The People Vs. Romero: 6 Oct. 2015

Closing arguments in The People vs. Francisco “Chavo” Romero were made on October 6th last week at Ventura County Superior Court in Oxnard. Francisco is charged with 5 traffic violations totaling $1000 mailed to him after the supporters of the Limón family called upon the Todo Poder Al Pueblo Collective to help organize a protest march.

Assistant Chief Eric Sonstegard testified to the Oxnard Police Department (OPD) preparation leading up to and following the Oct. 13 2013 protest that included a briefing on contingency plans for various levels of police action. Engagement levels ranged from observation to dispersal orders. Up to 90 officers including riot squads and a Bear Cat tactical vehicle were either actively assigned or on call the day of the protest. Sonstegard’s testimony revealed that he and another undercover officer were assigned to follow and to take video of the march, taking place to commemorate the 1 year anniversary of OPD’s killing of Alfonso Limón, an innocent bystander gunned down in an OPD standoff.

Sonstegard stated that he had been familiar with Romero due to Francisco’s years of community involvement. Thus, Romero was identified in undercover video and citations were mailed to his mother’s home address in Oxnard. Sonstegard did not identify an individual officer responsible for the decision to cite Romero, stating that it was a “collective decision.” Nor did he explain sufficiently why Romero was cited and not the handful of other participants who were identified by OPD.

Claudia Limón testified that her brother, Alfonso Limón, was gunned down by OPD in 2012. The Limón family had already been acquainted with Romero through his work as a schoolteacher, and later as an advocate for a Limón relative who had been abused by OPD. After Alfonso’s murder, the Limón family approached Chavo as a trusted friend and member of Todo Poder in order to ask for help finding justice for Alfonso, then later to commemorate the 1 year anniversary of Limón’s death.

Francisco took the stand in his own defense, testifying to his 18 years of community activism that included expertise in March facilitation; his role in the Oct 13 march, and his familiarity with OPD through personal encounters (Romero has been awarded $25,000 for bodily injury inflicted by OPD), and through mutual participation in community improvement projects. Romero indicated that he was not a march leader. During his testimony, Chavo demonstrated on a map the the route of the march and the locations at which he was cited. Undercover video taken by OPD viewed during his testimony showed he and other monitors leap-frogging through the adjacent gutter as the community marchers walked through the sidewalk. Romero drew from his expertise as a seasoned activist, explaining to the court best practices for safe and effective community marches; best practices include keeping the entire march together in a single mass, and walking with the flow of traffic. Romero stated that during the march he took directives from the Limón family who was leading the march; this required that he run back and forth the length of the 200-300 person march (of whom, Sonstegard, testified OPD could only identify a few of individuals) several times in order receive and communicate directives from the Limón family who were leading the march.

Video footage appeared to corroborate precisely the tactics that Romero described. It showed him stationed, according to safety protocols, within a crosswalk in order to keep oncoming vehicles at bay and to keep the march together as it crossed; the march was too massive to cross in a single green light, and the light changed from red to green while Romero and the rest of the march were in a crosswalk. Chavo is seen maneuvering through the gutter in order to move swiftly around the March to relay communications between the Limón family, monitors, and the general march; he is seen walking in oncoming traffic in order to signal to those who had spilled into the street to rejoin the rest of the protest.

Romero stated in court that since receiving the tickets, he has either scaled back or withdrawn entirely his participation at Oxnard events, and that OPD’s issuing of tickets achieved the effect of suppressing community activism. Romero revealed that the Limón family offered to pay for the $1000 in fines that Romero received, and that he instead chose to contest the citations so that he and other community activists would not be reluctant to demonstrate in the future.

A number of supporters of Romero were in attendance at the traffic court on the 6th. The case is now at the disposition of Commissioner Anthony Sabo, who told the court and the Romero supporters in attendance that he will not make a decision that day, and will review the evidence before ruling.

Three defenses were used by Romero’s attorney, Jaime Gutierrez: the first was entrapment – that OPD intentionally allowed the demonstration to occur so that then later, the leaders could be targeted. The second defense was that of defense of others- that is, that Romero violated the traffic laws so that he could defend others from possibly being hurt or injured during the march. Thirdly, Gutierrez argued necessity – because the OPD failed to issue a dispersal order, declare unlawful assembly and/or stop the march from the onset, it was necessary for Romero and others to take on the role of monitors for the march in order to facilitate a safe, organized march.

