Zapatista News Summary for July 2015

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1. Many letters and pronouncements are issued rejecting the paramilitary attacks denounced recently by the JBG Path to the Future (La Garrucha) in El Rosario, and expressing solidarity with the Zapatista Support Bases (BAZ). Frayba issues an Urgent Action about the risk to the life and personal safety of the BAZ in the communities of El Rosario and Nuevo Paraíso.

2. The Network for Solidarity and against Repression (RvsR) convokes global solidarity with the Zapatista communities for the week 12th to 19th July, leading up to the Chiapas elections on July 19th, denouncing the counterinsurgency strategy of the use of paramilitaries by the three levels of government. There is a large response to this call in many parts of Mexico, and also internationally in countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Germany, France and Spain.

3. The EZLN presents the book “Critical Thought against the Capitalist Hydra” volume 1 – Participation of the Sixth Commission in the Seminar, and releases a fragment of text, “Chiapas, Mexico, the World” taken from “our view of the hydra” by Subcomandante Galeano. This extract talks about urban dispossession in the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, capital of Chiapas, and who wins and who loses from it.

4. The tenth anniversary of the release of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle is celebrated.

5. The CNI and EZLN issue a joint condemnation of an attack on the Indigenous Nahua municipality of Santa María Ostula, Michoacán. Following protests against the arrest of the First Commander of their community police, Cemeí Verdía Zepeda, the Mexican army opens fire, killing a 12-year old boy, and wounding six people including a six- year old girl. The arrested commander is subsequently freed on lack of evidence and immediately re-arrested on a different charge.

6. Subcomandantes Moisés and Galeano send out information about the second level of the Escuelita Zapatisia, from 31st July to 2nd August, which is for those who passed the first level, and finally leads to the sixth level. The second level will not be held in Zapatista territory, because so many students have problems with the cost and the time needed to get there, but is to be done collectively by students in the places where they live. They also send out information for any former student who has not received an email.

7. On 30th July, the CNI and EZLN issue a communique in support of the struggle of the Ñätho community of San Francisco Xochicuautla against the road project which threatens the destruction of their sacred forest. This follows the signing of a presidential decree by President Enrique Peña Nieto, cancelling a 1954 order guaranteeing indigenous community land rights in Xochicuautla, and expropriating 37 hectares of land in order to permit the construction, by the notorious Grupo Higa, of a new section of the Toluca-Naucalpan highway on the communal land of the community, slicing through the sacred Otomi-Mexica forest. The ejidatarios of San Sebastian Bachajon also issue a communique in solidarity. A march is held in Mexico City in support of both Xochicuautla and Ostula.

8. Ejidatarios of Tila, adherents to the Sixth, denounce an armed confrontation which took place there on 20th June, between supporters of the PVEM and PRI political parties. There is great insecurity in this area during the time of elections, with people fearing for their lives. They describe young people, hooded and dressed in black, carrying guns, clubs and machetes, operating roadblocks with the support of the municipal police. Post-electoral conflicts have continued in many parts of Chiapas, where the PVEM, allied with the PRI, remain the most powerful political parties.

9. On 28th and 29th July over 4,000 indigenous and mestizos from Las Margaritas and the surrounding area go on a pilgrimage against the suffering of the peoples, for peace and life and against violence and dispossession, in particular in support of the communities of Primero de Agosto, Banavil, Acteal, Ayotzinapa and Chicomuselo. They release the Pronouncement of Las Margaritas in Defence of our Right to be Peoples.

10. The Network for Peace highlights the lack of response from the Chiapas state government to the case of the displaced people of Primero de Agosto. The displaced families from Banavil also call attention to their case, and later announce they will return temporarily to work their lands.

11. On the ten-month anniversary of the Ayotzinapa attack, parents of the 43 disappeared students announce that on 30th July a caravan to the southern states of Mexico will begin in San Cristobal de la Casas. The next day a second caravan will start in Chihuahua.

Other

1. Actions are held against the visit of the Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto and his entourage to France, 13th to 15th July.

2. A new arrest warrant is issued against the Yaqui leader, Mario Luna, whose appeal (amparo) has recently been allowed, and whose liberation had been anticipated. The new warrant could lead to between four and ten years imprisonment.

3. Human Rights Watch publishes its 2015 report, in which it says that the government has made little progress in prosecuting the widespread killings, enforced disappearances, and torture committed by soldiers and police in the course of efforts to combat organized crime. In August 2014, the government acknowledged that the whereabouts of over 22,000 people who had gone missing since 2006 remained unknown, and no one has been convicted for an enforced disappearance committed after 2006. Mexico’s security forces have participated in widespread enforced disappearances, in some cases, collaborating directly with criminal groups.

4. Mexico’s National Social Development Policy Evaluation Council (Coneval) says that over 60 million people, half the country’s population, are living in poverty, an increase of two million in the last two years, with twelve million – and 20 million children – in extreme poverty. According to the document, while one out of every two people in Mexico lives below the poverty line, only one out of every five has their needs completely covered. The highest level of extreme poverty – 76.2 per cent – is in Chiapas. Mexico is the eleventh richest economy in the world.

5. Latest Mexican government figures show that between 2007 and 2014 more than 164,000 people were murdered. Over the same seven-year period, slightly more than 103,000 died in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to data from the United Nations.

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