Monday, December 18, 2006


Dear Peter McKay and Galo Carrera,

My name is Timothy Schwinghamer. I am a graduate student at the Department of Plant Science at the University of Manitoba. I am contacting you because I am deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Oaxaca.

A group of 23 people from Huahuapan, Oaxaca, decided to leave a large Popular People's Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO) protest in the city of Oaxaca to avoid confrontation with the police. When they got to the bus station, the Mexican authorities arrested them. Four children were later release, but the government labeled the remaining nineteen "highly dangerous" and sent them to a prison in Nayarit, twenty hours north of Huahuapan. These nineteen people are among over 400 arrested since June 2006 in connection with ongoing APPO protests.

My colleague, Matthew Wiens, a Christian Peacemaker Team Reservist, has heard reports that many prisoners have been abused and beaten. Some have received bail as high as $400,000, an impossible amount to raise for people who earn $1 per day.

I ask you to look into the arrests of these nineteen people from Huahuapan. The prisoners from Huahuapan include: Ciro Pedroza Guadarrama, Jaime Auieliano Martinez Gordillo, Maria Perez Gutierrez, Marta Mandez Perez, Jaime Legaria Ramirez, and Ignacio Legaria Hernandez. These six were all active with CACTUS, FENIC, and other organizations. CACTUS and other organizations involved in APPO believe that their protests comply with Article 39 of the Mexican Constitution that stipulates when a government (in this case Governor Ulises of Oaxaca) is not doing his job, the Mexican people have a right to remove it.

Please urge the Mexican government to free these political prisoners so they can be home for Christmas.

Sincerely and respectfully,

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