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?]
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.
Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas
P.O. Box 3421, Oakland, CA 94609
Tel: (510) 654-9587