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Breaking News: Paramilitary aggression in Zapatista Communities

Posted in comunicado, denuncia, EZLN Communique, News, noticias with tags , , , , on February 25, 2010 by floweroftheword

The Zapatista Council of Good Government (Junta de Buen Gobierno), based in Morelia, clarifies what happened in the past few days in Bolon Ajaw, Chiapas:

The Council of Good Government “Heart of the Rainbow of Hope”, Caracol IV

“Whirlwind of our Words”, Morelia, Chiapas, Mexico.

11 February 2010

To the Alternative Media

To the companeros of the Other Campaign in Mexico

To the companeros of the Sexta International

Sisters and Brothers

Companeros and Companeras

We the Council of Good Government denounce and clarify what happened on the Saturday 6th February 2010, on the land controlled by the village of Bolon Ajaw, autonomous municipality Comandanta Ramona.

The provocateurs, members of OPDDIC, inhabitants of Ejido Agua Azul, aggressively came onto the land where our companeros and companeras live, in order to work there on Thursday 20th January 2010.

In order to make the situation clear to the public, regarding the new phase of aggression restarted against our companeros “bases of support” (Zapatista community members) of the autonomous municipality Comandanta Ramona, by OPDDIC members; we made public our position regarding the defence of the Mother Earth in a written declaration dated 23rd January 2010. In this declaration we clearly stated that we would defend the land and its natural resources.

For those who don’t remember, you can re-read this declaration on the Enlace Zapatista website.

There you will find the full names of the aggressors, how they were behaving and what calibre of guns they carried when they went onto the land; and we want to make clear that they never put these guns away, but carried them at all times while they were working on the land, and not only that we also want to make clear that they smoked rolled-up cigarettes which had really disgusting smelling smoke and smelled of marijuana.

Please excuse our ignorance because we don’t really know the scope of the internet but we believe that it reaches all the corners of the world and we believe that when we publish something online, like for example our declaration, it reaches all the parts of the world, and we don’t believe that the bad governments don’t have computers nor access to the internet in order to be able to read about what we denounced.

We assume that the bad governments have these tools in order to find out what the people who they control, by giving them a few crumbs off the table, are doing. In front of the world’s eyes, the bad governments did nothing to prevent this attack that we suffered from happening – neither Juan Sabines (Governor of Chiapas) nor Antonio Moreno Lopez, Municipal President of Chilon, nor the wonderful Felipe Calderon did anything, because they use tricks to get what they want.

As such we contradict what the OPDDIC leaders are saying: that our companeros took them by surprise on Saturday 6th February – this is a complete lie, because two weeks before we had published our declaration and so in our opinion this time was available for us to wait and see if they wanted to have a dialogue with us, but they never approached us.

Furthermore years earlier we, the Council of Good Government, had invited Commissioner Geremias Lopez Herandez to meet and dialogue with us but he has ignored us.

Our companeros went on to the Bolon Ajaw land at 6am, which is the start of our working day as campesinos (peasant farmers), in order to do some collective work on the land from which they want to evict us. We arrived at the area of land where we work at 7am and we didn’t go there to attack anyone, besides our companeros, inhabitants of the village of Bolon Ajaw are already living on the land. We reiterate that we have previously stated that we are going to put up a defence, working peacefully, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

In order to reach the village of Bolon Ajaw we didn’t have to pass through the village of Agua Azul, you can get there going along paths through the fields. We didn’t go into Agua Azul, even by a millimetre, and the fabrication of OPDDIC accuses us of taking them by surprise, harassing them, humiliating them and repressing the boys, girls, older men and women. This is one of the first lies of Juan Sabines and his local leader accomplices.

We aren’t like the bad governments that repress, imprison, and disappear indigenous people, we have suffered acts of barbarity during the governments of Ernesto Zedillo, and Roberto Albores Guillen and we never copy their injustices. But in these current times we see the restarting of these tricks, just like previous governments have done, who would make up crimes in order to justify the repression.

When we were going into the land it was 6am, we were walking together along a path that goes to Bolon Ajaw and we were unarmed, while we were arriving the OPDDIC invaders withdrew and we thought that they had gone back to their houses to remain there peacefully, but it wasn’t like that.

