Archive for zapatista

Letter to Mexican President re: San Juan Copala Under Siege

Posted in News, protesta, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 8, 2010 by floweroftheword

President Felipe Calderon

United Mexican States

C/O Mr Luis Enrique Franco, Chargé d’Affaires

Embassy of Mexico

Level 2, AMP Chambers

185-187 Featherston Street

Wellington 6011

08 June 2010

Dear Sir,

The Wellington Zapatista Support group expresses it’s profound outrage at the ongoing paramilitary siege of the autonomous indigenous community of San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, Mexico, and the repression and murders of community members and of human rights workers trying to deliver humanitarian aid.

We demand the Mexican Federal and Oaxaca State Government ensure the safe passage of the humanitarian caravan today delivering aid to the besieged autonomous community of San Juan Copala;

We demand the Mexican Federal and Oaxaca State Government take immediate action to protect the residents of San Juan Copola, and ensure that they have access to adequate supplies of food and water; as well as all necessary health care;

We demand an end to the siege of the community by the UBISORT armed paramilitary group, so that residents can move freely, communicate with the outside world and receive visits from humanitarian missions without fear of attack or reprisal;

We demand an investigation into the deaths of José Celestino Hernández Cruz, Alberta Cariño, known as Beatriz or Bety, Jyri Antero Jaakkola, Alejandro Ramirez, and Cleriberta Castro, with the results made public and those responsible brought to justice;

We demand the federal authorities prevent human rights abuses committed by members of UBISORT against local residents, and investigate the group’s links to members of the PRI, the governing party in Oaxaca, and bring all those implicated in human rights abuses to justice.

Signed:

Wellington Zapatista Support Group.

San Juan Copala: On the second caravan and the autonomous project

Posted in comunicado, denuncia with tags , , , , , , , on May 25, 2010 by floweroftheword

TO THE HONEST STATE, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

TO THE OTHER CAMPAIGN

TO THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS

TO THE PEOPLE OF MEXICO

TO THE NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Twenty days after the brutal murder of our comrades ALBERTA CARIÑO TRUJILLO AND JYRI JAAKKOLA, along with others wounded by high-caliber weapons in the hands of groups completely identified with the state, there has been no justice. This impunity has favored this paramilitary group which calls itself a “SOCIAL ORGANIZATION” (UBISORT), so that it again commits another attack against the inhabitants of the AUTONOMOUS MUNICIPALITY, obeying the orders issued from the halls of government, kidnapping on May 14 comrade MARGARITA LOPEZ MARTINEZ and SUSANA MARTINEZ, holding them for approximately two hours during which they received all kinds of threats, and on May 15, this same group, commanded by RUFINO and ANASTACIO JUÁREZ HERNANDEZ, kidnapped twelve inhabitants of the AUTONOMOUS MUNICIPALITY of San Juan Copala for an entire night; during which time they were beaten, threatened and stripped of all their belongings, including the food which they had previously bought in Juxtlahuaca, as well as money, most of it which was to pay for the Opportunities program. They are: FELIPA DE JESÚS SUÁREZ, JOAQUINA VELASCO AGUILERA, MARTIMIANA AGUILERA, ISABEL BAUTISTA RAMÍREZ, MARCELINA RAMÍREZ, LORENA MERINO MARTÍNEZ, LETICIA VELASCO AGUILERA (CHILD), ROSARIO VELASCO ALLENDE (CHILD), JOSEFA RAMIREZ BAUTISTA (CHILD), TWO CHILDREN OF FOUR YEARS OF AGE AND A ONE-YEAR-OLD BABY.

AS A RESULT OF ALL THIS WE ANNOUNCE:

FIRST.- That from this date, as a result of the permanent and continued attacks that have been committed against the population of the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala and those who act in solidarity with us; we are postponing the negotiations that we have been holding before these events, as well as all possible dialogue with the state government, until such a time when it administers justice in a transparent manner against those materially and intellectually responsible for this massacre and ceases to allow, cover up, and conceal the paramilitaries who publicly announce and carry out their threats.

SECOND.- We understand that, as a communal movement which struggles to decide freely, without having to live under the yoke of caciques who manipulate us and live off of our impoverishment, that many times we have made mistakes on our path, not out of malicious intent but out of inexperience. It is because of this that from this date forward we want you to know that all the actions we undertake to consolidate OUR AUTONOMOUS MUNICIPALITY will be determined by OUR COMMUNAL COUNCIL in consultation with the community assemblies; we are now working on the creation of a structure which will be made up of different commissions which we will make you aware of at the appropriate time.

