Oaxaca: Police Operation after post-election conflict leaves several dead and wounded

San Juan Cotzocón City Hall (@Noticiasnet.mx)
San Juan Cotzocón City Hall (@Noticiasnet.mx)

On June 11, in the community of San Juan Cotzocón Mixe, there was an armed confrontation between members of the State Police and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) group of Gorgonio Tomás Mateos, identified as a protégé of former PRI deputy, Jesus Madrid Jiménez.

The confrontation, which ended with at least 8 killed, an unknown number of wounded and over 100 arrested, was unleashed when an operation by the Ministry of Public Security (SSP) ventured into the community to execute three arrest warrants against people linked to that PRI group. This group has kept the local population under siege since last May 18. According to official sources, the arrest warrants were part of an early warning issued by the Ombudsman for Human Rights of the People of Oaxaca (DDHPO), in which it requested the government intervention “faced with the inability of the San Juan Cotzocón City Council to protect the human rights of its inhabitants. “

According to some media, after the police operation, followers of Gorgonio Tomás Mateos threatened to lynch the people of San Juan Cotzocón who were unsympathetic to their group. At least 100 families entrenched themselves in their homes for fear of being attacked.

Since January 1, a group of residents of San Juan Cotzocón, led by Tomás Mateos Gorgonio, now a fugitive from justice, has taken control of the Town Council. Since then, locals have reported repeated of human rights violations perpetrated by this group,  including arrest and detention of at least a hundred people, the sexual abuse of women, the expulsion and displacement of more than a hundred people in the community, and the arrest of visitors from the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), who came to the community to report on the displaced persons.

Various civil society organizations working for women and indigenous peoples’ human rights have expressed their concern and outrage “for the inaction of state and federal authorities to resolve the post-election conflict that, since January 2014, has besieged the community of San Juan Cotzocón, Mixe, Oaxaca where there has been an escalation of violence that has resulted in the murder of several people. ” These organizations also repudiated “the omission and neglect of state authorities, which has shown its ineffectiveness for conflict resolution in community settings.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Aumenta zozobra por violación a DH en comunidad mixe (Cimac noticias, 4 de junio de 2014)

La violencia se enseñorea en Cotzocón, ante complacencia del Gobernador (Página 3, 6 de junio de 2014)

Jesús Madrid detrás del conflicto en Cotzocón: habitantes (ID, 6 de junio de 2014)

Hay 21 desplazados en Cotzocón y 200 familias corren riesgo de ser expulsadas (Página 3, 9 de junio de 2014)

Enfrentamiento en San Juan Cotzocón deja 4 muertos y 9 heridos (Página 3, 11 de junio de 2014)

Un enfrentamiento entre elementos de la SSP y habitantes del municipio de San Juan Cotzocón, han dejado nueve policías lesionados y cuatro detenidos (Excelsior, 11 de junio de 2014)

La versión oficial sobre los hechos en San Juan Cotzocón (Quadratín, 11 de junio de 2014)

Ya van 33 expulsados de Cotzocón (Noticias, 11 de junio de 2014)

Gabino Cué solicitó intervención del Ejército Mexicano en Cotzocón (Página 3, 11 de junio de 2014)

Bañan de sangre a Cotzocón (Noticias, 12 de junio de 2014)

Deplorable la actuación del Estado frente a conflicto en San Juan Cotzocón: OSC (Consorcio, 12 de junio de 2014)

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