Archive for Repression

Judge Declares APPO Adviser David Venegas Innocent of Drug Charges

Posted in Otherpress with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2009 by floweroftheword

by Kristin Bricker – April 21, 2009

Reprinted from

Innocent Verdict Means Judge Acknowledges that Police Planted Cocaine and Heroine on a Movement Leader

April 21, 2009 – Today Oaxacan judge Amado Chiñas Fuentes absolved APPO adviser David Venegas of charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and heroine. Venegas’ defense team argued that police had planted cocaine and heroine on Venegas after his arrest in order to imprison him and later charge him with sedition, conspiracy, arson, attacks on transit routes, rebellion, crimes against civil servants, dangerous attacks, and resisting arrest.

The government tried Venegas on all charges except for the drug-related ones. The court declared him innocent of all charges and released him on March 5, 2008, after he’d served nearly eleven months in jail. With the drug charges still pending, he was released on bail and forced to report to the court every week for over a year, severely limiting his ability to travel.

Today’s innocent verdict means that the judge has accepted Venegas’ defense that Oaxacan police planted the drugs on him. The drug charges are the last of a series of false charges that Venegas has had to fight for just over two years.

In a statement released by his collective VOCAL, Venegas stresses that it was grassroots support that led to his freedom. “This innocent verdict, far from demonstrating the health or rectitude of the Mexican legal system, was pulled off thanks to the strength of the popular movement and with the solidarity of compañeros and compañeras from Mexico and various parts of the world. The legal system in Mexico is corrupt to the core and is a despicable tool used by the authorities to subjugate and repress those who struggle for justice and freedom.”

The statement goes on to say that VOCAL is committed to fighting for the freedom of Oaxaca’s political prisoners. Furthermore, “We aren’t satisfied with having won our compañero’s unconditional freedom. Having demonstrated the bad government’s lie, we will now focus on imprisoning the Oaxacan peoples’ repressors, who are responsible for this arbitrary and illegal detention: from the police who carried out the detention and repression up to these thugs’ highest bosses.”

3 years since Atenco and innocent people are still imprisoned – Let’s take action!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2009 by floweroftheword

Today marks the 3 year anniversary of the Mexican State’s brutal violence towards the people of Atenco. Please read below for more information and contact the Mexican Embassy to demand freedom for the political prisoners and justice for all those terrorised by state forces.

If enough of us make a short phone call or send an email, the Mexican Government will get the message that the world knows about their atrocious actions.

In solidarity,

Wellington Zapatista Support Group

Contact details for the Mexican Embassy in Wellington, NZ

Level 8, Perpetual Trust House

111-115 Customhouse Quay

PO Box 11-510, Manners Street

Wellington, New Zealand

Telephone (+64) 4 472 0555

Fax (+64) 4 496 3559



Office Hours Mon – Thurs 0900 -1600, Fri 0900 – 1500

Consular: 0900 – 1400


By Heriberto Salas and Salvador Díaz

On May 3, 2006, the sun rose with a dark stain around the Belisario Dominguez market in Texcoco: the state and local police had posted a guard around the spot where flower growers had sold their flowers for as long as we can remember. The Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT), which had participated in a dialogue with Enrique Peña Nieto’s government had counseled and defended the flower growers. The day before, the state government had promised them and the FPDT that they would withdraw their police forces.

At 6 o’clock in the morning, when we met up with men, women, and children carrying baby’s breath, chrysanthemums, and spikenards, joined in their chants, and helped them set up their stands on the curb, we never imagined that we would go through some of the cruelest, most ferocious and heartless repression unleashed in the contemporary history of Mexico.

Yet the flower growers, the FPDT, and the people fell into a shameless trap of the so-called “golden boy,” who in fact is a true Caligula or “golden tyrant,” Enrique Peña Nieto, supported by then prosti-president Vicente Fox Quezada, and the complicity of the PRD lapdogs of Texcoco, all defenders of a barbarous State whose enemies are the most defenseless people.

