BootsnAll Travel Network

David Venegas

David (dubbed El Alebrijey his companeros) is an agronomist and activist with the continuing “Movement” against corruption in Oaxaca that began again in 2006 with an uprising and the striking of 70,000 teachers. He is a charismatic natural born leader.

In the wake of a massive police attack in November 2006, the government began to carry out selective repression, arresting particularly vocal visible activists and attempting to discredit them through criminal rather than movement related charges.

In 2006, Radios had been important in organizing and Radio Planton, which belonged to the teachers, was lost during the violent police attack on the Zocalo on June 14. The Radio Universidad, property of university students, was destroyed when infiltrators poured acid on the control deck. On August 21 when police attacked and destroyed the occupied state television and radio the people reacted by seizing 12 commercial radio stations.

Blockades were born and organized to defend these take-overs and protect the people inside. 2006 David organized the Blockade at the Brenemiel crossing on Highway 190 in Santa Rosa (just one of many blockades in neighborhoods across the state.)

His uncompromising commitment to refuse to participate in processes that legitimate state power put him in conflict with more moderate or opportunist sectors of the Movement and led to the creation of Oaxacan Voices Constructing Liberty and Autonomy (VOCAL).

What members of VOCAL have in common is the idea of autonomy as a founding principle. “We defend the diverse ways or organizing life. We believe in autonomy as a political proposal for community as well as personal life. Unlike other hegemonic ideologies, we don’t believe that to promote our own line of thought it’s necessary to exclude anyone else’s.”

“What made the barricades interesting,” David said, was that people all came together in defense rather than around one way of thinking or an ideological platform.” “The barricades changed the social fabric,” he said. So “at the barricades new networks, new friendships and new relationships of trust in our own communities were formed.”

On April 13 2007 David was identified, thrown violently in the back of a police truck with no arrest warrant or explanation. He spent 11 months in Ixcotel Prison. And later another four months.

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