In reaction to the murder of the autonomous leader Timoteo Alejandro Ramirez (44) and his wife Cleriberta Castro (35) in the settlement of Yosoyuxi, in the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala, two other leaders of the Triqui community, Jorge Albino Ortiz and Adalberto Hernandez Alvarez, organized a press conference in Mexico City on May 21st.
The Press Conference was attended by the two officials from San Juan Copala, and members of both official and independent electronic media, as well as magazines and newspapers. The atmosphere was tense and expectant of the statements of the officials of San Juan Copala in regards to the assassination of their top leader, Timoteo Alejandro Ramirez, and the continuing actions of the Triqui organization.
Jorge Albino began by explaining that they were still waiting for the official communiqué to be issued by the Municipality in San Juan Copala, but that this document has been delayed due to the situation in the region following the murder, the autopsy, the preparations for the funeral, and the guarding of the body by several communities in order to provide security and prevent further conflict.
Jorge Albino Ortiz strongly stated that the attack on Timoteo Ramirez will not stop neither the convoy organized for June 8, nor the political project intended to bring autonomy to the triqui region. He declared that the murder was a state crime perpetrated against Timoteo because he opposed the creation of “Unidad Popular”, a political project sponsored by MULT. This originated the dissidence, since the creation of such political party was considered a departure from the objectives of the struggle for self-determination of the indigenous community.
Faced with questions from reporters, Jorge Albino explained that at the moment there had been no contacts with the Attorney General of the State of Oaxaca. Nonetheless they have all the willingness to collaborate with the relevant investigation, and also noted the urgency of starting such investigations to clarify this homicide as soon as possible.
As part of their statement, Jorge Albino pointed out that there are to his knowledge various plans to stop the June 8th convoy that will bring food and medicines to the members of the community; however, he said, the organization will continue the political project of unifying all the 32 Triqui communities and achieve autonomy and self-determination. Albino insisted that Timoteo never advocated the use of violence to solve conflicts neither supported the creation of political parties that “only generate divisions between communities”. On that note, he stressed the belief of the Autonomous Municipality, that the Mexican state, along with its “action arms” like MULT and UBISORT-PR were responsible for what he called a political crime.
Regarding the information relevant to the assassination, Jorge Albino commented that despite the first testimonies of witnesses about the existence of at a cargo truck at the scene, the murderers actually used a white Volkswagen Jetta with no license plates. The individuals, he said, are not from that region. Finally, Jorge Albino appealed to the federal government of Mexico to provide justice for this crime, and indicated that the General Federal Attorney (PGR) has not yet begun any investigation for the murders of the Finnish human rights activist Jyri Jaakola, and the local community worker Bety Cariño, ambushed last April, despite the testimonies of several witnesses and the existence of enough evidence to start a federal investigation.
Adalberto Hernández Álvarez started his intervention by stating that the Triqui community is in shock after the assassination of the tireless social activist and main promoter of the autonomy and self-determination of the Triqui people.
He expressed the deep sense of anger generated by this violent act, but also the conviction that such crime far from weakening the organization will make it stronger.
“The state and federal apparatus had hit a member of the ‘Autonomous Municipality”, but this will in no way stop our struggle, on the contrary, today that one comrade has fallen, we felt that many Timoteos have been born.”
Adalberto called the “Otra Campaña” – the “Other Campaign”, a political campaign waged by the Zapatista front – to position itself politically after these events, and similarly requested their support to strengthen the triqui struggle for justice for these crimes, the breaking of the paramilitary blockage and the construction of the autonomy in the region.
He specified that they joined the Zapatista struggle sin 1994, and later taken part in several acts in favor of the Zapatista autonomous communities in the state of Chiapas as well as in Oaxaca, and that today, when they are being directly attacked they ask for the solidarity and support of the social and political organizations within Mexico and internationally.
Adalberto emphasized in the fact that they had loss any confidence on the State and Federal justice because they speak of organized crime, “but the Organized Crime is the State, because they went to our comrade home to kill him, and that for us is a state crime.”
The Press Conference ended with the demand for justice and respect for the autonomy, as well as the total rejection of the strategy to eliminate the San Juan Copala project, through the militarization of the Triqui region by the State and its paramilitary allies.
Source: Autonomía en San Juan Copala.