They withdrew to the place where they were building their houses and since in order to get to their houses they had to pass through the village of Bolon Ajaw, once they arrived in this village they immediately began to fire rounds towards where our companeros were and there were only five male companeros and ten female companeras and so they were unable to defend themselves.

The OPDDIC members came with pistols and rifles in hand shooting towards our companeros, we estimate that they fired around 250 rounds of calibre 22, thanks to our companeros quickly retreating they were not injured and so in this way there were no deaths on our side. While our companeros were retreating they shouted to the companeros who were on the land that we were working on, to ask for their support because 40 OPDDIC members were arriving with arms in hand.

Once the OPDDIC members arrived at Bolon Ajaw they went to the village church. They broke open the door and once they were inside they began destroying things like: breaking the statues of the saints, breaking the case where the Holy Eucharist is kept, and breaking the simple altar. Because of their indiscriminate shooting in Bolon Ajaw, they themselves killed their fellow OPDDIC members because they were crowded closely together while they were shooting.

This is the same kind of thing that was done to us during the time of Ernesto Zedillo and Roberto Albores Guillen when the soldiers came into our villages in 1995, who scattered maize, beans, stole our chickens and looted things from our collective shop. If we remember this, it’s because  we see recent events as echoes of those times. For example on 6th February 2010 our companero Manuel Jimenez Alvoro from the hamlet of Bispuyil Ja, his house was destroyed, they wrenched out the supports of his house and then they went to throw these away, then they destroyed the supporting metal rods, they destroyed the lintel, they stole the metal sheeting from his roof. These metal sheets were bought through our companero’s hard work, and bear in mind today’s high prices, the house was 7 metres by 2.6 metres and was totally demolished.

As a last act of humiliation against our companero the wreckers, who belong to the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) – namely Pedro Pérez Silvano, Pedro Perez Jimenez, Domingo Pérez (primero), Domingo Pérez (segundo), Melchorio Pérez Jlménez, and Pascual Pérez Jimenez – these deceitful people cut down 76 coffee plants in order to put the blame on our companero, they took these plants to present them to the Public Prosecutors office in Bachajon in order to get them to issue an arrest warrant accusing our comrade of cutting down their plants.

OPDDIC’s lies say that we took them by surprise first thing in the morning, when we were the ones who were taken by surprise by being shot at, because they ambushed our companeros just a few metres away from the ticket booth for the Agua Azul waterfalls, which is staffed by our companeros from The Other Campaign. There our companero Francisco Gonzalez Gomez was badly wounded in the abdomen and fortunately is now recovering, although he had lost a lot of blood.

When the OPDDIC members went to build their houses on the bolon Ajaw land they never showed respect to our female companeras. A path to the cornfield passes through the area where they were working; our female companeras were going to get or bring back maize and the lowlife marijuana smokers from OPDDIC would strip off and show the women their penises when they were passing through there. Even a dog wouldn’t do this and since the bad government\s plan is to provoke, they do this shamelessly. Once again they make up our supposed crimes, they accuse us of being kidnappers, we are the ones who are struggling against death, we are not corrupt from having millions as are the governments, as are the members of Congress, we have never done this during our struggle.

We did detain seven OPDDIC members but we treated them with respect at all times and gave them food, not fancy food because we don’t have that, we gave them water, a room which wasn’t comfortable because that‘s what our houses are like, we gave them blankets – in short we respected their rights as human beings, as we would even for animals. The seven OPDDIC members who they say were kidnapped, were freed and handed over safe and sound, just as well as when they were detained; when they were freed they signed a document acknowledging that they were treated with respect.

Four of the last five OPPDIC members to be set free, namely Ivan Moreno Lopez, Manuel Garcia Luna, Juan Hernandez Moreno, and Manuel Hernandez Lopez, told us that Senor Salomon Moreno Lopez was one of those who organised the provocateurs and even though we found out who he was, we didn’t harm him in any way. We are not like the bad governments who sentence people to many years in prison.