We make clear that this resistance struggle has as its final goal to recuperate our history and culture, with a great respect for our mother earth; to achieve development towards the dignified life that we all desire, where peace and justice reign, which is why our reference point for struggle is without a doubt the ZAPATISTA MOVEMENT, WHICH REACHES ITS UNDERSTANDINGS IN THE GOOD GOVERNMENT COUNCILS, this is what we want for our people and we know that sooner or later we’ll reach that horizon.

Due to this, we call on all our brothers and sisters, indigenous and non-indigenous, who make their struggle as part of the Other Campaign, to accompany us without haggling, on this road that is also the road you walk, and when we are wrong, help us in a fraternal and supportive manner, as we understand that only disinterestedly united, those of us who walk from below and to the left, will we reach the dawn of this long night of pain.

THIRD.- We also make clear that faced with the incessant criminal acts that this group continues carrying out in our communities, with all that it implies, we have decided to issue a new callout for a SECOND CARAVAN OF OBSERVATION AND SOLIDARITY which will travel to San Juan Copala on June 8, 2010 and break the informational, paramilitary, and hunger siege which this group of gunmen has brought upon our community; for this we confirm that we have asked for the help of the DIOCESAN COMMISSION OF JUSTICE AND PEACE and the BARTOLOMÉ CARRASCO BRISEÑO REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER, so that our commission, together with them, may coordinate this event where we will take all the security measures possible and where we will assembly a large number of LOCAL, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIOAL OBSERVERS, as well as media outlets and comrades who want to act in solidarity with our people, which for many years the people in power have filled with pain and death.

Finally, we want to clarify that some journalists have insisted in making us out to be people who use high-powered weapons. We want to make clear that this is not the case. Because our communal struggle, through a peaceful organization, seeks to do away with the repression, imposition and cruel treatment to which we were subjected, first by the governments and then by “organizations” which, rooted in lies and corruption, have taken from us our word, our decisions and have taken our right to live as first peoples; we don’t have weapons, we don’t need them: we know that with organization and with the solidarity of the people of MEXICO and OF THE WORLD we will soon attain a life of PEACE, with JUSTICE and DIGNITY.

May 18, 2010

RESPECTFULLY,

AUTONOMOUS MUNICIPALITY OF SAN JUAN COPALA

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.

Letter and receipt of donation from our compas Zapatistas

Posted in comunicado, EZLN Communique with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2010 by floweroftheword

Thanks to everyone who has made a donation, attended one of our events or participated in our other fundraising efforts.

Please see below photos of a letter and receipt (plus english translation) we just recieved from the Zapatista communities we are working with.

Keep your eyes and ears open for events we have coming up this year!

Saludos Rebeldes, WZSG

———————————————-

Caracol in Resistance

Hacia un Nuevo Amanecer

Good Government Council

El Camino del Futuro

Chiapas, Mexico

14 February 2010

Letter

By way of this letter we send a cordial revolutionary greeting to your group in New Zealand, on the part of the authorities of the council of good government.

We thank you for your support that has helped us here in the good government and we hope that you continue to assist us as you know well that we are not earning much money as we are in the resistance, as we work to build Autonomy. This is all that we request, and we hope this finds you well and working.

Attentively,

the council of good government

Ausencio Lopez, Rolando Gomez, Gorki Gomez

——————————————————

Caracol in Resistance

Hacia un Nuevo Amanecer

Good Government Council

El Camino del Futuro

Chiapas, Mexico

Receipt

The council of good government of El Camino Del Futuro met with Julie webb Pullman of the New Zealand Zapatista Support Group .

A donation has been delivered to the council of good government of $1,000 dollars ($14,000 Mexican Pesos) and some books for the autonomous education programmes.

The council of good government received this donation and also the educational books and we thank you for your support. Your group has helped us since 2006 and we hope to continue together into the future.

Attentively,

The authorities of the council of good government

Ausencio Lopez, Enoc Guiterrez, Gorki Gomez

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

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

__________________________________________________

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

Mexican Consulate Closes as The Other New York Demands Freedom for the Prisoners of Atenco

Posted in News, protesta with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2009 by floweroftheword

On May 4th, the third anniversary of the state repression to the people of Atenco, the Mexican Consulate in New York City was peacefully “taken” by the pro-zapatista Movement for Justice in the Barrio (Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio).

The authorities decided to close the Consulate all day. In a press conference, the Consul, very upset, denounced and placed blame on the members of The Other Campaign in New York.

