1. Massacre in Chiapas re: Chinkultic Archaeological Site – On October 3, state police opened fire on unarmed indigenous residents of Miguel Hidalgo ejido, ultimately killing 6, injuring 17 and leaving 36 held in police custody. 4 of the dead were summarily executed with a shot to the head by police. The stage for this tragic incident was set on September 9, when indigenous campesinos living near two government-run sites, Lagos de Montebello National Park and Chinkultic Archaeological site, occupied them. They said that the government agency involved, known as INAH, was not taking good care of the sites and was charging too much for admission. The INAH went to court to evict the campesinos. A court ordered the eviction of Lagos de Montebello National Park and federal and state police carried out that eviction without incident on October 3. There was no court order to evict the Chinkultic archaeological site. Nevertheless, some of the police split off from the group that went to Lagos de Montebello and, instead, went to the Miguel Hidalgo ejido, where the campesinos lived who were occupying Chinkultic. Of the 4 who were summarily executed by police, 3 were seriously injured. The fourth man was taking them to the hospital in his truck. Police pulled the driver out of his truck and killed him along with the 3 injured men. Miguel Hidalgo has no connection to the Zapatistas, the Other Campaign or any other social or political organization. Its residents have generally cooperated with the government and, in fact, were negotiating over the occupation and care of Chinkultic when the massacre occurred. 3 low-level state officials have been fired and several state police officials are under house arrest. Several other patrol officers are in jail. The state government of Chiapas is giving every possible kind of attention (and lots of goodies) to Miguel Hidalgo residents. Chinkultic has not yet been returned to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH, its initials in Spanish).
2. EZLN Extends Invitations to the “World Festival of Dignified Rage” – On September 15, the EZLN issued a communique detailing plans for an end-of-year celebration of its 25/15 Anniversary (25 years since the EZLN’s founding and 15 years since the Jan. 1, 1994 Zapatista Uprising). The celebration will take place in three locations: Mexico City (December 26-29 ); Oventik (December 31, 2008 and January 1, 2009); and San Cristóbal de las Casas (January 2,3,4,5). The communique stated that participation in the Festival would be by invitation. The Chiapas Support Committee was honored to receive an invitation this week (October 27). Information about activities is now on the Enlace Zapatista blog in English, Spanish, French, etc. http://www.ezln.org.mx (click on Enlace Zapatista).
3. “Former” Opddic Members Given Control of Agua Azul Ticket Booth – Last month we reported on the new toll road planned between the Chiapas cities of San Cristobal de las Casas and Palenque, one part of a mega-plan for tourist “development” in the Northern Zone of Chiapas. The mega-plan, formally known as the San Cristobal-Palenque Planned Integral Center and billed as an “eco-archaeological tourism” project, includes “theme parks” at the beautiful Agua Azul Cascades and the exquisite archaeolo-gical site of Palenque, bridges over 3 rivers, hotels, restaurants, related businesses and an expansion of the Palenque Airport. Although Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderon, did not specifically announce the toll road while he was in Chiapas this month, he did promise more dollars for tourism. And, La Jornada reported that the “former” Opddic paramilitaries who attacked the Zapatista community of Bolom Ajaw have now been given the legal right to operate the ticket booth that collects entry fees to Agua Azul. Moreover, the state government has anointed these same “former” paramilitaries as the official guardians of the Agua Azul Cascades park, uniforms and all! Not surprisingly, these guardians of the Cascades immediately requested the eviction of Bolom Ajaw, although they have no rights or jurisdiction over Bolom Ajaw’s land.
4. Opddic Members Attack 9 Year Old Zapatista Boy With Machetes – On October 10, 3 Opddic members attacked nine-year-old Carmelino Navarro Jimenez and his sister-in-law, Manuela. Both were on their way to the coffee field where Carmelino’s father and brother were working. Two of the attackers were armed with pistols, the third with a machete. Carmelino fell as he ran away from the attackers and was then struck with a machete. Manuela was able to escape and reach the coffee field to get help for Carmelino, who required 15 stitches for his wound. These are the same Opddic leaders who attacked Carmelino’s father and brother last year. Arrest warrants were pending against the three, but were never detained by police. This occurred in the community of Bayulubmax, Olga Isabel autonomous municipio (county), in the Northern Zone of Chiapas. Amnesty International has expressed its concern about future danger to Carmelino’s family.
5. Oventik Junta Reports Paramilitary Threats to Polho – On October 31, the Zapatista Good Government Junta in Oventik released a denunciation regarding a series of incidents involving Zapatista bases in San Pedro Polho autonomous county and local Chenalho paramilitaries. The Junta alleges that the paramilitaries are members of the Cardenista Front and the PRI political party, that they are the same paramilitaries responsible for the 1997 Acteal Massacre, that the Chenalho municipal president is supplying them with high-caliber weapons, and that they are planning another attack against the autonomous Zapatista camps of those displaced by the 1997 paramilitary violence.
6. APPO Supporter Arrested in Oaxaca, Charged with Brad Will’s Death – As Brad Will’s friends in the United States and Mexico remembered the 2nd anniversary of his brutal murder while filming events in Oaxaca, police arrested Miguel Cruz Moreno, an APPO sympathizer, accusing him of Brad’s murder. This is contrary to the evidence which clearly shows that the bullets came from a place where APPO supporters were not standing. Those who were in the place from which the bullets were fired were municipal police and paramilitary types collaborating with the police. This arrest fits into the analysis of Mexican human rights groups that social movements and social protest are being criminalized.
7. Good News from Guerrero: El Camalote Prisoners Free – On October 20, a district judge in Guerrero granted a protective order to 4 of the 5 members of the Me´phaa Indigenous Peoples’ Organization (OPIM) who were jailed 6 months ago. The protective order means that they were to be set free the following day. The 5th man must remain in jail pending a trial. All 5 are from the indigenous community of El Camalote and were jailed for alleged involvement in the death of a paramilitary. OPIM is adhered to the Other Campaign.
Compiled monthly by the Chiapas Support Committee.
The primary sources for our information are: La Jornada, Enlace Zapatista and the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center.
We encourage folks to distribute this information widely, but please include our name and contact information in the distribution. Gracias/Thanks.
News Summaries from previous months are posted on our web page:
The Chiapas Support Committee is a grass roots all-volunteer human rights organization in Oakland, California. We work with indigenous and campesino organizations in Mexico. We have an hermanamiento (partnership) with San Manuel autonomous Zapatista municipality. In the Bay Area we provide public information about Chiapas through community events, our newsletter (Chiapas Update), our listserv and web site. We organize delegations to Chiapas and also recruit and certify human rights observers and volunteers. We participate in the Other Campaign and the International Campaign. Our contact information is below!
Chiapas Support Committee
P.O. Box 3421
Oakland, CA 94609
Tel: (510) 654-9587