We, the Council of Good Government, have never closed the door on finding a good solution to problems, we always show good will, sending our messages to the human rights activists Fray Bartholomew de Las Casas. Our proposal was that we would free the two OPDDIC members detained in Bolon Ajaw, on the condition that the following people could freely pass through : 13 members of the “Civil Protection” body (proteccion civil), 2 from the Chiapas State Government, principally Antonio Gamboa, Carlos Manuel Calvo Martinez, the director of the “Preventative Police” (policia preventiva), 2 from Fray Bartholomew human rights organisation, Jorge Armando Gomez and Pedro Faro, and an inhabitant of the community of Agua Azul: and on the condition that there be the right to free movement on the roads and footpaths for all, without distinction. In the second release of OPDDIC detainees, that is the five who were still detained elsewhere, we proposed that they be released on condition that they promise not to reoccupy the land and that peace be re-established.

This was our word, and we kept it honourably and truthfully. The response of the bad government to our proposal was totally different.

It can be clearly seen that the government asks for dialogue, and then replies with other things that have nothing to do with what we were discussing, and we consider that while the three aforementioned politicians continue governing in this country, they will continue with their trickery and cunning. For us it meant that the three levels of government agree that what they did to us carries on happening and that violence in all parts of our country continues.

The special public prosecutor dealing with NGOs, Pedro Raul Lopez, transmitted the message from Juan Sabines Guerrero, Governor of Chiapas, that the problem should be dealt with through dialogue, but on the contrary the Governor insinuated that the army would come in and the dialogue would be broken and hostilities would resume.

We believe that the intentions are already there, because we can see the movements of the military, police and PGR, accompanied by indigenous people, some in plain clothes. While we propose a solution, they respond to us with very strong threats.

Comrades of The Other Campaign, nationally and internationally, don’t let yourselves be persuaded by the great lies from on high, with their violent acts and declarations full of falsehoods, as we have just experienced.

People like those who call themselves governments dedicate themselves to teaching indigenous people how to deceive. Don’t be confused, you have to be able to perceive and listen to the truth.

Yours sincerely

The Council of Good Government

Candelaria Velasco Hernandez Angel Hernandez Perez.

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NOVEMBER 2009 CHIAPAS/ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 11, 2009 by floweroftheword

Thanks so much to everyone who attended, supported and/or volunteered at our November 21 Community Celebration. It was an honor to have all of you present with Carlos Marentes, MamaCoAtl and our “special guests.”

1. The EZLN’s Silence on 26th Anniversary – November 17 was the 26th Anniversary of the founding of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN). Traditionally, this day is celebrated with festivities in all 5 Zapatista Caracoles and the EZLN’s CCRI-CG (Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee-General Command) issues a communiqué. This year, the CCRI-CG issued no statement and there were no celebrations in the Caracoles. Hmmm! We’re wondering what the Zapatistas are up to.

2. Supreme Court Releases 9 More Prisoners in Acteal Case – On November 4, Mexico’s Supreme Court ordered the release of nine more prisoners convicted for participating in the 1997 Acteal Massacre of 21 women, 15 children and 9 men as they prayed for peace in a chapel located in the community of Acteal, Chiapas. The Court ruled that their convictions were based on illegally obtained evidence. New trials were ordered for 16 others.This ruling was made over the objections of the surviving victims and family members of those murdered and after the United States released intelligence reports establishing that the government trained paramilitaries in that region. In August, the Court released 20 prisoners convicted for the massacre and ordered new trials for six. Many analysts believe the Court’s decision was purely political and that it implemented a campaign promise made by now President Calderon. The governor of Chiapas, faced with the problem of what to do with these former paramilitaries, has apparently obtained an agreement that they will not return to their communities in Chenalho Municipality in exchange for the government providing them with housing and other benefits.

3. Chiapas Repression Includes OPEZ-Historic -The Emiliano Zapata Proletarian Organization (OPEZ-Historic) denounced military harassment of its communities in La Trinitaria, Las Margaritas, Socoltenango, Venustiano Carranza, Nicolas Ruiz and Comitán. The organization says that soldiers enter communities when the women are alone with the children, break into houses and frighten everyone. It also reports that the Army has set up camps in or near some of its communities and that there are military checkpoints throughout this area. OPEZ-Historic is one of the several current factions of the OPEZ. It is the faction known for cooperating with the Chiapas state government.