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OTHER NEW YORK DISTRICT OF MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE

To our sisters and brothers of the People’s Front in Defense of Earth:

To our brothers and sisters the Zapatistas:

To our comrades of the Other Campaign:

To our comrades of the Zezta Internazional:

To our comrades following the International Campaign in Defense of the Barrio and our allies around the world:

A greeting of solidarity from the women, men and children, the socially marginalized from the Other Campaign New York, Movement for Justice in el Barrio in East Harlem zapatista.

Today, May 4, 2009, The Other New York peacefully took the Mexican Consulate in New York to demand the release of 12 political prisoners who have been brutally repressed for opposing the predatory neoliberal development projects that denigrate life and culture, specifically the construction of an airport in Atenco, and for the protection of flower growers in Texcoco.

On this third anniversary of the repression, arrests, rape, torture and burglary committed by military police in Atenco, today, a committee of members of the Movement for Justice in El Barrio was able to enter the offices of the Mexican Consulate in New York, which are under strict surveillance, stepping up the campaign in Mexican heart and memory, demanding the release of prisoners from Atenco. We managed to enter the offices to conduct a peaceful protest demanding the immediate release of prisoners from Atenco.

Once inside, the comrades of the Other New York, cried: “Political prisoners, freedom!, Freedom, freedom to prisoners to fight!” “We are all Atenco,” among other slogans, and with our banners, some with masks simulating prison bars, and also with bandanas, distributed to passers-by DVDs of the video Rompiendo El Cerco (Breaking The Siege), about the repression in Atenco, and informational leaflets explaining the central demands.

Then we demanded to speak to the Consul Ruben Beltran to deliver a letter of demands.

First we were told that he was not there because he was in Mexico, but we knew that this was a lie since the day before the consul was in El Barrio performing a proselytizing act in the imposed celebration of Cinco de Mayo. After a time, the consulate authorities told us that the ambassador was in New York, but was not in the consulate, and then closed the consulate to the public, asking everyone to leave the office.

At the end of our event, the ambassador came.

We delivered a letter, amplified in a banner, with the following demands:

1) Freedom of the 12 political prisoners from Atenco;

2) Cancellation of warrants for the 2 prosecuted;

3) Withdrawal and cancellation of the sentences;

4) Strict respect for the human rights of the detainees and persecuted; and

5) Punishment of those responsible for human rights violations.

At first Ambassador Ruben Beltran said he was willing to talk with all the Mexican residents in New York and listen to all their views, but then threw the blame on us and our cause – the release of prisoners of Atenco – of having closed the services of the consulate and leaving many people without being served.

We believe that reaction of the consul is an act of great injustice and cynicism, as if the government of Mexico does not torture, kill, rape and unjustly imprison its residents for opposing Mexico’s business with large multinationals that make water into a merchandise, these things should not need to happen.

Notwithstanding this, we are pleased to have been able to successfully make this protest against the release of the martyrs of Atenco, as we now know that many Mexicans in New York will be able to learn through alternative means, such as the DVD of Breaking The Siege, that which really happened.

Then in the afternoon of that day, the press went to the consulate because of another event, and the consul took the opportunity to complain about us, denounce us and say that because of us, they had to close the Consulate for the entire day. At that evening event, the consul showed the press pictures of us from different angles.

It should be clear that our demonstration was peaceful.

If there will be reprisals against us for exercising our right to freedom of expression in Mexican territory (as is any Embassy of Mexico abroad), this means that the consular authorities were violating our rights, like they do not respect the human rights of the people of Atenco.

It pains us greatly that the worthy social activists, the true defenders of our land and our country, remain in jail. We do not rest until they are released. Human beings are not merchandise.

They can not stop us and clear us out to build airports and hotels, not in Atenco, not in Agua Azul, and not in our Barrio in East Harlem.

From The Other New York:

WE ARE ALL ATENCO!

FREEDOM FOR POLITICAL PRISONERS!

Movement for Justice in el Barrio, New York, May 4, 2009.

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

E-mail mexico@xtra.co.nz

Website http://www.mexico.org.nz

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

Consular: 0900 – 1400

FREEDOM AND JUSTICE FOR ATENCO

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

E-mail mexico@xtra.co.nz

Website http://www.mexico.org.nz

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

Consular: 0900 – 1400

A Visit to Chiapas in March 2009

Posted in Commentary, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2009 by floweroftheword

After the three of us finally arrived in San Cristóbal, we began our drive to the Cañadas east of Ocosingo. Getting to Ocosingo from San Cristóbal is a unique experience: the paved highway consists of one “tope” (speed bump) after another. That makes it sort of hard to pass those giant trucks that belch black smoke in your face or the slow lumbering farm trucks. By the time we arrive in Ocosingo, we’re ready for a break at the Hotel Central’s delicious restaurant, aptly named Las Delicias. Next stop is the Ocosingo Market to buy some water and a blanket to replace a sleeping bag remaining somewhere in the labyrinth of the Mexico City Airport waiting to be claimed by someone who is already in San Cristóbal. It’s late in the afternoon as we exit Ocosingo, take the turnoff for La Garrucha and realize that we won’t arrive until after dark because the road is a bit difficult.