As everyone knows, the outcome of the repression of May 3 and 4 was two comrades murdered, Javier Cortés and Alexis Benhumea; 207 arrested, including 47 women; and dozens of people wounded, pursued, and disappeared. But that wasn’t all. Our small community, San Salvador Atenco, like the Gaza Strip, Tikrit, or Kabul, was militarily occupied by thousands of vicious police who crudely profaned the peaceful streets of our beloved land just as they raped our comrades, sisters, daughters, and relatives on the road to the Santiaguito prison in those dreadful days.

They were like hordes of beasts who stopped at nothing to bring their brutality down on everyone. Consider the images: A Mazahua indigenous woman covering her legs as she was viciously beaten by the killers; an elderly paraplegic dragged by two buzzards in uniform; a dog beaten by a policeman; 10, 15, 20, 30 police monstrously beating a committed Zapatista militant; warrantless house searches; an elderly woman crying because her three sons were carried away; a barefoot Atenco man forced to his knees in the middle of a new Tlatelolco Plaza de las Tres Culturas; hooligans climbing up on top of the church and searching water tanks for Zapatista militants and Atenco community people. These are the indisputable testimonies that will never be erased from the memory of Mexican people.

From there on…a journey through hell. From the persecution of militants to the torturous process of winning the freedom of our prisoners. From our initial denunciation of the outrageous violation of the supposed State of Law and the smashing of our individual guarantees to the interminable trials with all its delays. The government and its front men have twisted the laws with the same impunity that existed during the Inquisition, charging us with crimes that we never committed, issuing arrest warrants for our most visible comrades, and subjecting our peoples to close-up, unyielding police vigilance. The names of those responsible for the military occupation by the federal and state police are well known: Vicente Fox, Enrique Peña Nieto, ex Director of the State Security Agency (ASE) Wilfrido Robledo Madrid, current Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora, then State Attorney Abel Villicaña, ex Under Secretary of National Security Miguel Angel Yunes, among others.

Along this thorny path, we’ve relied on the support and solidarity of the Zapatista comrades of the Other Campaign, who have shown their goodwill and courage from the very beginning in the camp outside the prisons where our comrades have been held. Other workers, farmers, indigenous, popular, and even international organizations have also walked along beside us in this heroic effort. But of special importance is the honorable role played by the group of lawyers who have advised us all through the trials as we’ve fought against an invisible enemy embedded in the institutions of the State itself, one that plays by the same rules and exhibits all the official aberrations and inconsistencies. This united effort has made it possible to get most of our prisoners out of jail.

Needless to say, this State violence responds to the same logic of the finance capital that rules the world. It’s the same violence used on all five continents to snatch peoples’ natural resources from them, from oil to water, corn to rice, mines to forests, rivers to seas, in other words, to seize the wealth of the whole planet.

This war declared on the peoples of the world struggling to conserve their natural resources has reached our town Atenco, because we’ve defended our territory, and the communities in Chiapas who struggle against oblivion; the peoples of Oaxaca, for autonomy; the people of Guerrero, for their rivers and mountains; the peoples of San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas, against the predatory mining companies –all of these places where levels of organization and social consciousness have gained such force that they’ve become a real danger to the government and the transnational companies.

This, and no other, was the main reason for the State offensive against the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land: a high level of organization. A triumphant social movement that was not absorbed by the political parties, a radical, horizontal, anti-establisment, solidarity organization that grew along with its social demands, going beyond the initial struggle in defense of the land.

So an intricate network of relationships was woven along with other movements in the country and other parts of the world. But it reached its peak with the bond formed with the Zapatista movement and the Front’s adherence to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Selfa and The Other Campaign. The April 25, 2006 visit to Atenco by the Sixth Commission headed by SubComandante Marcos was tremendous. The tie between macheteros and zapatistas put the government on alert. And the answer came a week later with the attempt to pulverize the FPDT.

