The Assassination of Don Tomás

Voices in Movement

Luis Hernández Navarro

Tomás Martínez Pinacho was preparing to eat something at Los Primos taqueria, in the municipality of Ánimas Trujano, Oaxaca, when a heavily armed commando shot him with a bullet. It was 6:30 pm on August 24th and he was returning from participating in a rally of 2,600 people in the state capital. His lifeless body was left sown to his chair.

The biography of don Tomás – as he was affectionately called by his comrades in the Sierra Sur – intersects with the social struggles of the district of Miahuatlán over the past 30 years. His trajectory was summarized in one word: struggle. He organized the Union of Poor Peasants; he managed better water services and garbage collection; he opposed the construction of the Cefereso in the municipality; he mobilized so that government resources would reach communities, agencies and ranches and not remain in the headwaters; he was re-elected as candidate for municipal president and for councilman; he supported the protests of democratic teachers against educational reform and in favor of public education, and he actively opposed open-pit mining.

He was born in Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz, on March 7, 1956, to a very humble family. His father was a farmer. As a child, Tomas supported his mother in selling tortillas at the center. He studied a few years of elementary school between 1965 and 1969, at the Leona Vicario School, and then migrated to Mexico City. In Naucalpan, State of Mexico, he continued his studies at the Manuel Avila Camacho night school and at the INEA. He sold food at the Teatro Blanquita. He worked in a grocery store until he returned to his hometown in 1990.

The attitude and commitment of democratic professor Germán Mendoza Nube, several times arrested and tortured for his participation in popular struggles, marked him definitely. Tomás told how, on one occasion when a comrade of Germán’s went to look for him because he had a difficulty, the teacher, in spite of having to move on a wheelchair, got up from bed, got on his chair and went to solve the problem. Germán’s attitude impacted Tomás. At that moment he said to himself: I have two hands, I have two feet. I return to my community and begin to fight for my companions, for the people.

That’s how he did it. Since then, Martínez Pinacho joined the Union of Poor Peasants and the Revolutionary People’s Front (FPR), in a struggle that only his murder stopped. He toured the communities, appointed the organization’s basic committees, collected the demands and needs of the populations, their agricultural conflicts.

Tomás actively participated as a councilman in the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) in 2006, which demanded the resignation of Governor Ulises Ruiz. For this reason he was persecuted, harassed and forced into hiding.

In Oaxaca there are about 300 mining concessions, three of them in the Sierra Sur: in Suchixtepec, another in the Coatlanes and one very close to Miahuatlán, in communities of Zompantle and Ocote. Don Tomás played a central role in the resistance to open-pit mining in the region, with the engineer Bernardo Vázquez Sánchez, who was murdered on March 15, 2012, for opposing the Fortuna Silver Mines project in San José del Progreso. In 2018, after a work of information and organization in the communities that began in 2016, he promoted the formation of the Frente Regional de la Sierra Sur en Defensa del Territorio, los Recursos Naturales y la Libre Autodeterminación de los Pueblos, in rejection of mining, in which social organizations such as MULT, API-PUP, FPR, section 22-CNTE, MAS and Coordinadora de Comunidades de Loxicha also participated.

Unfortunately, events such as don Tomás’ murder are far from being an exception in this government. According to the organization Front Line Defenders, Mexico is the fourth most dangerous country in the world for human rights defenders. In 2019 alone, 24 activists, environmentalists and land defenders were murdered. In May, several organizations, including the German Coordination for Human Rights in Mexico, documented that at least 30 human rights defenders have been killed during López Obrador’s six-year term.

Son of a dyke and a farmer, simple and extremely humble, Tomás was always concerned about the people who came to see him and those who sought him out for some support. He was dismissed in Miahuatlán by his comrades, friends and family, in a massive public tribute, in the midst of endless rain, the explosion of rockets and inconsolable expressions of rage and mourning.

The crime of don Tomás left in the Sierra Sur a mixture of pain and commitment to keep his saga alive. In the words of his son José Alberto: I am in pain as my father, as my mentor, as my comrade in struggle, but the struggle of Tomás Martínez remains. The State thought that by killing him everything would end. It is the opposite. Tomás Martínez is revived in hundreds, in thousands who today are asking for justice together.

