Zapatista News Summary for August 2016

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A. Zapatista News

1. CompArte: On Saturday 30 July The Festival “CompArte for Humanity” finishes in CIDECI-Unitierra, with great joy, celebration, colours and flavours. Having been celebrated at Oventic on 29th July, in August it moves to the other caracoles. CompArte brings a great deal of happiness and positivity: “Without doubt this week of art and sharing was full of life, hope and creativity, wherever we are, we can feel it, and it touches our hearts and thoughts.” The festival aims a to highlight the role that creativity, imagination and art has historically played in revolutionary movements, “perhaps it could be the Arts that remind humanity that people not only kill and destroy, impose and dominate, humiliate and doom to oblivion, but can also create, liberate, and remember.” The day in Oventic is celebrated in a photo-essay and an article.

2. Opening words: The opening words of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés at CompArte in Oventic are published, slating the lack of justice, speaking of how we need to organise, and telling some of the true story of the massacre in San Juan Chamula.

3. Closing words: The closing comments made by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés to mark the conclusion of the Zapatistas’ contribution to the CompArte, in the Caracol of Oventic, on July 29, 2016, are also published, under the title “The Art That Is Neither Seen Nor Heard.” Speaking of their support for the teachers, he says: “We Zapatista men and women don’t ask for anyone to come and struggle for us. Each person must struggle, and we should mutually support one another, but that support cannot replace each person’s struggle. Whoever struggles has the right to decide the direction of their path and with whom they walk that path.” He concludes; “We Zapatistas think that now more than ever, we need ART, ORIGINARY PEOPLES, AND SCIENTISTS in order to give birth to a new world.”

4. CompArte in the other caracoles:

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The festival is also celebrated in La Realidad, 3rdAugust, La Garrucha, 6thAugust, Morelia, 9th August, where the celebrations, opened by Comandanta Esther, include the celebration of the 13th anniversary of the birth of the Zapatista caracoles and the Juntas de Buen Gobierno, and finally, Roberto Barrios, on 12th August where it closes. During this time, the Zapatistas share their path from the 1970s to the present with us through theatre, poetry, music, paintings, and photos. At the conclusion of CompArte, Subcomandante Moisés states “22 years later we [EZLN] are showing that we don’t want to use these weapons, that it isn’t necessary. We are demonstrating that there is [another] way to achieve freedom, justice and democracy; that it isn’t necessary to kill.”

5. 20th anniversary of CNI:

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In a joint convocation, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) announce the forthcoming celebration of the 20th anniversary of the CNI, to be held from 9 to 14 October in the premises of CIDECI- Unitierra, the Indigenous Integrated Training Centre in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. They say that this Fifth National Indigenous Congress will be a space of unity, reflection and organization to continue “promoting the integral reconstitution of our peoples and the construction of a society into which all the cultures, all the colours, all the peoples who are Mexico will fit.” Given the adverse context of violence in our country, the CNI calls on the authorities and direct representatives of the peoples, nations, tribes, neighbourhoods, communities and indigenous organizations to meet together and, with the love and ancestral commitment to the mother, join the resistance, autonomy and rebellion “which shine in every one of the indigenous peoples”, spinning the threads of new worlds from the very bottom, walking towards collective, autonomous and rebellious hope.

6. Books II and III of Critical Thoughtversus the Capitalist Hydra have been for sale in Spanish in Mexico for several months. Gilberto Lopez y Rivas reviews vol II in two articles for La Jornada.

B. Other Chiapas News

1. 3rd anniversary of the founding of the community Primero de Agosto:

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The members of this community remain displaced as they celebrate the third anniversary of the founding of their community. The 17 Tojolabal families were displaced on August 23, 2014, by an armed group from the Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos – Historical (CIOAC-H).

2. Attack on Ejido Tila: In a communiqué issued on 3rd August, the autonomous Chol community of Ejido Tila denounces an incursion into its territory by Marines. They were photographing and taking notes, but fled when people started to gather. The National Indigenous Congress (CNI) also denounces this harassment. This month the Ejido Tila reaches its 82nd anniversary.

3. The Movement for the Defence of Mother Earth and Territory: The Movement holds a march and rally in the municipality of Pijijiapan, rejecting the establishment of toxic mining schemes, dams, wind farms, monoculture, biofuels, GM, REDD projects, predatory oil and gas schemes, and against any extractive mineral projects.