Today the federal and state governments of Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto are still holding twelve of our kidnapped comrades, nine of them in the Molino de Flores prison in Texcoco, with sentences of 31 years, 10 months, and 15 days, and three others in the maximum security Altiplano prison at Almoloya, State of Mexico, two of them sentenced to 67 years in prison (Felipe Alvarez and Héctor Galindo), and one, Ignacio del Valle sentenced to 112 years, accused of being the intellectual author of the events of May 3 and 4. The federal and state governments have relied on the complicity of all the political parties and all the institutions of justice in the country, and even though the Supreme Court found in their investigation that the authorities did indeed commit Crimes against Humanity, it didn’t identify the responsible parties and instead, absolved them.

Faced with this ignominious exoneration on February 12, 2009, by the devious Ministers of Calderon’s Supreme Court, which allows presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto and his accomplices to maintain their impunity, the FPDT along with human rights and independent organizations, have drawn many outstanding personalities like Eduardo Galeano, Bishop Samuel Ruíz, Manu Chao, and Adolfo Gilly into a current aimed at building the Committee for Freedom and Justice for Atenco, whose aims are the same as those upheld in 2002, when we defeated the expropriation decree––the incorporation of the civil society into the struggle, now oriented towards winning the freedom of our brothers held prisoner and the strict application of the law against those who massacred our people.

In support of these demands on the third anniversary of this attempt against the people of Atenco, we call on all national and international social and political organizations to join in the demand for the freedom of the political prisoners of Mexico and the world on May 3 and 4.


Once again, please contact the Mexican Embassy to demand freedom for the political prisoners and justice for all those terrorised by state forces.

If enough of us make a short phone call or send an email, the Mexican Government will get the message that the world knows about their atrocious actions.

Contact details for the Mexican Embassy in Wellington, NZ

Level 8, Perpetual Trust House

111-115 Customhouse Quay

PO Box 11-510, Manners Street

Wellington, New Zealand

Telephone (+64) 4 472 0555

Fax (+64) 4 496 3559



Office Hours Mon – Thurs 0900 -1600, Fri 0900 – 1500

Consular: 0900 – 1400

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


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


Posted in denuncia, News with tags , , , on January 13, 2009 by floweroftheword

Oaxaca de Magón, City of resistAnce
Saturday, January 10, 2009

We want to denounce the intimidating actions that are endangering the life of our comrade who is part of the Oaxacan popular movement.

Tonight, Saturday, January 10 at approximately 10:57, as our comrade RUBEN VALENCIA NUÑEZ and the person with him walked along Porfirio Díaz Street towards the politico-cultural space “CASOTA” located at Crespo 408, in downtown Oaxaca. Several individuals (approximately 3) driving
by in an electric blue car, possibly a Peugeot, began to insult them. One of them said to RUBEN, “Pinche APPO,” among other things. One of them tried to get out of the car but was persuaded not to by the others, and the car moved on about a block away from the spot.

In view of the situation, the comrades kept walking and took shelter in a café on the same street. Not more than 5 minutes after they got there, while RUBEN VALENCIA NUÑEZ was washing his hands in the restroom, the man who had yelled at him in the street walked into the business full of people. He went into the area just outside the restroom right next to our comrade, and without a word, took out a knife. Amidst pushing and shoving, he struck our comrade in the neck, nape of the neck, and head, causing more than 3 wounds. At that time, our comrade only felt the blows and pushed his way out of the space by the restroom along with the aggressor. In the midst of the confusion, a passing waiter was wounded in the throat by the same arm.

The aggressor, around 28 years old, with a robust build and short hair (resembling a ministerial or judicial policemen), brazenly stayed at the café a few seconds longer and then left, leaving the arm behind. Meanwhile, our comrade realized he had been cut, due to the blood that was staining his clothes.

