Another thing we noticed in this part of the forest was that all the ‘diseased’(this is an excuse to get round the law) trees that had been cut down by the loggers of San Miguel had three things in common. Firstly they were all very large. Secondly they were all placed right by the track thus minimising the time and cost of transporting them out of the forest. Thirdly the stumps displayed no signs of disease at all.
The companero gives his account of what happened.
Of the how the kidnapped were taken to the town of San Miguel to be tortured.
We also notice that the 'diseased' trees are quite large (valuable)...
...and conveniently placed by the side of the road.
.-“This is the place where we arrived as we came on one of the trucks from the village. When we arrived to this place all that area there was full of cars and pick-up trucks, there was even an ambulance parked over there. Then the truck from San Isidro stopped over here, and we got down, I stopped right here and the president from San Miguel Aloapam was right here in the middle of his people. Before we realised all the people about- in the forest- came to surround us when they saw us arriving. Then our companero, who’s council secretary here in San Isidro, approached the president from San Miguel Aloapam to ask him for a talk, to comment on the work they said they have come to do in this mountain.
Then, when the president said that he didn’t want to talk to anyone apart from the municipal agent from San Isidro, our companero secretary informed him that the agent wasn’t present and that’s why him as secretary had approached him to dialogue and try to reach an agreement with them. But the man have been drinking, he was drunk and didn’t want to listen to anyone. He told his people that they weren’t coming “to talk to anybody, we come here to do our job”. What is more, he said that they had come ready to go ahead whatever comes, death or whatever, he said, ‘all my people know what we have already decided and that’s what we have come to do, we are not coming to talk to anyone’.
It was then when somebody, who I think was his secretary said: ‘Catch those people, tied them up and throw them in the cars! We are going to take them to the town [San Miguel].’ With a large group of people over there I moved between them and towards that end there as they have already apprehended two of our companeros and they were beating them. I still tried to calm down the situation, I told them ‘Companeros don’t do that because we are not coming to fight or hurt anyone.’ But they didn’t listen to me, they caught me and tried to take me too. I don’t know how on the last minute they decided to let me go free. And so I moved away from them and saw how our companeros were taken away tied-up. A young man called Florentino Cruz Perez, he was stripped off his clothes down that ditch there, they were kicking him. They were punching him in the face and he was already bleeding, and just like that they tied-up his hands and throw him in the pick-up truck. We moved away from them, down there as up here it was all full of people from San Miguel Aloapam. We were few and they were many. We have to go back to our village. And all the trucks parked up there they took with them. Up until today, they still have them and those trucks belong to the community of San Isidro Aloapam, they are not theirs. And our companeros, those they took, tied-up and bloodied, they still in prison in Oaxaca City. Also as my companeros mentioned earlier, the other companero that they found up in a path with his broken-down car, was also taken away.
He was tortured all night, and he was threatened. They said that they were going to burn them alive. There were others, our companeros say, who arrived with shotguns at the doors of the jail saying that they were going to be shot dead. It seems that they didn’t dare to kill them but gave them a hard beating instead. The day after they where taken to Oaxaca City and at present they are still detained there. This people are trying to finish the last resources left here in the mountain. As my companeros said since 1995/96 we have been protecting this part of the forest against the deforestation they have committed in other areas. We are protecting an area that covers about 6 kilometres from were we are in that direction, not just this area, it’s what we considered belongs to us, what we have the right to as we also originate from San Miguel Aloapam, but our fathers moved up here.”
Images and words © the authors. Please contact to reproduce.
GS & JNP