Interview with Gustavo Esteva in Oaxaca

Para leer en español:

Oaxaca, “Trapped” by Violence Exercised by the State: Gustavo Esteva

** “Terrible, the condition of the indigenous; that encourages emigration”

By: Alonso Urrutia y Octavio Vélez, Envoy and correspondent

Oaxaca, Oaxaca, September 12, 2011

During recent years Oaxaca has confronted an “extreme violence,” which goes beyond that which the country currently suffers, with the aggravating factor “that it is a violence that essentially comes from the State, with a guaranty of impunity” to those who directly exercise it, assured Gustavo Esteva, member of the Coordination of the Citizen Space for Justice and Truth in this state.

Attacks on social strugglers co-exist with those that originate from the “economic order,” whose objective centers on stealing land from indigenous communities for the purpose of exploitation, coming from, among others, mining companies, Esteva added, who says that 800, 000 hectares have been sold in concessions to different companies, with the goal of taking the indigenous peoples away violently, “but that is not going to be permitted” by the organizations.

About the situation that prevails in Oaxaca, within the context of the passage of the Caravan for Peace, Esteva pointed out that the state has suffered a political decomposition, tied to the theme of security in the recent 15 years, aggravated by the “psychopathic tyranny” of Ulises Ruiz. Oaxaca is trapped in violence exercised by the State.

“We can say that it is a systematic repression, a strategy of intimidation of the people, of control of will, of domination. In the state, police, politician and criminal are interchangeable terms,” he indicated.


–It’s not only repression. It’s something more –responds Esteva, to denounce the State’s collusion with criminality.

“A clear example of this coexistence is the murder of the human rights defender Bety Cariño in San Juan Copala, in charge of paramilitaries financed by the State, on a humanitarian aid caravan. Some time later there was another caravan to the place, in the state’s attorney general participated, that could not reach Copala either, with the argument that the paramilitaries were there, the same ones that were financed by the State itself. That is Oaxaca. It is difficult to distinguish between what is criminal and what is institutional.”

–¿Is there an impunity in a sense different than that occurring on the national scale?

–There is collusion between criminals and the State here. One can refer to the criminals and the police and they are the same person. Today the difference is that in Oaxaca we have lost the fear of fear. In thousands of communities the violence that permeates other states has not been able to prosper, because of the strength of the social fabric, of the community organization, it is there where the solution is.”

State violence, he emphasized, had its most emblematic expression on November 25, 2006, when it acted against the then popular movement, with a result of deaths and injuries. “In reality it was when that Felipe Calderón war started, because it was a concerted action with the Ulises Ruiz government, which knew how to pressure it with the logic that if the fall of a governor was permitted, afterwards would come that [the fall] of a president.”

The condition of the indigenous is “terrible, and that has encouraged a strong migration that, paradoxically, is what permitted recuperating the ability to plant in the field, because the remittances are used to finance it (planting),” he pointed out.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

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