June 2: International Day of Action in Solidarity with San Juan Copala


May 29, 2011
By Members of the La Otra Support Committee of the Caravan





The Triqui people of the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala in Oaxaca, Mexico, make a call-out for international solidarity to all the nations and peoples of the world, so that in the coming days solidarity actions are carried out as far and wide as possible, to exert pressure on the Mexican government and to shed light onto the situation that the people of Copala have endured since 2007. This situation has culminated in the events of the last days and in the Caravan of the Color of Blood, that is happening now, and whose intention is for the people of Copala, who were dispossessed and displaced because they exerted their right to autonomy, to return to their homes

The Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala declared its autonomy January 1st, 2007, after members of the community had participated in the Oaxacan uprising of 2006, and from that day onward the Mexican government has maintained a politic of disrespect and destruction of that autonomy. The Mexican government has carried out this process through two political-paramilitary organizations which it has armed and financed; the UBISORT-PRI and the MULT-PUP.

Since 2007 in this war against the autonomy of the Triqui people of San Juan Copala there has been a death-count of more than 30 people – among them young children, women, men, elders, traditional leaders, and solidarity activists. Furthermore this war has made children orphans and women widows and survivors of sexual assault.

Read more »

Following Mexico’s drug money trail

A recent in-depth piece on Al Jazeera English examines the human rights implications of the militarized “war on drugs” as well as the role U.S. financial institutions play in facilitating the drug trade.  The statement Friends of Brad Will signed on to calling for an end of U.S. military aid to Mexico and a reorientation of the “war on drugs” was quoted and linked to in the article.

While feuding drug cartels are responsible for much of the violence in Mexico, abuses by security forces are not uncommon.

An April 2009 Human Rights Watch report identified 17 cases of abuse by the Mexican military, including “killings, torture, rapes and arbitrary detentions”. And, activists say the line between the state and the cartels is often blurred by corrupting infusions of drug money.

In August, the government fired more than 3,200 police officers – almost 10 per cent of the federal force – including the police chief in Cuidad Juárez, because of widespread corruption and links to cartels.

But despite this widespread evidence of human rights abuses and corruption, Mexico and the US are moving to increase militarisation.

Read the full article here.

Action Alert for Justice for Bety and Jyri

En español aquí.


On April 27, near San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, a humanitarian observation mission was attacked by the paramilitary group UBISORT, during which Alberta Cariño Trujillo and Jyri Jaakkola were assassinated.

The initial investigation was carried out by the Oaxacan State Attorney General’s Office, however, given the evident relationship which exists between the state government and the paramilitary group, it was demanded that the case be taken up by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), which joined the preliminary investigation.  Six months have passed since the crime occurred and the PGR submitted the results of its investigation to a judge, but given the investigation’s deficiencies it was sent back and up to now there does not exist any interest on the part of the PGR to ensure that this double murder does not remain in impunity.

Read more »

Uphold Human Rights, Halt Drug War Aid to Mexican Security Forces

En español aquí.

Below is a sign-on letter to oppose additional U.S. funds to the Merida Initiative for the disastrous drug war. We have already received an incredible response from all over the Hemisphere. We believe this is a critical juncture, as homicides and human rights violations increase in Mexico and citizens in both countries reject militarization as a strategy to weaken organized crime. This week is the fourth anniversary of the murder of journalist Brad Will, a classic case of impunity in Mexico. We urge you to join us and the hundreds of organizations and individuals listed below in signing this statement. The movement against the drug war enforcement/interdiction approach is getting stronger in light of the history of failure and enormous cost in lives and resources that it entails. It is unconscionable that the US government continues to support it. This is the time to make our voices heard.

Organization sign-ons: mail to stopmeridainitiative@gmail.com

Individual sign-ons at this link:http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/703/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=5074

Human Rights, Labor, and Religious Groups Call on Obama Administration and Congress to Uphold Human Rights, Halt Drug War Aid to Mexican Security Forces

Despite nearly 30,000 drug-related homicides, a huge increase in human rights violations by the armed forces and growing citizen opposition to the bloody “war on drugs”, the U.S. Congress is once again considering the allocation of U.S. public funds to Mexico to support the failed counter-narcotics policy. President Barack Obama’s proposed Fiscal Year 2011 budget contains $410 million for the Merida Initiative, a security aid package for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic.  Of that total, $310 million are allocated for Mexico. We question the Administration’s decision to extend indefinitely and unconditionally Bush’s three-year Merida Initiative in light of the violence and ineffectiveness of the strategy, and mounting calls for a new approach from citizens’ groups on both sides of the border.

