The Zapatista Council of Good Government (Junta de Buen Gobierno), based in Morelia, clarifies what happened in the past few days in Bolon Ajaw, Chiapas:
The Council of Good Government “Heart of the Rainbow of Hope”, Caracol IV
“Whirlwind of our Words”, Morelia, Chiapas, Mexico.
11 February 2010
To the Alternative Media
To the companeros of the Other Campaign in Mexico
To the companeros of the Sexta International
Sisters and Brothers
Companeros and Companeras
We the Council of Good Government denounce and clarify what happened on the Saturday 6th February 2010, on the land controlled by the village of Bolon Ajaw, autonomous municipality Comandanta Ramona.
The provocateurs, members of OPDDIC, inhabitants of Ejido Agua Azul, aggressively came onto the land where our companeros and companeras live, in order to work there on Thursday 20th January 2010.
In order to make the situation clear to the public, regarding the new phase of aggression restarted against our companeros “bases of support” (Zapatista community members) of the autonomous municipality Comandanta Ramona, by OPDDIC members; we made public our position regarding the defence of the Mother Earth in a written declaration dated 23rd January 2010. In this declaration we clearly stated that we would defend the land and its natural resources.
For those who don’t remember, you can re-read this declaration on the Enlace Zapatista website.
There you will find the full names of the aggressors, how they were behaving and what calibre of guns they carried when they went onto the land; and we want to make clear that they never put these guns away, but carried them at all times while they were working on the land, and not only that we also want to make clear that they smoked rolled-up cigarettes which had really disgusting smelling smoke and smelled of marijuana.
Please excuse our ignorance because we don’t really know the scope of the internet but we believe that it reaches all the corners of the world and we believe that when we publish something online, like for example our declaration, it reaches all the parts of the world, and we don’t believe that the bad governments don’t have computers nor access to the internet in order to be able to read about what we denounced.
We assume that the bad governments have these tools in order to find out what the people who they control, by giving them a few crumbs off the table, are doing. In front of the world’s eyes, the bad governments did nothing to prevent this attack that we suffered from happening – neither Juan Sabines (Governor of Chiapas) nor Antonio Moreno Lopez, Municipal President of Chilon, nor the wonderful Felipe Calderon did anything, because they use tricks to get what they want.
As such we contradict what the OPDDIC leaders are saying: that our companeros took them by surprise on Saturday 6th February – this is a complete lie, because two weeks before we had published our declaration and so in our opinion this time was available for us to wait and see if they wanted to have a dialogue with us, but they never approached us.
Furthermore years earlier we, the Council of Good Government, had invited Commissioner Geremias Lopez Herandez to meet and dialogue with us but he has ignored us.
Our companeros went on to the Bolon Ajaw land at 6am, which is the start of our working day as campesinos (peasant farmers), in order to do some collective work on the land from which they want to evict us. We arrived at the area of land where we work at 7am and we didn’t go there to attack anyone, besides our companeros, inhabitants of the village of Bolon Ajaw are already living on the land. We reiterate that we have previously stated that we are going to put up a defence, working peacefully, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
In order to reach the village of Bolon Ajaw we didn’t have to pass through the village of Agua Azul, you can get there going along paths through the fields. We didn’t go into Agua Azul, even by a millimetre, and the fabrication of OPDDIC accuses us of taking them by surprise, harassing them, humiliating them and repressing the boys, girls, older men and women. This is one of the first lies of Juan Sabines and his local leader accomplices.
We aren’t like the bad governments that repress, imprison, and disappear indigenous people, we have suffered acts of barbarity during the governments of Ernesto Zedillo, and Roberto Albores Guillen and we never copy their injustices. But in these current times we see the restarting of these tricks, just like previous governments have done, who would make up crimes in order to justify the repression.
When we were going into the land it was 6am, we were walking together along a path that goes to Bolon Ajaw and we were unarmed, while we were arriving the OPDDIC invaders withdrew and we thought that they had gone back to their houses to remain there peacefully, but it wasn’t like that.
They withdrew to the place where they were building their houses and since in order to get to their houses they had to pass through the village of Bolon Ajaw, once they arrived in this village they immediately began to fire rounds towards where our companeros were and there were only five male companeros and ten female companeras and so they were unable to defend themselves.
The OPDDIC members came with pistols and rifles in hand shooting towards our companeros, we estimate that they fired around 250 rounds of calibre 22, thanks to our companeros quickly retreating they were not injured and so in this way there were no deaths on our side. While our companeros were retreating they shouted to the companeros who were on the land that we were working on, to ask for their support because 40 OPDDIC members were arriving with arms in hand.
Once the OPDDIC members arrived at Bolon Ajaw they went to the village church. They broke open the door and once they were inside they began destroying things like: breaking the statues of the saints, breaking the case where the Holy Eucharist is kept, and breaking the simple altar. Because of their indiscriminate shooting in Bolon Ajaw, they themselves killed their fellow OPDDIC members because they were crowded closely together while they were shooting.
