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The official who has allegedly been held hostage since last Wednesday. The official who has allegedly been held hostage since last Wednesday.

Family fears for life of Oaxaca official detained more than six days

But the state government claims he's fine

The family of a Oaxaca government official taken hostage Wednesday after he tried to negotiate with residents blockading a highway in San Juan Mazatlán Mixe say they fear for his life.

“It’s been six days today, and [the Oaxaca government is] unable to resolve a truly serious problem,” his wife told the newspaper El Universal Sunday. “Six days in which Jorge Toledo Toledo has been without support …”

The family’s comments came in light of photos his captors published Sunday, showing Toledo with his neck and wrists tied to a truck, and apparently being forced to collect money from commuters passing through the blockade.

The family said the photos reflected the inhumane treatment he was receiving from his captors.

“It’s outrageous what they’re doing to Jorge,” one family member said. “They are forcing him to ask commuters for money, and the drivers are insulting him, not to mention they’re putting him on display, photographing him, shaming him. They’re violating his human rights.”

They also accused the government of abandoning their own employee, claiming that officials have said that Toledo went of his own accord to the blockade and that he’s basically on his own.

One official told a somewhat different story, explaining that Toledo went of his own accord to negotiate with the group because he is familiar with the town and its issues. He said he has been keeping in touch with Toledo by phone and that he is in good health.

“They’ve known him in the area for several years. Supposedly they tied him up, but that was just for a photo and then they let him go; he’s OK,” he said.

Toledo and two other civil servants were taken hostage after they responded to the demands of residents of the indigenous community located in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, who are responsible for the blockade, that government personnel appear to negotiate. The two other officials were released Thursday.

Since Tuesday, the residents have blockaded the trans-isthmus highway, which connects Oaxaca and Veracruz, demanding the removal of three-term Mayor Macario Eleuterio Jiménez, whom they accuse of corruption. They claim he has embezzled 5.7 million pesos in federal funds.

While García told El Universal on Sunday that the state government was going to continue negotiating with the residents to reach a peaceful solution, Oaxaca’s human rights protection office has filed requests with the state Attorney General’s Office and the National Guard to intervene in the blockade, saying that the situation is violating Toledo’s rights.

Source: El Universal (sp), Quadratín Oaxaca (sp)

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