Burials are being held for victims of a massacre in Oaxaca over the weekend which has been linked to an electoral dispute. Ten people died and another 8 were left wounded when members of 2 indigenous communities were ambushed by gunmen Saturday en route to the town of Choapam. They had been traveling to what is – in practice – the rural area’s county seat to witness the inauguration of a new electoral council.
Police reports indicate the ambush occurred at a spot in the road that had been blocked by large mounds of dirt. Three of the trucks the victims were travelling in were set on fire.
A dispute has been festering in Choapam since December, when a local election was annulled due to irregularities. While the conflict may go beyond the simple politics of which political faction controls the town, details have been sparse. The town is a ten hour drive from the state capital, which prevents reporters with same-day deadlines from visiting the crime scene. This logistical detail also means that many of the comments on the situation cited in news reports come from politicians based in the state capital.
Choapan is located near Oaxaca’s border with Veracruz, a region that has experienced it’s share of drug violence. Most of said violence has been in and around the city of Tuxtepec. In the state capital, the massacre has led to furious finger pointing between members of the new reformist government and the party that controlled the state’s politics for 8 decades.