Oaxaca: Preliminary audits reveal anomalies of more than a billion pesos in the final year of the government of Ulises Ruiz

April 24, 2011

Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (@Oaxaca día a día)

From the 17 audits now being undertaken, the Secretary of Control and Governmental Transparency has found financial irregularities of 1.735 billion pesos during the final year of the state government of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.  The secretary Perla Woolrich Fernández has said that the audits of the former administration revealed “works that were not constructed that appear to have been requested, including runways for pilots who charge without working and for vehicles that are nowhere to be found.”  In declarations to the media, she affirmed that this presumed funneling of resources was noted by different agencies that were involved that had 15 days to respond to the observations made by the commission.

The present governor, Gabino Cué Monteagudo, denied that his administration protects those responsible for the irregularities and assured that “We want to be cautious and prudent, as I have been since the beginning.  We will act if there is evidence that implies an irregular handling of administrative money–we will act.  We must be very serious.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Detectan anomalías por mil millones de pesos en el último año de gobierno de Ulises Ruiz (La Jornada, 19 April 2011)

Ven desvío de 1,735 mdp en gobierno de Ulises Ruiz (El Universal, 20 April 2011)

Oaxaca: irregularidades en gobierno de Ulises Ruiz superan los 1,000 mdp (CNN México, 19 April 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Amnesty International addressed a letter to the new governor, Cué Monteagudo (13 December 2010)

Oaxaca: Confrontation between protestors and police during visit of Felipe Calderón – teachers mobilize themselves

February 20, 2011

On 15 February, protestors comprised largely of teachers from Section 22 of the National Union of Educational Workers (SNTE) and other social activists clashed with state and federal police while attempting to enter the zócalo of Oaxaca de Juárez to express their rejection of the visit by President Felipe Calderón to the city. At least 28 people were injured, including teachers, journalsits, photographers, and police. The mobilization was organized in response to the presidential decree made on 14 February that tuition for private schools would be made tax-free, a move that social sectors have interpreted as yet another assault on public education.

The following day, teachers from Section 22 of the SNTE struck in Oaxaca de Juárez and several regions of the state, blocking more than 37 highway points of the Oaxacan state in protest of the repression. In the capital, directors of the democratic teachers union led by Azael Santiago Chepi challenged the declarations made the same day by Governor Gabino Cué that “infiltrator groups provoked violence,” affirming this to be “a demagogical argument to justify repression.” On the other hand, they demanded the resignation of three state functionaries as a condition for the re-starting of dialogue with the state government. The State Attorney General’s Office (PGJE) initiated seven investigations into crimes committed during the confrontations, while 17 members of the popular movement who had been detained were released because they were found not to have committed any crime.

On 17 February, Gabino Cué Monteagudo rejected calls to apologize to the state teachers union as well as to sack Irma Piñeyro Arias, secretary of Government, Marco Tulio López Escamilla, secretary of Public Security, and Bernardo Vásquez Guzmán, director of the State Institute of Public Education in Oaxaca. He claimed that “if someone should be apologized to for the situation lived recently in the center of the city of Oaxaca [the confrontation on Tuesday between state and federal police and teachers], it would be to the people in general, who have given us the responsibility of assuming a role in the process of democratic transition—both to the authorities and other sectors.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Teachers and police engage in confrontation during visit by Calderón to Oaxaca (La Jornada, 15 February)

Teachers reject visit of Calderón to Oaxaca (El Universal, 15 February)

Journalist is shot in Oaxaca (El Universal, 15 February)

Secretary of security is beaten in Oaxaca (El Universal, 15 February)

Teachers announce mega-sit-in in Oaxaca (El Universal, 15 February)

SNTE blocks 37 highway-points in Oaxaca (El Universal, 16 February)

Cué sees radicals infiltrating confrontations (El Universal, 16 February)

“2006 cannot return to Oaxaca” (El Universal, 16 February)

Police and activists clash in Oaxaca; 18 are injured (El Universal, 16 February)

Cué rejects calls for apologies and resignation of 3 officials, as demanded by dissidents (La Jornada, 18 February)

Oaxaca: Amnesty International addressed an open letter to the new governor, Cue Monteagudo.

December 14, 2010

Gabino Cué Monteagudo (@Mexican Senate)

On December 10, Amnesty International sent an open letter to the new governor of Oaxaca, Gabino Cue Monteagudo, which provides a summary of the main challenges concerning the human rights situation in the state and calls onhim to develop a plan of action in the matter. In observance of International Human Rights Day, the organization highlighted four of the pending matters in the state: the abuse of undocumented migrants, the attacks against human rights defenders, the situation in the Triqui region and the impunity in the cases of human rights violations in the context of the 2006 crisis. Amnesty International stated: “The new government faces an unprecedented opportunity to build a culture of respect for human rights and to make them real in the daily performance of the state and municipal authorities.”