Well, the road isn’t the only reason we won’t arrive until after dark. We have friends along the way and we stop and visit a little. The little visits make it a happy trip and more than compensate for all the holes and ruts in the road. It’s warm and dry. No rain. By the time we get to Garrucha, it’s dark and the Good Government Junta is tired. The folks in the Vigilance Committee tell us the Junta will see us in the morning. They take us to the “Hotel Garrucha,” our tongue-in-cheek name for the space underneath the big stage erected for the Comandanta Ramona Women’s Encuentro (Dec. 2007). It now serves as the resting place for those of us who visit Garrucha. The Hotel’s tenured hostess greets us warmly. A kind of permanent peace camper, fluent in both English and Spanish, she helps out everyone who arrives there and doesn’t exactly know what to do. For some of us old-timers who sort of know what to do, she swaps stories with us.
The Junta received us first thing in the morning, but we hung around Garrucha anyway, confused about transportation to Zapata (San Manuel’s municipal headquarters). Folks who recognized us soon began to appear and strike up conversations. We visited with several friends at their homes and, when it was finally confirmed that there was no transportation available, drove our little car over the somewhat challenging road to Agua Dulce, and then on to San Manuel. The weather remained beautiful: warm, dry and sunny. It was late Saturday afternoon and the council decided to wait until Sunday to meet with us. We had lots of time to talk, eat, tell stories and get a good night’s sleep.

On Sunday, we met with San Manuel’s autonomous municipal council and some of the county’s other authorities. What we learned was very helpful and, in part, surprising. Importantly, we were able to clarify the new policy on projects in the region. It seems that there was a decision reached regionally to equalize the distribution of projects among the 4 autonomous municipios (counties) within the Caracol of La Garrucha. It is each county’s responsibility to present a project to the Junta. The Junta puts that project in a file cabinet, according to the category it falls into (economic development, production, health, education, etcetera). When an organization comes to the Junta and says it wants to help in a certain category of project, the Junta goes to the file drawer for that category and looks at the proposals. The Junta selects the proposal submitted by the county that is the farthest behind. The selection is made by the Junta and not by a regional assembly as we were told during our January visit. The person who told us that was in a position to know, but either did not communicate the policy correctly or we misunderstood what was communicated. This is just a temporary policy until the counties are considered more equalized. The hermanamientos (partnerships) continue as before and unfinished projects can be completed. The temporary policy applies to all new projects. This means that those organizations with hermanamientos may work in a county other than the one with which they have the hermanamiento IF they decide to take on new projects. I am not sure who was considered ahead in projects or behind in projects at the time this new decision was reached, but it is obvious that San Manuel is currently considered ahead. I do not know how other money is handled. Our concern was simply to clarify the policy on new projects in order that we could make an informed decision about whether to take on a large new project requiring foundation grants.

There are many factors affecting projects in the autonomous counties. One important factor is the effectiveness of the autonomous council in conceiving a project, getting it approved and in carrying out a project once financing is obtained. Another factor can be the effectiveness of a county’s hermanamiento. Some turn out well and work together effectively and others don’t. The personnel appointed to staff a project also play a decisive role in how much that project really helps the county. In other words, human nature plays a significant role in the degree of success these projects have. It boils down to the differences in human beings. I suspect these innate differences in us play a role in why one county is ahead and another is behind. I don’t think that any policy can equalize the differences in people, but it can certainly try to equalize the number of projects.
We also received important information concerning the secondary school in La Garrucha. The information we received this time is that the building has not been completed. It lacks a second floor. This is totally new information for us. We have asked many times about the secondary school and been told that the building was finished but the teachers weren’t ready. All four of the counties in the Garrucha region have children who have finished their primary school education and are ready for secondary school. But, there is no functioning secondary school within the region and transportation to the secondary school in Oventik is too expensive. Thus, all 4 counties have an interest in seeing this school get up and running. Finding the compañeros to go through the capacity building program for teachers and then go on to work teaching the children may be difficult, but not impossible. The time away from their families and fields is a hardship and keeps some from volunteering, but it won’t deter everyone.

