Archive for chiapas

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

JULY 2008 CHIAPAS / ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY

Posted in News with tags , , , on August 12, 2008 by floweroftheword

[Dear Friends, As this News Summary goes out, we are very concerned about the constant efforts to take land away from subsistence farmers, both Zapatista support bases and Other Campaign adherents. Also of concern is the amount of money buying campesino loyalty to the government as opposed to the Other Campaign or the Zapatistas. Combined with the military and police incursions, this counterinsurgency strategy creates an explosive atmosphere of constant threats and confrontations in the communities.]

1. Is There Gold in the Chiapas Hills? – The community of Cruzton, in Venustiano Carranza Municipality (County), has experienced harassment by state police ever since last April 27, when approximately 500 Chiapas police kicked in doors and broke into houses in Cruzton, a pro-Zapatista community. They detained 6 men, took them away to an undisclosed location and released them without charges later in the day. In early July it was learned that the state police had set up an improvised camp on lands farmed by Cruzton residents for their survival, including the spring from which the community draws its water. Twenty (20) alleged “owners” of a nonexistent ejido are also in the camp carrying high-powered automatic weapons. There are 8 arrest warrants against Cruzton residents and they are not permitted to farm their cornfields. The occupation of these cornfields has uncovered the motive for the occupation: Gold exploration! On July 22, the Cruzton families decided to enter the cornfields to clean them and to clean the natural spring. Members of the Other Campaign in the Jovel Valley were there as observers. Police attacked the families. There were several injuries and a member of the Other Jovel, Victor Manuel Escobar Pineda, was arrested and jailed. On July 23, the police returned, took down the camp and left the site. One week later, on July 30, Cruzton campesinos were able to once again work their corn and bean fields.

There are 44 families in Cruzton: 2 families are EZLN support bases; 28 families are Other Campaign members and 14 families belong to the PAN political party. The mining companies involved are Canadian: Fronteer Development Group and Radius Gold, through their Mexican subsidiaries. The amount of land involved is much larger than that of Cruzton. While as of right now Cruzton is the only community to suffer an attempt to take away its farmlands, mining concessions affect much of the central portion of the state of Chiapas.

2. 7 Chiapas Political Prisoners Released – On July 24, the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) reported that 3 political prisoners belonging to The Voice of Los Llanos (the name of the prison in San Cristobal Municipality) were released from prison. Frayba also reported that 3 political prisoners belonging to The Voice of El Amate (the prison in Cintalapa Municipality) were released on that same date. The six had participated in the hunger strike of February/March of this year and were retaliated against for their participation. They were included in the petition the Chiapas Support Committee circulated in March and April as part of the campaign to free political prisoners in Chiapas. Of that original group, 8 remain incarcerated. The lawyers from Frayba worked tirelessly to free these 5 men and 1 woman. They continue working to free those 8 who remain in prison. The seventh person released on July 24 was Victor Manuel Escobar Pineda, the school teacher arrested and jailed in Cruzton on July 22.

3. Huitepec Hill Zapatista Ecological Reserve – Atop the beautiful forested Huitepec Hill, near the tourist town of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, the Zapatistas established an ecological reserve in March 2007. The municipal government of San Cristobal, controlled by the San Cristobal coletos (elites), belonging to the PRI political party, have been plotting to take it away from the Zapatistas ever since they established the reserve. That threat seemed imminent during July, when it became known that the San Cristobal mayor was offering public works (roads) to indigenous communities living on the hill in exchange for their support in evicting the Zapatistas. So far, most communities have not supported him. San Cristobal’s housing boom is believed to be the mayor’s motive for the eviction. Real estate developers are anxious to build expensive homes on the site. The Good Government Junta in Oventik has jurisdiction over the Huitepec Hill nature reserve.

4. Caravan of Human Rights Promoters in Chiapas – Over 300 national and international human rights promoters arrived in Chiapas on July 29 to spend 2 weeks there visiting the Caracoles of La Garrucha, Oventik, Morelia and the Huitepec Ecological Reserve, as well as other Zapatista sites recently threatened by provocations from the Army and police. Arriving in a caravan of buses from Mexico City, the human rights promoters are dividing into brigades that visit different locations. One brigade visited Cruzton on July 31. Other brigades report harassment along their route. It appears that the solidarity caravan will be in Chiapas to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Caracoles and the Good Government Juntas on August 8 and 9.
_______________________________________________________
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