He was taken to the hospital for treatment and is now out of danger. The wounds are as follows: one is 3.5 cm long and approximately 1 cm deep in the nape of the neck, another is 3 cm long and approximately 1 cm deep in the nape of the neck, and there is also a blow to the head, a cut extending from the left eye to the ear, and other smaller cuts made by the same arm. All the wounds were sutured with 6 stitches. It’s important to mention that one of the wounds was only one centimeter away from the jugular vein, which would have been fatal. The waiter has a wound in the throat made by the same arm, but we do not know how serious it is.

We firmly DENOUNCE these acts as part of a strategy of repression and violence orchestrated by the Oaxaca state government, either through para-police groups or civilians at the service of the State. We are denouncing, for all the world to hear, the possibility of the beginning
of selective repression like that which occurred in the dirty war that the social movements of this country endured more than thirty years ago.

This attack against RUBEN should be seen as the latest in a series of attacks, intimidation, and arrests that different comrades in the social movement have suffered in recent months. Since they haven’t been successful and the illegal authoritarian actions of the state have been exposed, this could be the beginning of a new, even more dangerous kind of government repression and violence at the hands of para-police and para-military groups, as well as hired assassins at the service of the bad government of ULISES RUIZ ORTIZ in the style of the dirty war.

-our decision to keep going in the construction of a different Oaxaca, where there’s no repression against anyone who seeks justice for the people and punishment for their killers. A Oaxaca where it’s possible to live without fear of repression.
-that these events show us the urgent need for change and the need to keep on moving forward so that killers will not govern in the future.

-An end to the criminal strategies of repression and intimidation against the different struggles of the peoples of Oaxaca by the Mexican State and the state government.
-Respect for the lives and tranquility of each and every comrade in Oaxaca who continues to construct alternatives for a dignified life with justice and freedom.
-Punishment of those responsible for the attack against our comrade RUBEN VALENCIA NUÑEZ.
We respectfully ask that the peoples of Mexico and the world stay alert for this situation that could announce the beginning of a strategy of dirty war or low-intensity warfare against the legitimate movement of the peoples of Oaxaca.
VOCAL (Voces Oaxaqueñas Construyendo Autonomía y Libertad)
CASOTA (Casa Autónoma Solidaria Oaxaqueña de Trabajo Autogestivo)
Universidad de la Tierra-Oaxaca
Diplomado de Investigadores Descalzos

Political & Cultural Space in Oaxaca Raided, Fired On

Posted in News, noticias with tags , , , , on January 9, 2009 by floweroftheword

December 08, 2008
Political & Cultural Space in Oaxaca Raided, Fired On


-version en espanol sigue abajo-

Please spread the word about this incident. Until a week ago when I left Oaxaca, I lived in this space with many others, helping it get started. Last night it was raided by state and local police forces in Oaxaca. They opened fire on the house, used tear gas and beat those inside with bricks and batons. I’ll pass on more information and actions to take when I have it, for now, please just use the communique. My English translation is first, followed by the Spanish original. – scott

To the people of Oaxaca
To the people of Mexico
To Section 22
To the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca
To the media

In the early morning of Monday, December 8, 2008, murderer Ulises Ruiz’s Oaxacan state government, through its Preventative and Municipal police, onboard various police pickup trucks and motorcycles, violently attacked those who live and work in the political and cultural space of the house located at 408 Crespo Street in the historic center of Oaxaca, “Oaxacan Autonomous Solidarity House of Self-Sustaining (Autogestive) Work” (Casa Autonoma Solidaria Oaxaquena de Trabajo Autogestivo – CASOTA).

At approximately 12:30 AM, two State Preventative Police patrol units violently and without reason stopped two comrades who left the political space, forcing them to show identification and submit to pat-downs. One of them was detained and violently put into a police vehicle, while the rest of the comrades in this political space gathered to try and rescue our comrade, and once we got into the house around 15 preventative police trucks began their repressive aggression, without caring that inside the house was a child of no more than two years old, using tear gas, gunfire, and beatings with bricks. For about an hour they attacked the house, destroying the main door and windows.

