Saturday, September 30, 2006

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Oaxaca -- Naval helicopters signal end to protests?

(UPDATE: Sunday --The Secretaria de Gobernacion announced that the military will dislodge the protesters Wednesday, if talks are unsuccessful. They're playing hardball, and -- like I said -- I expect the Governor will be forced to resign). Sara from Oaxaca has the "woman in the street" (or, rather, woman staying at home) report in the "Comments" section. Helicopters Flying Over Oaxacan Encampments Navy flyovers of teachers union and APPO lead to "maximum alert". Warings that protesters may be forcibly dislodged tonight. Jorge Octavio Ochoa (translation by "St. Jacques" and myself) Oaxaca City, Oaxaca (Saturday 30 September 2006)
At 4:30, 4:50 and 5:00 p.m., two Navy helicopters flew through the airspace over the center of Oaxaca City, apparently doing reconnaisance. [Sunday's Jornada confirms that the navy is transporting PFP -- national police paramilitary units -- with flights from Salias Cruz and Baja de Hualtalco] From La Ley radio, the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO) called for a total alert. At the same time they asked their members to show prudence and calm. "It is not the deciding moment for us. What the PFP [Federal Preventive Police] and Ulises [Oaxacan Governor Ulises Ruiz] want is to provoke a stampede." With this in mind, the APPO called for strengthened vigilence, reiterating that the operation is designed to spread panic. Furthermore, the station claimed Federal forces would seek to dislodge protesters, beginning at 8:00 p.m., and that the attacks would come from two flanks: one on the highway that goes in the direction of Mexico City and another on the encampments erected in the center of the Oaxacan city. Flavio Sosa, one of the directors of APPO, called on all the group's members to mobilize and carry out a march around the Zocalo capital plaza [in the center of Oaxaca City]. In a telephone conversation, Omar Flavio Sosa, asked the governmental representative, Francisco Yañez Centeno: Is this the governmental response?" The government functionary responded that the flights are only for reconnaisance or vigilance. Even so, Flavio Sosa expressed his doubts: "I don't believe it. Fox will have blood on his hands if they undertake these these operations." The Navy helicopters, one of them with the call letters AMMLT-200, also crossed the airspace where the broadcast antennas of La Ley radio are found, which is the only one which continues transmitting APPO's statements, after Radio Oro went off the air yesterday due to supposed technical difficulties. From the kiosk of this city, the directorate of APPO began lighting bonfires to signal the maximum alert.
Something is going on... Jornada reports that APPO claimed shots were fired at their encampments last night. But, as far as anyone knows, the Feds and APPO will be negotiating a settlement this week. Given Ulises' actions last week -- where it looks as if his guards fired on the protesters (and may have been the people behind the attacks on Ricardo Rocha) -- the flyovers and the shots may not be connected. Ulises MAY be trying to provoke an excuse for a crackdown before the Feds -- who are fed up, basically -- remove him from office and put in ... who knows, stay tuned. I'm betting, as an outside chance, Demetrio Soldi, the PRD ex-senator who ran for Mexico City Jefe de Gobernacion as a PANista. will be the interim governor. It makes sense: the opposition to Ulises is from all non-PRI parties (and even from some within the larger "PRI family", like Elba Esther)


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