STATEMENT ABOUT THE BAZ OF THE COMMUNITIES OF COMANDANTE ABEL AND UNIÓN HIDALGO
Compañeras and compañeros:
We have received the new public denouncement which was sent by the Good Government Council, “New seed that will produce”, of Caracol V: that speaks for all, Roberto Barrios, Chiapas, Mexico.
This denouncement fills us with rage and anger and with the desire to keep on struggling to put an end to the systematic repression which is being implemented by the bad government in its war against the resistance of the Zapatistas, and at the same time, the resistance of all those from below.
Once again, we would like to offer our small words, in these very hard times, so as to echo the denouncement made by our Zapatista sisters and brothers. We, from this corner of the world, here on the “other side,” also denounce the conditions and the aggressions which the support bases of Comandante Abel and Unión Hidalgo are enduring. From threats to displacements, these conditions have been both a constant nightmare and a strategy of the forces of those from above.
It makes us angry to know that the aggressors are continuing to unjustly occupy the lands of our compas, and that more “coyotes” and police keep arriving to reinforce these invaders. The bad government, the main tool of global capital, promotes this network of misery in order to continue advancing with its colonial plans and projects. As our compas from the Good Government Council explain:
“It can be clearly seen that between the police and the paramilitaries there is one single force and that this has only one aim which results in their belligerent criminal actions; the main objective of the police is that which they are ordered to do by their bosses, Felipe Calderón, Juan Sabines, Artemio Gómez Sánchez, Mayor of Sabanilla, and Limber Gutiérrez Gómez, Mayor of Tila: to prepare and train the invaders well and to feel quite safe to perform their acts of making threats, robbery, intimidation and harassment.”
The government and its people have their strategies, their violence, their terror. But we state here that we also have an option in the face of so much repression: we have the option to organize ourselves and to fight for justice, dignity, and autonomy.
Already innumerable dignified hearts of different languages and different colors are doing this. Through the campaign “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas” we have achieved the construction of a campaign of those dignified hearts beating in more than 24 countries on this planet. Since we are in the middle of the second stage, “From Truth to Action, Stopping the Repression”, we invite everyone who, with us, feels anger and rage in their chests, to join this campaign and organize protests to further increase the pressure on the bad government of Mexico. Our demand is justice for the Zapatista communities under siege, and freedom for the Zapatista political prisoner Francisco Sántiz López.
Together we will make sure that this option becomes a permanent reality.
Enough of all this repression!
The Zapatista communities live!
From El Barrio, New York …
Movement for Justice in El Barrio The Other Campaign New York
For over 18 years, the autonomous indigenous communities of Zapatista Support Base members (BAZ) have formed the backbone of the Zapatista Resistance Movement. As a direct consequence, they have been the primary targets of the bad government of Mexico, in its three levels, which has sought to repress and undermine this movement of indigenous peoples that has, in profound ways, changed the face and character of the global struggle for justice.
The conditions surrounding the BAZ community of Comandante Abel, currently under siege and occupied by an armed attack group, commanded by the bad government of Mexico, are EXTREMELY URGENT. Beginning on September 6th and 7th, and until the present, the paramilitary group “Peace and Justice” has carried out an armed invasion into Zapatista territory in the Comandante Abel ejido (BAZ). As a result, the entire community was violently displaced and several people were disappeared for some time while they sought refuge from the violence. Many remain severely ill. The Zapatistas’ land remains occupied by the aggressors, who are currently constructing their own houses as a way to perpetuate the occupation.
Through the international campaign “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas,” numerous organizations, collectives, and people are supporting Zapatista communities such as Comandante Abel and San Marcos Avilés and demanding an end to the government-backed violence and repression. To learn more about this campaign and the community of Comandante Abel, we have put together the following information.
CARAVAN OF SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT TO CARACOL V “WHICH SPEAKS FOR ALL”
“This land has already been allocated to those who actually work it and live on it “: Zapatista supporters
Chiapas, Mexico. “The bad government should be ashamed of claiming that their police protect and safeguard the social order and keep the peace, when, right in front of them, thefts, threats, paramilitary actions, gunshots, evictions, dispossession of the lands and crops of our compañeros are all committed”, declared members of the Good Government Junta (JBG), “New Seed that is going to produce”, from the Northern Zone of Chiapas.
“We ask them what do they want to achieve with all these acts? Say what you want, speak clearly as we have, better to say that you want to kill, displace, assassinate, rob. Such a shame that in Mexico there is a bad government that instead of having intelligence in its head has shit for brains”, the Zapatistas continued.
In recent days, support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN ) from Comandante Abel and Unión Hidalgo communities were evicted from their land and dispossessed of their crops, by paramilitaries from the municipio of Sabanilla, openly protected by the State’s Public Security forces.
This land – a field of approximately 11 hectares sown with maize – was occupied by the paramilitaries on 6th September, they have “already handed everyone a piece of land. The invaders stole and harvested everything, left nothing and are now sowing beans” the Zapatista JBG denounced.
On September 8th, about 150 aggressors began firing bullets, until the situation was no longer bearable, so many people fled to the autonomous Zapatista community of San Marcos, which extends from Sabanilla towards Tabasco. Despite the danger, 22 men and five women who have no young children decided to remain to protect their land, animals, property and, above all, their life.
On 12th September, the JBG described the gravity of the situation through a communiqué: women and children had been displaced, and there were a total of 14 people missing from the new community of Comandante Abel and the nearby community of Unión Hidalgo.
The new community Comandante Abel is located on land which was recuperated by the EZLN in 1994. Until a few months ago, the population that lived there was living in the community of San Patricio, peacefully resisting multiple paramilitary attacks. Exactly one year ago, they were displaced because their lands were invaded by paramilitaries from Ostilucum, a nearby community. The community managed to return, but lost their crops. The threats of a new invasion and possible massacre increased, and the families of EZLN support bases made the decision to move to their previous land plot, known as “Lámpara”. In spite of this, the threats continued, and on 6th September paramilitaries from Unión Hidalgo invaded the lands of the new community of Comandante Abel, letting off shots at the families, who fled to the mountain.
The attacks continued: on 16th October, paramilitaries fired shots until 3 am, the last of these happened [only] 150 metres away from the house of a support base. That night the gunfire started again, and the next day 15 public safety officers arrived at the scene.
On 24th October, reinforcements for the invaders arrived from Unión Hidalgo, who are now occupying the land taken from the support bases; and on the 25th, on the occupied land, “the paramilitaries, in three groups, carried out military-style movements bearing heavy weapons” and sent a commission to the police camp.
Every day the police patrol the area from Sabanilla to San Patricio, and during the evenings and nights, from San Patricio to the place occupied by the paramilitaries and to Unión Hidalgo. The invaders and police are virtually working as one. “It can be clearly seen that they are a single force” and that one single leadership “drives their actions”. In a communiqué the JBG argues that the goal is that the police, “commanded” by President Felipe Calderón and Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero, “train the invaders”. Also they belie the official statement, made on the 9th October, in which it states that groups from Unión Hidalgo and San Patricio requested the presence of the police, and that the rights of the members of the EZLN have been respected.
The reinforcing of the police, rather than removing the invaders from the Zapatistas’ land, “promotes violence in order to impose their own regularization of the land”, even though this land “has already been allocated to those who work it and live on it”, states the JBG.
Since 2000, the support base families have rejected the government’s welfare programmes. It was then that the threats from PRI supporters linked to the paramilitary group “Paz y Justicia” in their community started. A year ago the threats worsened. “They announced through loudspeakers that if they were not given the lands of Comandante Abel, they said we would be the ones to suffer, and they told us they were going to massacre us,” they denounced from Chiapas.