As a result of the state police’s aggression, various comrades have contusions from the rocks and billy clubs they repressed us with, and intoxicated with gas those of us who were inside the house, as well as causing considerable damage to the building, such as the destruction of the main door and windows and the bullet impacts that damaged the facade of the house.

That this action was planned by the bad government of murderer Ulises Ruiz Ortiz as a consequence for our participation in the movement of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca, it is known that those who make up this space continue participating in the movement and we maintain a complete repudiation of the bad government of Ulises Ruiz and we continue in the search for a profound and radical change in our society in a peaceful but forceful manner and in an open struggle against the state, the bad government and the political classes of all the political parties.

Moreover, we denounce that this cultural and political house, where diverse collectives and people in the APPO, among others VOCAL, meet, have been constantly criminalized by the bad government and some segments of the media in a tenacious manner, above all for what happened on November 25, 2008, when we participated in the march commemorating two years of the worst repression the people of Oaxaca have ever faced.

That this aggression with not stop those who make up this space in their search for a society with justice, freedom, peace and dignity, even though this has awakened the hate, criminal anxiety and violence of the bad government.

That this aggression is not an isolated incident but forms a part of the bad government’s general strategy to strangle and suffocate the reorganization that is currently happening inside of the APPO.

That this cultural and political space located at Crespo 408 is a place where we practice peaceful initiatives to construct a new society in an autonomous manner independent of the state, the economic powers, and the political classes of all political parties. This has been done principally through different workshops where we share our skills freely, as in silk screening, binding, editing and printing of texts, urban agriculture, a peoples kitchen, recycling, electronics repair and activities such as video screenings and talks, performances of resistance music, and other political-cultural events.

WE REQUEST in a fraternal and firm manner the backing and solidarity of the people of Oaxaca who struggle and resist, of Section 22 of the democratic teachers’ union, and of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca, that this aggression is a clear display of the repressive and violent climate through which Ulises Ruiz is again trying to suffocate the reorganization of our social movement, and above all, all those sectors the don’t give in to negotiations or to the surrendering the principles of the APPO and the just struggle of the people of Oaxaca.

An end to the repression and harassment of the different collectives and persons who live and work in this space and the complete repayment for the damages caused to the building as well as the immediate removal of the police forces who permanently harass and surveill this space.





Oaxaca de Magon, City of Resistance, December 8, 2008.


Al pueblo de Oaxaca
Al pueblo de Mexico
A la seccion 22
A la Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca
A los medios de comunicacion

La madrugada del dia lunes 8 de diciembre de 2008, el gobierno del estado de Oaxaca del asesino Ulises Ruiz, a traves de las Policia Preventiva y Municipal, a bordo de varias patrullas y motos realizaron una agresion violenta en contra de quienes vivimos y trabajamos en el espacio politico y cultural de la casa ubicada en la calle de crespo Numero 408 del centro historico “Casa Autonoma Solidaria Oaxaquena de Trabajo Autogestivo”.

Aproximadamente a las 0:30 de la madrugada, dos patrullas de la policia preventiva estatal detuvieron con violencia y sin ningun motivo a dos companeros que salian de este espacio politico, a pesar de que los dos fueron obligados a mostrar sus documentos y ser sometidos a revision, uno de ellos fue detenido y subido a una de las patrullas de manera violenta ante lo cual los companeros que habitamos este espacio politico acudimos a rescatar a nuestro companero, una vez que entramos a la casa empezo la agresion represiva de alrededor de 15 patrullas de la policia preventiva, sin importar que al interior se encontraba un nino de no mas de dos anos, quienes con gases lacrimogenos, disparos de armas de fuego y pedazos de tabique, durante alrededor de una hora agredieron la casa, destrozando la puerta principal y ventanas del inmueble.

Como resultado de la agresion los policias estatales produjeron contusiones a varios companeros con las piedras y toletes con los que nos reprimieron e intoxicaron con gases a quienes nos encontramos dentro de la casa, ademas que produjeron danos considerables al edificio, como el destrozo de la puerta principal y de las ventanas, los impactos de armas de fuego causaron danos a la fachada del edificio.