Existing U.S. aid to Mexico under the Merida Initiative, amounting to more than $1.3 billion, does not include necessary safeguards to ensure that it does not contribute to systematic human rights violations. Only fifteen percent of the funding may be withheld pending a State Department report on Mexico’s progress toward meeting the human rights conditions of the bill.  Furthermore, the Merida Initiative (also called “Plan Mexico”) includes no benchmarks for effective evaluation.

The Merida Initiative supports a reckless strategy that has led to massive bloodshed in Mexico and failed to achieve goals to reduce illicit drug flows, assure public safety or significantly weaken cartels. With 45,000 troops in the streets as the core feature of this militarization strategy, the Mexican armed forces have been implicated in murders, rapes and violations of human rights—the vast majority of which have never been prosecuted.

Read more »

NYC Event: Mon., Oct. 25 – Mixer and Film Fundraiser for Mexico’s Other Campaign

Monday, October 25 from 6-10p
The Commons Brooklyn
(near a dozen different trains!)


beginning with FOOD, SANGRIA, MUSIC and MORE

around 7p we’ll screen
The blockbuster drama/comedy/monster-movie with smart political commentary and Korea’s highest grossing film ever…THE HOST!

Come start the week off right with a little pre-Halloween soiree

Join us at The Commons Brooklyn
388 Atlantic Avenue
between Hoyt and Bond St
A,C,G to Hoyt-Schermerhorn
F to Bergen
2,3,4,5 to Nevins
D,N,R to Pacific-Atlantic

$5 door, food and drink by donation

On Facebook here.

PLEASE RSVP to zapagringo@gmail.com (you don’t need to RSVP to attend)

More Info on the Film and the Other Campaign: Read more »

NYC Event: The Struggle for Autonomy in Oaxaca: State Repression Against San Juan Copala

Wednesday, October 6, 7PM
Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington, Manhattan
Free, donations accepted and appreciated

Three years ago, the indigenous municipality of San Juan Copala, in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, declared itself autonomous from the government. Since that time they have faced severe repression, with community members being kidnapped, raped and assassinated by two state-backed paramilitary groups in an attempt to destroy the autonomous project. Join Friends of Brad Will along with guests from Movement for Justice in El Barrio, to learn more about San Juan Copala, including a short documentary and video-message from residents of the autonomous municipality.

Friends of Brad Will is a national network working for justice for Brad Will, an independent journalist murdered by state paramilitaries in Oaxaca in 2006, and to fighting U.S. military aid to Latin America. Movement for Justice in El Barrio is an East Harlem-based organization of immigrants and low-income people of color fighting gentrification in Manhattan and a member of the Other Campaign.

For more information contact Scott Campbell from Friends of Brad Will at soupshow@hotmail.com or 510-295-8843

Action Alert: Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno’s house raided

Oaxaca, September 24, 2010

Urgent Action

Fear for the physical and psychological well-being of Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno and his family, freed last February after being imprisoned for 14 months accused of the murder of Brad Will.

Today, at approximately 10:30am, Mr. Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno left his home, together with his wife, in the municipality of Santa Cruz Xoxocotlan. At 2:30pm, they returned to their house and noticed that the door was open, and upon entering saw that all their belongings were out of place and that the lock on the door had been broken.

After briefly looking over everything, they noticed that no items of value were missing, ruling out that what happened was a robbery. They also saw that their important documents had been gone through, as well as their personal photographs. While they are unsure if any of their personal documents or photos have been taken, they are awaiting the arrival of the expert’s report from the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), which will be added to case file PGR 723/2009, previously opened as a result of earlier threats and harassment.

Minutes after arriving at their home, they called the Federal Preventive Police (PFP), speaking with Guillermo Romero. The police arrived at 4:35pm to inspect the site. These actions are part of the preventive measures adopted by the Mexican state as a result of the petition for protective measures, number MC-92-10, which is currently pending before the Interamerican Human Rights Commission (CIDH), in response to the various aggressions that Mr. Martínez Moreno and his family have been subjected to.

We call to your attention that once free, Juan Manuel Martínez and his family have been subjected to various acts of intimidation that have caused them to change their residence three times since leaving jail (February 2010). These acts have been reported to the PGR and have brought about the appeal for protective measures. Read more »

Friends of Brad Will interview with Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno

On March 24, 2010, approximately one month after he was released, Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno sat down with Friends of Brad Will member Mark Read in Oaxaca for a twenty-minute interview. This is the second half of that interview, in which he addresses the friends and family of Brad Will.  Please take a look, share it with others and take action on his behalf.