4. What’s Behind the Current Repression in Chiapas? – La Jornada obtained a document compiled by the Chiapas Attorney General’s Office which concludes that

an armed movement is being forged for next year (2010). The document is titled The Prevailing Situation in Venustiano Carranza Municipality,” and supposedly documents the existence of a subversive network whose axis would be Jesús Landín, a Catholic priest in Venustiano Carranza parish. It also concludes that imprisoned OCEZ-RC leader, Jose Manuel Hernandez Martinez (Chema), is the leader of the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) in Chiapas. It implicates Diego Cadenas of Frayba and the National Front of Struggle for Socialism (FNLS) in the subversive network. This document, which seems to mix apples with oranges in order to arrive at itsconclusions, is thought to be the origin of the rumors and leaks from the state government to the media. It also serves to justify the repression in Venustiano Carranza and neighboring municipalities. Apparently, the document also anticipatted an outbreak of violence on the 99th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution (November 20) this year, which did not occur.

5. OCEZ Leader, El Chema, Free on Bail – José Manuel Hernandez Martinez and two other OCEZ leaders were released from prison on November 23, free on bail only a couple of days after Chiapas Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero met with Felipe Arizmendi, Catholic bishop of the diocese of San Cristobal. Next, there were a series of what appear to be announcements paid for by the state government in La Jornada about Sabines’ great desire to calm the tension in Chiapas. The 3 OCEZ leaders were then released and the government offered a negotiations to reach “detente” with the OCEZ. The OCEZ met with the state government on November 27. This did not result in the end of the sit-in (encampment) in front of the cathedral. OCEZ is demanding that criminal charges against the 3 leaders be dropped and the 11 warrants for the arrest of other OCEZ members be cancelled. It appears that OCEZ is also demanding a building to use as a shelter for its “internally displaced” members. The commitments reached in the November 27 meeting did, however, result in OCEZ vacating the UN offices in San Cristobal on November 30.

6. 1400 U.S. Agents Active in Mexico – La Jornada reported that there are now approximately 1400 U.S. agents gathering intelligence on Mexican soil. Half of them are Mexican citizens and previously worked for Mexican police or intelligence agencies. The agents work for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). The ICE and ATF agents are concentrated mostly along the border, but DEA agents spread out all over Mexico, including Chiapas.

7. Mining Opposition Leader, Mariano Abarca, Murdered – Mariano Abarca was murdered outside his home in Chicomuselo, Chiapas, on November 27 by an unidentified gunman on a motorcycle. Abarca had been a leader in the opposition to mining in the Sierra Region of Chiapas. The Black Fire mining company is suspected of possibly having some responsibility for the crime.

8. Disinformation About Zapatistas by Chiapas Government – La Jornada carried a news note claiming that the 5 Zapatista Juntas had asked the state government for legal recognition of their autonomous municipalities and a share of the state budget. The source for the story was a PAN elected official. All 5 Juntas denied the story, each with an interesting choice of words.

In Other Parts of Mexico…

1. Electrical Workers Union (SME) and Allies Stage National Strike – The SME called for a national strike on November 11 and received lots of support across the country. They filled Mexico City’s Zocalo with approximately 200,000 people and had large marches in other cities around the country too. On November 29, as President Calderon was giving a speech at the National Palace, electrical workers, organized a demonstration in front of the National Palace which was tear gassed by the Federal Police. In response the electrical workers threw eggs at the police. The local police, controlled by Mexico City’s Mayor, put themselves in between the Federal Police and demonstrators, effectively preventing the Federal Police from further action. Currently, 4 women are on a hunger strike demanding reinstatement of Central Light & Power. (See last month’s news summary.) Peasant organizations and electrical workers will commemorate the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution on December 4 by carrying out a symbolic takeover of Mexico City.

2. U.S. and Colombian Law Enforcement Personnel Train Mexico’s Federal Police in San Luis Potosi – Funds from the Merida Initiative (Plan Mexico), distrubuted by the U.S. State Department, are financing training of Mexico’s new Federal Police agency at a secure police academy in San Luis Potosí. The training program is run by a private logistics company, Kaseman LLC, in Virginia. FBI agents, ICE officers, U.S. marshals, DEA agents and detectives from city police departments give the training, as well as police from Colombia and other countries. According to the Arizona Republic, which visited the site, the Colombians are graduates of similar U.S. training efforts in Colombia, where Plan Colombia funds helped counter leftist rebels and drug traffickers.

