Oaxaca: Section 22 leader steps down

Enrique Rueda Pacheco, leader of the Oaxaca teachers union Section 22, resigned Feb. 18, saying he was the victim of a dirty campaign against him. He charged the state government with betrayal in failing to follow through on agreements signed in October to end the teachers’ strike in Oaxaca, instead setting up a new union local, Section 59, controlled by the state’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). (Prensa Latina, Feb. 18)

Days before stepping down, Rueda Pacheco had publicly reiterated his support for the Popular People’s Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO), the grassroots coalition the emerged in alliance with the striking teachers last year. He charged that more than 200 local schools were under control of “charrismo sindical” (institutional labor corruption). (APRO, Feb. 1 via Chiapas95) APPO also issued a statement calling for continued “unity in action” with Section 22 and expressing total repudiation of Section 59, which it said “represents the executing arm of tyranny against the popular movement, and specifically against the democratic teachers of Section 22.” (APRO, Jan. 31 via Chiapas95)

Violence continues in the restive state. On Jan. 25, some 60 PRI militants with clubs and firearms violently broke up a popular assembly in the municipality of San Antonino Castillo Velasco, reports the local “Flor y Canto” Indigenous Rights Center. According to the report, 11 were wounded and 13 detained by thugs loyal to the municipality’s “official” mayor. (APRO, Jan. 25 via Chiapas95)

At the start of the year, relatives of prisoners detained during the Nov. 25 federal crackdown in Oaxaca set up a protest camp outside the Miahuatlan prison in Oaxaca City, vowing to stay there until all the jailed APPO supporters are released. Another encampment outside a prison 40 kilometers away in Tlacolula has also been established. (El Universal, Jan. 2)

See our last posts on Mexico and Oaxaca.

  1. Germans protest for Oaxaca
    From El Universal, Jan. 16:

    Calder贸n: I麓ll respect rights

    BERLIN – President Felipe Calder贸n pledged his government麓s support for human rights Thursday following a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel where both praised their solid bilateral and economic ties.

    Calder贸n, who is on his first trip to Europe, held talks with Merkel, as well as German business leaders as part of efforts to attract investment to Mexico.

    “A state where all people can live in the knowledge that they are secure and where they can trust in the justice system is the kind of state that will attract investment,” Calder贸n said, pledging to support such efforts in Mexico.

    “Mexico is a nation that believes in human rights and respects human rights,” Calder贸n said.

    Special invitation

    Merkel, whose nation currently holds the presidencies of both the European Union and the G-8 group of industrial nations, said she had invited Calder贸n – and he had accepted – to attend the July G-8 summit as an observer.

    Both leaders also pledged to further bilateral cooperation in the areas of economics, trade and the environment.

    “Germany is Mexico麓s most important economic partner within the European Union,” Merkel said.

    Earlier in the day, 18 demonstrators skirted security measures at German President Horst Koehler麓s residence to unfurl a banner with the spray-painted message “No More Murder Mexico: Out of Oaxaca” before being apprehended by federal police.

    The incident occurred about 12:30, some 20 minutes before Calder贸n arrived at the residence to meet with Koehler.

    18 protesters arrested

    All 18 were taken into temporary custody and faced possible charges of violating the country麓s right-to-assembly laws, said federal police spokeswoman Stefanie Kaufmann.

    Berlin was Calder贸n麓s first stop on a six-day tour of Europe, where he planned to meet with global heavyweights at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and encourage foreign investment in Mexico.