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Oaxaca Crime Scene

Sunday, July 6, 2008


The severed head of a man, placed inside a black plastic bag, was found Saturday at dawn near the house of attorney general Evencio Nicolás Martínez Ramírez.  

      The body was later found in Xoxocotlán, with a missing index finger (sign of a narco punishment) and a proclamation by the Gulf Cartel, more or less saying, We are here and you can't do anything about it.

      On Sunday Amado Sanmartin Hernandez published an editorial in Noticias entitled "The Other Power". He writes that people are fed up with the lack of governability, and that includes the business community which  supported Ulises Ruiz. Being a body-guard has become a high-risk profession for sure, and being rich is even worse. Clearly, the people of Oaxaca, as Sanmartin points out, are trapped. There’s no brake on the narco underworld, and there’s no solution or response to demands of the APPO. The government doesn't function,  period.  
      This isn’t news, but Sanmartin notes that the wealthy collect their children and flee, businesses and all, to other states. That, carried on long enough, will leave Oaxaca more destitute than it presently is. He writes: " Oaxaca nobody guarantees the security of anybody; the population is defenseless and exposed to abuses and attacks by the police themselves, who organize and operate independently or in connivance with  criminals whom the governor wishes would vanish by decree.
      "Do we consider these recent attacks as a social conspiracy? Will there perhaps  be presented, to justify these facts, a new organized resistance, like that of the APPO? Who will be blamed for these events, overwhelming and without limits, which nobody is capable of halting? Will the incredulous now agree that this crime-wave of violence, pederasty, forced disappearances, kidnappings and assassinations, post-electoral conflicts and clashes  between taxi drivers‒ is not the product of the popular movement which began two years ago? Will the governor sell the people another lie to initiate another action  against the social rebellion, to soothe the citizens  and justify his inability to resolve what is actually the product of his own incompetence?"

Since the first of this year, 10 people have been abducted in Oaxaca. Murders, thefts, kidnappings, etc. occur beyond control, and Ulises asked that the Federal Police be reinforced. That, sadly, means increased crime, not less. Nothing is "solved", nobody arrests anybody for crimes, whether against  social activists, journalists, wealthy businessmen, churches  robbed of religious artifacts,  the Frissel Museum  robbed of anthropological pieces, or simple pickpockets in the markets.
      The Guelaguetza, "supreme festival of the Oaxaqueños", will take place on July 21 and July 28. The teachers decided not to boycott it,  but to peacefully  offer a people's free Guelaguetza simultaneously, in the stadium of the Technological Institute. Hope for tourists to arrive still exists; many vacationing college-age youngsters already appear on the streets. I think no tourist is in danger except for purse-snatching, as would happen in any major city. None of the kidnapped or assassinated were tourists, despite Brad Will traveling on a tourist visa while acting as a reporter. The struggle lurches beneath the underworld and "the law". However, there is no law, and the social movement, non-violent as always,  cannot be blamed.

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