3. ERPI Commander Murdered – Comandante Ramiro of the Insurgent People’s Revolutionary Army (ERPI, its initials in Spanish) was shot dead in Palos Grandes, Ajuchitlan del Progreso Municipality, Guerrero, on November 4 with an AK-47. The ERPI alleges that a hired gunman did the job for the government. The ERPI issued a communique alleging that the gunman was tied to the biggest cacique (political and economic boss) in Guerrero and also to the police and military. The Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Guerrero (APPG) claimed Ramiro’s body and buried him.

__________________________________________________

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 (Frayba).

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 now posted on our web page.

http://www.chiapas-support.org

_______________________________________________________

Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas

P.O. Box 3421, Oakland, CA 94609

Tel: (510) 654-9587

Email: cezmat@igc.org

http://www.chiapas-support.org

OCTOBER 2009 CHIAPAS/ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on November 4, 2009 by floweroftheword

Another month full of news. Several incidents occurred towards the end of September that required clarification due to conflicting or ambiguous news stories. Therefore, we waited to report them until this month when we had more clarity regarding the facts. They show that the counterinsurgency in Chiapas extends to actors within civil society beyond the Zapatistas and Other Campaign adherents. It seems clear that the state government is preparing for what it thinks will be a “social explosion” in 2010 (or is it merely an excuse for repression?). CSC

 

1. Repression of Social Protest Spreads to OCEZ-RC, Leader in Prison – On September 30, Chiapas state police dressed up in uniforms worn by Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) workers. They entered the community of 28 de Junio (June 28) in Venustiano Carranza municipality, asking if anyone had service problems. When they reached the home of Jose Manuel Hernandez Martinez, they took him out of his house, put him in a truck and drove him to the El Amate state prison. Hernandez Martinez, known as Chema, is the long-time leader of the Emiliano Zapata Campesino Organization-Carranza Region (OCEZ-RC). Several members of that organization attempted to follow the vehicle in which Don Chema was abducted, but their car was run off the highway and one person died in the crash. A second man died from his injuries two weeks afterwards. The OCEZ-RC has continuously struggled to recuperate indigenous people’s communal land in Venustiano Carranza. The charges against him have to do with a 2005 land takeover. Hernandez Martinez recently led a successful hunger strike to obtain the legalization of land and the speculation is that the illegal detention (no arrest warrants were shown and the police agents disguised themselves) is in retaliation for that protest action. A national and international campaign to free Chema is underway. Neither OCEZ-RC nor Hernandez Martinez have any current connection that we know of with the Zapatistas or the Other Campaign. Nevertheless, judicial authorities interrogated Hernandez Martinez about belonging to the EPR and the EZLN. After 2 weeks in a state prison, the state moved Chema to a high-security federal prison in Nayarit state, a long way from Chiapas. This, in spite of the fact that the crimes of which he is accused are common state crimes. Is the state afraid that Chema will organize social protests from prison in Chiapas?

 

2. Arson Attempt at Kinal Antsetik Center – On September 26, an unidentified person sprinkled gasoline around the Kinal Antsetik (Land of Women, in Tseltal) installations and lit a fire. The location includes a capacity building center and workshop for indigenous women and the facilities of Jolom Mayaetik (Maya Weavers), a weaving cooperative. Young women living at the center put out the fire quickly. Kinal’s founder, Yolanda Castro, is an outspoken activist in the National Front of Struggle for Socialism (FNLS) in Chiapas and has recently been involved in the resistance to mining. She has suffered break-ins and vigilance due to her activism. Castro has no current connection to the EZLN or the Other Campaign and, to the best of our knowledge, neither does Kinal Antsetik or Jolom Mayaetik.

 

3. Amnesty International (AI) Wants Clarification of Immigrant Detention and Death – Amnesty International (AI) has asked Mexican authorities to clarify an incident which occurred on September 18 near the city of Comitan, Chiapas. Mexican security forces opened fire on a group of undocumented Central American immigrants resulting in the death of a Salvadoran. The immigrants were in a vehicle belonging to those who traffic in undocumented immigrants. They passed a control post and agents ordered the vehicle to stop. Instead, the driver went faster and the agents followed and fired on the vehicle. AI reports that there were seven in the group. Three men escaped, one died from a bullet wound, two remain in the hospital with serious injuries and one is detained and will soon be deported. AI wants clarification of whether it was members of the Mexican Army or immigration agency that fired on the group of immigrants and clarification as to the beatings they received when captured and already injured.

