Campaign for the Freedom of Alberto Patishtán Excites International Support
** Brazil’s MST adds on to the demand for his release and that of Francisco Santiz López
** Mexican immigrants carry the petition to the General Consul in New York City
Photo: Moysés Zúñiga Santiago
By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, May 23, 2012
“If the Mexican government does not want to be judged in international courts for crimes against the population and the popular movements” it must free Professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez and the Zapatista Francisco Santiz López, “as an immediate matter” declared Rafael Vilas Boas in the name of the Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (Movimiento de Trabajadores Sin Tierra de Brasil, MST), upon concluding the worldwide week for the freedom of the two indigenous men.
For its part, Mexican immigrants of the Movement for Justice for the Barrio of the Other Campaign in New York irrupted in the General Consulate of Mexico in said city this Monday with the same demand. Despite the initial refusal to attend to them, by consular personnel, who even closed the installations full of “countrymen,” the Consul finally listened to them and “behind him a large banner was unfolded saying: ‘justice and freedom for Alberto and Francisco.’” Before a “profound silence” from the public, “we echoed the dignified call originating from Chiapas for our two prisoners,” says the New York movement, a convoker of the worldwide week.
In the MST’s videotaped message, Vila Boas expresses that if Patishtán continues a prisoner “it is because he is very competent, the work that he was doing was very good, and not criminal.” He is not “an enemy, but a pride for the country,” he adds. “If Mexico wants to be a democracy it is necessary to free the professor.”
With respect to Santiz López, he maintains: “The MST has a relationship of admiration and respect for the Zapatista movement, which is opposed to a model of political representation that does not respond to the interest of the large mass of the population. The compañero was collaborating in the organization of society, [therefore] he cannot be considered a criminal. He is a hero.” The Brazilian spokesperson considered it necessary “that Mexican society make the la distinction between a criminal action and the popular organization.”
This morning, the Platform in Solidarity with Chiapas and Guatemala and the Center for Documentation on Zapatismo delivered a letter for the Ambassador at the Mexican Embassy in Spain with the pronouncement in favor of the freedom of the two indigenous men, emitted from the Global May Forum (Foro del Mayo Global) that took place on the weekend.
Other actions were carried out in the Parque del Retiro in Madrid and in Barcelona. In the Mexican capital, Other Campaign collectivesheld a Sunday meeting for several hours in the Bellas Artes (Fine Arts) esplanade demanding freedom for Patishtán, “a prisoner of conscience arbitrarily transferred to a high-security prison in Guasave, Sinaloa,” and for Santiz López, “detained and blamed because of being a Zapatista support base.” They demanded “justice and voice to the silence that the hunger strike and fast had that was valiantly maintained in 2011 by the following Chiapas prisoners: Pedro López Jiménez, Rosario Díaz Méndez, José Díaz López, Alfredo López Jiménez, Alejandro Díaz Santiz and Juan Díaz López, Andrés Núñez Hernández and Rosa López Díaz, Juan Collazo Jiménez and Enrique Gómez Hernández.”
Members of the Las Abejas group, meanwhile, declared this Tuesday in Acteal (Chenalhó) that “the governments try to disarticulate and sow fear and terror in the independent organizations, social movements and collectives that are not in agreement with the system that is being exercised in Mexico, and with that strategy they incarcerated Patishtán ever since 2000, falsely accused of participating in the homicide of seven police.” They demanded his freedom and the freedom of the “compañero” Santiz López, support base of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional), “arbitrarily incarcerated since December 4 , accused of acts that happened in the community of Banavil (Tenejapa).”