For over 18 years, the Mexican government has waged a “low intensity” war against the Zapatista communities. Counterinsurgency plans, developed with the help of the United States after the armed uprising of the EZLN, created a framework that is still in operation today.
The message given by the Good Government Juntas in their communiqués is clear: the State supports the paramilitary groups, and, through manipulation, lies and promises of land and resources, encourages certain groups to take hostile and aggressive positions against those who resist and oppose being co-opted. In this way, welfare projects, implemented above all in areas where the people are in resistance, use counterinsurgency tactics called ‘soft line strategies’ to appease hunger, create dependency and discourage resistance.
Article printed from Desinformémonos: http://desinformemonos.org
Caracol V which speaks for all, Roberto Barrios, Chiapas, Mexico
29 October 2012
To national and International civil society organizations
To members of the Other Campaign
To the Sixth International
To alternative media
To independent human rights organizations
To national and international media
Compañeras and compañeros
Brothers and sisters from Mexico and the world
[From the] Council of Good Government, New Seed Which Will Grow, in the Northern Zone of Chiapas, Mexico. We publish this fourth denunciation of threats, enforced displacement, theft and intimidation by public security forces suffered by our communities, including the Comandante Abel and Unión Hidalgo villages and by men, women and children of Zapatista supporting communities.
1. The lands of our compañeros occupied by paramilitaries from Union Hidalgo on the 6 September have already been shared out among the invaders, who started to measure them on the 25 September, and finished the work on 21 October, in order to hand out a part to each.
- As mentioned in previous denunciations, 11 hectares of maize belonging to the compañeros were taken over in their entirety by the invaders who stole everything they could harvest, leaving nothing; they have now taken everything from the 11 hectares and are re-sowing it with beans.
- On October 24 at 8 o´clock at night the invaders who were occupying the lands recovered by our compañeros were reinforced with others from Union Hidalgo
2. This conflict continues to affect our Zapatista compañeros who live in Union Hidalgo who remain guarding their houses and belongings to prevent their families being evicted to other communities in the face of the severe threats made to them by the paramilitaries from the area, as reported in our second denunciation on 11 September.
In the early hours 16 October, at 1am, paramilitaries from the Union Hidalgo community let off five shots in one go with heavy calibre weapons, repeating this action every 15 minutes until 3 in the morning. In total they fired on 13 occasions; the last of these being at a distance of 150 metres from the house of Zapatista compañero. At 10 o’clock on the night of the same day they let off two rounds at once, continuing this until midnight. In order to continue the threats and intimidation, 15 police arrived in Union Hidalgo on 17 October.
On October 25 at 5.30 in the afternoon the paramilitaries, armed with heavy calibre weapons, carried out military style manoeuvres in three groups of 6 people in the invaded area. This included sending a commission of 4 people from the occupiers forces towards the police encampments. Later on, at 6 in the evening the police also moved towards the river close to where the invaders had taken up position. At 8 at night, the police let off three shots in the place they had stationed themselves.
The public security police undertake daily patrols during the day from Sabanilla to San Patricio, and in the afternoons and nights move from San Patricio towards the area occupied by the invaders, and to Union Hidalgo. When the invaders move around, the police do the same: it can be clearly seen that the police and the paramilitaries are a single force and are under a single command, which directs them to carry out warlike and criminal actions. The principal objective of the police is to follow the orders of their bosses, Felipe Calderon, Juan Sabines, Artemio Gomez Sanchez (the municipal president of Sabanilla) and Limber Gutierrez Gomez, the municipal president of Tila, to prepare and train the invaders so that they feel free to make threats, to rob, intimidate and harass.
The bad government says, in its proclamation dated 9 October 2012, that the communities of San Patricio and Union Hidalgo were in common agreement in asking for the state government to establish a police presence, with the aim of bringing order and peaceful coexistence to the inhabitants of the area. They also indicated that they would respect the rights of the EZLN supporters.
What need does this paramilitary group have of the police when they themselves have invaded the lands of the Zapatista compañeros?
What need does this paramilitary group have when they themselves have driven out women and children with the continual shots that they let off?
What need of a police presence does this paramilitary group have in a place where they are driving out, invading, robbing and sacking the belongings of our compañeros right in front of their eyes?
What need of a police presence is there in a place where the paramilitaries, in the very company of the police, carry out acts of intimidation, threats and warlike provocations?
What type of danger does this paramilitary group face that the bad government needs to provide a police presence and listen to the [paramilitaries’] requests?
What type of aggressions, robbery, threats and intimidation are the Zapatista supporters carrying out that the paramilitaries respond by “providing them with security”?
What need of the police does a paramilitary group have, when it is armed and ready to carry out evictions, threats or intimidatory acts against a group of men, women and children who live by working and cultivating their lands in order to sustain their families and children, which they do without responding to the aggression of these violent and criminal actions, including robbery, enforced displacement and evictions?
The bad government should hold its head in shame to claim that its police are there to safeguard order and social peace, when right in front of them robbery, threats, movement of paramilitaries and the firing of heavy calibre weapons is carried out. This is the kind of thing that mentally ill, drunk or drugged-up people might say. What they should state clearly is that the police have been sent to protect the paramilitaries, so the latter can evict, pillage and steal the harvest of our Zapatista compañeros.
History makes no mistake: the bad government has always sent its police and paramilitaries to rob, kill, disappear, evict and despoil poor and innocent people who struggle to live. We have kept this history in the heart of our peoples, that they did just this in 1995, 1996 and 1997, in the municipalities of Sabanilla, in the lowland zone of Tila, carrying out robberies, assassinations, disappearances, evictions, and the burning out of innocent families from their homes. And until now none of those responsible has been punished, on the contrary the bad government has protected them, that is to say no justice has been done, in just the same way as what happened at Acteal and El Bosque municipality in Chiapas, at Atenco, in Oaxaca, and further back, in the 1968 [massacre] of students, and with many other killings in our country.
The bad government of Felipe Calderon and Juan Sabines have done nothing to resolve the conflict or the crimes committed by paramilitary groups. On the contrary, they send police reinforcements for the invaders instead of removing that group from the lands recovered by our compañeros, promoting violence in order to impose their project.
We have said before, and continue to maintain, that we are not going to allow the lands recovered in 1994 to be taken from us. The claim that they will be legalised in our favour is rubbish, and it’s not what we are demanding. This land has already been allocated to those who work it and live on it. On 29 April we, the Council of Good Government went in good faith to the community, bringing together the two sides, that is the Zapatista supporters and the officialistas, without taking account of political affiliation, without cheating and without using funds to buy the authorities or representatives behind the backs of the community in order to screw the people. We went and met with the authorities as well as members of the community, taking into account those who have lived and worked on the land for many years to support their families and children.
We proposed that the villages of San Patricio and Los Angeles remain with the oficialistas, so that they can live and work it to support their families and children, because we know that they have a total right to it because of the time they have lived and worked it. To our own Zapatistas, we proposed they remain in the La Lampara area. This was accepted by both the officialista and autonomous sides, and even though we had to bear the costs of relocation, we did it with good will and in the good faith we have as Zapatistas, to avoid confrontations that arise through ideological differences, and so that each group can live in harmony, enjoying its agrarian rights and leading their lives and organizing themselves in the way that each group sees fit. A agreement was made to separate the two sides of the community, signed and sealed by both parties, autonomous and oficialistas.
In constructing our autonomy and in the exercise of our own self-government, we decline to recognise the term land regularization, which the bad government uses as an instrument to manipulate the people who can be fooled with the ruse that with legal papers they will live in peace and be the masters of their own lands and will live better Later on, this is used to justify legal despoilment, because the lands have become a good that can be bought and sold through legal paperwork.