Independent Sex Workers Fighting COVID-19 And Poverty

Voices in Movement

BRIGADA CALLEJERA has been fighting for sex workers in Mexico for more than 30years.The government of Mexico has repeatedly let down sex workers with unfulfilled promises during the COVID-19 crisis.Brigada Callejera is asking for your solidarity and support in their “BREAKING CHAINS” COLLECTION CAMPAIGN.

BRIGADA CALLEJERA DE APOYO A LA MUJER ELISA MARTÍNEZ AC.(STREET BRIGADE IN SUPPORT OF WOMAN ELISA MARTÍNEZ AC.)

We are continuing our collection campaign for Independent Sex Workers Fighting Covid-19 And Poverty.

It is urgent that all civil society organizations help vulnerable populations in the face of this worsening situation.

We are infinitely grateful to all the people who have joined forces with us. Your support has allowed us to continue collecting and delivering aid to a population that is still stigmatized and excluded due to religious moral codes that label their work.

Brigada Callejera has 30 years of experience in the defense of human rights, in particular sexual, reproductive and labor rights as well as a long history of fighting for access to health care for sex workers with the motto that for every sex worker, one health care worker.

It is important for Mexican society to continue to help independent sex workers.

Brigada Callejera has been fighting against human trafficking since the organization was created.

We are active members of the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW).

We have created more than 35 comics to promote preventive care and to take care of our children and women from human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

It is urgent that we continue to unite and stand up for the vulnerable people of this country.

We Will Continue!

In memory of Jaime Montejo who died on the streets fighting for full respect for a stigmatized population.

Help us to spread the word.

To donate to the “BREAKING CHAINS” COLLECTION CAMPAIGN

Name: Brigada Callejera de Apoyo a la mujer, E.M. AC.
BBVA Mexico
Account No. 0189280332
Inter-bank Clave: 0121 8000 1892 803322

Statement in solidarity with the prisoners of the Chilean revolt of the organization Vineketik in Resistencia

4/4/2020 CERSS No 10 Comitán Chiapas Mexico

Statement from indigenous prisoners Vineketik organization in Resistencia Adhering to the Sixth Declaration of the EZLN Lacandon Jungle

  • To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
  • To national and international civil society
  • To the CIG National Indigenous CongressTo the national and international media
  • To the people of Mexico and the world

From this prison in Comitán Chiapas Mexico, the organization Vineketik en Resistencia, we stand in solidarity and demand the liberties of the political prisoners of the revolt under the repressive government of Chile.

Since he has abused power by imprisoning those who protest against injustices using repression as a means to silence his people using jail.

And at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic we know that the state does not protect anyone, neither inside nor in prison, but in prisons there is vulnerability due to deplorable medical care and that they do not have the medicines or sanitary measures to face this pandemic.

And that there are older adults who are in the different prisons of the world, the governments of the countries know well that they are the most vulnerable before this pandemic, that is why we demand their liberties.

And as we have seen, despite the humanitarian crisis of COVID-19, these governments have intensified the repressions and have increased the incarceration of the poorest, of the indigenous people, of community leaders, of human rights defenders.

That is why we also organize and make national and international solarization, together holding hands resisting the common enemy, the oppressive capitalist patriarchy.

I send a combative greeting to everyone who is outraged at inequality, injustice and those who are in resistance and worthy rage.

Freedom for the political and fighting prisoners!

Sincerely
Marcelino Ruiz Gómez

Comunicado de la organización Vineketik en Resistencia, la palabra de nuestros compañeros presos en lucha en medio de la crisis por el Covid-19

This communiqué comes from the Working Group No Estamos Todxs. Marcelino Ruiz Gómez is part of the organization Vineketik in Resistance and has been a political prisoner fighting for his freedom for more than 12 years.  The orginal article can be found in Spanish here.

