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(en) Mexico, Oaxaca, Interview with Daniel Martinez of radio APPO

Date Sat, 25 Nov 2006 17:02:27 +0200


Behind the barricades of the autonomous University Benito Juarez in Oaxaca
I talked with Daniel Martinez. He is involved in the APPO (Asamblea
Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaxa) and is active at the only remaining
APPO-radiostation Radio Universidad 1400 AM.
‘It is special to work here. We think it is important to spread our
message by way of the radio. And we know by doing that we jeopardize our
lifes. Look at the bulletholes spread through the building. Regularly
there are attemps to turn us out of here. But we stay with full
conviction.', says Daniel who is speaking about the current activities of
APPO.

‘Radio Universidad is the only remaining radiostation. The occupied
radiostation La Ley we left voluntary because the equipment was no longer
functioning. Also we gave up the occupation of Channel 9 . It was
impossible for us to make tv-broadcasts because the gouvernment destroyed
the transmitter. They do everything they can to silence us. That why we
concentrate completly on the defense of this radiostation. Which is
difficult enough.'

‘On the 2th of november about 2000 policeofficers made a lot of commotion
here. Afterwards the gouvernment said they only wanted to remove the
barricades. The truth is very different. They tried to scare us, so we
would leave. This is an autonomous university and the police is not
welcome here. In spite of denials of the gouvernment several dozen
policeofficers climbed over the fence and occupied the universityground
for a little more than 5 minutes. That how we see it.’

‘Still the intimidation is going on. The day before yesterday early in the
morning the police tried to break through the last barricades. But we
could stop them. Unfortunately they kidnapped 2 companeros during this
action. It is a very dangerous situation because almost every night there
are paramilitaries around the university. They shoot mainly in the air to
scare us, but totally 17 of our brothers are killed.’

‘Besides intimidation the gouvernment tries to make us look bad. Look for
example at the murder of the Indymedia reporter Brad Will. At this moment
the gouvernement is telling we have killed him. They say the first shot
through his lungs he could have survived. And now they say we have given
him a second shot to cause an international conflict. That is insane. By
the way the girl you just saw was Brad's girlfriend. She came directly
after his death and now she is doing mediawork. Who shot him the second
time I don't know. Maybe it happened after his death. This story is to
crazy to tell. We really need independent journalists like you!’

‘After the death of Brad and just before the arrival of the Federal Police
(PFP) the APPO went underground. We left the Zocalo voluntary. By doing
that we created more time and space for us to concentrate on the future.
We are not planning to start an official political party. You can see it
as a social organisation which is aiming at more autonomy. You could
indeed compare it with the Zapatistas. We are not going to participate in
elections. Certainly not at this moment.’

‘It is difficult to look at the future. We are with a lot of groups and
organisations united (in APPO, translation) and it will cost a lot of time
to make decisions together. Everyones voice and ideas are just as
important.’

‘But we agree on wanting a revolution. We want to get rid of the current
legislation and we want autonomy in Oaxaca. Because we should take care of
a few very important things. Like decisions made in villages. Of old we
are used to talk with the whole village about important things and make
decisions together. And what about nature? All the mountains you see are
in danger. With the Plan Puebla Panama (freetradeagreementzone in
Latijns-Amerika) the current gouvernment will give big multinationals
permission to cut trees, sell our plants as medicine and plunder the
earth. Do you think we can accept that?’

‘So for us it is very important to talk a lot with eachother, exchange
ideas, organise ourselves and have our own answer ready so we can start to
shape our lifes again. Apart from the gouvernement.
And the radiostation is a very important part. It is our voice. With it we
can reach people and give eachother ideas to think about.’

After the interview Daniel showed me around in the studio. It was heavy
secured and in all corners gasmasks were piled up. They seemed fairly
prepared for an attack. Making pictures was of course not allowed. And
before I noticed I myself was sitting behind the microphone. It was really
not what I wanted. Daniel said he would like to interview me so I could
ask people abroad to solidarize with their struggle. I saw it as an
exchange of ideas which is of course not bad.

For a daily report from Oaxaca (in dutch) go to:
http://www.grassrootsprojects.com/weblog
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