Friday, April 30
1 PM
Mexican Consulate
27 East 39th Street (btwn Madison and Park Aves.), NYC


On Tuesday, April 27, an solidarity caravan made up of Oaxacan civil society organizations and international solidarity activists was ambushed by state-backed paramilitaries. They were bringing much-needed supplies and attempting to break the siege of San Juan Copala, an autonomous Triqui community encircled and accosted by the same paramilitaries. Around 15 armed men from the paramilitary organization UBISORT ambushed the convoy, killing Bety Cariño, director of the Center of Community Support Working Together (CACTUS), and Jyri Jaakkola, an international solidarity observer from Finland.

Two reporters accompanying the caravan, Érika Ramírez and David Cilia, remain disappeared. Just before the ambush, two Triqui women from San Juan Copala were disappeared by UBISORT.  At the scene, several surviving caravan members received death threats from UBISORT.

Join us in standing in solidarity with the autonomous project of San Juan Copala, to demand justice for Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, and that the disappeared are returned alive, immediately.

For more information see El Enemigo Común: http://elenemigocomun.net.

Called for by Friends of Brad Will. For more information, contact Scott Campbell, soupshow@hotmail.com.

Paramilitary attack leaves two dead and four disappeared

Reposted from Angry White Kid:


Beatríz Alberta Cariño – Rest in Peace (source)


Jyri Jaakkola – Rest in Peace (source)

UPDATE 8PM: The two individuals whose deaths have been confirmed are Beatríz Alberta Cariño, the director of CACTUS and member of the Southeast Mexican Indigenous Community Radios Network, and Jyri Jaakkola, an international solidarity observer from Finland.

Four people have been confirmed disappeared: David Venegas Reyes and Noe Bautista Jimenez, from VOCAL, and Érika Ramírez and David Cilia, reporters from Contralínea.

Other information: Protests have been held in the city of Oaxaca, where individuals blockaded a major highway with commandeered buses, and Mexico City. Numerous organizations and collectives have denounced the attack. A survivor of the attack held a press conference earlier today, where, as Kristin Bricker notes, she stated the paramilitaries identified themselves as UBISORT and said they have the governor’s support. Contralínea reports that the State Investigation Agency did not look for the disappeared today. Photos of the ambushed vehicles can be seen here. Here is an article written by a friend of Bety Cariño.  Here is an article about Jyri Jaakkola before he left for Mexico.

If people have more updates or news, please leave a comment.


[See previous entry for more info on the paramilitary ambush of the solidarity caravan in Oaxaca]

My translation of the VOCAL communique. Along with the three disappeared people mentioned, the the two reporters from Contralínea remain disappeared. According to Oaxaca en Pie de Lucha, it was the press vehicle which was attacked in which Beatriz and Tyri (some say Yuri) were riding. They also mention a fourth disappeared, an international whose name is not known. That would bring the disappeared to at least six, with many still unaccounted for.


Oaxaca: Paramilitary attack leaves two dead and three disappeared

Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca
April 27, 2010

To the media
To the people of Mexico
To the people of the world
To the people of Oaxaca

Armed attack against the Caravan of Support and Solidarity with the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala, Oaxaca


Yesterday the realization of this caravan to the Triqui region, inside of our state of Oaxaca, was announced to the media. In this caravan there are comrades from the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), Section 22 of the teachers’ union, Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Freedom (VOCAL), CACTUS, members of MULTI (Independent Triqui Movement of Unification and Struggle), as well as international observer comrades.

As was already announced, the caravan left today, April 27, 2010, at approximately 11 AM from the city of Huajuapan de Leon, Oaxaca, with the goal of breaking the siege that the Autonomous Triqui Community finds itself in as a result of state and paramilitary repression against the process of autonomy which it is building inside this community.  Violent paramilitary attacks have occurred at different moments during the autonomous process of San Juan Copala and have been directed by the paramilitary organization called UBISORT (Union for Social Well-Being in the Triqui Region) which in reality is presided over by Rufino Juárez Hernández and the MULT (Triqui Movement of Unification and Struggle Movement.)

