Zapatista News Summary for March 2015
1. EZLN announce forthcoming events: In a communiqué, On The Bulletin Board, written by Subcomandante Galeano, the EZLN announce their calendar for 2015, starting with the report, due on 5th March, on the completion and grand opening of the School-Clinic in La Realidad Zapatista. Two homages are to take place: to Luis Villoro Toranzo (died 5th March 2014) and also to compaGaleano, on the anniversary of Galeano’s death, May 2nd, at the caracol of Oventic. This will be followed, on 3-9 May, by the Seminar “Critical Thought Versus the Capitalist Hydra,” beginning in Oventic and continuing in CIDECI, San Cristóbal de las Casas. From July to December, 2015, the World Seminar: “Critical Thought Versus the Capitalist Hydra” will take place on Planet Earth.
The communiqué also announces the next stage of the Escuelita (Little School). The second grade, (only for those who passed the first grade,) will be from July 31st to August 1-2, 2015. The Fiesta for the Caracoles will be from August 8-9, in the 5 Zapatista Caracoles, and the Third Grade of the Escuelita (only for those who pass the second grade) will take place from November-December 2015.
2. Thank you I, II and III: Starting on 5th March as promised, a series of three communiqués record that on March 1, 2015, after more than six months of work, the building that houses a health clinic and a school was presented to the Zapatista bases of support in La Realidad, and that it was the solidarity of people and collectives throughout the world which made this construction possible.
In Thank You I the EZLN presents the accounts for the building work, and gives the words of compañero Jorge and Comandante Tacho at the inauguration of the Autonomous Zapatista School “Compañero Galeano” and the Autonomous Clinic 26th of October “Compañero Insurgente Pedro.”
Thank You II – Capitalism destroys, the People Construct – consists of the words of the EZLN’s General Command in the voice of Subcomandante Moisés as he hands the new school and clinic over to the EZLN’s support bases.
Thank You III – The Most Expensive Building in the World – Subcomandantes Moisés and Galeano thank all those who supported the construction, “this clinic and school are also yours.” They also explain “The entirety of the funds required to construct the huge buildings where the powerful hide in order to organize their thievery and crimes would not be enough to pay for even a single drop of Indigenous Zapatista blood. That is why we feel that this is the most expensive building in the world.”
3. Increase in harassment of La Realidad by the Mexican Army – Frayba reports that it has documented, through its Civilian Observation Brigades (BriCO,) a growing number of military actions since July 2014 in the territory of the JBG of La Realidad. These consist of incursions in convoys with trucks, hummers, jeeps, and motorized equipment, with members of the Mexican Army ranging from 4 to 30 people. There are also low flyovers with light aircraft and helicopters photographing and filming BriCO members, BAEZLN and the installations of the Junta.
4. Another Communique: About the Homage and the Seminar– Subcomandante Galeano confirms that the forthcoming homage and seminar will take place despite the increase in army patrols, checkpoints and flyovers, which are particularly taking place in the caracoles of La Realidad and Oventic, and lists the names of those who have confirmed their participation in the two events.
5. Grave concern over the displaced community of Primero de Agosto: The 17 families (57 people) displaced from the community of Primero de Agosto on February 24th by members of Cioac-H (the same group who attacked La Realidad and murdered compa Galeano) continue to live in precarious circumstances, without water and under sheets of plastic, on the side of the road. Members of the attacking group continue to threaten them, and they fear more violence. There is an acute shortage of food, and the children and the women, one of whom is pregnant, are sick. Members of neighbouring communities have been showing solidarity and support, while the government does nothing, and continues to support the activities of Cioac-H.
6. Public Forces burn down the regional headquarters of San Sebastián Bachajón: On 21st March more than 600 members of the public forces burned down the newly built San Sebastián regional headquarters, with the participation of the ejidal Commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gomez and the Security Adviser Samuel Díaz Guzmán. Following this, two members of the free media, who were there to document human rights violations, were verbally and physically assaulted. Previously, political party supporters had been maintaining a roadblock at the Agua Azul turning in an attempt to discredit the ejidatarios adherents to the Sexta.
7. Pilgrimage from Simojovel to Tuxtla: Well over 15,000 people, many of them members of Pueblo Creyente, participated in a massive four-day peaceful pilgrimage against violence from Simojovel to Tuxtla Gutiérrez, a distance of 120 kilometres. The call for this pilgrimage arose from the situation of insecurity being experienced by indigenous communities in the region, resulting from an increase in narcopolitics and narcotrafficking and a rise in alcoholism due to a proliferation of bars (cantinas). Many death threats have been made against the priest of Simojovel, Marcelo Peréz Peréz, and the parish council. The pilgrims called for greater security and an end to impunity and corruption among state authorities.
Their demands include an end to megaprojects such as the proposed new highway, to mining and the dispossession of land, to the structural reforms, to the privatisation of water, to forced displacement, violence, prostitution, disappearance and murder. The pilgrims were joined by members of Las Abejas from Acteal, and by displaced people from Primero de Agosto and Banavil.
8. Statement from CNI: From their gathering in the community of Amatlán de Quetzalzoatl, municipality of Tepoztlan, Morelos, the peoples, nations and tribes of the Indigenous National Congress (CNI) gave their position on “the narco capitalist rulers who are seeking to take over our country. The repression has not ceased, but neither has our resistance. We will not stop the struggle for life and for our continued existence.”
1. Torture in Mexico is out of control: On 9 March, Juan E. Méndez, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatments, presented the report based on his visit to Mexico between April and May 2014. In his conclusions, he says that “torture and ill-treatment of the incarcerated after their arrest, and prior to their presentation to the justice system, are generalized phenomena in Mexico which take place within the context of impunity.” He adds that there is evidence of the active participation of police and military forces, “and also tolerance, indifference, or complicity on the part of some doctors, public defenders, prosecutors, and judges.” He indicated furthermore that torture is used “to punish the arrested and to extract confessions or incriminating information.” He highlighted that “the impunity afforded to torture and other abuses is sufficient to lead to its repetition and exacerbation.”
2. Attacks against journalists grow during Peña Nieto’s term: The frequency with which journalists are attacked during the government of Enrique Peña Nieto has grown by 80% according to the organization Article 19. In their report State of Censure, they point out that in the two years that Peña Nieto has been president, 656 attacks against the press have been documented, 330 in 2013 and 326 in 2014. This represents an attack every 26.7 hours and contrasts with the attacks recorded in the government of Calderón (2006-2012), in whose term 1,092 cases were recorded, that is to say, one every 48.1 hours. Of the 326 attacks documented by Article 19 in 2014, 156 are attributed to public officials, in particular to police who attacked the media within the context of demonstrations and social protests.
3. Farmworkers strike. Around 50,000 farmworkers in the San Quintín Valley in the Mexican state of Baja California went on strike on March 17 to demand higher wages and better working conditions. Agricultural production is at a standstill, and crops (strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers) are rotting. About 80 percent of the workers are from the original peoples of Mexico from Guerrero, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla, Michoacán and San Luís Potosí.