The struggle in Oaxaca Mexico was one of high points of workers’ struggle anywhere in the world last year. Now the movement of teachers and others in APPO is facing savage repression.
The latest Mexican Labor News and Analysis reports on the findings of the Mexican National Commission for Human Rights which issued a preliminary report on 18 December, in which it concluded that 20 people had been killed, 370 injured and 349 imprisoned since 2 June 2006. The commission organised a delegation of trade unionists and lawyers to Oaxaca. They were told that many have disappeared or are in hiding. The Commission received 1,211 complaints about alleged violations of human rights — the “improper use of the police forces, arbitrary detentions, people held incommunicado, disappearances, damage, injuries, threats and illegal raids”.
The report refers to events of 28 October, when four people were killed, including Indymedia journalist Brad Will and a teacher, Emilio Alonso Fabian. Since then numerous atrocities have been committed.
A student leader was detained by police wearing civilian clothing. He heard someone take off his belt and was asked if he had ever been fucked and how it felt. They subsequently sprayed something on his back which he understood they were going to set on fire, although they did not actually do so. Six days later he was released.
A university student said that police stopped him and his friends, and hit them for three hours. They put blankets over them and kicked them in order not to show marks. When they were transported by helicopter, the police kept threatening to throw them out and asking if they could fly.
Macario Otálo Padilla, the former director of Section 22 of the National Teachers Union (SNTE) was kidnapped on 18 December with two other APPO activists. They were taken to a private home, beaten and tortured for two hours and then dumped behind a shopping mall.
• A delegation from Oaxaca went to the Socialist Teachers Alliance on 13 January — activists there promised to take up the issue in the NUT. An impromptu collection raised £120.