>Oaxaca, Mexico: Lumber and Murder

>In August 2007, I accompanied photojournalist Guy Smallman to the troubled Mexican state of Oaxaca. While there we observed the state election and investifgated who was behind the illegal logging in the Sierra Norte mountain range of Oaxaca.

Both myself and Guy have now published a feature report on Indymedia UK of our work, although Guy is behind most of the feature – he’d want me to state that – my job now, now the translations are finalised, is to put together a film about the investigation.

The feature can be found here.

An extra article on the lumber and paper companies operating in Oaxaca can be found here.

Oaxaca City, Mexico

In 2006 Oaxaca saw the largest civil uprising ever seen in Mexico since the 1994 Zapatista revolution. Corrupt State Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz was the reason that thousands took to the streets. His response was to send in militarised police to “regain order”, leaving scores dead, including New York Indymedia journalist and filmmaker William Bradley Roland, better known as Brad Will. He continued filming right to the point when police officers in civilian clothing shot him twice through the chest. His last film can be seen here.


One year on, to most it seemed Oaxaca was back to normal, but the election drew in the military and police again, fearing more from the poeple. But what happened will go down as a piece of history. 80 percent of the voting population refused to vote, claiming it was pointless. In some areas of the city that day people burned their ballot cards. Needless to say, Ruiz and his PRI party cronies got back in, a landslide victory in the worst poll turnout ever.

Meanwhile, Smallman and myself travelled nearly five hours north, cramped up in the back of a cattle truck, to arrive some 2000 metres above sea-level at the small mountainside autonomous community of San Isidro AloÃipam. There we began our work documenting the beatings, torture and murder that had beset the community, as they tried to peacefully fend off large lumber companies and protect the forest and their way of life.

The video below is a short rush of shots of San Isidro AloÃipam and the beautiful surrounding forest that is at stake.

San Isidro AloÃipam Video Rush

All stills and footage are (c)2008 Jason N Parkinson.

Please contact the author for use.

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2 responses to “>Oaxaca, Mexico: Lumber and Murder

  1. >*************Immediate Release March 21, 2008************** Secret Documents Released Murdered Journalist Network Denounces Military Reward for Impunity CONTACT AND MEET WITH YOUR CONGRESS REP. SOON!!! Contacts: http://friendsofbradwill.org The international network demanding accountability for the murder of US journalist Brad Will released secret documents detailing proposed military support for Mexican security forces implicated in murder, torture and continuing arbitrary detentions. “Finally we were able to obtain these documents, which even Members of Congress have yet to see. We hope that by releasing them to the public we will be able to better make our case for withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in military subsidies to the Mexican military. The murderers of Brad and many others in Oaxaca and Atenco and Chiapas must be brought to justice if U.S. support for human rights is to mean anything.” said Harry Bubbins, of Friends of Brad Will. Over 70% of the proposed $1.5 billion would entail lethal aid analysts revealed. Friends of Brad Will is with a widespread coalition of labor and human rights advocates urging House Speaker Pelosi and Eliot Engels, the Chair of the Western Hemispheric affairs subcommittee to oppose U.S. support for Mexican military and police forces. Mr. Will, the 36 year old reporter, was murdered in Oaxaca, Mexico on October 27th, 2006. Witnesses and photographic evidence implicate members of the Mexican government, including a police chief in his death that day. President Bush announced a $1.5 billion dollar “security cooperation initiative” proposal for Mexico that the President is trying to bury into the Iraq supplemental spending package submitted to Congress. The initiative allows sharing of U.S. military intelligence information with Mexican military counterparts and provides weaponry and training with the notoriously corrupt and brutal Mexican military and police. Brad Will’s family and friends denounced plans to fund a “Plan Mexico” that would be more costly than the controversial “Plan Colombia”. They pointed to the lack of any credible investigation into the murder of the U.S. journalist, who was in Mexico covering the protests of a popular movement of teachers and their supporters facing paramilitary violence deployed by the Mexican government and the governor of Oaxaca, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. “We are confident that Congress will not just rubber stamp this ill-advised military aid package in Bush’s waning days that would lead to further human rights abuses for decades to come.” stated Robert Jereski, a Congressional liaison for Friends of Brad Will. SECRET DOCUMENTS AT: http://www.flickr.com/photos/protectrandallsislandandmore/sets/72157600222165326/ PARTIAL HELICOPTER OUTLAYS PROPOSED: http://www.flickr.com/photos/protectrandallsislandandmore/2349516939/in/set-72157600222165326/ SUMMARY SHEET 1 of 4 http://www.flickr.com/photos/protectrandallsislandandmore/2349507881/in/set-72157600222165326/ By Friends of Brad Will http://friendsofbradwill.org

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