On December 1st, in a ceremony in the local congress at which over 3000 people were invited, Gabino Cue took up his new position while street protests were held not only to repudiate the government of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz but also to ask for a response to the demands of the people from the new governor. While members of the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle-Independent (MULTI), displaced from San Juan Copala, remained in their sit-in, the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle (MULT) marched to ask for clarification in the case of the death of its leader Heriberto Pazos, killed in October. Section 22 of the SNTE demanded that former Governor Ulises Ruiz be brought to justice and iwarned Cue it will not accept representatives of the leader of the SNTE (National Union of Education Workers), Elba Esther Gordillo in the cabinet. Other groups associated with the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) also marched that day.

The new governor has assured that he will conduct an investigation of the outgoing administration, although not in a spirit of revenge or “witch hunting”. He has publicly stated that he won’t stand for impunity and that finances, political murders and high-impact human rights violations will be investigated.

For more information (in Spanish):

– México: Amnistía Internacional llama al nuevo gobernador de Oaxaca a priorizar la agenda de derechos humanos – Pronunciamiento completo (AI, 10 de diciembre de 2010)

– AI exige poner fin a impunidad en Oaxaca (El Universal, 10 de diciembre de 2010)

Amnistía Internacional dirige carta abierta al Gobernador Cué Monteagudo (Oaxaca Libre, 10 de diciembre de 2010)

– Exigen justicia al nuevo gobierno (El Universal, 2 de diciembre de 2010)

– Revisaré cuentas y asesinatos: Cué (El Universal, 2 de diciembre de 2010)

– El equipo de Gabino Cué asume control del gobierno de Oaxaca (La Jornada, 1 de diciembre)

Repudio hasta el último día (La Jornada, 1 de diciembre)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Events in observance of the commemoration of the repression in 2006 (December 14, 2010)

– Oaxaca: Coalition “United for Peace and Progress” defeats PRI in state elections (July 12, 2010)

Oaxaca: Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, leader and founder of MULT, is killed

October 26, 2010

On Saturday 23 October Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, leader and founder of the Movement of Triqui Unification and Struggle (MULT), was killed in Oaxaca de Juárez.  The killing of Pazos Ortiz, who in 2003 was also co-founder of the Party for Popular Unity (PUP), which is considered the only indigenous political party on the American continent, comes less than two weeks after a march carried out in Oaxaca de Juárez by thousands of MULT members and sympathizers to promote peace in the Triqui region of Oaxaca and a day after the killing of Catarino Torres Peresa, the general secretary of the Committee for Citizen Defense (Codeci), in the city of Tuxtepec.  Torres Peresa was one of the first prisoners from the Oaxacan teachers’ movement linked to the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO); he had also been imprisoned in the federal Center for Social Readaptation of the Altiplano, in Almoloya de Juárez, in the state of Mexico.

In light of the murder of Pazos Ortiz, the political leadership of MULT has denounced that the attack that killed the MULT leader was a “surgical operacion that came from the State.” It expressed its fear that a higher level of violence could be experienced in the Triqui region as a result of the killing.  Following the attack, MULT sympathizers blocked roads and principal streets in Oaxaca de Juárez.  Gabino Cué Monteagudo, gobernor-elect of Oaxaca, attended the funeral of Pazos Ortiz and there expressed his solidarity with MULT members, promising that he would not allow “the unspeakeable attack to go unpunished” once his administration takes power on 1 December.  “Aggressions against social activists and leaders, like the killing of Pazos Ortiz, enormously degrade the social fabric,” he added.

For more information (in Spanish):

Social leader Catarino Torres is killed in Oaxaca (La Jornada, 22 October)

The execution of leader and founder of MULT in Oaxaca is reported (La Jornada, 23 October)

MULT: attack on Pazos could find bring about escalation of violence in the region(La Jornada, 24 October)

The killing of Heriberto Pazos will not go unpunished: Gabino Cué (La Jornada, 24 October)

Gabino Cué promises that his government will investigate the killing of Pazos Ortiz (La Jornada, 25 October)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: new ambush in Triqui region against individuals who had been granted precautionary measures by the IACHR (20 October)

Oaxaca: the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala is dismantled (30 September)

