Different Faces of Dispossession: San Marcos Avilés
What happened in San Marcos Avilés?
San Marcos Avilés is an indigenous Tseltal community in the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, founded after the Zapatista insurgency of 1994. At that time, all of the residents were sympathizers of the autonomous project, although with the passage of time, several of them stopped supporting that movement, leaving a group made up of Support Bases for the Zapatista National Liberation Army (BAEZLN).
In 2010, the BAEZLN agreed to build an Autonomous School for their children. However, disagreement from a group belonging to the Mexican Green Party (PVEM), the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the National Action Party (PAN) provoked harassment towards the Zapatistas. In September of the same year, these threats were so severe that they caused the displacement of the community for more than a month in their efforts to avoid being attacked. In October, they were able to return to their homes, however, since then they have not been able to work their lands because the party members prevent them through the use of threats and harassment.
Videomessage from the Zapatistas of San Marcos Avilés
Who is responsible?
In the first place, those responsible for removing the BAEZLN from San Marcos Avilés is a group of residents of the same community, identified as party members who have harassed, threatened, and kept them from being able to work their lands. The Chilón municipal government and the Chiapas state government support these acts of violence, and the threats and harassment against the BAEZLN have increased. Likewise, there has not been any investigation carried out by the corresponding authorities, who have neglected to find out who is responsible for the threats and harassment against the Zapatistas. As such, the human rights violation continues in the form of the BAEZLN’s forced displacement from their lands.
What is the legal situation of the case?
When the forced displacement and later return of the BAEZLN to San Marcos Avilés occurred, the Zapatista Council of Good Government of Caracol II in Oventik denounced the circumstances under which the Zapatistas in this community were living. It demanded respect for the Zapatista project of autonomy. The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) and other national and international organizations have undertaken interventions with state and federal governments, demanding that they attend to the situation of violence caused by the forced displacement.
Unfortunately, to this day there is no investigation of the events on the part of the corresponding authorities. Faced with this situation of impunity, Frayba has requested that the Interamerican Human Rights Commission grant precautionary measures to the BAEZLN in San Marcos Avilés. However, until now, the responses and actions have not been sufficient due to a lack of political will on the part of federal and state authorities.