Oaxaca: Assaulted and detained for being a woman

On Sunday 8 May, Evitelia Pacheco Ramírez suffered an attempt to burn her alive after she was exhibited naked before the public in Emiliano Zapata, municipality of San Juan Cotzocón.  Teacher Melchor Agripino Guzmán Cruz, member of Section 22 of the National Union of Educational Workers (SNTE), ordered that treasurer Evitelia Pacheco be lynched for her crime of having led with two other women the government of Emiliano Zapata.  “Here in this place men are in charge,” went the cry spurred on by Guzmán Cruz, who ordered the municipal functionary to be incarcerated for three days after which she was liberated by relatives “rescuing her violently,” according to telephonic commentary by Noé Pacheco.

Last April, the treasuer Evitelia Pacheco, together with municipal agent Elia Castañeda Martínez and her secretary Marcelina Miguel Santiago, were removed from office by a “fixed assembly.”  The problems for the three women began on 2 January, when they took charge of their office under the traditional indigenous system of uses and customs.  Following this date Guzmán Cruz and “his people” began to make their lives impossible, given that in this Mixe locality no woman has ever governed.  During these months, the harassment directed against these women increased and in April they were removed from office, although they still have authorization to work before the municipality of San Juan Cotzocón.

In the extraordinary “fixed” assembly of 8 may, Marco Antonio Toscoyoa Lozada, the interim treasurer accused of favoring coup-like tactics, was anointed the new municipal agent, with the blessing of Guzmán Cruz, who challenged the purchase of a desk and demanded a fine of 4,600 pesos.  As the three women did not respond to the demand, the opposition decided to apply the law and agreed to imprison the municipal treasurer whom they threated to expel from the community if she failed to personally pay the cost of the desk.

That same Sunday, treasurer Evitelia Pacheco Ramírez was detained when she arrived at home accompanied by her children.  “Those who claim to be municipal authorities disrobed her while teasing her, assaulting her physically and verbally, and yelling that such would happen to anyone who supports her,” said Noé Pacheco.

A similar case occurred in December 2007 in the municipality of Santa María Quiegolani, when the local deputy and president of the Congress of Oaxaca, Eufrosina Cruz, was denied the right to govern in this community where she won in elections overseen by the system of uses and customs.  “Here women do not exist,” declared the mayor Saúl Cruz Vázquez when he ordered the electoral results that gave Eufrosina Cruz victory.

“These types of misogynist acts cannot be possible; they only reflect the high level of intolerance found among some members of the Oaxacan teachers union.  We demand that the state government attend quickly to these types of human-rights violations and that those responsible be punished, and that the reasons for the development of these types of crimes not be hidden,” demanded the president of the State Directive Committee (CDE) of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) Eviel Pérez Magaña.

For more information (in Spanish):

Rechazan que una mujer gobierne en Oaxaca e intentan quemar viva a la tesorera, Proceso.com.mx, 12 de mayo de 2011

Detienen a tesorera de pueblo mixe, Noticiasnet.mx, 11 de mayo de 2011

Lamenta PRI agresión contra mujeres en Cotzocón, Síntesis, 12 de mayo de 2011


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