Communiqué from the organization Vineketik in Resistance, words from our comrades in struggle in the midst of the Covid-19 Crisis 25/3/202 CERSS No 10

Comitan Chiapas Mexico

Communiqué from indigenous prisoners of the organization Vineketik in Resistance

Adherent of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the EZLN

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To National and International Civil Society

To the National Indigenous Congress (CIG)

To the National and International Media

To the People of Mexico and the World

Compañeros, compañeras, compañeroas, I’m sending you a combative greeting from my place of struggle and resistance.

In the midst of this humanitarian crisis, irresponsible capitalist rulers benefit from pandemics and new diseases year after year in their struggle to decimate the world population. With precautionary measures being taken and the media bombarding us, they ask us not to leave the house no matter if we are bricklayers, laborers, ice cream vendors, peasants or craftsman. They say don’t leave the house in search of bread but surely we will die through malnutrition as indigenous children have done for centuries.

In our case, we have been kidnapped by the state and deprived of our freedom in this prison which is full of indigenous people as all prisons throughout Chiapas. In order to support our families who depend on us, we make handicrafts. We work mutually to support them. We work hard because the government does not give us soap or any other personal cleaning items. They have taken security measures so that our families can no longer come see us and our work and products can not be taken out. We are in crisis. We are concerned for our families because we support them with our handicrafts which they can not sell to survive. As human beings we are just surviving since the government made false allegations against us.

And in the midst of this crisis, the big capitalists are going to take advantage and benefit at the cost of the poorest. News reports show that the International Monetary Fund is prepared to give one billion dollars in loans to the poorest countries. Why? It’s nothing but slavery because the government is going to keep the money in their pockets and it will be the poor who pays more taxes than businessmen.

In this time of crisis, we organize ourselves, stand in solidarity and resist by continuing to show our outrage to the actions of bad governments.

Yours sincerely,

Marcelino Ruiz Gómez

Indigenous Prisoner in Struggle, Juan de la Cruz Ruiz, Released After Spending Over 12 Years in Prison

Voices in Movement
Below we publish two statements, translated from Spanish, following the release of Indigenous prisoner in struggle, Juan de la Cruz Ruiz. One comes from Juan himself, and another from the imprisoned Indigenous organizing groups, La Voz de Indígenas en Resistencia and La Voz Verdadera del Amate

On March 15, 2019, six Indigenous prisoners in struggle began a hunger strike in three different prisons in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, demanding their immediate and absolute freedom. In the weeks that followed, other Indigenous prisoners in Chiapas joined the hunger strike. Others who weren’t capable of hunger striking due to health or prison conditions, supported the strike with their solidarity from the inside. The strike lasted for more than 130 days bringing direct attention to the racist-colonial legal system in Mexico which fills its prisons with Indigenous peoples. The release of Juan de la Cruz Ruiz, on December 9, 2019, is just one success of the hunger strike and the ongoing organizing efforts of various Indigenous prisoners in the state of Chiapas, Mexico.

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Autonomous Organizations of Oaxaca Demand Freedom for Fredy García and an End to the Criminalization of Social Movements

Voices in movement

On November 6, 2019, Fredy García Ramírez, of the Indigenous organization CODEDI, was detained in Oaxaca and charged with various fabricated crimes. This communique comes from the Council of Autonomous Oaxacan Organizations (COOA), demanding freedom for Fredy García and an end to the criminalization of social movements.

Council of Autonomous Oaxacan Organizations (COOA)

Oaxaca de Flores Magón, City of Resistance

November 11, 2019

The Indigenous organizations that make up the Council of Autonomous Oaxacan Organizations (COOA): APIIDTT (Asamblea de los Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio), CINPA (Coordinadora Indígena Popular Autónoma), CODEDI (Comité por la Defensa de los Derechos Indígenas), OIDHO (Organizaciones Indias por los Derechos Humanos en Oaxaca), UCIO-EZ (Unión Campesina-Indígena de Oaxaca ‘Emiliano Zapata´), outraged by the increasing repression against our organizations and the Indigenous and popular movement in general, declare the following:

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Indigenous Communities of Aquila, Michoacán, Face Violence from Narco-Affiliated Group

Voices in movement

The communities of Aquila, Michoacán, who for years have organized territorial and armed self-defense, continue to face violence at the hands of a criminal group affiliated with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. This communique gives an overview of recent aggressions carried out against the communities of Aquila.