The trial closed one week before the 3-year anniversary of Limón’s Oct. 13 murder. The next week, supporters of the Limón family halted an Oxnard City Council meeting, calling out OPD chief Jeri Williams’ failure to deliver an anti-violence proclamation in Alfonso Limón’s name, as a condition of the settlement terms between the Limón family and the City of Oxnard. Chief Williams was confronted by Limón’s supporters, and reportedly expressed her deep remorse for the error.

Romero now lives in Los Angeles, works as a paralegal, and studies at the Peoples’ College of Law.

Reclaiming labor history

In May of 1886, Chicago’s industrial workers called a general strike in an ongoing struggle for “an 8-hour day with no cut in pay.” Importantly, a sizable anarchist and immigrant contingent of workers comprised the labor movement during this time, and several were killed by the police who served as protectors of the propertied rich. At Haymarket Square in Chicago, during the May 4th mobilization, an unidentified person threw a bomb at police in retaliation for their killing of protesters on May 1. Haymarket anarchists received a dubious trial, were hanged or imprisoned for conspiracy, and remain forever Martyrs of the labor movement.

Today, May 1 is recognized as international workers day in close to 100 countries, and is commonly celebrated in struggle through general strikes and invigorated labor activism. May Day, as it is known, has also been linked to immigrant solidarity, and continues to face police repression as it did in 1886. Such was the case on May 1, 2007, when the LAPD indiscriminately attacked immigrant workers’ rights demonstrators with rubber bullets, tear gas, and batons. More currently, with the repression of Black Lives Matter, some have noted the historical role of police as enforcers of the status quo. This past July, United Auto Workers 2865, representing University of California student workers, rightfully called on the AFL-CIO to break its affiliation with police unions. Similarly, the historical exploitation of racial difference by anti-union bosses has been undermined by unions, as on May 1 of this year, when Longshoremen shut down the port of Oakland in support of Black Lives Matter.

So then, why is Labor Day held in September if such critical historical moments in worker history occurred in May? It was precisely to redirect labor militancy and appease anger over military and police repression of labor that Congress and President Cleveland enacted Labor Day in 1894. Fearing the power of organized labor and the emerging influence of socialism among the working classes, Labor Day redirected the rationale of a labor movement towards service to the Economy while avoiding concessions to the radical vision embodied by the labor movement.

With Labor Day enacted, protests and worker struggles were shunted aside in favor of depoliticized parades and retail sales events. The ideals of international brother-and-sisterhood and dignified labor were replaced with narratives of “hard work”.

Today, labor history and the Haymarket Affair may occupy 3 inches of a civics textbook, and thus, students generally do not identify as members a working class. Meanwhile, the vast majority of youth will be primed to enter the service economy – in food service or retail for example – while migrant laborers work the pesticide-laden farmlands or as domestic workers. For them, unlivable wages and job insecurity do not allow the luxury of a Labor Day holiday.

Rather than an celebrate an ahistorical Labor Day with excessive retail consumption and meaningless pageantry, let’s claim Labor Day to advance popular education of labor history, critical reflection of our socio-economic realities, international solidarity, kindness, and the spirit of human development. Those of us “fortunate” enough to possess stable work should not look down on those who occupy the indigent and migrant worker classes and who are scapegoated for the cumulative economic and environmental crises of late stage capitalism.

Those of us in trade unions should be vigilant against our unions mirroring corporate hierarchies, and against membership raids on smaller, more autonomous unions. We should also be wary of our support for “The Party of the Working Class,” in America if that support will result in economic and military domination of the international working classes. Our quality of life should not come at the expense of the international working class, whose oppressive work conditions are used as example of why we should “be happy for what we have,” as if the immiseration of others should make us feel grateful for our less-severe exploitation.

Another world is possible and necessary, and though some say it is unrealistic, for most of us it is no more out of reach than the American Dream – but a cause more noble.

AYOTZINAPA VIVE! en los Corazones de Santa Paula, CA

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The oppressors do not favor promoting the community as a whole, but rather selected leaders.
― Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

On the evening of December 18th in the city of Santa Paula, CA, The Friendly Neighborhood Action Committee (FNAC), along with Todo Poder al Pueblo collective and Oxnard Unidos por Mexico held an action just outside of the Santa Paula Latino Town Hall (LTH) annual Christmas Party.

Our action responded to the call of those families in Ayotzinapa, Mexico, who continue to seek justice alongside millions, for the missing 43 Normalista students. “Vivos se los Llevaron, Vivos los queremos!” We stood in solidarity with Ferguson, New York, Oakland, Oxnard, and all cities where black and brown youth are subjected violence.IMG_0388[1]

In addition, given the purpose of these holiday times, some of us recognized the Palestinian prophet Jesus by remembering our brothers and sisters in Gaza, facing repression and continuing resistance.