Que esta accion fue planeada por el mal gobierno del asesino Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, como consecuencia de nuestra participacion en el movimiento de la Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca, pues es conocido que quienes formamos parte de este espacio seguimos participando en el movimiento y mantenemos en todo lo alto el repudio al mal gobierno de Ulises Ruiz y seguimos en la busqueda de un cambio profundo y radical de nuestra sociedad de manera pacifica pero contundente y en abierta lucha en contra del estado, el mal gobierno y la clase politica de todos los partidos politicos.

Denunciamos ademas que esta casa cultural y politico, donde diversos colectivos y personas del movimiento de la APPO, entre ellos VOCAL, nos reunimos, ha sido criminalizada constantemente por el mal gobierno y algunos medios de comunicacion de manera insistente, sobre todo a raiz de los hechos ocurridos el dia 25 de noviembre de 2008, cuando participamos en la marcha que conmemoro los dos anos de la peor represion que han sufrido nuestros pueblos de Oaxaca.

Que esta agresion no detendra a quienes formamos parte de este espacio en la busqueda de una sociedad con justicia, libertad, paz y dignidad, aun cuando esto despierte el odio, el ansia de crimen y violencia del mal gobierno.

Que esta agresion no es aislada sino forma parte de una estrategia general del mal gobierno para coartar y sofocar la reorganizacion que en este momento esta ocurriendo dentro de nuestro movimiento de la APPO.

Que este espacio cultural y politico ubicado en crespo 408 es un lugar donde hacemos iniciativas pacificas de construccion de una nueva sociedad de manera autonoma e independiente del estado, del poder economico y de la clase politica de todos los partidos politicos. Principalmente a traves de diferentes talleres donde se comparten conocimientos de manera gratuita, como serigrafia, empastado, edicion e impresion de textos, agricultura urbana, cocina popular, reciclaje, arreglo de equipos electronicos y actividades como video platicas, convivencias musicales de resistencia y otros eventos politico culturales.

SOLICITAMOS de manera fraterna y firme el respaldo y la solidaridad de los pueblos de Oaxaca que luchan y resisten, de la Seccion 22 del Magisterio democratico y de la Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca pues esta agresion, es una clara muestra del clima represivo y violento con que Ulises Ruiz pretende nuevamente sofocar la reorganizacion de nuestro movimiento social, sobre todo aquellos sectores que no se rinden a la negociacion y la claudicacion de los principios de la APPO y de la lucha justa de los pueblos de Oaxaca.

El cese de la represion y hostigamiento en contra de los diferentes colectivos y personas que habitamos y trabajamos en este espacio y la indemnizacion total por los danos causados en el edificio ademas del retiro inmediato de los cuerpos policiacos que de manera permanente acosan y mantienen vigilado este espacio.





Oaxaca de Magon, Ciudad de la Resistencia a 8 de deciembre de 2008.

Zapatistas defend autonomy, State aggression escalates

Posted in Commentary, News, Otherpress with tags , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2008 by floweroftheword

Zapatistas defend autonomy
State aggression escalates

June 07, 2008 By John Gibler

This past Wednesday, June 4, a military convoy of about 200 Mexican soldiers and federal and municipal police attempted to enter Zapatista villages under the pretext of searching for marijuana plants; something patently absurd in communities that have maintained a self-imposed “dry law,” prohibiting all drugs and all forms of alcohol throughout Zapatista territories for nearly fifteen years.
The convoy first stopped at the entrance to the Garrucha Caracol (the regional seat of the Good Government Council, or Junta de Buen Gobierno). Four soldiers stepped out into the road, others photographed and filmed the Zapatistas from their vehicles, but the community began to draw people together, shouting at the soldiers to leave, and gathering slingshots, machetes, rocks, and sticks. The soldiers quickly got back in their vehicles and continued down the road.