We ask ourselves: what remains of the rights of the Indian peoples, the first inhabitants of Mexican lands, the right to self-government and to free self-determination, as set out in international agreements and the San Andres Accords?
For this reason we say that the bad governments should recall their criminal gangs, or if not we will eject them ourselves. If anyone gets killed the government will be guilty and responsible for the spilled blood: it will add another charge to the more than 70,000 dead, killed on the orders of the government at national level.
We sustain our case with our [previous] three denunciations: if you have not read them you can do so now.
You should know that this is not the first time that they have sent paramilitary assassins to invade, with the support of the government. The first time was the 10 September 2011 when they took all our compañeros’ belongings. The most recent time was the 6 September 2012 when they stole the whole harvest. It isn’t just that our Zapatista compañeros continue working just to feed the mouths and backsides of the paramilitaries along with their wives, and along with those who have robbed the economy of the Mexican people and who go on enjoying life with their wives and children on the backs of poor people who work with sweat on their brows to survive even while you [the government] get fat like farm pigs who have no mothers.
We ask you [the government]: what do you want to achieve through these acts? Say what you want, speak clearly as we have, better to say that you want to kill, despoil, assassinate, rob. Such a shame that in Mexico there is a bad government that instead of having intelligence in its head has shit for brains.
Compañeros and Compañeras, Brothers and Sisters, we ask you to be aware of this very difficult situation that our people in resistance are living.
To rule by obeying
This document has the seal of the Council of Good Government, New Seed Which Will Grow, and is signed by its representatives in turn:
Paulina López Trujillo, José Martínez Flores, Angélica López Mondejos and
Juventino Jiménez Pérez
“Officialist” paramilitaries dispossess Zapatista Support Bases, Denounces Junta
** When the aggressors mobilize, the Chiapas police do too, they insist
By: Hermann Bellinghausen
The Good Government Junta ‘New Seed that is going to Produce’, in the Northern Zone of Chiapas, denounced the total dispossession of lands and crops from the support bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) in the communities of Comandante Abel and Unión Hidalgo, perpetrated by paramilitaries from Sabanilla municipality, with the open protection of public security (state police), which hides the training in combat of civilians from San Patricio, Unión Hidalgo and other villages.
“Our compañeros’ land, which was occupied by paramilitaries from Unión Hidalgo on September 6”, ended up being distributed on October 21. They harvested and stole 11 hectares of corn, and returned to the bean field. Reinforcements arrived on October 24 from Unión Hidalgo. The conflict continues to affect the Zapatistas in the community, who “stayed to care for their houses and belongings because of the displacement of their families due to the threats,” adds the Junta, which already denounced this on September 11.
In the very early hours of October 16, the paramilitaries fired shots with firearms until 3 o’clock in the morning; the latter “150 metres (less than 500 yards) from a compañero’s house.”
That night the shots returned, and the next day, “to continue the threats and harassment, 15 (agents) arrived from public security.” On the 25th, on the invaded land, “the paramilitaries made military-style movements in three groups with high calibre weapons,” and sent a commission to the police encampment. Afterwards the agents carried out movements close to the invaders, and fired three shots at 8 o’clock at night.
The police patrol during the day from Sabanilla to San Patricio, and in the afternoons and evenings from San Patricio to the place occupied by paramilitaries and to Unión Hidalgo.
When the invaders mobilize, the police do too; “one sees clearly that they are just one force” and only one command “directs their actions.” The Junta maintains that the objective is that, “ordered” by President Felipe Calderón and Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero, the police “train the invaders”.
And it contradicts the government version of October 9, which maintained that the groups in San Patricio and Unión Hidalgo, in an alleged common agreement, asked for a police presence, and that they “have respected the rights of the members of the EZLN.”
The autonomous authority asks: “What need does this paramilitary group have for police, when they are the ones who invade our compañeros’ land, and have displaced women and children?”
They evict, destroy, steal and loot in the presence of police, who also carry out “actions of intimidation and warlike provocations,” it says.
The Junta states: “the bad government ought to be ashamed saying that its police are for keeping order and peace” when “robberies, threats, paramilitary movements and shots exist” right in front of them. The government “should say clearly that it sent the police so (that) its paramilitaries could evict our compañeros,” and “it has done nothing to resolve the conflict.”
On the contrary, it sent police reinforcements and, instead of removing the invaders from the Zapatistas’ land, “they promote violence to impose their regularization project,” despite the fact that this “land is already in the hands of those who really live on it and work it.”
The Junta recalls that on April 29 it went to San Patricio. “We got the two parties together, without a trap, without economic budgets for buying authorities or representatives behind the community’s back so that they reach an agreement to screw their community.” Meeting with authorities and community members, and considering those that worked those lands for many years, the Zapatistas proposed: “that the lands of San Patricio and Los Ángeles remain with the ‘officialists’, and that the Zapatista bases (remain) on the La Lámpara plot.” The parties accepted this.
“Although the relocation cost us, we did it to avoid confrontation,” in a way that “an official act of separation of the members of the farming nucleus was made, signed and sealed by the autonomous ones (the Zapatistas) and the ‘officialists’.”
The Zapatistas argue: “in the construction of our autonomy, we know that the word ‘regularization’ of lands,” is an “instrument” of the government “for manipulating the people who it lets deceive themselves with legal papers,” which later “will be used to justify a legal theft.”
They ask: “Where is the right of the Indian peoples, the first inhabitants of these lands, to exercise their self-government and self-determination, as laid down in international conventions and the San Andrés Accords?”
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Thursday, November 1, 2012
STATEMENT BY MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE IN EL BARRIO CONCERNING
THE ZAPATISTA COMMUNITIES OF COMANDANTE ABEL AND UNION HIDALGO
Compañeras and compañeros:
We, the women, men, Mexican immigrants of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, The Other Campaign New York, add our humble word to openly and fully denounce the violent invasion and acts of aggression that the bad government – through its paramilitary coyote groups – is carrying out against the Zapatista Support Bases of Comandante Abel and Unión Hidalgo.
The violence began on September 6th and persists to the present day. Among the revolting aggressions committed include the forced displacement of both communities and the ensuing illnesses that they are now suffering.
In accordance with the wise words of the Junta de Buen Gobierno “Nueva Semilla Que Va a Producir” (Good Government Council – New Seed that Will Produce), these aggressive attacks are ordered by the bad government of Mexico and form part of its “plan of counter-insurgency to weaken our people’s resistance.”
For over 18 years, they have been trying to extinguish the Zapatista Movement and, thereby, advance their projects of destruction, war, hunger, and death.
What can we do in light of this threat?
We must organize. We must grow stronger by combining our forces.
The task of organizing is absolutely urgent. We must organize everywhere. We must walk behind our compas, not only to follow their footprints, but to ensure that the liberation and autonomy that they are building may be ours as well. We must fight back from our respective corners of the world, under their leadership, as compañer@s in the struggle that we are.
We shall continue to construct strong support networks to back the Zapatista communities, today and always, and to take strategic action against the bad government. We shall disseminate the true word of our compas.
Let us, today and tomorrow, echo their “ENOUGH!” which awoke in us rage and courage.
Pressure, words, and protest are our tools in this struggle. Now is the time to use them against our shared enemy.
ENOUGH OF THE LIES!
ENOUGH OF THE REPRESION!
LONG LIVE THE ZAPATISTAS!
