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Killings in Oaxaca raise concerns that narco-related violence across Mexico is escalating the level violence and impunity in other local conflicts.
 
This week, a caravan of 30 human rights activists and journalists from Mexico and several European countries attempted to bring essential supplies to San Juan Copala, a remote community that has been blockaded for months by paramilitaries affiliated with the state government. The caravan was violently ambushed and as this news story details, two activists Tyri Antero Jaakola from Finland and Beatriz Cariño, director of the respected Oaxacan organization CACTUS (and mother of two young children) were murdered by gunfire from assault rifles as they attempted to flee. Others from the caravan were seriously wounded. Still others were kidnapped by their assailants and later released as international attention mounted.

(left) Bety Cariño, director of of CACTUS, who was assassinated in the attack.  (right) David Cilia, photographer of the Mexican newsmagazine Contralinea who was shot in the attack.  He hid with others in the mountains for more than 60 hours before being rescued.

On Friday, dozens of Mexican organizations and activists signed a letter holding Oaxaca governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, and the local paramilitaries he supports, "responsible for the climate of violence in the region."
 
They call for:
• Punishment of those responsible;
• Guarantees of the safety and the lives of the survivors of the caravan;
• Halt to attacks on the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala;
• Withdrawal of the blockade around the municipality;
• Halt on the activity of paramilitary groups.
 
Reflecting concerns about the pernicious role of the Mexican military throughout the country, they also, "reject the use of violence as a pretext for militarization of the Triqui Zone."
 
For more background, check this recent story from Democracy NOW!.
To better understand the complex dynamics of the Triqui region where these tragic events took place, please see this piece by Dolores Paris, published by Global Exchange in 2008 as well as this piece by John Gibler describing a similar lethal ambush in 2008, on two Oaxacan journalists covering the Triqui region.



Thank you, as always, for your work on behalf of peace and justice,

Global Exchange

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