4. Roberto Paciencia Cruz, marks three years in prison: On 7th August, Roberto Paciencia Cruz has been incarcerated in CERESO 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas for three years for a crime didn’t commit. Sociologist Aida Cipriano writes: “The prisons of Chiapas are full of indigenous, who, for lack of knowing how to read and express themselves, have been prisoners for years, because the first thing the authorities care about is to lock them up, then they just have to leave the file in the rubbish and keep them there for life. In Chiapas, when the governor isn’t covering up or causing dispossession, extrajudicial executions, persecution, torture or fabricated crimes against the indigenous, he is covering up any violation of human rights of the prisoners.” On 27th August Roberto denounces that his visitoe have been turned away and denied permission to see him. He also calls for the liberation of fellow prisoner Alejandro Díaz Sántiz, who repeats his call for freedom.

5. Risk to life of Patricia del Carmen Paniagua Gomez, prisoner and victim of torture: On August 16, 2016, Frayba reports that it has requested precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights for Patricia del Carmen Paniagua Gomez, a woman prisoner since April 2014, whose life is in danger after the torture she was subjected to when arrested. The inadequate and insufficient medical care by the prison authorities, “represents an imminent threat to Patricia’s life and physical and psychological integrity.”

6. Shock group threatens to invade the lands of adherents to the Sixth in San Francisco, Teopisca:

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Seven arrest warrants have been issued against members of the group in defence of land and territory, members of Semilla Digna and adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the EZLN, despite their being protected by an amparo (injunction). A shock group has visited their reclaimed lands showing false documents of ownership, and threatening to displace them.

7. Community of Cruztón denounces invasion of its territory and aggression: The adherents to the Sixth Declaration, and members of Semilla Digna from the municipality of Venustiano Carranza denounce a group from Guadalupe Victoria who are invading and attempting to privatise their ‘holy field’ where the community leave flowers for their dead. The invading group are blocking the path to this holy field, and a member of the Cruztόn community is beaten and taken hostage by the attacking group from Guadalupe Victoria.

8. The community of Cinco de Marzo denounce intimidation and plunder:

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Members of this community, adherents to the Sixth in San Cristobal de Las Casas, say they are being threatened with having their lands dispossessed and privatised by the government, the Federal Electricity Commission, and some other people from the same community. They recuperated their land 22 years ago in 1994. The residents are now being threatened with eviction if they do not pay a large amount of money.

9. Oxchuc expels political parties: Following disputes over the mayoral elections in the municipality of Oxchuc, and after a long period of preparation, 105 indigenous communities from the municipality jointly decide to expel the political parties and elected officials from their lands and return to electing their authorities according to the indigenous practice of usos y costumbres. However, despite this decision, on 1st September the electoral tribunal orders the return of the previously-expelled mayor, María Gloria Sánchez.

10. The Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel convoke people to a megamarch in support of the teachers. On 22nd August, the Pueblo Creyente from Simojovel join another huge march in solidarity with the CNTE in Tuxtla, on the supposed day of the return to classes. Las Abejas offer their support to this march.

11. Disappearance of Maximiliano Martinez Gordillo: Frayba, Mesoamerican Voices, the La 72 hostel and Maximiliano’s parents hold several press conferences to draw attention to the forcible disappearance “at the hands of immigration agents”last May of Maximiliano Martinez Gordillo, who would now be aged 19. In May, he left his home in the municipality of Socoltenango to go to Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo in search of work. During the journey, he was arrested and he has not been seen since.

C. Other

1. Atenco and the airport:

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Well-known environmentalists Vandana Shiva and Sebastiao Pinheiro visit Atenco on August 13th, and tour their lands with members of the FPDT. Vandana Shiva calls on people to join the movement against the NAICM which she says will lead to a shortage of drinking water. Although it was announced on July 27 that the highway being built for the new international airport for Mexico City had been definitively suspended, crews and machinery begin operating again on 16th August in Tocuila. The people drive the crews off their land but they return escorted by a “shock group” who on August 19th tear down and burn the encampment in Tocuila. The camp is reconstructed and reoccupied.

2. The teachers’ strike: There is an excellent summary of the current situation here.

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