Mexico: “Struggling with heart” indigenous Tzeltal people from the ejido Bachajon Chiapas, unjustly imprison ed

Posted in Uncategorized on April 4, 2017 by floweroftheword

Published by the Pozol Collective, 24 March 2017

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Chiapas, Mexico. 24 March. “A lot of doves are around the prison, we are an organisation from different states and countries, different places”, reflects Esteban Gomez Jimenez, imprisoned since 2013 in the Playas de Catazajá Prison, and currently in Cereso 5 de San Cristóbal. He is held for organising against the dispossession of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, which borders on the tourist attraction the Agua Azul Waterfall. Esteban was accused by Manuel Jimenez Moreno, a Priista Verde Ecologista party member from Pamalha, of an assault he did not commit, but it’s on this pretence he was detained and later accused of other crimes.

“One day, at night, when I was asleep, in my dreams all of a sudden the image came to me of a lot doves of different colours and I said “Oh my God, what’s going to happen? I thought I was alone”. Esteban shared these thoughts in a letter published by the solidarity work group, We’re not all here (in Spanish, “No estamos tod@s”). “Oh Lord, I don’t know how the compas are getting along” was another thought that along with the imprisonment is a penalty the indigenous Tzetal prisoner lives every day: not being with his community, organising alongside them against mega-projects imposed on the region.

Santiago Moreno Pérez, a political prisoner from the same ejido Bachajón, requested "continued support for me because I am imprisoned in Playas de Catazajá Jail, I ask you to please share this information with your compas". Santiago has been prisoner since 2009 in Playas de Catazajá, for accusations made by Priisstas from La Pimienta community. At the time he was detained he held the responsibility of Autonomous Security Advisor for the Other Campaign and he was accused of a crime he did not commit to strip him of his position. “The struggle continues, you too, compañeros, it’s necessary to keep fight on the outside, that’s how it is for me, struggle with my heart” shared Santiago, who is also an adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle.

presosIn the same spirit, the spokespeople from the ejido Bachajon announced on 18 March the release of one of the three political prisoners from their community, Emilio Jimenez Gomez. They also asserted that they are "resisting and fighting together to say enough already" and they insist that they are not "accomplices of a system that imprisons the poor”, they oppose to a system where for speaking up you are attacked and sent to jail, “because you don’t want to participate in corrupt business that sells our lands to private businesses to make themselves millionaires”.

"That is why we are building our autonomy, forging a new road of solidarity struggles, seeking a future in freedom” also stated the members of the National Indigenous Congress.

http://noestamostodxs.tk/carta-de-esteban-gomez-jimenez/

http://noestamostodxs.tk/carta-de-santiago-moreno-preso-del-ejido-san-sebastian-bachajon/

http://www.pozol.org/?p=14735

Emilio Jimenez Gomez, Prisoner from San Sebastian Bachajon, Released

Posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2017 by floweroftheword

Presos

Logo @: VivaBachajon WordPress

On March 16, Emilio Jimenez Gomez, an ejidatario from San Sebastian Bachajon and adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle (the Sixth), has been released from prison. He had been imprisoned in Playas de Catazaja, Chiapas (CERSS # 17) for two years and eight months.

According to the “No Estamos Todxs” working group, “he was identified by PRI members from the Xanil community for an assault on a foreigner but the same foreigner said that the compañero was not the person who assaulted him. The PRI took him prisoner to Playas de Catazaja with the complicity of the preventative state police.” Likewise, the adherents to the Sixth of San Sebastian Bachajon, in their last statement, assured that Emilio Jimenez Gomez had been arrested for fight against dispossession in the Agua Azul Waterfalls.

In the same statement, they recalled that two other ejidatarios were still “kidnapped by the state”, Esteban Gomez Jimenez, prisoner in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, (CERSS # 5) and Santiago Moreno Perez, prisoner in Playas de Catazaja, Chiapas (CERSS # 17). They denounced that they were also arrested “in an arbitrary manner, for defending their natural resources…for raising their voices and defending life and territory.”

Civil Observation and Solidarity Caravan in Los Chimalapas

Posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2017 by floweroftheword

Chimalapas.pngCivil Observation and Solidarity Caravan to Los Chimalapas (@NVI Noticias)

On March 18 and 19, a motorized Civil Observation Caravan in solidarity with Nuevo San Andres visited the village in the Chimalapas region where, on 24 February last, nine villagers suffered attacks, illegal deprivation of liberty and violence from the so-called “Chamula Army”. About 20 people, including community members from Santa Maria Chimalapa, civil and social organizations as well as members of the Human Rights Ombudsman of the People of Oaxaca (DDHPO in its Spanish acronym) participated in this caravan.

About 100 people from 20 Tsotsil families from the Chiapas Highlands form the community of Nuevo San Andres, founded six years ago. Since the February aggression, they are practically living under siege for fear of being attacked again. Echoing their testimonies, the Caravan denounced the lack of actions by the federal and state governments to address the problems that endanger these families from Chiapas but installed in Oaxacan communal territory.