Aquila, Michoacán

November 8, 2019

To the People of Maquili, San Miguel Aquila, Estanzuela, Corralitos, La Naranja, El Otate, La Minita El Guasimal, La Roblera, La Lima, Soliman, Puerto de Xayacate, El Ocote, Tierras Aradas

To the Communities of the Municipality of Aquila

To the National Indigenous Congress

To the Indigenous Communities of the Country

To the National and International Media that have been attentive to what is happening in Michoacán and the Sierra-Coast

To the Federal and State Security Institutions

By means of this communique, we inform everyone of the presence of a criminal group at the command of Agustín Villanueva Ramírez and Cemeí Antonio Verdía Zepeda, former members of self-defense groups.

These people have agreed to hand over the Indigenous communities of the municipality of Aquila and their natural resources to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) with the objective to initiate criminal operations like extorsion, kidnapping, disappearances, assassinations, rent fees, the illegal exploitation of natural resources and drug trafficking. That is to say, all the activities of organized crime.

Agustin Villanueva Ramírez and Cemeí Verdía Zepeda are the masterminds of the following acts that occurred in our community of San Miguel de Aquila. This is the record we have made as citizens:

October 8, 2019: Ambush of the Communal Guard of Aquila in the location known as La Naranja, with two members of the security forces injured.

October 10, 2019: Assassination of community member of Aquila, Miguel Sandoval Zambrano, shot dead.

October 28, 2019: Failed entry of the criminal group pertaining to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) to take over the town of San Miguel de Aquila.

November 3, 2019: Ambush and assassination of Abigail Farias Fernández as well as various members of the Communal Guard injured.

November 4, 2019: Disappearance of Mario Alberto García Alcalá.

November 4, 2019: Another failed attempt by the same criminal group of the CJNG to enter and position themselves in Aquila.

November 7, 2019: People from Corralitos, La Naranja, Otate and La Minita report that a group led by Villanueva and Verdía are not allowing access to the community center of San Miguel Aquila, holding it hostage. The surrounding ranches are incommunicado and without indispensable services like food and supplies. They are not allowing them to go to work, that it to say, impeding their right to free transit.

Those of us who are releasing this communique also warned of the social network campaign that people at the service of this criminal group have carried out to defame the security work being carried out by the Communal Guard of Aquila. The Communal Guard has for five years have maintained peace in the communities throughout the municipality, in coordination with other legitimate security groups. There are false accounts in different social networks but the inhabitants of San Miguel Aquila, we are observing and investigating the true events taking place.

Finally, we solicit the municipal president Mohamed Ramírez Méndez to organize so that the different orders of government intervene to guarantee peace and tranquility that the residents and our communities need to have a life of freedom.

To the state and federal governments, we solicit a joint operation for the detention of these criminals at the command of CJNG, with Agustín Villanueva and Cemeí Antonio Verdía Zepeda as their masterminds.

Citizens of San Miguel Aquila and the surrounding ranches.

Member of the Indigenous Organization CODEDI Arbitrarily Detained in Oaxaca

Voices in Movement

State repression against the Indigenous organization, CODEDI, continues in Oaxaca. Yesterday, November 6, compañero Fredy García Ramírez was detained by state forces. Below we publish a communique from CODEDI regarding the arrest.

To the People of Oaxaca

To the National and International Human Rights Organizations

To the Free and Paid Media

To our sister organizations, we denounce that today, November 6, 2019, at approximately 7:00 pm, our compañero Fredy García Ramírez was detained.

Fredy is part of the Political Commission of the Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Rights (CODEDI). The arrest was carried out by elements of the State Investigations Agency. He was detained in the company of a compañero who has already been released.

The arrest took place when our compañeros were in route to a meeting with functionaries of the government. This makes us think that this was a set-up, just like two years ago when a vehicle carrying compañerxs of CODEDI was ambushed. In that ambush, three people were killed, including two minors. On that day also, compañeros of CODEDI were summoned to a meeting with the government.