The convoy joined a second convoy down the road where they all descend and set off walking to the Zapatista support community of Galaena. A police officer from Ocosingo, Feliciano Román Ruiz, guides the soldiers through the trails towards the community.

In Galaena, the men, women, and children organized to bar the soldiers’ entrance to the community.

According to the Zapatista communiqué denouncing the events, the Zapatistas shouted at the soldiers to turn back. The soldiers said that they had come to destroy the marijuana plants they know to be near by. The Zapatistas denied growing marijuana and began to gather slingshots, machetes, rocks, and sticks to defend their land.

The soldiers turned back, but warned that they would return in two weeks, and they would enter the community no matter what.

But they did not leave; they walked to nearby San Alejandro where some 60 soldiers had already taken up position around the community, automatic weapons drawn.
The people of San Alejandro, also a Zapatista support community (bases de apoyo) also confronted the soldiers and barred their passage.
Soon the soldiers withdrew.

“People of Mexico and of the world,” the Good Government Council of La Garrucha wrote in a denunciation of these events released on June 4 and published in La Jornada online on June 6, “it will not be long before there is confrontation provoked by [President Felipe] Calderón, [Chiapas governor] Juan Sabines and Carlos Leonel Solórzano, municipal president of Ocosingo, who send there dogs of repression…”

Aggressions against Zapatista support communities have been building steadily since Calderon took office in December 2006. The military bases in Chiapas have been restructured to include Special Forces and air-borne capacity throughout the state. The government has reorganized various paramilitary organizations.
This has been extensively documented by the San Cristóbal-based organization CAPISE (Center for Political Analysis and Socio-economic Investigation).

Paramilitary organizations have invaded Zapatista territories throughout the state, often attacking Zapatista support communities.

In recent weeks the aggressions have escalated.

On May 19, federal agents and soldiers, arriving in helicopters and military convoy, entered the community of San Jerónimo Tuliljá, in the Caracol of La Garrucha, breaking into houses and pushing people around without explanation.

On May 22, a large group of armed men from the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) invaded the Zapatista Caracol of Morelia, cutting off the community’s electricity and attacking people in their homes throughout the night. The gunmen wounded over 20 Zapatistas, six of whom were taken to the hospital in serious condition.

But the aggressions are almost daily: kidnapping Zapatista supporters and taking them to local jails on invented charges, contaminating local wells, invading lands, cutting corn plants, leaving death threats for the community.

“It is as if we are seeing the preparations for what will be another Acteal,” said Subcomandante Marcos in a recent interview published in book form in Mexico, referring to the December 22, 1997 paramilitary massacre of 45 indigenous men, women, and children gathered in a church in the community of Acteal.
“But now they are not looking for a conflict between aggressors and defenseless people, but really a confrontation,” he said.

Zapatista autonomy is not only a threat to the perceived legitimacy of the state, but it is the structure of resistance that maintains and protects Zapatista territories, land recuperated through the 1994 uprising and cared for and cultivated since.

Ernesto Ledesma of CAPISE says that over 74,000 hectares of Zapatista territory are under thereat of invasion. The federal, state and local governments, and all three national political parties in Mexico, including the PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution) have joined together in the aggression against the Zapatistas, he says, using direct paramilitary land invasions, bureaucratic trickery through the federal secretary of agrarian affairs, and through federal expropriations.

“We are not drug traffickers,” the Good Government Council of La Garrucha wrote, “we are what we all well known to be, brothers and sisters and Mexico and the world. It is clear that they will be coming for us, the Zapatistas; they will be coming from the three levels of bad government, and we are ready to resist, and if necessary to comply with our slogan, which is: live for the fatherland or die for liberty (vivir por la patria o morir por la libertad).”

This is a brief and dramatic lesson in autonomy: with slingshots and machetes the Zapatistas are ready to refuse entrance to their communities to the soldiers and federal police. Most of the daily work of autonomy goes unseen and unreported: collective land management, autonomous schools and health clinics, community dispute resolution. But autonomy also means rejecting the authority of the state, rejecting the legitimacy of the state; and this rejection comes not only in the form of eloquent communiqués, but also staring down the soldiers with nothing other than a farm tool in hand.