JUNE 2008 CHIAPAS / ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY

Posted in News with tags , , on July 2, 2008 by floweroftheword

1. TWO Zapatista Political Prisoners Released! – On June 2, Francisco Perez Vazquez and Angel Concepcion Perez Gutierrez, father and son, Zapatista political prisoners in Yajalon, Chiapas, were freed after nearly 12 years in prison. The 2 Zapatista support bases were incarcerated in Tacotalpa, Tabasco, in July 1996, accused and declared guilty of a murder which they did not commit. (Witnesses placed them in another village at the time of the murder.) As a move preliminary to their release, on April 24 of this year they were transferred to Yajalon after mobilizations in Chiapas, Tabasco, nationally and internationally to free them. Francisco is in his seventies and Angel has had an untreated infection for years. Both are in poor health. Francisco and Angel are the two prisoners Subcomandante Marcos was allowed to visit during his 2006 Other Campaign tour. They were included in the petition the Chiapas Support Committee circulated in March and April as part of the campaign to free political prisoners in Chiapas. On behalf of both men, don Angel thanked all those who took action to obtain their freedom.

2. Army and Police Incursions in La Garrucha Region – On June 4, a convoy of 200 Mexican Army troops in tanks and trucks, together with state and local police, attempted to enter the Zapatista Caracol of La Garrucha, autonomous municipality of Francisco Gomez in the canyons of the Lacandon Jungle. After La Garrucha’s residents turned them away, they painted their faces black and tried to enter the nearby Zapatista ejido of Hermenegildo Galeana, saying they were “looking for drugs.” Galeana’s residents came out to meet the troops and, armed with only their machetes, sticks, stones and slingshots, drove the convoy away. Another attempt to enter a Zapatista community took place at the village of San Alejandro on recuperated land just down the road from La Garrucha. Again, San Alejandro’s residents met the troops armed with only their machetes, sticks, stones and slingshots and turned the soldiers and police away. The commander in charge of the troops threatened that they would return in 15 days. That time has elapsed and no troops have returned yet. The EZLN considers this move against a Caracol to be a serious provocation.

3. Final Version of “Plan Mexico” Approved – On June 26, the authorization of funds for the Merida Initiative (H.R. 6028) passed the United States Senate. The Senate appropriated $465 million: $400 million for Mexico and $65 million for Central America to combat drug trafficking in the first year of a 3-year plan. The Merida Initiative is dubbed “Plan Mexico” by critics because of its similarity to the failed Plan Colombia which only increased both drug production and violence. The plan authorizes $1.6 billion dollars for equipment to fight drug trafficking over the next 3 years, although each year of the plan requires a separate appropriation of funds. The original Senate version attached conditions that would require Mexico to correct some of its most egregious violations of human rights. The two differing versions were “reconciled” by removing the strict conditions and, instead, calling for “consultations” in the case of human rights violations committed by troops who receive the military aid. Much of the funding appropriated will go to U.S. defense contractors for helicopters and equipment. The rest is for Mexico’s security forces. On June 30, President Bush signed the Merida Initiative into law along with the Iraq War Funding Bill. “Plan Mexico” was attached to the war funding bill as an amendment. Some analysts believe that this legislation is a foot in the door for the secretive Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) which seeks to secure NAFTA’s economic space through militarization.

4. Plan Puebla-Panama is Renamed the Mesoamerica Project – At the end of June, the presidents of Mexico and the Central American countries, plus the Prime Minister of Belize, the presidents of Colombia and the Dominican Republic, as well as the governors of the Mexican states of Puebla, Veracruz, Tabasco, Guerrero, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo and Campeche and Yucatan met together in the Mexican city of Villahermosa, Tabasco, for the 10th Tuxtla Summit on the Plan Puebla-Panama (PPP). They all agreed to rename it the Mesoamerica Project and to reduce the 100 points for development to 5 megaprojects: electricity, highways, telecommunications, cybernetic information and health. Launched in 2001 by former Mexican president, Vicente Fox, the PPP generated tremendous controversy and opposition in civil society throughout the region encompassed by the plan. Indeed, its critics organized national and international conferences to coordinate opposition to the PPP. The addition of a social aspect (health) to the project may be to soften the impact of its more controversial aspects, like electricity and highways, both of which imply the displacement of indigenous people.
_______________________________________________________
Compiled monthly by the Chiapas Support Committee.

The primary sources for our information are: La Jornada, Enlace Zapatista and 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