Miguel Angel Garcia Aguirre, representative of the caravan, said that for more than 60 years indigenous communities have been confronted in this region of the Isthmus by border conflicts between Oaxaca, Chiapas and Veracruz. The regional coordinator of the Committee for the Defense and Conservation of Chimalapa said that “we can not allow them to continue to live violence, we regret that the government of Oaxaca has not granted precautionary measures, we are waiting for the resolution of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), it is urgent that this case be addressed.”

https://sipazen.wordpress.com/2017/03/25/oaxacachiapas-civil-observation-and-solidarity-caravan-in-los-chimalapas/

Chiapas: Launch of Acteal Campaign: Roots, Memory and Hope

Posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2017 by floweroftheword

Acteal.pngLaunch of the Acteal Campaign: Roots, Memory and Hope. Photo@: Sipaz

On 23 March, the Acteal Campaign: Roots, Memory and Hope was launched from the offices of the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (CDHFBC) in San Cristobal de Las Casas. The campaign will take place within the framework of the XX anniversary of the Acteal Massacre and the 25th anniversary of the founding of Las Abejas Civil Society to “highlight our path as survivors and victims of the Acteal Massacre and as members of Las Abejas Civil Society of Acteal, […] exchange and share experiences with men and women from towns and cities who also fight for the same cause as us” and to “point out the material and intellectual authors of the Acteal Massacre so that the Mexican State recognizes its responsibility that Acteal is a state crime, a crime against humanity. And denounce that the Mexican State has so far been unable to ensure the non-repetition of events such as that of Acteal” (sic). They affirmed that, “it is the path of the search for truth and true justice. But, it is also memory, because we will be remembering, reporting and denouncing.”

The campaign will last nine months with cultural, political and religious activities. It will culminate with the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the massacre on December 20th, 21st and 22nd, 2017, in Acteal, House of Memory and Hope.

During the launch, Gonzalo Ituarte, Secretary of the Board of Directors of CDHFBC and Vicar of Justice and Peace of the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas, shared his testimony. On the day of the massacre he reported receiving two calls from Chenalho informing him of the approach of an armed group shooting. He indicated that he had twice called the government secretary to address this situation. However, no aid was sent for which Gonzalo Ituarte denounced “the way the government had deceived us and how it had allowed, that is to say, how it had caused that massacre. The government that could stop all this did not do it and I am convinced that it did not because it was part of their plan, they wanted to kill, they wanted to destroy the heart of civil society, which sought just causes and a solution to the problem. They wanted to kill and they killed them consciously and this causes indignation and this is a crime unpunished today.”

Amnesty International: Mexico “One of the Worst Crisis of Human Rights and Justice”

Posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2017 by floweroftheword

AI

On February 21, Amnesty International presented its annual report. In the section corresponding to events in Mexico in 2016, AI summarized: “Ten years after the beginning of the so-called “war against drug trafficking and organized crime”, military personnel continued to be employed in public security operations, and violence in the country continued to be widespread. Reports of torture and other abuses, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and arbitrary arrests continued to be reported. Impunity persisted for violations of human rights and crimes under international law. Mexico received the highest number of asylum applications in its history, the majority of people fleeing violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Intensive smear campaigns against human rights defenders and independent observers were carried out and homicides and threats against journalists due to their work continued to be reported. Violence against women continued to be a source of serious concern, and gender-based violence was reported in the states of Jalisco and Michoacan. Congress rejected one of two bills that would allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.”

In the presentation of the report in Mexico City, Tania Reneaum Panszi, Executive Director of the Mexican section of AI was even more succinct: “We are in one of the worst human rights and justice crisis in Mexico.”

On February 28, the Government of Mexico addressed the report, recognizing “the challenges it faces in the area of human rights, while reaffirming its ineludible commitment to respond to each of them.”

IACHR finds the State responsible for death of Tzeltal

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24, 2017 by floweroftheword

By: José Antonio Román

flag-map_of_zapatista_chiapasThe Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) concluded that the Mexican State is responsible for violating the right to life of the Tzeltal Gilberto Jiménez Hernández, executed at the hands of members of the Army in Altamirano, Chiapas, on February 20, 1995, inside the so- called Chiapas 94 Campaign Plan, with which it [the army] sought to retake the territory in which the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) had operated.

The IACHR points out that after 22 years the Mexican State has not complied with any of the recommendations issued to repair the damage and to guarantee that the acts are not repeated. They also committed offences and crimes against relatives of the victim and the villagers.

The acts occurred in the La Grandeza ejido in Altamirano municipality, when Army officials extra-judicially executed Jiménez Hernández while he was fleeing with his family and some 70 other residents. There were allegedly investigations in ordinary federal and state agencies, as well as military, but impunity prevailed.

The State’s version is that his death resulted from a confrontation between members of the EZLN, the group to which the victim belonged, and members of the Army.

