country.

The principal event scheduled for Saturday was the presentation of a report from the leaders of the provisional collective council that was dissolved on Friday.

Flavio Sosa, Florentino Lopez, Zenen Bravo and Gustavo Adolfo Lopez offered wide-ranging political discourses offering a balance of the APPO’s current situation and their experiences as members of the leadership council.

Bravo spoke as the newly elected president of the congress. One of the orders of business will be to elect a new executive council as the APPO attempts to transform itself from a coalition of grassroots, indigenous, leftist and civic organizations into a unified state-wide social movement.

Shuffle rejected
Meanwhile, APPO spokesman as well as representatives of the Democratic Revolution Party and the National Action Party (PAN) rejected Gov. Ulises Ruiz’s offer to shuffle his Cabinet.

APPO has been demanding Ruiz’s resignation since June, when the governor botched a heavy-handed effort to remove a teachers union encampment from the Oaxaca City Zocalo. The teachers were striking for a pay raise and better benefits.

“Ulises Ruiz is in great debt to all the people of Oaxaca,” said Jose Espina, the PAN’s secretary-general. “He must realize once and for all that the only way he can contribute to the resolution of the crisis in Oaxaca is to tender his resignation and demonstrate political tact.”

Ruiz was expected to go ahead with his plans to overhaul his Cabinet, despite the criticism and the insistence that it would not resolve the crisis.

Expected to leave are Lizbeth Cana Cadeza, the state prosecutor who has called the APPO “urban guerrillas,” Government Secretary Heliodoro Diaz, and Emilio Mendoza Kaplan, the state’s education secretary.

“These resignations are insufficient and won’t alter our position that Ruiz must go,” said Florentino Lo’pez.

In other news, APPO members who had been camped out in Mexico City for the better part of the month, packed up their encampment at the Juarez Monument in the Alameda Park and began their return trip to Oaxaca.

In Oaxaca City, Archbishop Jose Luis Chavez announced the church would be unable to offer sanctuary to the APPO leaders after initially saying it would provide refuge.

In fact, Florentino Lopez, Flavio Sosa and Macario Octalo among other APPO leaders have spent the past two nights sleeping in the Diocesan Pastoral Center.

Chavez said he regretted to announce that the church simply didn’t have the resources or the infrastructure to guarantee the safety of the APPO leaders.

The archbishop called on federal authorities to take on the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the four principal APPO leaders.

Sosa and the others had petitioned the church for sanctuary on Wednesday, saying they had been getting threats and feared for their lives.

Some 40 APPO members have been arrested by state police since Ruiz’s return to the state on the heels of the federal police intervention. (APRO news agency, Nov. 8) This is in adittion to at least 85 arrested by the federales (some since released).

Dissident teachers held large marches in solidarity with the APPO in Queretaro and Hermosillo (Sonora). (La Jornada, Nov. 9) Teachers in Michoacan also went on strike for 48 hours in solidarity with the APPO. (APRO, Nov. 9) Indigenous followers of the Michoacan Popular Power Bloc also marched and blocked traffic in the state capital, Morelia. (APRO, Nov. 8)

More information at the APPO website.

See our last post on Mexico and the Oaxaca crisis. See also our last posts on Michoacan and Michoacan-Oaxaca solidarity.