Out in the streets, we found community in each other and in the passersby who joined us. Women passing by in this farm worker community stood with us for a bit, empathizing with those relatives in Mexico. A pair of teenagers, perhaps not acquainted with our politics, but feeling a sense of rebellion against authority, asked if they could join us. Maybe they were already familiar with what we experienced that night –  police patrols from undercovers and uniformed officers who stared us down – and knew on some level that we were confronting the reality of domination, intimidation, and subjugation.

And why not? Did not our parents, our teachers, whether they were within the school system or outside, teach us to stand up to recognize an imbalance of power? Indeed they did. Do we not see when youth by the dozens are coerced to waive their rights, accused of being “guilty by association?” Indeed we do.IMG_0403[1]

We chose LTH for symbolic and strategic reasons. On a strategic level, LTH’s Christmas gathering would be a place where persons in various positions of power, privilege, and authority convene simultaneously. Elected officials, top cops, executive directors, and non-profit industry heads all join to celebrate themselves and drink on this night. On a symbolic level, the action held special significance for the families of the missing 43; for we know that the students’ disappearance was coordinated by the Mayor of Iguala, his wife, and the chief of police, who did not want the Normalistas to disrupt an event attended by the political elites in Iguala, Guerrero.

Our action calls into focus the contradictions of “Latino leadership.” As a membership organization that “seeks to enhance, promote, mobilize, cultivate, and raise the level of social awareness, interest and concern for the issues affecting the Latino Community,” LTH consists generally of upper-class Latinos who are acculturated and fully invested in the dominant socio-political and economic system. LTH has participated in local electoral campaigns in Santa Paula in order to place its members into office. LTH holds an annual awards dinner that recognizes outstanding local Latinos and raises money for scholarships for high school students and coalesces with the local network of non-profit organizations who occupy the niche of “social change.” In this sense, LTH functions as a traditional non-profit organization that works in service of Latinos.

LTH is problematic in several ways, including: its practice of caciquismo or political chauvinism; its implicit or explicit support of a democratic national party that actively pursue U.S. imperialism in Latin America and Israeli apartheid, and its collaboration with the prison industrial complex.

LTH is a quintessential case of a “diversity and inclusion,” approach to social justice whose assumption is that by getting more brown faces into positions of power, the social conditions of Latinos, at least in part, will be improved. Such approaches fail to recognize how creating a brown managerial class and enacting a bourgeois consumerist view of culture upholds a system of white supremacy. Locally, LTH has helped a few political bosses maintain a social network of power, but has had little effect in advancing a serious critique of racial oppression as it appears locally, nor in practicing any type of solidarity with the people of greater Latin America.

As an example, LTH recently met with Santa Paula Police Depatment (SPPD) chief, ex Los Angeles County Sheriff Steve McLean. Since taking the position, McLean’s policing strategy has been to reach out to local churches and community “leaders,” hosting “coffee with the chief” events, promoting family carnivals in the Mexican neighborhood of Las Piedras Park, and manufactured public prayer events. At the same time, McLean, aided by the Santa Paula Times newspaper that uncritically publishes images of mostly brown criminality week after week, focuses on Santa Paula’s “gang problem” as his top priority. The chief’s astute capture of non-profit leadership resembles the militaries’ “human terrain” operations in Latin America and the Middle East  and is perhaps a byproduct of McLean’s education as a Master in Department of Homeland Security and graduate of the FBI National Academy.

LTH’s response to militarization and criminalization of our community has been to request more “culturally competent,” or Spanish-speaking officers, overlooking entirely the historical and systemic role of the police. From catching runaway slaves in America, to suppressing the labor movement, beating down the U.S. civil rights movement, suppressing Occupy Wall Street, and putting down the rebellions in Ferguson, policing has historically functioned to enforce the status quo and maintain a system of power rooted in white supremacy and capitalism. McLean’s presence at LTH’s holiday party reflects that behind the veil of police accountability, there is a committed partnership between local Latino caciques, non-profits, and the police.