 

4. Two More OCEZ Leaders Apprehended, Houses Searched – In the wee hours of Saturday morning (October 24), police and military carried out an operation in Venustiano Carranza municipality and arrested 2 more OCEZ-RC leaders. The 2 detained are Jose Manuel de la Torre Hernandez and Roselio de la Cruz Gonzalez. From the El Amate prison, both men have denounced that they were tortured. They are accused of land takeovers. Following the detentions, police and soldiers returned to 28 de Junio and Laguna Verde communities (the 2 bastions of the OCEZ-RC) and searched houses, looking for drugs and/or weapons. They did not find any. The state government suspects that members of the OCEZ-RC belong to a criminal gang that traffics in drugs, weapons and undocumented people. It also seems to suspect that OCEZ-RC has connections with a guerrilla organization.

 

5. Update on Mitziton and the Palenque Toll Road – The Chiapas government finally announced the plan for a new super-highway (toll road) to Palenque. It will not pass through Mitziton. Instead of adopting the plan designed by the Secretary of Communications and Transportation (SCT), which would have cut Mitziton in half, the state chose an alternative plan. The state government also committed to “consulting” with affected communities. The plan announced does not include the location of access roads to tourist attractions, but it does include agricultural requirements which affected communities will be urged to accept. The high-speed toll road will pass through part of the Meso-American Biological Corridor. Therefore, the World Bank and its conservation cohorts have special recommendations for what crops ought to be planted. Some will be for local tourism, but the majority apparently will go to the Yucatan Peninsula’s tourist Mecca, the Riviera Maya.

 

6. Three Detained with Arsenal in Frontera Comalapa – The Chiapas government released information that on October 12, three men (none originally from Chiapas) were detained near Frontera Comalapa, very close to the Chiapas/Guatemala border. They allegedly admitted to 3 murders and police determined that they belonged to a criminal gang. It claimed that one of them belonged to a group with “the facade of a social organization” and “called OCEZ or OPEZ.” Two of them allegedly claimed that they were sent to Guatemala for training in weapons, disarmament and survival techniques by kaibiles upon the recommendation of a catechist from Altamirano (municipality). During interrogation, the men disclosed the location of a ranch in Frontera Complapa where weapons were stored. When police went to the ranch house, they found a large arsenal of all kinds of weapons, cars and 2 race horses. What is interesting about this press release is that it implicates a “catechist,” and refers to 2 social organizations as being a facade for violent activity. Some Chiapas government officials are leaking slanderous statements to local press about the Catholic Diocese of San Cristóbal, individual priests and catechists, as well as Las Abejas, in connection to violent activity. It got so bad that the 2 bishops from that diocese issued a statement denouncing the slanderous attacks!

 

7. Response to Repression: Demonstrations – On Monday, October 26, social organizations with different political demands converged on the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas to march in protest of diverse issues. Las Abejas protested against the release of those imprisoned for participating in the Acteal Massacre. Pueblo Creyente (People Praying) demonstrated in support of the Catholic Diocese of San Cristóbal. OCEZ-RC protested the detention, torture and imprisonment of its leaders and the searches of homes conducted in its communities. Other Campaign members from different municipalities were there with banners demonstrating against the toll road to Palenque because it will destroy jungles, forests and their lands. Several organizations also demonstrated for the release of political prisoners. I cannot remember the last time such a diverse assortment of Chiapas organizations demonstrated together. Approximately 150 members of the OCEZ have remained in a sit-in on San Cristobal’s main plaza ever since, demanding the release of their 3 prisoners and the removal of soldiers and police from their communities. Additionally, 20 OCEZ members “took over” an office of the United Nations in San Cristobal, claiming they were refugees, and demanding the release of the 3 imprisoned leaders.

 

8. Chiapas Government Cancels Local Elections in 2010 – Mid-term elections for local municipal councils and presidencies, as well as local deputies to the state Congress, were scheduled for 2010. In a somewhat clandestine move, the Congress voted to cancel those mid-term elections and change the state’s constitution. Local deputies will continue in office until 2012 and they will appoint, YES! appoint, the local municipal councils and presidents. Chiapas is governed, at least on paper, by the Party of the “Democratic” Revolution (PRD). Many Chiapas citizens are furious and an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court. As of now, it appears that the government may back down.

