Mexican Cardinal Condemns Massacre of Peasants in Oaxaca

Links Violence to Marginalization

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MEXICO CITY, JUNE 3, 2002 ( Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera condemned the massacre of 26 peasants in the southern state of Oaxaca, triggered by a reported land dispute.

«It is terrible that those crimes are still going on in our homeland,» the archbishop primate of Mexico said, after presiding over the Corpus Christi celebration Sunday in the metropolitan cathedral.

«We must uproot from our homeland that violence that so harms us,» the cardinal said. He added that the «marginalization» of many peasant communities is one of the principal reasons for the violence.

According to sources of the office of the state´s public prosecutor, 26 people were killed and one wounded Friday night in the locality of Agua Fria in the municipality of Textitlan, «as the consequence of a shooting attack perpetrated by a group of armed individuals.»

A survivor, who was driving the truck in which the peasants were being transported to Santiago Xochiltepec, said the truck was stopped and fired upon by a group of gunmen, the prosecutor´s office reported. Only six people survived the attack, authorities said.

The police said 16 people of Santo Domingo Teojomulco were arrested Sunday for the killing and taken to the capital of Oaxaca.

Authorities said that land disputes in Oaxaca, dating back to 1936, have left dozens of people dead.

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