Before the departure of the caravan, the autonomous president of San Juan Copala, Jesús Martínez Flores, placed responsibility for any attack on Evencio Nicolás Martínez, Oaxaca State Attorney General, Jorge Franco Vargas “El Chucky”, State Interior Minister, and Carlos Martínez, local PRI candidate for the state congress.  Also, he urged UBISORT and MULT to behave responsibly and with earnestness towards the peace negotiations for the Triqui people.
Read more »

April 23: Mexico and the U.S.: Social movements, neoliberalism and state violence

Friday, April 23
6:30 PM
Sixth Street Community Center
638 East 6th Street, between Aves. B and C, NYC
Free – donations gratefully accepted

Join Friends of Brad Will for a public talk, discussion, video screening and photo exhibit with:

John Ross, Mexico City-based author, poet and rebel journalist. John will discuss the manipulation of the case of Brad Will in U.S.- Mexico relations, the broader attacks against journalists in Mexico, and the lethal U.S. ‘drug war’ aid package to Mexico known as Plan Mexico.

Mark Read, from Friends of Brad Will. Mark will discuss his March trip to Oaxaca, where he met with Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno, the Oaxacan activist falsely charged for the murder of Brad Will, and will screen footage of his interview with him.

Hinrich Schultze, Hamburg, Germany-based photographer with the Ya Basta Zapatista Solidarity Network and Cafe Libertad. Hinrich was with Brad in Oaxaca in 2006 and will be displaying photos of the 2006 protests and street art. The photo exhibit will be opening Tuesday, April 20 at 8pm and run through Friday evening of April 23.

Brad Will was an Indymedia journalist killed by government paramilitaries in the Mexican state of Oaxaca in 2006, while documenting a teachers’ strike and popular uprising against corruption and impunity and for democratic change.

For more information contact Scott Campbell: soupshow@hotmail.com.

Note:  At the exhibit opening on Tuesday, April 20, people can join the Sixth Street Community Center for dinner at Organic Soul Café which serves from 6:30pm – 9:30pm. Veggie dinners are $11 and with wild Alaskan salmon option $15.

Action Alert: Why did former RCMP officers file flawed report about Brad Will’s murder?

Thanks to Rights Action for spreading the word on this.


MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: www.friendsofbradwill.org; Scott Campbell: soupshow@hotmail.com

* * *

On October 27, 2006, Brad Will, an independent journalist from the U.S., was shot and killed while documenting a protest in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.

Since June of 2006, there had been a massive popular mobilization in Oaxaca, calling for democratic change and rallying against corruption, impunity and poverty in a state long dominated by the PRI (Institutional Party of the Revolution) headed by the regime of Ulises Ruiz.

In response to the people’s pro-democracy movement, the state and federal governments unleashed a wave of repression against the movement, killing at least 26 people and violating the human rights of hundreds of others.  Brad Will was one of those 26 killed.

One year later, in 2007, the Bush Administration announced a three-year international agreement known as the Mérida Initiative, authorizing the disbursement of $1.4 billion to Mexico, Central American countries and the Dominican Republic, with the vast majority of funds going to Mexico.  A major focus of the Merida Initiative was to be the so-called “war on drugs”.

Original release of the funds was accompanied by a U.S. State Department call for a “thorough, credible and transparent investigation” into Brad Will’s murder.  While those who shot him have been clearly identified by eyewitnesses as police and local PRI party officials, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office (PGR) charged pro-democracy protester Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno for Brad’s murder in 2008.  Human rights groups such as Amnesty International, Physicians for Human Rights, Reporters Without Borders, and the Committee to Protect Journalists, as well as the Mexican government’s own National Human Rights Commission and the Will family, vigorously disputed the Attorney General’s claims.

Read more »

Action Alert for Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno

Friends of Brad Will Action Alert

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Please read, take action, and spread the word!

As you may know, on February 18, 2010, Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno – the Oaxacan social activist falsely accused of the 2006 murder of Indymedia reporter Brad Will – was released after 16 months in prison.  This is an important victory, but Martínez Moreno, his family, and other activists remain at risk.

Since his release, Martínez Moreno and his family have been subjected to constant harassment.  They have received death threats and the government-linked paramilitaries which eyewitnesses and photographic evidence tie to the murder of Brad Will have frequently been seen standing outside the Martínez Moreno home.

For fear of being killed or rearrested, Martínez Moreno has gone into hiding.  There is also fear that the Attorney General may attempt to scapegoat other members of the social movement for Will’s murder.

Please join us in demanding the harassment and threats against Martínez Moreno and his family cease and that those truly responsible for the murder of Brad Will be brought to justice.

Please send the below sample letter in Spanish – or your own – to the email addresses provided.

Read more »