 

9. Gloria Arenas & Jacobo Silva FREE! – Gloria Arenas was released from prison on October 28, after serving 10 years for rebellion. Jacobo Silva, her husband, was released the next day (October 29). Gloria is the former Colonel Aurora and Jacobo is the former Comandante Antonio of the Revolutionary Army of Insurgent People (ERPI). Upon their release, both announced that they will now struggle openly and peacefully with the Zapatistas Other Campaign!

 

In Other Parts of Mexico…

 

1. Union Busting ala Calderón – In the wee hours of Saturday, October 10, President Felipe Calderon sent 6,000 soldiers and heavily armed Federal Police to take over the state-owned Central Light and Power installations in Mexico City and the states of Mexico, Puebla, Morelos, and Hidalgo. Immediately following the takeover, Calderon issued an executive order closing Central Light & Power. The government’s official justification for closing Light and Power is that the company’s operating expenses exceed those of other state-owned companies. like the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). It claims the takeover was a pre-emptive strike to prevent a militant union from taking control of the facilities and cutting off power in protest of the closing of Light & Power. However, a week prior to the police and military takeover, the union specifically stated that it had no intentions of striking or cutting off power to customers. Most analysts believe that it is a preliminary move to privatizing an enormous and growing industry. And, the right-wing Calderon government gets the special benefit of busting the SME, a union that has been part of many social protests over multiple issues and has formed strong alliances with social organizations in Mexico. Tragically, approximately 44,000 workers lost their jobs in the government’s move. The SME is calling for mass mobilizations against the closing of Light & Power.

 

2. The Drug War Numbers – According to reports by Mexico’s Attorney General of the Republic (PGR) and Secretary of National Defense (Sedena), 5, 570 executions have been counted so far this year. The number of people murdered due to alleged ties with organized crime during the nearly 3 years of the Felipe Calderón government now exceeds 15, 400, while during the whole 6-year term of Vicente Fox 13, 000 homicides of this kind were counted.

 

__________________________________________________

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 (Frayba).

 

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 now posted on our web page.

http://www.chiapas-support.org

_______________________________________________________

Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas

P.O. Box 3421, Oakland, CA 94609

Tel: (510) 654-9587

Email: cezmat@igc.org

http://www.chiapas-support.org

SEPTEMBER 2009 CHIAPAS/ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY

Posted in News, noticias with tags , , , on October 11, 2009 by floweroftheword

Whenever we have a hard time keeping up with the news in Chiapas, years of experience tell us that it usually indicates an escalation of the “low-intensity” conflict; the counterinsurgency. The essence of the so-called “low-intensity” war, as the counterinsurgency in Chiapas has often been called, is that it ebbs and flows as counterinsurgency campaigns begin and then run their course. There is little doubt that a counterinsurgency campaign is now underway against the Zapatista and Other Campaign communities in resistance. The violence is escalating and we can hardly keep up with the news. CSC

1. San Manuel Zapatistas Attacked by Armed PRI Members – A September 1 attack by Aric-official and Aric-UU left 1 member of Aric-UU dead, 8 Zapatistas injured, 8 Aric members injured and 7 Zapatistas taken prisoner. The Zapatistas taken prisoner were tortured for 36 hours until government officials and human rights organizations arrived. Aric-official and Aric-UU are 2 factions of the Aric peasant organization affiliated with the PRI political party. They are pro-government but not paramilitary. However, the Opddic inserted itself into this land dispute on the side of the Aric groupings, its fellow members in the PRI. The Opddic, pointed to as a paramilitary group, supplied guns to the Aric members and Opddic members also joined in the attack. San Manuel is the Chiapas Support Committee’s partner Zapatista municipio (county). For a detailed account of this attack, See: http://www.chiapas-support.org/Attack-On-San-Manuel.html

2. FPDT (Atenco) Opens 2nd Stage of Campaign to Free Political Prisoners – The Peoples’ Front in Defense of Land (FPDT, its Spanish initials) launched the 2nd stage of its campaign to free Atenco’s 12 remaining political prisoners. The new stage of the campaign began in Chiapas with a visit to Las Abejas, in Acteal. The FPDT went to the Pacific Coast region of Chiapas for meetings with Other Campaign members and to Oventik for a long meeting with the Zapatista Junta in the Highlands. The FPDT also held a large public meeting in San Cristobal with social organizations struggling to free their political prisoners. An FPDT delegation plans to visit social organizations in 12 states between now and the end of November seeking support for their cause. Besides gathering support for the liberation of the 12 FPDT members, the delegation also carries a message of unity against the repression of social protest.