This is the same kind of thing that was done to us during the time of Ernesto Zedillo and Roberto Albores Guillen when the soldiers came into our villages in 1995, who scattered maize, beans, stole our chickens and looted things from our collective shop. If we remember this, it’s because we see recent events as echoes of those times. For example on 6th February 2010 our companero Manuel Jimenez Alvoro from the hamlet of Bispuyil Ja, his house was destroyed, they wrenched out the supports of his house and then they went to throw these away, then they destroyed the supporting metal rods, they destroyed the lintel, they stole the metal sheeting from his roof. These metal sheets were bought through our companero’s hard work, and bear in mind today’s high prices, the house was 7 metres by 2.6 metres and was totally demolished.
As a last act of humiliation against our companero the wreckers, who belong to the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) – namely Pedro Pérez Silvano, Pedro Perez Jimenez, Domingo Pérez (primero), Domingo Pérez (segundo), Melchorio Pérez Jlménez, and Pascual Pérez Jimenez – these deceitful people cut down 76 coffee plants in order to put the blame on our companero, they took these plants to present them to the Public Prosecutors office in Bachajon in order to get them to issue an arrest warrant accusing our comrade of cutting down their plants.
OPDDIC’s lies say that we took them by surprise first thing in the morning, when we were the ones who were taken by surprise by being shot at, because they ambushed our companeros just a few metres away from the ticket booth for the Agua Azul waterfalls, which is staffed by our companeros from The Other Campaign. There our companero Francisco Gonzalez Gomez was badly wounded in the abdomen and fortunately is now recovering, although he had lost a lot of blood.
When the OPDDIC members went to build their houses on the bolon Ajaw land they never showed respect to our female companeras. A path to the cornfield passes through the area where they were working; our female companeras were going to get or bring back maize and the lowlife marijuana smokers from OPDDIC would strip off and show the women their penises when they were passing through there. Even a dog wouldn’t do this and since the bad government\s plan is to provoke, they do this shamelessly. Once again they make up our supposed crimes, they accuse us of being kidnappers, we are the ones who are struggling against death, we are not corrupt from having millions as are the governments, as are the members of Congress, we have never done this during our struggle.
We did detain seven OPDDIC members but we treated them with respect at all times and gave them food, not fancy food because we don’t have that, we gave them water, a room which wasn’t comfortable because that‘s what our houses are like, we gave them blankets – in short we respected their rights as human beings, as we would even for animals. The seven OPDDIC members who they say were kidnapped, were freed and handed over safe and sound, just as well as when they were detained; when they were freed they signed a document acknowledging that they were treated with respect.
Four of the last five OPPDIC members to be set free, namely Ivan Moreno Lopez, Manuel Garcia Luna, Juan Hernandez Moreno, and Manuel Hernandez Lopez, told us that Senor Salomon Moreno Lopez was one of those who organised the provocateurs and even though we found out who he was, we didn’t harm him in any way. We are not like the bad governments who sentence people to many years in prison.
We, the Council of Good Government, have never closed the door on finding a good solution to problems, we always show good will, sending our messages to the human rights activists Fray Bartholomew de Las Casas. Our proposal was that we would free the two OPDDIC members detained in Bolon Ajaw, on the condition that the following people could freely pass through : 13 members of the “Civil Protection” body (proteccion civil), 2 from the Chiapas State Government, principally Antonio Gamboa, Carlos Manuel Calvo Martinez, the director of the “Preventative Police” (policia preventiva), 2 from Fray Bartholomew human rights organisation, Jorge Armando Gomez and Pedro Faro, and an inhabitant of the community of Agua Azul: and on the condition that there be the right to free movement on the roads and footpaths for all, without distinction. In the second release of OPDDIC detainees, that is the five who were still detained elsewhere, we proposed that they be released on condition that they promise not to reoccupy the land and that peace be re-established.
This was our word, and we kept it honourably and truthfully. The response of the bad government to our proposal was totally different.
It can be clearly seen that the government asks for dialogue, and then replies with other things that have nothing to do with what we were discussing, and we consider that while the three aforementioned politicians continue governing in this country, they will continue with their trickery and cunning. For us it meant that the three levels of government agree that what they did to us carries on happening and that violence in all parts of our country continues.
The special public prosecutor dealing with NGOs, Pedro Raul Lopez, transmitted the message from Juan Sabines Guerrero, Governor of Chiapas, that the problem should be dealt with through dialogue, but on the contrary the Governor insinuated that the army would come in and the dialogue would be broken and hostilities would resume.
We believe that the intentions are already there, because we can see the movements of the military, police and PGR, accompanied by indigenous people, some in plain clothes. While we propose a solution, they respond to us with very strong threats.
Comrades of The Other Campaign, nationally and internationally, don’t let yourselves be persuaded by the great lies from on high, with their violent acts and declarations full of falsehoods, as we have just experienced.
People like those who call themselves governments dedicate themselves to teaching indigenous people how to deceive. Don’t be confused, you have to be able to perceive and listen to the truth.
The Council of Good Government
Candelaria Velasco Hernandez Angel Hernandez Perez.