Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Unhappy citizens apprehend mayor and put her in jail

Citizens unhappy with the performance of their mayor have the answer in the Oaxaca municipality of Tezoatlán de Segura y Luna: lock her up in jail.

The mayor of and the municipal secretary of the Mixtec municipality are behind bars after citizens arrested and jailed the two over a 4-million-peso (US $187,000) public funds dispute. 

Mayor Alexa Cisneros was peppered with insults by activists and residents of Yucuquimi de Ocampo after she allegedly refused to release funds to the town’s agencia municipal, or municipal agency.

The two were presumably lured to Yucuquimi under the pretext of having a meeting, but instead the women were taken into custody and imprisoned Monday afternoon.

The mayor’s mother claimed that her daughter and the secretary were taken by force “as if they were criminals. I believe that what they are doing is an injustice because like it or not, we have to respect our authorities,” Mariela Cruz Montes said. 

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Elements of the state government, including the Ministry of Public Security, have attempted to intervene but residents of Yucuquimi have been refusing to negotiate or release the two women. 

Oaxaca human rights ombudsman Bernardo Rodríguez Alamilla has initiated an investigation and is monitoring jail conditions. If their rights of the captives are violated, Rodríguez warned, those responsible may be subject to criminal charges.

Leading the capture of the mayor and her secretary was Eolina Vásquez, the municipal agent of Yucuquimi, known as an advocate for social justice in the Mixtec region.

At the end of 2019, Vásquez declared Yucuquimi de Ocampo an autonomous, indigenous town in an attempt to separate itself from the Tezoatlán municipality.  

The government responded by sending in the army. 

Vásquez is associated with the Zapatista Indigenous Agrarian Movement (MAIZ) and has actively participated in the previous detention of public servants, roadblocks, occupying offices and other activities. 

Vásquez says Cisneros is only being detained so that she can tell residents in person why she has withheld the town’s funds.

“It is not kidnapping, we did not bring her to keep her in jail or have her imprisoned, none of that. It is for her to explain to the public the reasons why [budget commitments] have not been fulfilled,” Vásquez said.

MAIZ leader Misael Velásquez Tadeo clarified that the decision to jail the mayor came from Yucuquimi and that his organization is not involved.

He emphasized that these situations arise because municipal authorities have ignored the demands of the community.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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