Acclaimed Muralist Among Oaxaca’s Disappeared

by CounterPunch News Service

The impact of Oaxaca, Mexico’s struggle is hitting home. Gerardo Bonilla, painter and friend of many in the Austin artistic, activist, and student communities, was one of 149 arrested this past Saturday in a federal police sweep of Oaxaca city that is increasingly targeting the impoverished southern state’s artists and writers. At the invitation of UT student Emiliana Cruz, Bonilla exhibited his paintings at La Pena, in downtown Austin, in October of 2003. He is an accomplished muralist and regularly facilitates and promotes children art workshops in different communities throughout the state of Oaxaca. Prints of some of Bonilla’s paintings will be on display at the protest. (Click here for for a photo of Bonilla with his work).

"The Mexican army and police forces have arrested and tortured hundreds of innocent protesters. Gerardo’s detention symbolizes the Mexican government’s all-out attack on local democracy," said Cynthia Perez, >founder of La Pena.

The current situation has long roots. On May 22, seventy thousand teachers started a camp out in the main square of the city to ask for an increase in their tiny salaries. This camp out follows a nearly yearly ritual, and each year it bore some meagre fruit. But on June 14, governor Ulises Ruiz of the Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI), who was elected two years earlier under disputed circumstances, sent the police in helicopters to put a stop to the teacher’s protest. Many Oaxacans condemned this action and organized to form a broader civil group known as APPO (Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca) Popular Assembly of Oaxacan Communities.

Since then the situation has not been resolved and has turned into an all-out conflict. Last Monday the tension in Oaxaca increased when the Federal police (PFP) announced a "zero tolerance" policy against APPO members and their sympathizers.

Now police are searching and ransacking houses and buildings searching for activists. On Saturday November 25th Bonilla was standing in la Plaza de la Bastida where he often sells his paintings. Like many others on this day he was randomly swept up as the police came through the area arresting >everyone in sight. He has been flown to a maximum security prison outside the state of Oaxaca in Tamaulipas where he is being held with out due process or outside access. This event typifies the strategy that is currently taking place in Oaxaca. Since last Saturday there have been at least three confirmed deaths, more than 100 injured people, and 221 arrests – including 41 women.

This Thursday, November 30, many Austinites, including Bonilla’s many friends here, will demand freedom for Bonilla as well as the hundreds of detained and disappeared. This is the fourth in a series of consulate protests against Mexican state violence; the first protest followed the May attacks on flower vendors in Atenco, near Mexico city. On Friday December 1 the new Mexican president, Felipe Calderon, will be sworn in, despite widespread political instability.


 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
September 4-6, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Regime Change Refugees: On the Shores of Europe
Lawrence Ware
No Refuge: the Specter of White Supremacy Still Haunts Black America
Paul Street
Bi-Polar Disorder: Obama’s Bait-and-Switch Environmental Politics
Kali Akuno
Until We Win: Black Labor and Liberation in the Disposable Era
Arun Gupta
Field Notes to Life During the Apocalypse
Steve Hendricks
Come Again? Second Thoughts on My Ashley Madison Affair
Paul Craig Roberts
Whither the Economy?
Ron Jacobs
Bernie Sanders’ Vision: As Myopic as Every Other Candidate or Not?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and Crisis
Jeffrey St. Clair
Arkansas Bloodsuckers: the Clintons, Prisoners and the Blood Trade
Richard W. Behan
Republican Fail, Advantage Sanders: the Indefensible Budget for Defense
Ted Rall
Call It By Its Name: Censorship
Susan Babbitt
“Swarms” Entering the UK? What We Can Still Learn About the Migrant Crisis From Che Guevara
Andrew Levine
Compassionate Conservatism: a Reconsideration and an Appreciation
John Wight
Adrift Without Sanctuary: a Sick and Twisted Morality
Binoy Kampmark
Sieges in an Age of Austerity: Monitoring Julian Assange
Colin Todhunter
Europe’s Refugee Crisis and the Depraved Morality of David Cameron
JP Sottile
Chinese Military Parade Freak-Out
Kathleen Wallace
The Child Has a Name, They All Do
David Rosen
Why So Few Riots?
Norm Kent
The Rent Boy Raid: Homeland Security Should Monitor Our Borders Not Our Bedrooms
Michael Welton
Canada’s Arrogant Autocrat: the Rogue Politics of Stephen Harper
Ramzy Baroud
Palestine’s Crisis of Leadership: Did Abbas Destroy Palestinian Democracy?
Jim Connolly
Sniping at the Sandernistas: Left Perfectionism in the Belly of the Beast
Pepe Escobar
Say Hello to China’s New Toys
Sylvia C. Frain
Tiny Guam, Huge US Marine Base Expansions
Pete Dolack
Turning National Parks into Corporate Profit Centers
Ann Garrison
Africa’s Problem From Hell: Samantha Power
Dan Glazebrook
British Home Secretary Theresa May: Savior or Slaughterer of Black People?
Christopher Brauchli
Poor, Poor, Pitiful Citigroup
Norman Pollack
Paradigm of a Fascist Mindset: Nicholas Burns on Iran
Barry Lando
Standing at the Bar of History: Could the i-Phone Really Have Prevented the Holocaust?
Linn Washington Jr.
Critics of BlackLivesMatter# Practice Defiant Denial
Roger Annis
Canada’s Web of Lies Over Syrian Refugee Crisis
Chris Zinda
Constitutional Crisis in the Heart of Dixie
Rannie Amiri
Everything Stinks: Beirut Protests and Garbage Politics
Graham Peebles
Criminalizing Refugees
Missy Comley Beattie
In Order To Breathe
James McEnteer
Blast From the Past in Buenos Aires
Patrick Higgins
A Response to the “Cruise Missile Left”
Tom H. Hastings
Too Broke to Pay Attention
Edward Leer
Love, Betrayal, and Donuts
Louis Proyect
Migrating Through Hell: Quemada-Diez’s “La Jaula de Oro”
Charles R. Larson
Class and Colonialism in British Cairo
David Yearsley
Michael Sarin: Drumming Like Summer Fireworks Over a Choppy Lake