We have received the following appeal from the comrades of the Marxist Tendency Militante in Oaxaca about the arrest of David Venegas “el Alebrije”. David Venegas, a former student at Chapingo University, was a leading activist during the 6 month long Oaxaca Commune and the impressive movement against Ulises Ruiz, the governor of this Southern state in Mexico. He played a key role in the Brenamiel barricade, and recently was one of the most outspoken advocates of the left wing of the APPO, arguing against those who attempted to transform it from an organisation of struggle into an electoral party. This is one of the reasons why he has been singled out for repression. We appeal to all readers of In Defence of Marxism to show their solidarity with the comrade and demand his immediate release (more details below).
|David Venegas Reyes (comrade |
in the middle)
On Friday, April 13, as youth from the Oaxaca University (UABJO) and comrades from the COFADAPPO (Committee of Relatives and Friends of Oaxacan Political Prisoners, Arrested, Assassinated and Disappeared) were rallying for a march for the release of our comrades who are political prisoners, Lenin and Jairo, we received news of the arrest of our comrade David Venegas Reyes, known to all his comrades of struggle as "the Alebrije" (Alebrijes are brightly-colored Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical animal-like creatures).
In a completely illegal manner, David was arrested at about half past one in the afternoon on the Juarez avenue, el Llano, when he was on his way to a meeting of the APPO (Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca) council. Individuals in plainclothes driving a red van (which has been seen before during the arrest of other comrades from the movement) took him away. Fortunately, once again, there were witnesses who then managed to inform our comrades of what had happened.
The planned demonstration took place at 5 pm starting from the 7 regions fountain, and the demand that our comrade David would appear alive was added to the others. At that time all government officials denied he had been arrested. However, later on, an article appeared in a on-line newspaper (see www.adnsureste.info) including a picture of the comrade (who had clearly been beaten up) with copies of the magazine "Barricada" together with bags containing cocaine and heroine, saying he had been arrested and was being held at the UMAN (Narcotics Attention Mixed Unit), in the colonia Reforma, Amapola street.
The demonstration was characterised by its militancy and enthusiasm, and ended up in a meeting outside the University. Despite the massive police presence and the constant harassment of the march from the 7 regions fountain to the University, the people were not cowed and showed their braveness and dignity once again.
From Militante we recognise that this was the chronicle of an announced arrest. The warning signs were the campaign of harassment against the comrades of the Brenamiel barricade and against David himself, and also the publication of articles in the printed and electronic media slandering and attacking our comrades. This included in the last week the alleged "discovery" of a large amount of explosives in the area of the Brenamiel barricade. This was obviously preparing the terrain to justify the repression against the Alebrije.
His publicly known position of honesty and in favour of the rank and file reorganisation of the movement of the Oaxacan people, had made David a thorn in the side of those who would like the popular assemblies and the movement in Oaxaca to fail and flounder.
We refute all the charges against our comrade (possession of drugs), because we know they are fabricated and they have been used in the past in other illegal detentions of members and sympathisers of the APPO. The real reason for his arrest is the attempt of the state to hit the movement in Oaxaca, which has clearly started to recover in the last few weeks, and to destroy the newly won confidence to take to the streets again.
Slanders and lies cannot smear the impeccable behaviour of David Venegas "Alebrije" towards his comrades in the barricade and all the activists that know him in the movement.
Two weeks ago, comrades from Militante had accompanied David to the preparatory meeting for the National Students Congress at the University of Chapingo, so that he could to explain the problem of criminalisation, harassment and persecution that several comrades from the APPO were suffering (including other councillors), particularly against organisations like Vocal and members of the barricades like that of Brenamiel. He explained how this was the preparation by the regional and national governments of a campaign of repression. Today we see the confirmation of what he warned about.
A last minute report is that the regional government has refused him bail thus confirming the political character of this case. Relatives, friends and comrades from other organisations, are preparing mobilisations and protest actions. We understand that the judicial arguments are just smokescreens in the case of the arrest of activists, and therefore are convinced, as is David, that the freedom of all political prisoners can only be achieved through our organised struggle.
From Oaxaca, Militante is demanding the immediate release without charges of comrade David Venegas and all political prisoners. His only crime is his unbreakable will to struggle for a better society.
Against repression - mobilisation!
Against repression - organisation!
Freedom for all political prisoners!
Reorganise the movement from the rank and file!
For a national strike on May 2nd for the release of political prisoners!
A national strike to bring down Calderón and URO!
On April 23rd there will be a rally for the release of David Venegas and all political prisoners, you can add your signature to the protest by filling in the form here.
You can see a video interview with David Venegas below.