We see that the government doesn’t change its methods to silence the voices of resistance. All of this takes place within the framework of mobilizations being carried out against impunity, for justice and for human rights. We were denouncing the criminalization, persecution and harassment against the communities that make up the organization CODEDI and the ten assassinations against the organizations that participated in these mobilizations. Five of these assassinations have taken place since 2017 against members of our organization.

We demand the immediate liberation of our compañero and that the demands that were made in today’s mobilizations be met.

Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Rights, CODEDI

Violent Attacks Carried out Against Indigenous Communal Authorities in San Lorenzo Azqueltán, Jalisco

Voices in Movement

To the People of Mexico

To the National Indigenous Congress

To the Human Rights Organizations

To the Media

With pain and rage we denounce the events that took place today, November 3, 2019. At approximately 12:00 pm, the cacique (local political boss), Fabio Flores, together with armed men, kidnapped our compañero, Ricardo de la Cruz. Ricardo is the elected president of the council of security of the autonomous commission of communal lands, here in our community of San Lorenzo de Azqueltán, in the municipality of Villa Guerrero, Jaliso. He was beaten and left in serious condition. The compañero Ricardo was abandoned on the highway that goes from Villa Guerrero to Azqueltán, where he was rescued by members of the community and taken to the clinic. There, they refused to treat him. After several efforts, the compañero was taken to Zacatecas to receive medical attention.

Later on, three vehicles chased and caught up with the vehicle where Indigenous communal authorities from our community were traveling. There, our compañero, Rafael Reyes Márquez, was beaten and put in serious condition.`After being treated in the community, he was taken to the city of Zacatecas. The whereabouts of another compañero, Noé Aguilar Rojas, is unknown, after he was beaten unconscious and apparently kidnapped, and taken to an unknown destination.

At these moments, the harassment persists against the community members, many of them are in hiding.

We hold responsible Fabio Flores (alias La Polla) and the municipal government that allows complete impunity for Flores and those who accompany him, permitting them to sow violence against the community and to foment the dispossession of our ancestral lands. We hold them responsible for the life and well-being of our compañero, Noé Aguilar Rojas, and the compañeros that are hospitalized.

We demand the immediate return of the president of the autonomous commission of communal lands, Noé Aguilar Rojas. We furthermore demand the dismantlement and punishment of the criminal groups affiliated with the cacique, Fabio Flores.

Return of the Compañero Noé Aguilar Rojas!

Punishment for Fabio Flores and his accomplices in the government!

Sincerely,

November 3, 2019

Autonomous Wixárika and Tepehuana Community of San Lorenzo de Azqueltán

Urgent: Miguel Peralta Being Denied Normal Visiting Hours as Punishment for Hunger Strike

Voices in Movement

21st September, 2019

Denunciation against the prison director in Cuicatlán, Oaxaca, Martin Porfirio Reyes Magdaleno, for violating the visiting rights of Miguel Peralta and for harassing his visitors.

After pressure exerted yesterday against the prison director in Cuicatlán, Martín Porfirio Reyes Magdaleno, demanding the entrance of a compañera to leave Miguel with the serum and honey necessary to continue his hunger strike, today again we denounce that Miguel’s visitor was removed from the prison after just one hour, when the visiting hours in the prison are Wednesday through Sunday 9-5.

This took place in spite of the fact that Miguel was put into isolation in exchange for his normal visiting hours. However, the director didn’t fulfill this agreement. Miguel is isolated and they are not letting his visitors stay for the duration of the normal visiting hours.

Furthermore, the compañera visiting Miguel today was harassed by the director of the prison, telling her that it was better if she visit him, the director, and not Miguel.

We invite you all to maintain attentive to Miguel’s situation, as the attitude of the authorities clearly hinders the accompaniment of Miguel during his hunger strike.

We invite you all to pressure the prison authorities by calling +52 1 236 374 0313, demanding Miguel’s rights be respected.

If it is possible to call the National Human Rights Commission to make a denunciation, that would also be helpful.