Movement for Justice in El Barrio
The Other Campaign New York
Groups from the PRI and PVEM Invade Zapatista communities and Stir Up Agrarian Conflicts
** EZLN sympathizers have not gone through the process of titling their lands because they are in resistance
** Paramilitary attacks are added to displacements by political parties
** The Good Government Junta in Oventic has suffered attacks
Photo: Víctor Camacho
By: Hermann Bellinghausen,
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, October 4, 2012
The rise of paramilitaries in Chiapas is accompanied by a substratum of alleged agrarian conflicts, most of them unfounded but fuelled by politicians from the parties and government officials, and directed against lands recuperated by the support bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, its initials in Spanish), the majority occupied and worked by rebel communities for 10 or 15 years now. In particular groups from the PRI, and recently the PVEM, using it as electoral spoils, invade or threaten to invade, plots of land and even Zapatista villages, taking advantage of the fact that they, by remaining in resistance, do not process any agrarian titling with the State, because they follow their revolutionary laws through the Good Government Juntas (Juntas).
An analysis, which has been seen by La Jornada, documents these “conflicts” and identifies the invader or aggressor groups: PRI, PVEM, PRD, PAN, or rather organizations like Paz y Justicia (and its derivatives: Uciaf and Opddic), Orcao, Cioac or Aric. In one very recent denunciation, Las Abejas confirmed the reactivation of “Máscara Roja” (Red Mask) in Chenalhó, who have been identified as the perpetrators of the Acteal Massacre in 1997. Other Campaign communities (Jotolá, Mitzitón, San Sebastián Bachajón) are also attacked through religious “conflicts” (Ejército de Dios) or ejidal differences.
This is the scenario inherited by the PVEM-PRI alliance, headed by Manuel Velasco Coello, which shortly will govern the state. Most of the paramilitary groups, agrarian invaders and municipal governments involved belong to their ranks.
In an analysis, the investigator Arturo Lomelí identifies the principal places (not the only ones) where offences and unsolved crimes have taken place in recent years, especially from 2010 to 2012. He points out in there that, starting in 1994, between 250,000 and 750,000 hectares (there is no conclusive data)  were occupied in Ocosingo, Chilón, Sitalá, Yajalón, Tila, Tumbalá, Sabanilla, Salto de Agua, Palenque, Altamirano, Las Margaritas and Comitán, among other municipalities. Under the protection of the Zapatista rebellion, OCEZ, Cioac, ARIC, CNPA, OPEZ, Xinich, Orcao and Tsoblej, side by side with the Zapatistas, “recuperated” and founded new communities. In 2000, when leaders of these organizations were incorporated into the state or municipal government, “they were given the task of regularizing (legalizing) the plots of land, and as the Zapatistas did not enter into those negotiations, the organizations claimed their plots of land.” These organizations are the electoral base of the parties –Lomelí maintains– and the dynamics of betrayal initiated by Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía were maintained under Juan Sabines Guerrero.
The conflicts involve the five Juntas. The Junta of Morelia has been very busy. Primero de Enero community (Lucio Cabañas autonomous municipality) was invaded in August 2011 by Orcao members, who had already obtained lands thanks to the Zapatista Uprising. As in other cases, after 2000 they abandoned their agreement to “recuperate” and reached agreement with the government in return for programs and more of the Zapatistas’ land. Orcao has also advanced against Los Mártires (Lucio Cabañas).
Other communities and plots of Zapatista land under siege are Bolón Ajaw and Santa Rosalía. In Agua Clara (Comandanta Ramona autonomous municipality) “dangerous criminals operate, advised by the ex military Carlos Jiménez López.” In 2010, residents of Nueva Virginia, Jalisco and Getzemaní, members of the Cioac and the PRD “entered onto Campo Alegre recuperated land where the autonomous municipalities of Lucio Cabañas, Comandanta Ramona and 17 de Noviembre are working,” according to the same Junta. In addition, 33 Zapatista families were dispossessed of their rights in Aldama, and the attacks against the support bases in Olga Isabel and K’an Akil persist; they have even been shot at by “paramilitaries of Opddic,” who also have attacked the new 21 de Abril community.
The La Garrucha Junta denounced that the Puerto Arturo and San José Las Flores neighborhoods seek to take away 178 hectares of recuperated land from Nuevo Purísima (Francisco Gómez autonomous municipality) in Ocosingo. They also denounced aggressions and detentions of Zapatistas by paramilitaries in Peña Limonar, as well as plunder in Laguna San Pedro, violence in Casa Blanca and harassment in Toniná. Groups from Las Conchitas and P’ojcol (Chilón), as well as Guadalupe Victoria, who are “paramilitaries,” according to the Junta, members of Orcao and of political parties, violently occupied recuperated lands in Nuevo Paraíso (Francisco Villa autonomous municipality).
In the Northern Zone, the situation is alarming, according to reports from the Junta of Roberto Barrios. Last year, Zapatistas in San Patricio (La Dignidad autonomous municipality) were displaced from their lands by villagers from Ostealukum, El Paraíso, El Calvario and Rancho Guadalupe (Sabanilla). The autonomous Zapatistas then founded Comandante Abel, but this September they were expelled, with support from the police and the state government, as well as from Unión Hidalgo. A few years ago, in Choles de Tumbalá (El Trabajo autonomous municipality), there were houses burned and persecution by members of Xinich-Official.
The Junta of La Realidad documented how in the Monte Redondo ejido (Frontera Comalapa), EZLN support bases of Tierra y Libertad autonomous municipality were plundered of milpas and coffee fields by people from the PVEM, PRD and PRI political parties, who even sold plots of land to third parties. Other aggressions come from the PAN organization, known as Aciac, against Che Guevara community, and in Espíritu Santo by people from the PRD, Cioac and PRI. And in Veracruz (community), there were attacks on the warehouse belonging to San Pedro de Michoacán autonomous municipality.
Lastly, the Oventic Junta confronts a grave conflict in San Marcos Avilés (Chilón), where its bases have been attacked, expelled or robbed by “Greens,” and both PRD and PRI members. In El Pozo, Cruztón and Ts’uluwits (San Juan Apóstol Cancuc autonomous municipality), as well as in Zinacantán, the PRI and PRD members have not stopped harassing the Zapatistas.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Escalation of paramilitary activity against Zapatistas in Chiapas denounced
83 people have been displaced for three weeks from the indigenous communities of Commander Abel and Union Hidalgo
Sent by Hermann Bellinghausen
Posted: 01/10/2012 13:39
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas.
The Good Government Junta of the Zapatista Caracol of Roberto Barrios, in the Northern Zone of Chiapas, denounced the direct participation of the state’s Secretary of Government, Noé Castañón León, in the planning and implementation of an escalation of paramilitary activity against the community of Comandante Abel and against the Zapatista support bases in Unión Hidalgo, which has led to the displacement of 83 indigenous who have now spent three weeks taking refuge in other communities.
In response to the government denial through a note to the press that police agents had fired on Comandante Abel, the Junta reiterated that on September 18, at noon, police deployed there by the state government fired two shots “to intimidate, just like the paramilitaries.”
The Junta maintains in a communiqué that: “the attacks, evictions, threats, robberies, intimidations and displacements continue.” They hold the federal government of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and the state government of Juan Sabines Guerrero responsible for the attack now in progress. The Junta states: “It is an act of cowardice to use people of the same race, in order to justify it as intercommunity conflicts.” The communities attacked belong to La Dignidad autonomous municipality, in the Chol region. On September 6, “paramilitaries from Unión Hidalgo and San Patricio took possession to invade and displace our compañeros from their lands,” the Junta says.
On September 12, paramilitaries looted the collective milpa (cornfield), “while others were on guard with high-caliber weapons.” The same day, a total of 11 vehicles arrived in San Patricio with police and judicial agents “to see where to set up their camp.”