While the SPPD foments public anxiety over gang violence, the violence of corporate pollution in our town continues. Adjacent to farmland where Mexican and Central American farmworkers labor for the agricultural industry, a chemical explosion has polluted our earth, water and air. Anterra, a company that claims “responsible environmental stewardship,” on its corporate philosophy web page, was recently responsible for a chemical explosion about a mile from a local school, farmland, and homes. Anterra is presumably dumping waste from local fracking operations. Just two months prior, in the month of September, Anterra underwent a criminal investigation in nearby Oxnard. That same month Anterra spilled 80,000 tons of crude oil in an Alberta, Canada waterway. In Santa Paula, emergency responders fell ill from the chemical fumes in the air, and when they were hospitalized, the hospital staff who treated them became ill as well. An EPA mobile command has now been established at KMART. During presentations to Santa Paula’s City Council, officials speak as if it’s a forgone conclusion that this type of operation will continue as soon as the cleanup is finished. Only this time, they suggest, there will be more stringent guidelines on the use permit.

This is the violence that we are highlighting as we struggle alongside our relatives in Ferguson, Ayotzinapa and Ventura County, CA.

In closing, what FNAC is learning, is that exercising our rights together, rather than alone, appears help guard against the brutality that many in our community face as individuals. We look forward to intensifying our resistance to violence together.

ayotzinapa ox

In the words of the families of Ayotzinpa,
“Les deseamos una Feliz navidad y no se olviden de nosotros.”

_FNAC_

The Liberation of 2010: Notes from The Other Campaign

La Liberacion del 2010: Notas de la Otra Campaña is written by Juan Castro Soto.  I am currently working on an English translation with a compañera from Acción Zapatista.

Communique from National Indigenous Congress

Urgent Communiqué from the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), July 30th, 2009.
URGENT COMMUNIQUE
TO THE PEOPLES AND GOVERNMENTS OF THE WORLD.
TO THE PEOPLE OF MEXICO AND ALL MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS.
On June 29th around seven in the evening, a group of hired
mercenaries, carrying high powered weapons, ambushed and shot
indiscriminately at the men, women and children of the indigenous
Nahua community of Santa María Ostula, Municipality of Aquila,
Michoacan. These mercenaries were contracted by a small group of
mestizos who say they own property in La Placita, Municipality of
Aquila, Michoacan. Our people were carrying out a peaceful and legal
action to protect the possession of our communal lands in the area
known as La Canaguacera, which has been invaded by so-called private
property owners for many years.
The indigenous community of Santa María Ostula has been recognized by
a presidential resolution confirming and giving them title to their
communal goods/lands (resolucion presidencial sobre confirmacion y
titulacion de bienes comunales) on April 27th 1964. However, when we
tried to process and carry out our rights given to us by the
presidential resolution, the agrarian authorities committed
irregularities on the paperwork, and this has culminated in a
defective resolution. This lack of clarity in the legal framework has
led to the slow invasion of our lands by so-called small private
property owners from La Placita, who over the years has illegally
occupied over 700 hectares that correspond to our community.
There have been many attempts to negotiate a solution to this problem
over the years, but we have not been able to come to an agreement. The
so-called private property owners refuse to acknowledge any boundaries
between their lands and those that correspond to our comity. We have
also tried using different legal means to this problem but have not
reached a definite solution.
We had applied for federal protection and were under the protection of
the law (amparo) while this problem was resolved and had taken the
necessary precautions to protect our lands, when the so-called private
property owners contacted people who began occupying our communal
lands on June 10th. It was under these conditions that our general
assembly of joint land holders (comuneros) decided to reinforce our
possession of these lands, which the so-called private property owners
claim as theirs.
At these moments the situation our community is living is very hard, a
group of more than 300 comuneros, along with many women, are without
communication and trapped by the hired assassins in the area of La
Canaguacera. We don’t know if there is anyone injured or how many are
injured. The Mexican Military and Navy have set up two large
detachments during the night at the outskirts of our community and at
La Placita. On the other hand our community has closed access to our
21 villages and more than two thousand of our comuneros have began to
conduct security at different points in our communal territory. Also,
our sister communities of El Coire and Pomaro are now organizing
themselves to take different actions in defense of our united pueblo
Nahua of Michoacan.
We demand that the FEDRAL and STATE governments:
1. Immediate punishment to those responsible for the cowardly attack
suffered by our comuneros and comuneras on June 29th, 2009.
2. Immediate punishment to those responsible for the bullet wounds
that our comrade Manuel Serrano is suffering from the attack mentioned
above.
3. Respect to the irreversible possession that our community has on
the lands known as La Canaguancera and all communal lands that belong
to us from the beginning of time.
4. Respect our traditional form of communal organization, including
the resolutions adapted by our general assembly and the actions our
community takes in the protection of its legitimate communal lands.
We hold the federal and state governments responsible for any
repressive action against our community and we urge the government to
respect our historical territorial rights.
We call on the indigenous peoples of Mexico and the world, Civil
Society both nationally and internationally to support our just
struggle in anyway you can, like mobilizations to stop any further
repression or paramilitary violence against our existence and our
fundamental rights.
Lastly, we say to the indigenous peoples of Mexico that the cowardly
action that was supposed to terrorize us, separate our civil
population from our traditional communal police, and to stop us in our
struggle, WAS NOT SUCCESSFUL. We will move forward in recuperating our
territory, peacefully and legally, we will continue strengthening our
unity and organization with the indigenous communities that have
offered their support so that our children and future generations of
native peoples in this country have a future.
SANTA MARÍA OSTULA, June 30th 2009.
THE COMMISSION IN DEFENSE OF COMMUNAL LANDS FROM THE INDIGENOUS
COMMUNITY OF SANTA MARÍA OSTULA.
Second Communiqué from the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), July 2nd, 2009.
URGENT COMMUNIQUE No.2
TO THE PEOPLES AND GOVERNMENTS OF THE WORLD.
TO THE PEOPLE OF MEXICO AND ALL MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS.

