Zapatistas denounce attacks by Cioac-H over land conflict
** They are the same leaders who murdered Galeano, they say
** The aggressions began in 2013, when the indigenous occupied a plot of land
By: Hermann Bellinghausen
Zapatista sympathizers from Primero de Agosto village, in the Tojolabal region of Las Margaritas, Chiapas, denounced aggressions and dispossession on the part of members of the Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos Historic (Cioac-H) and the Alliance of Social Organizations and Left Unions (ASSI, its initials in Spanish). Among the aggressors, the indigenous identified leaders of the Central who participated in the attack on Zapatista bases in La Realidad last May 2, when Galeano was murdered and the autonomous school and clinic were destroyed.
The most serious aggressions started one week after the events in La Realidad, some twenty kilometres from Primero de Agosto, when they gravely injured “with a machete blow on the neck of our compañero inside our village,” the indigenous expose. “Carmelino Pérez López, of the ASSI, asserted that they plan to kill four compañeros,” they added.
The group attacked is made up of children of ejido owners in Miguel Hidalgo, who requested land in 2011. “We knew that there was a 73-hectare plot, recuperated by the EZLN, which was not being worked.” The complainants participated in dialogue between December 2011 and March 2013 with the ejido owners, “but they verbally attacked us, humiliated us and ran us off. We were afraid that they would kill us.” They occupied the land on August 1, 2013; now “we are working it, we are the guardians of that land,” they add. Although Miguel Hidalgo entered the governmental Fund for Support to Agrarian Nuclei without Regularizing (Fanar, its initials in Spanish) in 2011, it left out these lands.
The aggressions have a history. On August 14, 2013, Bernardo Román Méndez, of the Cioac-H, entered Primero de Agosto “pointing a rifle at four of our compañeros; we respectfully asked him to leave.” That same day, Domingo Méndez Méndez, also of the Central, “attempted to kill six of our compañeros, firing two shots.”
The complainants report that they went to the Good Government Junta of La Realidad, which issued two notices to appear (on December 9 and January 20) to the authorities of Miguel Hidalgo to resolve the agrarian problem, but “they ignored the summons, increasing the tension.” On May 8, “men, children and women of the ASSI entered the village with sticks and machetes to plant corn in our gardens; they were verbally aggressive and pulled out our boundary posts.”
On May 9, they told, Aureliano Méndez Jiménez, the ejido commissioner Reynaldo López Pérez, Antonio Méndez Pérez, Adolfo Pérez López and other members of ASSI “cut the wires, and took out the staples, once again armed with sticks, machetes and slingshots.” Méndez Jiménez seriously injured Arturo Pérez López, 24, in the neck with a machete. Four more were injured with cudgel blows. That afternoon the ejido commissioner struck a pregnant woman, “telling her that they are going to murder everyone,” and Javier López Pérez, also of the Alliance, beat up and stole the belongings of three youths.
On May 23, members of ASSI and Cioac-H “passed by to provoke us in the interior of our village carrying machetes.” They destroyed a sign and made threats. On June 10, the authorities of Miguel Hidalgo (of ASSI), in the company of Bernardo Román Méndez, Domingo and Enrique Méndez Méndez, of the Cioac-H, entered into the village carrying machetes.”
On June 11, the injured man was presented to the Public Ministry of Las Margaritas, which took up the case “as injuries, when the gravity of his health was obvious and that what they wanted was to kill him. We had not declared before because we were afraid of repressions” and the injured man “could not talk well,” they explain. On June 16, he saw a doctor in San Cristóbal, because he cannot move his left arm. “We went to the Comitán Hospital with a referral note; nevertheless, they demand a clinical history from us and the Guadalupe Tepeyac Hospital has refused us.” The complainants demand: “that the government act impartially, respecting our possession.”