3. Update on Mitziton Situation – Earth movers are at Mitziton’s door, ready to carve up their land for the new toll road to Palenque. Meanwhile, the heavily armed Army of God members continue to threaten violence. They beat up a 17 year old boy and cut down the letreros (hand-painted signs) proclaiming resistance to the toll road. The ejido commissioners also denounced them as criminals that traffic in “undocumented brothers.” The commissioners allege that the state government has known about this human trafficking for 10 years and has just covered it up.

4. Another Armed Attack: Opddic Members Beat Up Frayba Lawyer and Shoot an Other Campaign Member in Jotolá – On September 18, a human rights lawyer from the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) was stopped as he was leaving Jotolá community by a tree trunk blocking the road. Members of the Opddic, alleged to be a paramilitary organization, placed it there to block his exit. They pulled him from his vehicle and hit him repeatedly and said they were going to lynch him. When inhabitants of Jotolá and San Sebastián Bachajon heard the commotion and went to rescue him, the armed Opddic members opened fire. One Other Campaign member from San Sebastián Bachajon was wounded by a bullet in the muscle of his left leg.

5. Mining Company Announces Withdrawal from Chiapas – On September 25, Linear Gold Mexico sent a letter to the governor of Chiapas announcing its withdrawal from the state due to resistance from some ejidos and communities. Before it withdrew, however, La Jornada reports that it extracted 1 million ounces of gold and 4.4 million ounces of silver from Chiapas territory. The withdrawal followed a major mid-September march through municipalities along the Chiapas border with Guatemala to protest the effects of mining.

6. The War in Guerrero – According to an article in Milenio, a war is taking place in the Mexican state of Guerrero without the public’s knowledge. According to this article, skirmishes between the Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo Insurgente (Revolutionary Army of the Insurgent People, ERPI) and the Mexican Army take place frequently. The Army claims they are skirmishes with narcotraficantes (drug traffickers) and that the ERPI is involved with them. The ERPI says the narcotraficantes are involved with the Army in counterinsurgency. The gist of this article is that the state of Guerrero is on the verge of exploding. [We wonder if the Merida Initiative (Plan Mexico) is funding the counterinsurgency in Guerrero?]

http://semanal.milenio.com/node/1241

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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 (Frayba).

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 now posted on our web page.

http://www.chiapas-support.org

_______________________________________________________

Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas

P.O. Box 3421, Oakland, CA 94609

Tel: (510) 654-9587

Email: cezmat@igc.org

http://www.chiapas-support.org

Denuncia: Supporters of Atenco Political Prisoners harrassed by Mexican State Authorities

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 9, 2009 by floweroftheword

To the Other Campaign
To the Zezta International
To individuals, collectives, organizations, and people in solidarity

Comrades,

We are writing to make a public denunciation of the fact that on Friday, April 3, 2009, around noon, three people dressed in street clothes appeared at the Plantón, our camp outside Molino de Flores prison, taking notes and saying that they wanted to come inside because they were curious about the Plantón and wanted to get to know it. The comrades who were there stopped them from coming in and asked them to leave.
The individuals in question pulled back, but stayed there taking notes and harassing the comrades. A little later, we realized that there weren’t only three of them, but five, then seven, then as many as ten individuals hanging around and harassing the comrades. These individuals left around 6:00 o’clock in the evening on vehicles belonging to the State of Mexico and the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Mexico.
We are making this denunciation so that what happened won’t be seen as an isolated incident. We know the Mexican State is hostile to the efforts of all of us in the struggle, and in this case it’s the government of the State of Mexico harassing those of us who are struggling for the freedom of the political prisoners taken on May 3 and 4, 2006.

Free the political prisoners
Stop the harassment of the Autonomous Zapatista Communities

Plantón Molino de Flores

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.
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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
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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

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