THE COMMISSION IN DEFENSE OF COMMUNAL LANDS FROM THE INDIGENOUS
COMMUNITY OF SANTA MARÍA OSTULA communicates that the cowardly attack
committed last June 29th against our communal land holders (comuneros)
by a mercenary group hired by six so-called private property owning
meztisos from La Placita, in the Municipality of Aquila, Michoacan,
was finally defeated by means of occupation. More than two thousand
comuneros, our communal police force and our sister Nahua communities
of El Coire and Pomaro came in defense of the land in conflict. Our
current situation is as follows:
1. The area of La Canaguancera and the rest of the lands, which had
been invaded by the rich caciques, are now under our control and in
the rightful custody of the communal police, our community and our
sister communities of El Coire and Pomaro.
2. All of our territories, all 23 villages, are under the protection
of the communal police from all three Nahua communities.
3. The Nahua communities of Ostula, Coire and Pomaro find ourselves in
a state of maximum alert and are realizing permanent actions for the
protection of our territories.
4. The federal and state governments have not made any efforts to
inhibit further paramilitary attacks against us. We demand that these
governments intensify their vigilance around the area of La Placita.
5. It is false that we have people held hostage in our community. If
they did exist or will exist the detained would be held accordingly,
in the framework of our traditional system of justice and with full
respect to the human rights.
We demand that the FEDERAL and STATE governments:
1. 1. Immediate punishment to those responsible for the cowardly
attack suffered by our comuneros and comuneras on June 29th, 2009.
2. Immediate punishment to those responsible for the bullet wounds
that our comrade Manuel Serrano is suffering from the attack mentioned
above.
3. Respect to the irreversible possession that our community has on
the lands known as La Canaguancera and all communal lands that belong
to us from the beginning of time.
4. Respect and recognition of the traditional indigenous communal
police of Santa Maria Ostula, El Coire and Pomaro as guardians of the
integrity of our lands and families.
We hold the federal and state governments responsible for any
repressive action against our community by organized delinquent groups
and we urge the government to respect our historical territorial
rights.
We call on indigenous peoples of Mexico and the world, Civil Society
both nationally and internationally to support our just struggle, any
provisions, medicine and financial resources. We urge our indigenous
brothers and sisters and organizations in solidarity to send a
delegation to reinforce our struggle, which is the struggle of all
native peoples.
SANTA MARÍA OSTULA, July 2nd, 2009.
THE COMMISSION IN DEFENSE OF COMMUNAL LANDS FROM THE INDIGENOUS
COMMUNITY OF SANTA MARÍA OSTULA.
Third Communiqué from the Commission in defense of communal lands from
the indigenous community of Santa Maria Ostula.
TO THE PEOPLES AND GOVERNMENTS OF THE WORLD.
TO THE PEOPLE OF MEXICO AND ALL MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS.
THE COMMISSION IN DEFENSE OF COMMUNAL LANDS FROM THE INDIGENOUS
COMMUNITY OF SANTA MARÍA OSTULA informs on the current situation that
exists in our community and the state of our communal lands that had
been invaded by so-called private property owners from La Placita:
1. Our community has recuperated approximately one thousand hectares;
these lands are now under our control and in the rightful custody of
the communal police, our community and the communities of El Coire and
Pomaro.
2. In five days we have built twenty-five homes. We are currently
working on building the Communal Center of Order (Engargatura del
Orden), a Chapel and a Communal Health Center in the new village we
are founding, which we have named according to the ancestral memory of
our elders, Xayakalan.
3. Our community has not reached agreements with the government, nor
is their peace and tranquility in our zone, such rumors are false. We
have comuneros that are still wounded and are being cared for by our
own community. Our schools, from all 21 villages, have been closed
indefinitely since June 30th because of the lack of safety in the
region. Our stores and warehouses are running out of supplies and our
families cannot dedicate themselves to their labors because of the