The Junta details: “On September 13, Noé Castañón, Secretary General of Government, and Maximiliano Narváez Franco, assistant secretary, arrived in the Sabanilla municipal headquarters to meet with the invaders from Unión Hidalgo and the PRI members from San Patricio to confirm to them that the lands are theirs, justifying (it) with their legalization projects, undertaking to provide security by sending police patrols to take care of the invaders and to support them with materials for constructing their houses, like sheet metal, including delivering food supplies to the paramilitaries.
They began patrolling the recuperated land. On September 16, the police distributed sheet metal to the invaders from Unión Hidalgo and the PRI members from San Patricio who at the same tine remained in possession of the recuperated land, and they “immediately constructed their police encampment.”
On September 26, there was another meeting with state officials in Sabanilla: “they made a work minute between the representatives of the paramilitaries from Unión Hidalgo and the PRI members from San Patricio, with the theme of legalization in the name of the paramilitaries, leading them to believe that they are the rightful owners. They are using them to appropriate and displace our Zapatista support base compañeros from their lands.”
The theft of corn has continued and it intensified on the 27th and 28th September. “Since the invasion, the losses equal 22 tons of grains with a global price of 132,000 pesos, valued at 6 pesos per kilo.” They also denounce that the compañeros displaced from Unión Hidalgo “are strongly threatened by the paramilitaries who are organizing to appropriate their plots of land.”
The thefts “have been constant” in spite of the police presence. “It is seen clearly that the bad government has prepared these criminal acts,” says the Junta. “We have every reason to defend the lives and integrity of our compañeros,” adding, addressing themselves to the state and federal governments: “You are the real culprits and the masterminds of the criminal acts that our support bases suffer. It is you who will be guilty of the consequences that may result, and who will have to account for and (be) judged before the history of the people of Mexico.”
300 days in prison
In other news, Francisco Lopez Santiz, Zapatista support base from Tenejapa, completed his 300th day in prison for no reason on Saturday, in the prison of San Cristobal. Initially he was accused of participating in an attack in the community of Banavil last December, without foundation, as was recognized by the judge.
However, a sudden new indictment, issued as he prepared to leave prison, prevented his departure and bogged down his case, with the charge of possession of a prohibited weapon, not only late but also unfounded, but very useful to keep the indigenous Zapatista as a virtual hostage on federal charges that no judge has dared to ratify.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
THIRD DENUNCIA: The Good Government Junta (JBG) “New seed that is going to produce” denounces for the 3rd time attacks and displacements experienced by Zapatista Support Bases (BAZ) in Comandante Abel and Uniόn Hidalgo.
We do not need documents signed by the bad government, because they are not the owners of the land. The true owners were our grandparents and great grandparents, so our compas work on the land and farm for the collective well-being; we will defend it at all costs.
GOOD GOVERNMENT JUNTA
NEW SEED THAT IS GOING TO PRODUCE
CARACOL V THAT SPEAKS FOR ALL
NORTHERN CHIAPAS, MEXICO.
29th SEPTEMBER 2012
To National and International Civil Society
To adherents to the Other Campaign
To the sixth international
To the alternative media
To Independent Human Rights bodies.
To the national and international press
Brothers and Sisters
The Good Government Junta makes public their third complaint (denuncia) about the continuous attacks, evictions, threats, robbery, intimidation and displacement our support bases are undergoing, men, women and children, from the new community of Comandante Abel and from Uniόn Hidalgo- located in the Autonomous Zapatista Rebel Municipality “Dignity”- at the hands of paramilitary communities from Uniόn Hidalgo and San Patricio. On 6th September they invaded and took possession of the lans of our compañeros with the intention to displace them.
1. On 12 September at 10am paramilitaries went into the collective cornfields of our compañeros and stole and cut firewood in large quantities, in the meantime, other paramilitaries were on guard carrying weapons. Once they finished cutting wood, they took it all to Uniόn Hidalgo.
On the same day at 2 pm seven judicial officers’ cars and three municipal police cars arrived at San Patricio. And at 6:00 pm a public protection car arrived to assess the area where their camp may be set up, this is to fulfil the bad government’s will to have a police presence in the area.
On 13th September in the municipal seat of Sabanilla, the general secretary Noe Castanon and the sub-secretary of the government, Maximiliano Narvaez Franco, met with the invaders from Uniόn Hidalgo and with the PRI supporters from San Patricio to confirm that the land belongs to them, justifying their position based on law, and committed themselves to provide public protecion and regular police patrolling to the invaders, an official security presence would guard the invaders and support them to get materials to build their houses, such as steel sheets, and even offered the paramilitaries food provisions.
Police patrolling started the same day on 13th September in the afternoon, as a way to demonstrate to the invaders and criminals that the government would keep to their promises.
On 16th September public protection officers and José Antonio López Pérez municipal security officer of Sabanilla arrived to introduce the police members to the invaders and to the PRI supporters from St. Patricio; they were carrying steel sheets for the construction of the police camp, remaining in possession of the recovered land, the invaders of Uniόn Hidalgo and PRI supporters from the community mentioned above immediately built a camp for the police, so as to feel better protected by the bad government.
On 18th September at 12 noon public protection staff, who were in possession of San Patricio, fired two shots with the intention of intimidating, like the paramilitaries.
On 14th September, they stole corn from our compañeros and ran away carrying it with 6 horses to their community of Uniόn Hidalgo, 8 armed men guarded them.
On 27th and 28th September the paramilitaries increased the theft of corn, and burned the fields again to replant them. The affected area of cornfields consists of 11 hectares, constantly plundered since the invasion; the amount of loss is around 22 tonnes of grains with a total price of 132,000 pesos, a kilogram being valued at 6 pesos.
2 – On 26th September, the head of the paramilitaries and PRI supporters from Uniόn Hidalgo held another meeting in the main area of Sabanilla, where issues around land ownership in favour of the paramilitaries were discussed. They were told that they have the rights, however, they are being used only with the intention to evict our compañeros Zapatistas support bases. The bad government’s strategy is to control the authorities of San Patricio, who are headed by Manuel Guzmán Cruz. They gave money to the paramilitaries to buy and manipulate the representatives of their community, so an agreement was made to legalise the land in favour of Uniόn Hidalgo. Maximiliano Narvaez Franco, sub-secretary of the local government, Héctor Andrés Gil Ajuria general secretary, Arturo Vasquez Jimenez political worker under the government of Tila, Genaro Pérez Vásquez Sabanilla’s mayor, Octavio Lopez Martinez Public Prosecutor of Yajalon Chiapas and Jose Antonio Lopez Perez protection adviser of Sabanilla, attended the meeting.
We also denounce that our evicted compañeros support bases from Uniόn Hidalgo community are strongly threatened by paramilitaries organizing to take away their land, there are 5 families affected by this situation.
3 – The impact that our colleagues are suffering since 6th September until now, as a consequence of their corn crops and other crops grown to sustain their families being taken over by the criminals, including areas near to the river. All these thefts have been constant, despite the police presence; it is clear that the bad government has arranged all these criminal acts, they do not see this as a crime because they are also the greatest thieves in our country, it is clear that the police presence makes the criminals feel free to commit all kinds of theft and crimes because they feel guarded and protected.
All these acts are arranged and organized by the bad government, making use of every trick against our companeros in resistance, aimed at destroying our dignified struggle. It is a cowardly attitude to use people from the same ethnicity and to claim that these are internal community problems.
The proposed legalization of the land is a way to privatize it and make business out of it, it is becoming a war plan they use to revoke our support base who really care for the land and work collectively.
