While turmoil in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca has been in the headlines for weeks, little media coverage has noted that at its centre is a crusading newspaper, Noticias (The News). The dailys sportswriter is now a leading spokesperson for the teachers, doctors, nurses, newspaper workers and others who have joined together to call for greater democracy, and a new direction for the states economy. David Bacon interviewed Noticiass Jaime Medina in northern Mexico, where the writer was seeking support from the Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras.
Text and photos by Julie Webb-Pullman.
A five-kilometre-long “mega-march” of hundreds of thousands of protesters took place in the state of Oaxaca on November 5. It demanded the resignation of the hated state governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (known as URO). Only a few days earlier, on November 2, there was a battle to keep control of Benito Juarez University from federal troops that occupied the city of Oaxaca, the state’s capital, on October 29. These were just the latest events in a popular revolt in the southern Mexican state aimed at ousting the governor after he used savage repression to curb a teachers’ strike in July.
As fellow media makers and artists, we are writing to honor the memory of independent journalist, filmmaker, and respected activist Brad Will, who was brutally murdered while filming the grassroots popular movement in Oaxaca, Mexico.
On October 16, the Mexicos national ombudsman, Jose Luis Soberanes Fernandez, delivered the recommendations of his report into the killing of two young men and the detention of another 207 people by municipal, state and federal security forces on May 3 and 4 in the municipalities of Texcoco and San Salvador Atenco. The clashes were sparked by attempts to remove flower venders without licences from a market.
The popular movement in the southern state of Oaxaca has called for solidarity, fearing a massive wave of repression because of a recent step-up in numbers of police and military in the state. Since a strike by Local 22 of the National Teachers Union began in May, the conflict has escalated to a national issue. At its centre is governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, whose repressive methods have sparked a movement to remove him.