heavy task of building on and guarding our lands.
4. This past election day, July 5th, we did not allow any voting
booths to be installed in the Nahua territory that corresponds to the
communities of Ostula, El Coire and Pomaro. We unanimously decided not
to vote because no political party, no government has ever given us a
solution to the serious problems we face. They have all lied and
deceived us.
5. Our community has detained the following delinquents: TRINIDAD
GÓMEZ BARAJAS, RAMÓN GÓMEZ BARAJAS and FELIPE MARTÍNEZ DE MIGUEL. They
have been detained for the crimes committed on June 29th, 2009. These
individuals were morally condemned by our community and were handed
over to the state government as detainees. At all moments were their
human rights respected and were treated fairly.
We demand that the FEDERAL and STATE governments:
1. Immediate punishment to J. REFUGIO DÍAZ a so-called private
property owner and those responsible for the cowardly attack suffered
by our comuneros and comuneras on June 29th, 2009.
2. Respect the irreversible possession that our community has on the
lands known as La Canaguancera and all communal lands that belong to
us from the beginning of time.
3. Respect and recognition of the traditional indigenous communal
police of Santa Maria Ostula, El Coire and Pomaro as guardians of the
integrity of our lands and families.
We hold the federal and state governments responsible for any
repressive action against our community and any action taken by
organized delinquent groups. We urge the government to respect our
historical territorial rights.
Despite the great tension that are communities are living because we
currently have to maintain our security and the necessities of
constructing our new village of Xayakalan, we make a call out to:
1. The indigenous peoples of Mexico and the world; that a peaceful
indigenous camp be set up immediately in the recuperated lands.
2. Civil society both nationally and internationally and to
alternative media; that an OBSERVATION camp be set up immediately in
the recuperated lands so that our current situation can be broadcasted
and to protect the human rights of our community.
3. To all men, women and children who have in their heart the
conviction to fight for justice and the rights of native peoples; our
community urgently needs provisions, medicine and financial resources.
SANTA MARÍA OSTULA, July 5th, 2009.
THE COMMISSION IN DEFENSE OF COMMUNAL LANDS FROM THE INDIGENOUS
COMMUNITY OF SANTA MARÍA OSTULA.
Fourth Communiqué from the commission in defense of communal lands
from the indigenous community of Santa Maria Ostula, Michoacan,
Mexico.
To the people and governments of the world.
To the people of Mexico.
To all media communications.
The Commission in Defense of Communal Lands from the indigenous
community of Santa Maria Ostula makes it known that we have set up a
bank account where economic deposits can be made by those that wish to
be in solidarity with our struggle:
“Prefiles” Account from Banamex. Account number 7989603, Key number
002497044779896031. In the name of Victor Selestino Grageda, Community
Treasurer.
We call on the indigenous people of Mexico and the world to continue
sending support delegations to the lands recuperated by our community.
We ask that civil society both national and internationally set up an
OBSERVATION CAMP immediately in the conflict zone so that human rights
laws are not violated, to pressure for a peaceful solution in this
current struggle for the land, and to pressure the federal and state
governments to comply to the demands of our past communiqués.
We continue to demand:
1. Immediate punishment to J. REFUGIO DÍAZ, the so-called private
property owner, and those responsible for the cowardly attack our
community on July 29th, 2009.
2. Respect to the irreversible possession that our community has on
the lands known as La Canaguancera and all communal lands that belong
to us from the beginning of time.
3. Recognition and respect of the indigenous communal police of Santa
María Ostula, El Coire and Pómaro. They are the guardians of our
lands, families and communities.

SANTA MARÍA OSTULA, July 5th, 2009.
THE COMMISSION IN DEFENSE OF COMMUNAL LANDS FROM THE INDIGENOUS
COMMUNITY OF SANTA MARÍA OSTULA.

LA Times: White minority blames poor in Santa Paula

The race and class oppression is usually not aknowledged and definately not by the SP times.  Here is the LA times article from 2008.