John Gibler is a Global Exchange Media Fellow and author of Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt, forthcoming from City Lights. Gibler has been living and writing from Mexico since 2006. He has reported for Left Turn, In These Times, ZNet, Z Magazine, New Politics, Common Dreams, Yes! Magazine, Colorlines and Democracy Now!.

To read the Good Government Councils communiqués, Enlace Zapatista:

CAPISE is organizing observation brigades in Zapatista territories:
A long interview with Subcomandante Marcos was just published in book form in Mexico: Corte de Caja,

Background information on the aggressions against Zapatistas in English:

Wellington Zapatista Support Group on State Violence Against Indigenous Communities in Mexico

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on June 17, 2008 by floweroftheword

On June 4, a deployment of some 200 Mexican army troops and federal police occupied several communities around the Zapatista settlement of La Garrucha, on the edge of the Chiapas rainforest, under the guise of a marijuana eradication mission. The Zapatista Good Government Junta (JBG) “El Camino del Futuro,” based at La Garrucha, said residents mobilised to defend their homes with sticks, machetes and slingshots as troops spread out, destroying corn fields, taking photographs and “intimidating the population.” The troops found no marijuana, but threatened that they would return on 18 June.

Earlier, on May 22, a large group of armed men from the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) invaded the Zapatista Caracol (Zapatista regional government seat) of Morelia, cutting off the community’s electricity and attacking people in their homes throughout the night. The gunmen wounded over 20 Zapatista supporters, six of whom were taken to the hospital in serious condition. On May 19, federal agents and soldiers, arriving in helicopters and military convoy, entered the community of San Jerónimo Tuliljá, Caracol of La Garrucha, breaking into houses and pushing people around without explanation.1

These are just a few recent incidents among a plethora of military, paramilitary and police raids in Zapatista communities, raids which are in keeping with the widespread corruption, political assasinations, detentions, torture and sexual violation that have earned the Mexican government it’s appalling human rights record.2

On the 1st of January 1994, the day that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect, the indigenous Zapatistas of the EZLN rose up with their demands for democracy, liberty and justice for all Mexicans. To this day they continue with the peaceful development and provision of their own health, education, democratic governance, and justice systems.

In breach of the San Andrés Accords, the Mexican state and federal government routinely uses military and paramilitary violence to pressure Zapatista communities to leave their lands. This is in order to facilitate the exploitation of natural resources for the profit of Mexican politicians and transnational corporations.

But the repression of indigenous peoples is not solely a foreign phenomenon. The New Zealand government is also guilty of ongoing human rights abuses, from the large-scale legalised theft of Maori land through the Foreshore and Seabed Act, to the quasi-military invasion of Ruatoki and the detention of refugees and indigenous, peace and environmental activists amidst accusations of “terrorism”. Meanwhile the NZ government embraces neoliberal policies that prioritise profits for corporations and the rich, resulting in widespread exploitation, environmental degradation and poverty.

The Wellington Zapatista Support Group denounces the repressive actions of the Mexican and New Zealand governments, and demands the immediate withdrawal of troops from Chiapas communities, an end to military harrassment of indigenous communities, the release of all political prisoners, and the upholding of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the San Andrés Accords.

If you would like to give Mrs María Angélica Arce de Jeannet, the Mexican Ambassador, your opinion on this matter, she can be contacted at: phone: 472 0555, fax: 496 3559 or email:

Or you can visit the Mexican Embassy inside the AMP Chambers at 185 Featherston St, Wellington.

The Wellington Zapatista Support Group (which fundraises to support community health services in La Garrucha) can be contacted at:

For more information about the Zapatistas: (in Spanish)


2 For example see Atenco, Oaxaca, Acteal, Ciudad Juarez…