JULY 2014 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. Sup Moisés Reports On Fundraising to Rebuild the Autonomous School and Clinic in La Realidad – In a July 18 communiqué entitled Almost 5 Times, Subcomandante Moisés reports that fundraising for rebuilding the autonomous school and clinic in La Realidad has yielded almost 5 times the amount they estimated it would cost. CIOAC-H members destroyed the school and clinic during the May 2 attack in which Compañero Galeano was murdered. They will use additional funds to buy equipment and supplies for the school and clinic. The original amount requested was only for construction materials.
2. Zapatista Exchange with the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) – The Zapatistas will hold an "exchange" with the National Indigenous Congress (CNI, its initials in Spanish) in La Realidad between August 4 and 8. That meeting is not open to all Zapatista supporters. A report from the Exchange will be given on August 9 in La Realidad, which is open to all Zapatista supporters. August 9 is the anniversary of the Juntas. In a July 7 communiqué, Sup Moisés gave the initial report on fundraising and also asked for solidarity to house and transport CNI members. He later reported in the Just so you know comunicado that some of the funds raised for the reconstruction will be used to support the exchange with the CNI.
3. Las Abejas Speaks out on Palestine – In its July 22 statement, Civil Society Las Abejas (The Bees) sent the following message to the Palestinian people: "While the bad Mexican government foments aggressions and designs strategies to break the social fabric in our communities, our brothers and sisters in Palestine are massacred by the government of Israel. Perhaps Palestinian men and women, children, and elders do not know of Acteal or of our struggle, but we feel your suffering and pain in the deepest part of our hearts, as when parents see their sons or daughters mutilated by Israeli bombs and bullets, or when boys and girls have their parents killed and become orphans. We do not understand how any human being or the Israeli government can be so evil as to not respect life! Is it not true that there exist international laws to condemn this type of war that murders innocent people? We know that it is not enough to pray, but from Acteal we pray for life and the protection of boys and girls, men and women, and female and male elders of the Palestinian people. We ask God to stop the massacre in Palestine and to touch the hearts of men and women throughout the world, so that together we can demand that the Israeli government stop killing innocent people." On the 22nd of each month, Las Abejas issues a statement in commemoration of its members that were massacred on the 22nd of December 1997.
Mexico’s Southern Border
1. Peña Nieto Announces Southern Border Strategy in Chiapas – On July 7, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto inaugurated a new Customs Station at Playas de Catazajá, Chiapas., and announced two types of immigration cards for Guatemalans; one card is for a temporary work permit, the other is a 72-hour visitor’s permit limited to border states. He did not say how many work permits would be available. Otto Perez Molina, President of Guatemala, was with Peña at the event. Peña also announced the five elements of his Southern Border Strategy: formal and ordered passage; greater security; protection and social action in favor of the migrants; regional co-responsibility and inter-institutional coordination. Apparently, the strategy includes placing 10 sentry posts on the border and creating a Border Police, similar to the US Border Patrol, but specific details of the plan were not revealed. A short time later, Humberto Mayans was named the "Czar" for the southern border. Part of the strategy is to deter migrants from hopping freight trains that carry them through Mexico towards the US.
2. Merida Initiative Has Funds For Immigration Project – Two days after Peña announced the elements of his strategy for the Southern Border, the US made known through its embassy in Mexico that there were funds available in the Merida Initiative to support Mexico’s efforts to control immigration on the southern border.
3. US State Department Advisor Thomas Shannon Inspects Chiapas Border with Guatemala – For two days in mid-July, Thomas Shannon, Counselor to John Kerry at the US State Department, visited the Tapachula portion of the Chiapas border with Guatemala. He visited the Century XXI (Siglo XXI) Immigration Station in Tapachula, reportedly the largest one in Latin America (capacity 2,500 per day). He also visited a migrant shelter and met with activists and human rights defenders, who made a proposal: give the migrants visas to travel through Mexico, thereby making their journey less dangerous. He said he was interested in learning about the situation of the unaccompanied child migrants. Shannon’s visit to the Chiapas border just 2 weeks after Ambassador Anthony Wayne’s visit in June dramatizes the importance this issue has taken on and the importance of Mexico’s southern border.
In other parts of Mexico
1. Jose Manuel Mireles, Self-Defense Leader, Formally Charged and Held In Prison – On July 6, a judge issued the formal indictment against Mireles and the 3 guards arrested with him, meaning that they must stand trial for carrying firearms for the exclusive use of the Army and for the charge of simple possession of marijuana and cocaine. They were remanded to federal prisons while awaiting trial. The defense team maintains that the charges are false and that Mireles is a political prisoner. Javier Sicilia said that the arrest of Mireles demonstrates that the government is on the side of the criminals. Mireles’ wife maintains that the illegal weapons Mireles was allegedly in possession of are registered with the government. In other words, she seems to be alleging that not only are the charges false, the weapons were planted. Recently, Mireles issued a letter from prison to the autodefensas, in which he alleged that Alfredo Castillo, the Federal Commissioner for Michoacán, came to Michoacán to repress and lock people up. He termed the commissioner an executioner and said he lies and betrays. Mireles also urges the self-defense groups not to make agreements with Castillo and not to talk to him. Finally, he urged them not to fight among themselves.