Archive for 2008

OCTOBER 2008 CHIAPAS / ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on November 7, 2008 by floweroftheword

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:
http://www.chiapas-support.org
———————————————————————————————-
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
Email: cezmat@igc.org
http://www.chiapas-support.org

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Chiapas Update Newsletter September 2008

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2008 by floweroftheword

Monthly News from the Chiapas Support Committee (California)

including:

Pages 1-2 – An excellent article on Plan Mexico (the Merida Initiative) by Abigail Andrews;

Pages 3-4 – A report on the July visit to Chiapas and San Manuel by Todd Davies;

Page 5 – Update on status of Chiapas Political Prisoners

The newsletter is in pdf format – just click to download.

You will need Adobe Acrobat to view or print.

Download Chiapas Update Sept 2008 (pdf file)

To download Adobe Acrobat (FREE) click here
saludos
Wellington Zapatista Support Group

Solidarity with Atenco: Sign and spread the open letter

Posted in Announcement with tags , , , , , on September 10, 2008 by floweroftheword

From angrywhitekid “Solidarity with Atenco”

Scott Campbell’s translation of an open letter sent out by the Colectivo Contraimpunidad. Sign on and spread the word. Free all political prisoners! [Spanish original]

We ask for you to sign on and spread this letter which will be sent to Mexico as a result of the unjust sentences given to the political prisoners from Atenco.

Send your name, occupation (optional), city or country to: contraimpunidad@gmail.com

August 2008

International Open Letter

As a result of the scandalous sentences announced on August 21 against the activists, victims of the violent days of May 3 – 4, 2006, in San Salvador Atenco, Mexico.

Just women and men from Mexico and the world repudiate the jailing of innocents and demand the government:

* Immediately drop the 67-year sentences against activists Ignacio del Valle, Felipe Alvarez and Hector Galindo, unjustly sentenced in 2007.

* Immediately drop the 45-year sentence against Ignacio del Valle, unjustly sentenced on August 21, 2008.

* Immediately drop the 31-year, 10-month and 15-day sentences of activists Juan Carlos Estrada Romero, Oscar Hernandez Pacheco, Narciso Arellano Hernandez, Alejandro Pilon Zacate, Jorge Alberto y Roman Adan Ordonez Romero, Pedro Reyes Flores, Ines Rodolfo Cuellar Rivera, Edgar Eduardo Morales Reyes and Julio Cesar Espinoza Ramos, unjustly sentenced on August 21, 2008.

* Immediately free all the political prisoners from Atenco.

* Bring to justice the murderers of Alexis Benhumea and Francisco Javier Cortes.

Because we will not give up!
We will not be silenced!
We will not forget!

Down with impunity in Mexico!

Colectivo contraimpunidad, DDHH, Natalia Castelgrande, Andrea Caraballo, Ana de Leon, Humberto Robles

Background information on Atenco.

Blog of the Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra.

AUGUST 2008 CHIAPAS / ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY

Posted in News with tags , , on September 5, 2008 by floweroftheword

1. Marcos and Moises Address Caravan – On August 2, in the Caracol of La Garrucha, Subcomandante Marcos and Lt. Col. Moises made a public appearance for the first time since Marcos announced last December that there would be no more public appearances for a while because the EZLN was preparing for a war they were sure was coming. Comandantes Masho and Ismael appeared with them. The occasion was the visit of a brigade from the National and International Caravan of Observation and Solidarity with the Zapatista Communities. Marcos and Moises each addressed the brigade. Marcos, assuming more or less the role of an educator to the group of mostly first-time visitors, talked to them about the EZLN’s beginnings in 1983 as a tiny guerrilla “foco” in the Chiapas jungle, and how it evolved into an indigenous army. He also discussed the reasoning behind the break with the institutional left in the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle. Marcos introduced the 2 comandantes, Masho and Ismael, who would accompany the brigade to the 2 communities (Galeana and San Alejandro) accused by the Mexican army of growing marijuana. Lt. Col. Moises described the process of constructing autonomy to the visitors. The brigade also visited new communities constructed on recuperated land to learn about the history of the fincas and how it was before the January 1, 1994 Zapatista Uprising. No mention was made of a date for resuming the 2nd Stage of the Other Campaign.

2. Caravan of Observation and Solidarity – Over 300 national and international observers divided into brigades and visited Zapatista communities during the first two weeks of August. They traveled to the Caracoles of La Garrucha, Oventik, Morelia and La Realidad, as well as the Huitepec Ecological Reserve, Cruzton and other Zapatista sites recently threatened by provocations from the Army and police. They celebrated the 5th anniversary of the Caracoles and the Good Government Juntas on August 8 and 9 and issued a report verifying the militarization of Zapatista zones and the absence of drugs in Zapatista communities.

3. 11 Atenco Prisoners Sentenced; Ignacio del Valle to 45 More Years in Prison –
On August 21, 11 prisoners arrested during the brutal police repression of May 3-4, 2006 in San Salvador Atenco were sentenced for alleged crimes arising out of the confrontation between protesters and police. Ignacio del Valle, leader of the Peoples Front in Defense of Land (FPDT, its initials in Spanish), was sentenced to 45 years in prison plus a monetary fine for alleged “kidnapping.” He is already serving a sentence of 67 years and six months in a maximum security prison for a “kidnapping” which allegedly occurred which allegedly occurred during an incident prior to the May 2006 confrontation. The other 10 already in prison received sentences of 31 years, 10 months and 15 days in prison plus a fine. Many see these sentences as revenge by the governor of the state of Mexico, Enrique Pen~a Nieto. Lawyers for all eleven prisoners indicated that they will appeal the sentences.

4. Another Montes Azules Eviction Imminent? – The ARIC UU-ID, a campesino organization with members living in communities inside the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, reported that state and federal officials arrived in Rancheria Corozal by helicopter on August 15. Fifty (50) members of the federal army and state judicial police also arrived to accompany the officials, who measured occupied surfaces and counted housing units while the soldiers and police assumed attack positions (guns pointed). Next, officials told residents that they had to accept “relocation” or indemnification. Officials also warned residents that if they did not accept, they would be evicted by force. The campesino organization, related to the PRD state government, said residents will not leave voluntarily. The same threats of eviction were also made by government officials in the village of El Suspiro.

5. Paramilitary Attacks on Zapatistas in Chilon – On August 31, the Zapatista Good Government Junta in Morelia issued a denunciation regarding a series of attacks by Opddic members on Zapatistas of Kan akil community (Olga Isabel autonomous municipality), official municipality of Chilon, in the northern zone of Chiapas. One Zapatista suffered a gunshot wound in his abdomen. The Junta reported that some of the armed attackers wore “military type” uniforms. Some may remember that Kan akil is where a Zapatista was murdered by paramilitaries during the violent summer of 2002. Unfortunately, the Opddic has gained control of the Chilon municipal council, thus giving the paramilitaries impunity for their actions.
_______________________________________________________
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:
http://www.chiapas-support.org
———————————————————————————————-
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 public 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
Email: cezmat@igc.org
http://www.chiapas-support.org