Tuesday, January 22, 2008

U.S. Farm Activists Denied Visit With Political Prisoner, Flavio Sosa, in Oaxaca Mexico

from infoshop news

For Immediate Release:
Jan. 20th, 2008

John E. Peck, executive director, Family Farm Defenders #608-260-0900
John Kinsman, president, Family Farm Defenders #608-986-3815

Family Farm Defenders Demand Immediate Release of Flavio Sosa and
Other Political Prisoners Held in Oaxaca ,Mexico

U.S. Solidarity Delegation Calls Upon Mexican Government to Respect Basic
Human Rights and to Renegotiate NAFTA

On Wed. Jan. 16th, Mexican prison authorities denied U.S. farm
activists the right to see Flavio Sosa, a prominent leader of the
Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO). Sosa is one of
several political prisoners still being held in Mexico even though he
was arrested over a year ago. The eighteen U.S. farm activists from
three states - Wisconsin ,Kentucky , and Maine - were in Oaxaca
,Mexico from Jan. 10th - 17th as part of a solidarity delegation
organized by Family Farm Defenders.

Since the violent repression of the democratic movement by Oaxacan
Gov. Ulises Ruiz, with support of federal troops in May 2006, over
500 people have been detained, many tortured while in custody, and
over a dozen people have also been killed, including U.S. journalist
and WI native, Brad Will on Oct. 27th, 2006. U.S. farm activists
joined Mexican human rights groups and other grassroots
representatives for a press conference the morning of Jan. 17th to
renew the demand for Flavio's immediate and unconditional release.
The Family Farm Defenders delegation then traveled for several hours
through mountains to reach the prison where Sosa is held only to be
told by guards that they could not visit him. Back in Oaxaca City ,
several thousand APPO supporters rallied in defense of basic
democratic freedoms that are apparently no longer guaranteed in
Mexico .

"When our neighbors to the South are detained and murdered simply for
standing up for democracy and human rights, our elected officials
have a responsibility to take action. The vicious crackdown in Mexico
is just another ugly face of neoliberal free trade policies. Even our
host family in Oaxaca had been imprisoned and tortured by soldiers
who had been trained at U.S. taxpayer expense at the School of
Americas in Ft. Benning ,GA. We will not let this matter rest until
justice is served," noted John Kinsman, organic dairy farmer from
Lime Ridge ,WI and president of Family Farm Defenders.

In order to amplify pressure on the Mexican government, Family Farm
Defenders will be contacting Congressional leaders, such as Sen. Russ
Feingold (D-WI) to demand that the Mexican government respect basic
human rights and immediately release all political prisoners in
Oaxaca . As part of Via Campesina's International Day of Action on
Sat. Jan. 26th, farm activists will also be staging actions across
the U.S. to raise public awareness about the ongoing political
repression in Oaxaca and the violence perpetrated by the Mexican
government against its own people.
In Madison , Family Farm Defenders members will be leafleting the
Sat. Jan. 26th Dane County Winter Farmers Market from 8 am -12:00
Noon at the Senior Center (330 W. Mifflin) urging people to contact
the Mexican consulate in Chicago to demand the release of Flavio
Sosa. On Thurs. Jan. 31st at 7:30 pm at Escape Java Joint ( 916
Williamson St. ) in Madison participants in the Family Farm Defenders
solidarity delegation will also be holding a slideshow presentation
and report back on the ongoing political repression and democratic
resistance struggle in Oaxaca .


Please contact the Mexican Consulate in Chicago to demand the
immediate and unconditional release of Flavio Sosa and other
political prisoners now being held in Oaxaca .

Mexican Consulate
300 N Michigan Ave, Suite #4
Chicago, IL 60601
Tel. 312-855-1380
Fax. #312-738-2383

You can also contact your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators to
express your concern about human rights abuses in Oaxaca and ask that
they contact the Mexican government on behalf of Flavio Sosa and
other imprisoned leaders of the pro-democracy movement.

Congressional Switchboard:

more info at: http://www.familyfarmdefenders.org

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