A tour of the primary school in Emiliano Zapata revealed the need for primary school supplies: desks, chairs, paper, pencils, chalk, crayons and pens. I would not be surprised if this were the situation in the majority of schools throughout this region. An experienced education promoter (teacher) told us that it had been decided that each county should have its own capacity building (training) center for teachers. We were told that one of the two counties without such a center was San Manuel. Apparently the construction of these new centers has been approved, but we do not know when they will be ready to ask for funding. Health and education are coordinated regionally and it is not clear to this writer exactly how these decisions are made. We need to probe further into the issue of the secondary school and the capacity building center for education promoters on our next visit to La Garrucha and San Manuel.

The region has seen tremendous advances in health over the past 3 years. Francisco Gómez County now has a Women’s Clinic in La Garrucha (in addition to its regional clinic) capable of providing high-level OB/GYN services to women. This was part of the huge Basque Country health care project that also constructed a basic clinic in each of the 3 remaining counties: San Manuel, Ricardo Flores Magón, and Francisco Villa. All the clinics have dormitories for the health promoters who are on duty there, as well as for those who come for capacity building workshops. La Garrucha has a large building with dormitories to house health promoters from throughout the region when they are in the Caracol for capacity building. San Manuel inaugurated its Compañera Lucha Clinic in December 2008 and it is now serving patients. Francisco Villa plans to inaugurate its new clinic as soon as it gets enough money together to pay for a big celebration. I have no information about an inarguration date for Ricardo Flores Magón, but I have been told that its clinic is complete and operational. As in other regions, the region of La Garrucha has a vaccination program and a maternal health program carried out by its health promoters. San Manuel also has 3 micro clinics, one in each of the 3 canyons that make up the county. Micro clinics are distributed throughout all four counties.

We promised to return in July to follow-up on the Pharmacy Warehouse and to learn more about some of the region’s plans. We are also concerned about the health of a good friend in San Manuel who was sick while we were there.
Oventik and Polhó

We next visited the Caracol of Oventik in order to do a little shopping and also to ask for permission to visit San Pedro Polhó autonomous county (Polhó). After visiting the Junta, we stopped at the Che Guevara store and then continued on to Polhó. A crime against public health is taking place in Acteal, a community within the boundaries of Polhó, which has some displaced Zapatistas living there. Chenalhó County, the name of the official government county, has created a garbage dump adjacent to a camp of displaced Zapatistas in Acteal. The Chenalhó county government dumps all kinds of waste in this open-air dump, including the bodies of dead animals. Acteal is near the county line with Pantelhó, which has also started using the same garbage dump. We asked both the Junta and the representative of the autonomous council what, if anything, they were going to do about the dump. They said they had not yet decided, but it was clear that they would do something. We bought artesanía from one of the two weaving cooperatives in Polhó before returning to San Cristóbal.

We would urge folks who visit Chiapas to take the time to visit the women weavers in Polhó and to buy some of their beautiful artesanía. The purchase of their artesanía enables the women to supplement their family’s basic diet with fruit and vegetables. The women in the two weaving cooperatives are Zapatistas displaced by paramilitary violence in 1997. The basic diet for the camps of displaced people is 3 tortillas per day, one serving of beans per day and meat once a month. The income they earn from selling artesanía goes to supplement that basic diet. One of the cooperatives, Comandanta Ramona, is on the highway, not far from the main entrance gate to Polhó, and it is not necessary to get permission from Oventik to shop there. The other cooperative, Nueva Esperanza, is inside the gate and requires permission to enter.
Comments

Although this was a working visit, we were able to enjoy a few meals with friends, dinner at our favorite cheap restaurant, and a cup of hot chocolate at a wonderful place called “Chocolate.” It was also a more “typical” visit than the one in January, in the sense that there were no Encuentros or Festivals. Life was a little slower and people were just going about their daily routines. On the surface, it appeared very calm. We mentioned that to a long-time friend we encountered while in La Garrucha. She raised her eyebrows and rolled her eyes in disagreement with that statement, but did not go on to explain.

Actually, no explanation was necessary.

Given all the fuss and publicity about drug-related violence in Mexico, I feel compelled to add that in spite of what lies just below the surface of daily life in Chiapas, the EZLN’s total ban on narcotics (growing, consuming or dealing) makes its communities an exception to the current drug-related violence experienced by many other (non-Zapatista) communities in Mexico.

=====================
Mary Ann Tenuto Sánchez
Chiapas Support Committee
March 2009
cezmat@igc.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