The government’s plans attempt to gain money and government seats without caring about the suffering of men, women, children and the elderly
This land belongs to our compañeros because we recuperated it in the year 1994 with the blood of our fallen compañeros, since then they have been working and cultivating it to support their families and children; as Zapatistas, we also have our own way of ownership of land for the construction of our autonomy. We do not need documents signed by the bad governments because they are not the owners of the land, the true owners were our grandparents and great grandparents, that is why our compañeros work and produce for the collective good and will defend it at all costs.
4 – We tell Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, Juan Sabines Guerrero and all the municipal presidents involved not to be fools, not to use poor people to attack the same poor people who are fighting for a decent life, using the consequences of that same poverty that they, the governments themselves have created. People in resistance do not know how to go back or give up in our fight, so we say enough is enough, you will not be able to destroy this people determined to give everything to the last drop, no mediocre idiots using their government functions will destroy us. We have had enough of all these attacks, evictions and threats that you have done and created against our Zapatistas people, we have many reasons to defend the lives and safety of our compañeros.
You are the real culprits and masterminds of all these criminal acts which are being suffered by our bases of support, you are responsible for all the consequences that may happen, it is you who will be held to account and who will be prosecuted the fullness of time by the true history of the Mexican people.
Governing by obeying
TEXT BEARS THE STAMP OF THE GOOD GOVERNMENT JUNTA NEW SEED THAT IS GOING TO PRODUCE, SIGNED BY THE CURRENT REPRESENTATIVES.
Franco Ramírez Pérez
Efraín Gómez Pérez
Paulina López Trujillo
Estrella Sánchez Sánchez
Dozens of indigenous Chiapans flee from paramilitary aggression
** The situation in La Dignidad autonomous municipality is grave: Frayba
** The firing of shots forced EZLN supporters to take refuge in other communities
Around one hundred indigenous support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) from Comandante Abel and Unión Hidalgo communities, La Dignidad autonomous municipality, in Chiapas, are taking refuge in other communities. The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) considers the situation “grave.”
As the Good Government Junta (JBG) of Roberto Barrios denounced last September 8, 73 people from Comandante Abel were displaced by shots from a paramilitary group, linked to what is known as Desarrollo, Paz y Justicia (Development, Peace and Justice), and with the PRI. From September 6 to 19, the number of aggressors rose from 55 to 150, and they have constructed a camp 500 metres from the community. Other Zapatista families have had to abandon Unión Hidalgo, in Sabanilla.
An observation brigade formed by Other Campaign civil organisations and collectives visited the zone to meet with the displaced, and released a comprehensive report. It was able to verify several bullet impact holes in the autonomous school and the cooperative stores, “as well as the digging of foundation trenches 200 metres from the village.” According to the refugees, they have identified AR-15 weapons. During the night, the entrenched aggressors pointed their weapons at them.
Two days before starting their attacks, the paramilitaries met in San Patricio with the officials Eduardo Montoya, Maximiliano Narváez and Noé Castañón León, the latter being the (state) Interior Minister, and agents from Public Security, the report says. Armed individuals in military clothing arrived afterwards. Less that 30 residents remain in the community. Half of the 147 hectares of the village are “occupied” by the invaders. Some women escaped towards the river. “The children went into the woods and mountains without knowing where they were going. The shots came from very close by, buzzing above us, touching the wall of the house,” the women said. One explained: “I was serving customers in the shop; suddenly shots were let loose and the compañeras scattered. We went three days without eating or drinking.” Another relates: “the compañeras hid under rocks and trees; we had two compañeras disappeared. They appeared three days later in San Marcos.”
Since September 16, the state Public Security has had a control (post) at the entrance, which seems to be for protecting the invaders. On September 18, the police fired shots.
The paramilitaries have occupied the autonomous health clinic (casa de salud). “They want to evict the support bases; many cornfields have been invaded. Animals and pastures are being laid waste, the paramilitaries cut the wire fences, and destroy the crops.” They place responsibility on the government: “It is their policy of war and attrition to make us surrender. We will not stop our struggle and we are not going to give up.”
In San Marcos autonomous community, the observers found those displaced from Comandante Abel in “precarious conditions.” Four women are pregnant and there is a “fear of spontaneous abortions.” One of the women who went missing after the attack says: “they chased us with bullets, and when we arrived in this place we were already sick. We did not follow the path, but went through the canyon. I felt like there was a jaguar after me, I was lost and terrified, I felt as if I was no longer in the world.” Now the health promoters and midwives of San Marcos are looking after them.
In Zaquitel Ojo de Agua, there are another twelve people, displaced from Unión Hidalgo, where some young people remain to care for the chickens, pigs and turkeys, without being able to leave. They are threatened by members of the PRI, who hide to shoot at them. Through a loudspeaker the paramilitaries are announcing, “day and night, that they are going to ‘eat’ us, because we are outlaws, we are beyond the reach of justice and the law,” they say. “If the paramilitaries do not succeed in taking over Comandante Abel community, they say that they are going to massacre us.” Members of the Junta declared in their turn: “the government buys people, and then persuades them to take our land.”
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Wednesday, September 26, 2012
SIPAZ: Special bulletin regarding the situation in Nuevo Poblado Comandante Abel, Sabanilla, northern zone of Chiapas
Cordial greetings from the SIPAZ team in Chiapas,
We would presently like to share with you the Report of the Caravan for Solidarity and Documentation in Nuevo Poblado Comandante Abel (Spanish) which was carried out from 18 to 20 September 2012 toward the end of documenting possible human-rights violations in this community that pertains to the autonomous municipality of La Dignidad (official municipality of Sabanilla) in the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, Mexico.
Members of the following organizations, national and international, participated in the mission: the Space of Struggle against Forgetting and Repression (ELCOR), the Network against Repression and for Solidarity, the Work Group “We Are Not All Here,” the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba), Promedios for Communal Communication, the Center for Women’s Rights Chiapas, the Center for Free Media, Radio Votán Zapata, the Norwegian Committee for Solidarity with Latin America (LAG), and the International Service for Peace.
The Caravan carried out various interviews in the following communities: Nuevo Poblado Comandante Abel, San Marcos, and Zaquitel Ojo de Agua, all of which pertain to the autonomous municipality of La Dignidad. The latter two are locations where Zapatista support-bases found refuge following the violent acts recently experienced in the Comandante Abel community.
Report of the caravan for Solidarity and Documentation in Nuevo Poblado Comandante Abel (in Spanish) 695.63 Kb
Findings of the report:
In Nuevo Poblado Comandante Abel, seventy-five Zapatista supporters were forcibly displaced, as the number of aggressors increased from 55 to 150 between 6 and 19 September. The attackers built a camp 500 meters from the Zapatistas, erecting 7 houses. Several bullet-holes could be observed in the walls of the Autonomous School and the Cooperative Stores, as well as in the foundations of trenches on the shore of the river located 200 meters from the community. The Zapatista support-bases mentioned that they identified the weapons used as R-15; they also report that during the night the aggressors install themselves in the trenches, training their weapons in the direction in which the Zapatistas are located. The community there is comprised of 147 hectares, half of which have been occupied by the invaders. The ongoing siege of the community makes difficult the management of cattle. A Public Security post was established on 16 September some 400 meters from the entrance to the community. The Zapatista support-bases relate that on 18 September, members of the police discharged their firearms twice during the morning.
The Zapatista support-bases denounce that “On 4 September Eduardo Montoya, Maximiliano Narváez, and Noé Castañón arrived at the community together with State Public Security to meet with the paramilitaries, to telll them that the land belongs to them.”
In the autonomous community of San Marcos, the members of the Caravan found sixteen women, twenty-one youth, and thirty-five children—Zapatistas—from Nuevo Poblado Comandante Abel who have been displaced since 8 September. Their living conditions are precarious. The Autonomous School where the women have been staying with their children is small, and disease has spread there. The two women and two children who had previously been reported by the Good-Government Council as missing were found on 11 September. All of them left behind their maize, chickens, pigs, and turkeys. The sick are being attended to by health promoters, but they continue ill.
In the Zaquitel Ojo de Agua community can be found four women, four children, and four adult males who belong to the Unión Hidalgo community. They told us that some of their comrades have remained in the community to look after the children, pigs, and turkeys, but that they cannot exit to work, find firewood, or collect maize, such that they suffer from hunger. They are threatened with death by PRI members who hide to fire upon them. The Zapatista support-bases mentioned that they have not lost any of their belongings. The situation of the displaced, as related to us by the victims themselves, is marked by suffering, for they find themselves ill with high temperatures, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea. With only two sets of clothes, the children face a similar situation. Their comrades from Unión Hidalgo are supporting them with food. In the community death-threats continue day and night, and the aggressors continue shooting.
We members who participated in the Caravan for Solidarity and Documentation in Comandante Abel share a strong concern for the situation faced by the Zapatista support-bases. Above all, illness is affecting the women and children who had to spend several nights exposed to the elements during the cold of September, putting their lives at risk.
We are alarmed that during our interviews the Zapatista support-bases detailed the links that exist between the aggresors, some of them being identified as members of Paz y Justicia, and governmental officials of Chiapas, whether currently or formerly serving. Beyond this, we see as worrying the control-post installed by state Public Security at the entrance of Nuevo Poblado Comandante Abel, which has been the origin of shots fired into the air on at least one occasion, as testimony shows.
We observe that while the families who are part of the Zapatista support-bases seek peaceful forms of resistance, the attackers operate openly and with impunity. The increase in aggressions has now been warned about in the denunciations published during the past two months by the Good-Government Councils of Oventik, Realidad, Morelia, and Garrucha.
See more: Report of the caravan for Solidarity and Documentation in Nuevo Poblado Comandante Abel (in Spanish) (September 24, 2012)
Update to Urgent Action No. 02 CDHFBC: Forced displacement of 83 Zapatista support-bases in two communities (September 24, 2012)
Enforced expulsion and disappearance of EZLN civilian supporters in the autonomous community of Comandante Abel, Chiapas.
Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Centre
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México
16 September 2012
AU No. 02
- Enforced expulsion and disappearance of EZLN civilian supporters in the autonomous community of Comandante Abel, Chiapas.
- Departure of a caravan of solidarity and support to the EZLN Supporters
The Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Centre has news that civilian supporters of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) from the Comandante Abel community, in the Zapatista Autonomous Rebel Municipality of La Dignidad, official municipality of Sabanilla, in the northern zone of Chiapas, have been attacked with firearms by the paramilitary organization Development, Peace & Justice, according to information made public by the Council of Good Government “Nueva Semilla que Va a Producir”.
On 6 September 2012 at approximately 7am in the community of Comandante Abel, a group of 55 persons wearing military-type uniforms and hoods and carrying firearms took possession of lands belonging to civilian supporters of the EZLN.
On 8 September 2012, facing constant harassment and imminent threats to life and personal integrity and security, 70 families that are civilian supporters of the EZLN [Bases de Apoyo del EZLN] were forcibly expelled, taking refuge in the surrounding mountains with little food and in a situation injurious to their health.
Most of those displaced have found safety, according to information held by this human rights centre. Nonetheless, since the expulsion the current whereabouts of 14 people is still unknown, including two children.
To provide context: since a year ago, the civilian supporters of the EZLN received threats of expulsion from the aggressors. The Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Centre warned of this situation in its Urgent Action No.53 on 14 September 2011. In relation to the same events the Government of Chiapas, on 23 October 2011 committed itself to guaranteeing the lands of the EZLN civilian supporters and to protecting them.
Because of the risks facing the EZLN civilian supporters, various civil society organizations carried out a caravan of solidarity and support to document the conditions faced by the displaced, on 18 – 20 September 2012.
On the basis of the above, this human rights centre urgently demands:
- Protection for life, personal integrity and security of the civilian supporters of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation from the community Comandante Abel and from the Zapatista Autonomous Rebel Municipality, La Dignidad.
- Protection for the life, personal integrity and security and knowledge of the whereabouts of the 14 persons who at the current moment are disappeared.
For the aforesaid, we ask persons, society, human rights defenders, alternative media, collectives, and organizations at national and international level to call on the Mexican state to comply with its obligation to respect, protect and guarantee human rights, in accordance with the international laws signed and ratified by Mexico.
Send your appeals to
Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de la República
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos, Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, México DF
Tel: (52.55) 2789.1100 Fax: (52.55) 5277.2376
Twitter: @FelipeCalderon y @GobFed
Alejandro Poiré Romero
Secretario de Gobernación
Bucareli 99, 1er. Piso, Col. Juárez, Del. Cuauhtémoc,
C.P. 06600 México D.F. Fax: (52.55) 50933414;
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Juan José Sabines Guerrero
Gobernador Constitucional del Estado de Chiapas
Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas, 1er Piso
Av. Central y Primera Oriente, Colonia Centro, C.P. 29009
Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
Fax: +52 961 61 88088 – + 52 961 6188056; Extensión 21120. 21122;
Twitter: @Juansabinesg y @gubernaturachis
Noé Castañón León
Secretario General de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas
Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas, 2do Piso
Av. Central y Primera Oriente, Colonia Centro, C.P. 29009
Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
Conmutador: + 52 (961) 61 2-90-47, 61 8-74-60. Extensión: 20003;
Raciel López Salazar
Procuraduría General de Justicia de Chiapas
Libramiento Norte Y Rosa Del Oriente, No. 2010, Col. El Bosque
C.P. 29049 Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas
Conmutador: 01 (961) 6-17-23-00.
Teléfono: + 52 (961) 61 6-53-74, 61 6-53-76, 61 6-57-24, 61 6-34-50.
Please send a copy to:
Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, A.C.
Calle Brasil 14, Barrio Méxicanos,
29240 San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México
Tel: 967 6787395, 967 6787396, Fax: 967 6783548
Growing alarm over attacks on Zapatista communities
** International NGOs call on authorities to stop the violence
** It is a war that escalates every day, says Gustavo Esteva
By: Hermann Bellinghausen
Faced with the open paramilitary aggression that is developing against communities in La Dignidad autonomous municipality in the Northern Zone of Chiapas, concern is growing among groups in solidarity with the Zapatista movement, and collectives of the Other Campaign in Mexico and the world, at the alarming degree to which the escalation in counterinsurgency is increasing.
Expressions of support are arriving from different countries, demanding the intervention of federal and state authorities to stop the violence and harassment against the communities Comandante Abel, San Marcos Avilés and others, mainly in the official municipalities of Sabanilla, Tila, Ocosingo, Las Margaritas and Chilón.
For the writer Gustavo Esteva, it is “the time for resistance and solidarity.” In reference to Francisco Sántiz López, EZLN support base in Teopisca, currently imprisoned for no other reason than political persecution, and the besieged community of San Marcos Avilés, he says: “They are frontlines in this great war that escalates daily in the Zapatista communities because their resistance is walking onwards, because every day they affirm themselves in their autonomy, consolidate their achievements and take them even further. The bad government watches how the Zapatista resistance is enriched, how they extend their own ways of learning and justice and health and all their modes of living and how, despite everything that is done against them, the new social reality, which is the foundation for a different mode of existence, spreads and is strengthened.