Oaxaca: Coalition “United for Peace and Progress” defeats PRI in state elections

July 12, 2010

Eviel Pérez Magaña (@ La Jornada)

On Sunday 4 July, state elections for executive and legislative offices were held in Oaxaca, as in 12 states of the Mexican Republic.  In the case of Oaxaca, the coalition “United for Peace and Progress,” comprised of the PAN, PRD, PT, and Convergencia parties, defeated the PRI-Verde Ecologista alliance, winning the office of governor as well as the mayorship of the capital and the majority of representatives in the state Congress.  The governor-candidate of this unusual coalition (including parties of left and right), Gabino Cué Monteagudo, beat the PRI candidate Eviel Pérez Magaña by a margin of 8 percentage points, putting an end to 80 years of PRI rule in Oaxaca.  The State Electoral Institute estimated participation to have reached 56% in the elections.

Although  many observers feared conflicts related to election results in Oaxaca, Pérez Magaña accepted his defeat the following day, though he stressed in his concessionary speech that the PRI continues being the most single popular party in Oaxaca, given that it received 550,000 votes in these elections, or 250,000 more than did the PAN.  He emphasized the need for reconciliation between the representatives and electors of both alliances, indicating that it is “now the moment” to “contribute to the unity of the people.”  Similarly, Cué Monteagudo declared last Monday that “[w]e are promoters of peace, and so we will always call for reconciliation.”  The same day as his victory Monteagudo declared that “we have attained a historical dream” in defeating the PRI but also called on PRI members not to “have fear” of the new administration.  This position was also adopted by the leader of the PT, Daniel Juárez, who claimed that the conflicts that were seen during the six-year term of present governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz in 2006 should be left to the past.

Some came to question that this call for reconciliation, meant to maintain the stability of the state, could mean impunity for the exiting regime.  Cué has declared that the next Oaxaca government “will obey the law” and that it will “be intolerant against corruption.”  He has also called for a transparency law “that will actually allow people to be sure of where it is that public resources are being spent,” but regarding the question of the exiting governor Ulises Ruiz, Cué has limited himself to stating the following:  “If there is a crime that must be investigated, let it be investigated; if there is a crime for which to punish, let us punish.”

In the northwestern Triqui region of the state, which has suffered high levels of violence in recent months, there had been seeing until 4 July itself if there existed conditions for the installation of electoral booths.  Rufino Juárez Hernández, director of the Union for Social Welfare of the Triqui Region (UBISORT), declared that there was a need for the Secretary of Public Security (SSP) to engage in a special operation to promote the installation of such booths in Tierra Blanca, Cerro Pájaro, and San Juan Copala.  Juárez Hernández added that UBISORT members would do everything possible to ensure that Triqui citizens be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

Before the elections the SSP indicated that the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copalá represented a “red alert” in electoral terms.  To date authorities of the municipality have not expressed their views on the election results other than to denounce in general terms the “electoral apparatus” for having given birth to “despicable authorities like Ulises Ruiz Ortiz” and others.

For his part, Felipe Calderón received the election results gratefully, asserting that “[t]hat of last Sunday was a vote for the institutions; it was a vote for legality; it was a vote for democracy; it was a vote for peace.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Electoral participation reaches 56%: IEE (El Imparcial, 5 July)

Opposition coalition wins majority in Oaxaca Congress (La Jornada, 5 July)

Leading with 8.35 points, Cué removes PRI from Oaxaca after 80 years (La Jornada, 6 July)

I accept the will of Oaxacans: Eviel Pérez after conceding defeat (La Jornada, 6 July)

Cué calls for reconciliation in Oaxaca (El Universal, 5 July)

Cué requests that PRI recognize election result to allow for the reconstruction of Oaxaca (La Jornada, 4 July)

PAN, PRD, PT y PCD call for reconciliación (El Imparcial, 5 July)

Oaxaca: If Ulises committed crimes, we will go for him: Cué (El Universal, 6 July)

Calderón: the elections constituted a message of the rejection of violence (La Jornada, 6 July)

If there is security we will install election-booths: UBISORT leader (Diario Despertar, 3 July)

UBISORT will look into installation of election-booths for 4 July (Diario Despertar, 25 June)

Authorities identify ’20 red alerts’ before Oaxaca elections (La Jornada, 3 July)

UBISORT paramilitaries shoot two women and a girl in San Juan Copala (28 June)

PRI experienced ‘de-Penó’-ization in Oaxaca, Sinaloa, and Puebla, assures the PAN’s Santiago Creel” (La Jornada, 6 July)