These acts occurred after February 9, 1995, when then President Ernesto Zedillo launched the Army against the EZLN, betraying his offer of dialogue. That same day, the Attorney General of the Republic announced that members of the Zapatista leadership had been accused of the use of weapons for the Army’s exclusive use and also terrorism.

According to the testimonies of villagers, the soldiers “opened continuous fire” against the people that had taken shelter in an improvised encampment on the hill after being warned that the soldiers were coming. They also said that the Army destroyed the interior of the houses in the empty community.

The villagers fled after the shooting on February 20. Gilberto Jiménez attempted to hide, but he couldn’t because he was carrying his 2-year old daughter “tied to his back with a shawl.” Abner García Torres, a soldier, found him and in Spanish ordered him to stop.

Gilberto obeyed and was extended on the ground, but the soldier, “without any warning or motive, shot him without considering that he was carrying his daughter on his back.” One of the bullets penetrated his right eye and caused his immediate death. His wife and several of his ten children with whom he was fleeing were witnesses to the execution.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2017/03/21/politica/005n3pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Indigenous Women: an expanding view

Posted in Uncategorized on March 22, 2017 by floweroftheword

chiapas-women-marchChiapas Women march in San Cristóbal and Tuxtla Gutiérrez on International Women’s Day. Photo from proceso.com

By: Magdalena Gómez

March 8 is International Women’s Day. In the case of Indigenous women, as of today, the complexity is not fully realized that their belonging to a people and the dimension of gender involve. In the last 20 years, indigenous women, immersed in the dynamic of the indigenous peoples’ political movement, have constructed new spaces favourable to the vindication of their own demands as women. Many of them are similar to the generic demands of all women, but others question, from inside of their peoples, certain conceptions and practices endorsed by so-called custom.
A good example of this process is the document that was presented to the National Indigenous Congress for the purpose of its creation, in October 1996. In the first place, they again took up the spaces won during the discussion at the dialogue table between the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, its initials in Spanish) and the federal government, because of that it was noted that the women’s law and the need for parity among men and women were recognized at the negotiating table for the San Andrés Accords; however, the mechanisms for implementing them and for making that law effective were not agreed upon.

It emphasized that there is no doubt that the indigenous woman fulfils a productive and symbolic role equally important to the man’s. Nevertheless, women are generally excluded from public decisions and have fewer rights than men. At the same time, it clarified that indigenous women set forth their demands and vindicate their rights, not to go against their culture or their group, but rather to think about the customs from a perspective that includes them and does not do violence to them. With respect to that, they concluded: “therefore we say together with other organized indigenous sisters that insistently advocate for changing the customs that we want to open a new path for thinking about customs from another view, which does not do violence to our rights as persons and that gives dignity and respect to indigenous women. We always want to change the customs that don’t affect our dignity.” They insisted on denouncing the triple oppression that indigenous women experience, because of being poor, being indigenous and being women.
The perspective of their political rights was already glimpsed when they supported the recognition of autonomy for Indian peoples, with the guarantee of parity to women in all representative bodies. They added themselves to the questioning the counter-reform to Constitutional Article 27 demanding it be modified so that women have the right to land, together with the right of all indigenous peoples. In this 1996 document we are able to appreciate that the demands are formulated directly, even if an image of embroidering is profiled about the inter-relation between their belonging to the indigenous peoples and in some way their vindication of participation in the political process with the situation that they live inside of those collectivities as women.

Today the indigenous women’s movement has expanded and diversified its agendas. In relation to their political rights some, very few, have participated in local and federal deputations or in the municipios through the political parties or in the case of de Oaxaca through election by uses and customs. Those individual trajectories are added to the generic agenda of the political parties and they seek to introduce some similar demand. We find an example of this tendency in the case of a Zapotec woman Eufrosina Cruz, who expressed: “let’s go grabbing more; what I have understood in my experience is that if you don’t grab for something, then you’re not going to get it; sensitivity is needed in public spaces in every rubric of decision-making, backwardness is in all sectors.” (Milenio, 5/3/17)

The National Indigenous Congress (CNI, its initials in Spanish) with the EZLN’s support set this profile of electoral political participation with the postulation of an indigenous woman as an independent candidate to the Presidency of the Republic, and without a doubt it will mark a significant turn. We’re talking about a radical change that an indigenous woman will head; it is in and of itself an affirmative action, which entails a rupture with the patriarchal hegemony of the political elites. The other element that constitutes an authentic parting of waters is that this indigenous woman will bring with her an anti-capitalist program, which marks a rupture with the profile of the electoral agendas underway.

From this perspective, what the CNI pointed out last January 1 makes sense: “we want to shake the conscience of the nation, which in effect means that we seek that indignation, resistance and rebellion figure on the 2018 electoral ballots, but it’s not our intention to compete in any way with the parties and all the political class that still owes us a lot… Don’t let us confuse you, we don’t seek to compete with them, because we are not the same.”

Such is the challenge.
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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2017/03/07/opinion/017a2pol
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee