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Protesters yesterday in Oaxaca and Ruiz, right. Protesters yesterday in Oaxaca and Ruiz, right.

Ex-governor accused of crimes against humanity seeks PRI leadership

Oaxaca's Ulises Ruiz says there has to be change of attitude within the party

Ex-Oaxaca governor Ulises Ruiz Ortíz has announced that he wishes to seek the leadership of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

A vocal critic of his party for its defeat in the July 1 elections, Ruiz told a press conference yesterday that his contesting the leader’s job will depend on their being “an open process, a consultation, with clear rules and trustworthy leadership. I am going to register, but further along.”

In the meantime, he plans to travel throughout the country.

Ruiz once again blamed President Enrique Peña Nieto for the party’s poor election results. Another factor in the defeat, he said, was leaving candidate José Antonio Meade Kuribreña’s campaign in the hands of non-PRI members.

“There has to be a change of attitude within the party,” said Ruiz, “we’re done with quotas, with favoritism, with dedazos . . . .” The latter was the process through which presidents named the party’s next presidential candidate and de facto successor.

With his remark, Ruiz suggested that that process was alive and well as part of the party’s internal processes.

” . . . The party will go on,” he continued. “You win or lose an election, what we have to do now is to get our members back.”

Ruiz was governor of Oaxaca between 2004 and 2010, during which time there was a period of social unrest that followed the annual round of strikes, protests and roadblocks organized by the state local of the CNTE teachers’ union.

An allied organization, the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO), emerged in 2006 during the teacher protests, and together they put parts of the city of Oaxaca under a virtual state of siege. Ruiz’s attempt to disband a large number of protesters camping in the city’s central square early that summer triggered a new wave of protests, which climaxed in November with the deployment of federal forces.

As many as 30 people died during the conflict.

Ulises was sworn in as governor amid protests and accusations of electoral fraud and corruption. He has also been accused of committing genocide, acts of repression against indigenous groups and instigating a months-long workers’ strike at a state newspaper in an attempt to silence criticism of his administration.

Militant teachers and their supporters have not forgotten the former governor, and some turned out for his press conference.

About 20 members of a group of CNTE teachers and students gained access to the event, calling Ruiz an “assassin” and “coward.”

A teachers’ spokesman said Ruiz’s presence in Oaxaca was “a provocation,” and the union will continue to demand justice and punishment for him and his associates.

Earlier this year, Ruiz was the subject of a suit filed with the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity connection with events in 2006 and 2007. It was filed by the Oaxaca state human rights commissioner.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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