Government-Funded Paramilitary Group Burns Three Colonies in Oaxaca

We’re here in what’s called the Zócalo of Oaxaca There are some… I say “some,” there are quite a few people that are living here There is a sign that says they were forced out of where they lived with rockets and high caliber rifles by a government-sponsored paramilitary group that forced them out.I was trying to find out what happened Very few people wanted to talk.They are very nervous being on camera but one person has agreed to tell the story I’ll put subtitles on this video but he is going to talk in Spanish Sir? Is it alright if I record you? Refugee: Yes Would you be able to tell us what happened to you? Refugee: Here we are out of place, without resources, without anything, because we were assaulted by… by some municipal authorities from here in the valleys of Oaxaca. The municipal president and her municipal agent contracted some people to remove us from where we were. We are three small colonies. One that was called Micentenario; I say “called” because it has now disappeared. . Another that was called Fransisco Villa, and another that was called Che Guevara. Three whole colonies. They had been promised land [by the government.] They came up with an idea of how to get us off the land. One morning at around 7 in the morning they arrived at the base of Gueytones firing their guns. They burned our houses and sacked our belongings and we fled because we didn´t have anything with which to defend ourselves. Look, we didn´t have anywhere to go and nowhere let us in. We were in a peaceful position and not trying to do harm to anyone. But they took everything from us like we were criminals, even though we were paying fees for the land. They took everything from Plalasos and Gueytones. We didn´t have anything to do except run. And from the hilltop we ran even as our houses were burning down. They took our posessions, and that was that. That was on the 3rd of July. Of this year. At 7 in the morning. The president is from Sachila and the agent of the Colony where we are from is named Vicente Guerrero and is from Sachila. We were on land in Sachila which we had negotiated with the commissary but… I don´t know. We weren´t grateful that they took everything from us. We came here because there police there while those people took our things. And there are a lot of us! We have rights as Mexicans and as Oaxacans. But neither federal nor state authorities even pay attention to us. Look how close we are! That is the palace of the governor and we are right here. . And they can´t see us. They can´t see our suffering and lack of resources, our misery and how we are living. Look at how we are living. Look at the children! They aren´t getting an education, they aren´t allowed go to school here, they are totally ignorant of the tragedy that is happening to their parents and to themselves. Here we are, people forgotten by their own government. And that´s why we are here, in these little houses [tents] in a public space. And that´s why we came. They burned our houses. Can you say why they did it? For money? For the Land? Look, some people arrived from Istmo (a local indigenous region) at first they supported us in setting up the land, they supported us with certain things but according to them, we participated in some violent acts. But who knows? ? I never participated in one of those. I wasn´t even there. According to them we were murdering and raping and whatnot. At my age? They charged us with whatever they could think of. That is the reason that we are here, waiting and hoping for the authorities to do something. The beaurocracy is enormous, the send us from here to there to over there and they never tell us what is real. Finally we carried with us what we could from the ashes. The real tragedy is that we cant go back and we are definitively displaced. And here we are, the sadness of the tragedy is we aren´t even paid attention to. We are Oaxacans, Mexicans, we don´t have resources and that´s why we are here.

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