Oaxaca Mexico: Lumber and Murder

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

A published feature report of our work in Oaxaca can be found here on Indymedia UK.

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

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 unrest. But what happened will go down in 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, crammed 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 fend off large lumber companies and protect the forest and their way of life.

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

© Jason N. Parkinson/reportdigital.co.uk

HD footage available from http://www.reportdigital.co.uk



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