López Obrador: We Will Continue to Speak Out Until the Powers That Be in Oaxaca Are Ousted
Speech of Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the meeting to support the people of Oaxaca, delivered at the Hemiciclo a Juarez (Monument for Juarez) of this city
Mexico, Federal District
Tuesday, 31 October 2006
We have assembled today to express our support for the people of Oaxaca, who have been attacked by the federal police forces. The violent military occupation of that city has deepened the political and social crisis that exists in that region and the entire nation.
In a circumstance like the one of Oaxaca, where on one side are demonstrators and on the other, armored vehicles, we cannot remain silent, much less take the side of those who sent the armored vehicles.
Why have things come to this point in Oaxaca?
The conflict, which has lasted more than five months, is a product of the decay and abuse of power that Oaxaca has suffered for many decades, for centuries.
The list of offenses and crimes committed by the PRI governments in Oaxaca, under the protection of power, is long, but UIises Ruiz, in just a short time in the government, has surpassed his predecessors in cynicism and badness: he arrived at the state government -- let us not forget it -- by means of electoral fraud; he subjected social and political dissidents to systematic and brutal repression, with forced disappearances, persecutions, imprisonment, and murders in Oaxaca; he attacked the media as in the case of the journal Noticias de Oaxaca [News of Oaxaca]; he violated the human rights of a whole people without any consideration; his corruption and authoritarianism have been insatiable.
Ruiz's abuses and crimes, committed in broad daylight, overwhelmed the patience of the Oaxaqueños [Oaxacans] and fed the popular protest that exploded in recent months.
May no one be deceived: violence in Oaxaca was initiated by the gangster attitude of Ulises Ruiz.
When governors act against the people's interests and impose themselves by means of fraud and corruption, as in Oaxaca, when the authority destroys the state of law and kills, attacks, and imprisons, as in Oaxaca, the people have to -- they can and they must -- make their rights matter to restore democracy and justice.
That is the origin of the social rebellion in the state of Oaxaca that, in spite of violence by those who oppose the rebellion, has maintained its peaceful and democratic character.
We recognize and respect wise leadership of the assembly of the indigenous peoples of Oaxaca.
The existence of citizen nonconformity and the disrepute of the Oaxacan government were made clear in the last elections of the second of July, which the PRI resoundingly lost for the first time.
In fact, the majority of Oaxaqueños voted for an Alternative Project of the Nation [Proyecto Alternativo de Nación, a 20-point program proposed by AMLO], but fundamentally those elections were a referendum against Ulises Ruiz. Through the vote, the Oaxaqueño citizens demonstrated the majority's rejection of the cacique government of Ulises Ruiz.
Nevertheless, in spite of people's repudiation, and the organized and extended protest, the ex cathedra agreements of the PRI and the PAN still keep Ulises Ruiz in power.
Here is the reality: the PRI governors supported Felipe Calderón with fraudulent electoral actions in their states. For that reason, they reached an agreement at the Ministry of the Interior to support Ulises Ruiz at any cost.
The political class, the ill-named political class, protects its interests without regard for the social and political cost, so long as it can maintain its power and privileges.
Oaxaca -- we have to say this -- is paying with blood for the agreement between the PRI and PAN political mafias to guarantee the inauguration of the puppet, the spurious Felipe Calderón, on the first of December.
By the repression in Oaxaca, that puppet demonstrates to what lengths he would go to take power -- neither legality nor democracy matters to him, much less the suffering of the people.
The conflict in Oaxaca is proof that the whole Mexican political system is rotten, that it has already become decrepit. The majority of the Mexican people no longer want this corrupt and authoritarian system, and sooner rather than later it will be shown that the alliance of the Right, between the PAN and the PRI officeholders, will be defeated by the popular democratic movement.
We are not going to accept the perverse relation of complicity at the expense of the suffering of people.
It is for that reason that we demand and will continue to demand permanently:
1. The removal of the powers that be in Oaxaca and the departure of Ulises Ruiz; for that, we will ask the senators of the Broad Progressive Front to reiterate this demand in the Chamber of Deputies. Also it must be made clear that, if the PAN is not an accomplice of Ulises Ruiz, the party must support this demand, so that the powers that be in Oaxaca will be ousted. We are not sucking our thumbs, we do not want the Senate's exhortations to Mr. Ulises Ruiz, we want the Senate to exert its authority and remove the powers that be in Oaxaca. Never accept the simulation and hypocrisy of the PAN: on one hand, the party makes the ex cathedra agreement to support the cacique Ulises Ruiz, dispatching the Federal Preventive Police; and, on the other, the senators of this party say that they want Ruiz's resignation and that they urge him to make the decision freely and voluntarily. No! In the Senate, the removal of the powers that be can be carried out, and it is very simple: The PRD and PAN senators constitute a majority, and we will see if the PAN, and the senators of that party, endorse it when the senators of the PRD make the formal proposal for the removal of the powers that be. Then, their little theater will have to come to an end, and then we will see on which side they stand, the side of the people or that of the cacique.
2. We demand the withdrawal of the undercover Army of Federal Preventive Police from Oaxaca. We reiterate: the Mexican Army must not be used to repress the people. Also, we demand freedom for the political prisoners and punishment for the authorities responsible for the crimes.
3. And finally, we believe that the best option to restore political stability and social peace in Oaxaca lies in calling elections, so that the people of Oaxaca, sovereign, will be the ones who, freely and democratically, choose who must govern their destinies. That is the true solution to the conflict in Oaxaca.
To defend Oaxaca is to defend the Republic. Let us support the dignity of the people of Oaxaca.
The Oaxaqueños have made the thought expressed by that quintessential Mexican, Benito Juárez, their own. Juárez says: "The people who wish to be free will be free. [Miguel] Hidalgo taught that the power of kings is too weak when they govern against the will of the peoples."
To the devil with caciques and their institutions!
To the devil with their corrupt and repressive institutions!
Toward the fundamental reconstruction of the country!
Never again must the blood of people be spilled by the ambition of the powerful!
Never again shall we permit the offense against and humiliation of our people!
Let us be alert, let us not leave the Oaxaqueños alone, let us continue to speak out until we oust the powers that be in Oaxaca and until the social and political crisis that confront that state is solved by the democratic method.
We are moving forward.
Long live Benito Juárez, the extraordinary president, the best one we have had in our history!
Long live Oaxaca!
Long live Mexico!
Thank you very much.
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