“The attacks are not directed against weakness, or against something sad or dead. They attack all that flourishes, all that is robust, and all that serves as an example and is a source of inspiration….The demons are on the loose. The war is everywhere. But so too is solidarity—that decision to be together in this common struggle that no longer respects territories”.
Collectives from the Spanish State, France, Italy and the United Kingdom jointly showed their outrage at “the repression that Comandante Abel is facing” and noted that in recent weeks “we have been witnesses to the multiple offences and trampling that the compañeros of the San Carlos ejido have received, in the autonomous municipality San Pedro de Michoacán, located in the Caracol of La Realidad, and in the Moisés Gandhi ejido, Che Guevara region, Lucio Cabañas autonomous municipality, in the Caracol of Morelia.”
The Norway Committee in Solidarity with Latin America points out that Comandante Abel is “a community of dignified and brave compañeros and compañeras harassed, attacked, hunted and murdered since the 1990s by paramilitaries from Paz y Justicia and subsequently by members of the PRI and UCIAF.”
A year after the last invasion of their lands, in September 2011, “the paramilitaries returned with excessive violence, shooting at the men, women and children who peacefully and without weapons resist under the trees and vines to defend the land and their lives.”
In Germany the foundation was announced of the Berlin Committee in Support of the Zapatistas in San Marcos Avilés, who were expelled from the community in 2010 by a group “loyal to the government”. “Their milpas (cornfields) were occupied or burned, their houses and belongings devastated and destroyed. After an odyssey of a month, the inhabitants returned, having suffered severe hunger during the displacement. Although there is now an international civil peace camp in the community, the Zapatistas regularly face threats, theft, destruction of their crops or physical attacks.”
Statements have also been issued in Uruguay, the United States and Argentina. The Network against Repression and for Solidarity of the Other Campaign today in San Cristóbal de las Casas called for the creation of a network to collect food supplies for Comandante Abel that will operate until next January, as well as for the organization of observation brigades.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Paramilitary Attacks against Comandante Abel Zapatista Community Continue
** The situation of the support bases is grave, denounces the Junta New Seed that is going to Produce
** Children, women and elderly “have fled to the woods” for fear of the bullets; there are four disappeared
By: Hermann Bellinghausen
Attacks by paramilitaries from Paz y Justicia, under the initials UCIAF, continue against the Zapatista community Comandante Abel, whose residents have had to flee into the woods in order to protect themselves from the gunshots. The Good Government Junta (JBG) New Seed that is going to Produce, from Roberto Barrios Caracol, in the Northern Zone of Chiapas, classified as “grave” the situation of the support bases of this community and of Unión Hidalgo, in the autonomous municipality of La Dignidad.
The violent invasion of the community began on September 6, and despite the denunciations, authorities have not intervened to stop the attacks. On September 8, “shots from high-calibre weapons fired in the direction of the community continued.” Children, women and elderly “hid under trees, trunks, rocks and dispersed into the woods and mountains for fear of being hit by the bullets.” They spent the night like this “in the cold and rain, until two days later their whereabouts was discovered when they emerged in some communities.”
The Junta reports that two displaced women and two children sick with fever, vomiting, diarrhea and cough are missing. “We have 70 [displaced] between men and women, children and elderly. Some have stayed to defend the land.” That day, “the invaders constructed two trenches and three houses,” while the Zapatista bases from neighbouring Unión Hidalgo were also displaced by “fierce threats of being massacred by paramilitaries from the same community.” The families “fled to the mountain for three days; there are ten displaced and a newborn. Only the young ones stayed to take care of their houses and belongings.”
On September 9, the aggressors widened “the area they have taken over.” At 4 o’clock in the afternoon they fired two shots. At 9:30PM, there were another 25 (shots) “of different calibres;” then, at midnight, there were four more. On the 10th, “three armed men arrived to reinforce the invaders; they are from de Saquijá, Sabanilla Municipality.” On the 11th, they built five houses.
The Junta accuses the ex PRI candidate Carlos Cleber González Cabello of financing “the invaders’ purchase of weapons.” For “everything that is happening and for everything that is going to happen,” the Junta places responsibility “on the three levels of the bad government” as “the intellectual author that organizes, finances, prepares, arms and orders these paramilitary and criminal groups through their armed institutions.” Seeing that the Zapatista bases “don’t fall into the great lie” of “charity,” they continue their plan to become owners of the wealth of our country.” Then, “they give orders to kill us, to steal and destroy our lands.” The government talks “about peace, about defending guarantees, about how it is doing justice in Mexico (and) asks the UN for economic support for fighting poverty,” but that money “ is only being used to finance armed groups.”
The Zapatista Junta asks: “Is it peace to organize groups to kill their own brothers? What is the grave crime that these compañeros have committed: is it that of owning a piece of land to live on and maintain their families?” The government “is an embarrassment before the world,” it says it is fighting crime “when in truth it is protecting groups and leaders who act publicly against the peoples in resistance. The bad government knows very well who they are, where they are, and does nothing because they are their highest leaders,” and the acts that they commit “are not crimes; to the contrary, they protect them.”
The Junta declares: “We are not against those that are not with us; on the contrary, we gave part of the land that belongs to us to the pro-government group that lives in San Patricio because they also have a right to life, and for this reason our bases were relocated on the La Lámpara plot to construct their new community in honour of our deceased compañero Comandante Abel”.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Friday, September 14, 2012
Attacks on Zapatistas by Paramilitaries Linked to Paz y Justicia are Denounced
** The Good Government Junta says that there have been shots fired against Comandante Abel community before
** They tell that 55 people came to take possession of a piece of land “belonging to our support bases”
By: Hermann Bellinghausen
Serious attacks by armed paramilitaries, identified as members of the pro-government organization Paz y Justicia, have taken place in recent days against the new Zapatista community, Comandante Abel (previously San Patricio) in the autonomous Municipality of La Dignidad. These have been denounced by the Good Government Junta ‘New Seed that is going to Produce’, in the Northern Zone of Chiapas.
The escalation of attacks, which have come with high-calibre shots against the Chol founders of Comandante Abel, started last September 6, when “at 7 am, 55 people with different calibre weapons arrived to take possession of a piece of land belonging to our support bases, some 200 metres from the new community.” It [the new community] was created last year after innumerable violent actions against the Zapatista bases in San Patricio. The state Secretary of Government had promised to prevent more attacks from the pro-government group.
The Junta identifies the aggressors as residents of Unión Hidalgo and PRI members from San Patricio (Sabanilla official municipality), who have the objective of “invading and evicting our compañeros from their lands and property.” They installed rooves and a red flag. “At 11 o’clock they began to steal the green corn from the compañeros. At 12 noon, they fired a shot. At 3 o’clock, three officials from the bad government arrived at the place where they found the invaders, accompanied by children of the PRI members from San Patricio, and later returned.” Later more armed men arrived, increasing the number of invaders to 70.
“At 8 o’clock in the evening the paramilitaries mobilized in different directions, firing 26 shots,” the Junta specifies. At midnight, two more shots, and reinforcements arrived for the invaders, who at dawn on September 7 added up to 150. They scraped the acahuales (tall grass), and destroyed “quarters and wire fences from the horse pastures of our companeros’ collective.”
At 10:10 am “a compañero left his house to observe and they fired 30 high-calibre cartridges at him.” A shell hit the house. The attackers were “three invaders with masks and military uniforms.” Two “activated 9 millimetre pistols and the other an AR-15 [rifle], with volleys.” At 10:30 AM, the pro-government group surrounded the community at a distance of some 150 metres distance, with a total of 19 firearms.
According to the Junta of the Zapatista Caracol of Roberto Barrios, “the leaders of the armed Paz y Justicia group that spearhead this operation of eviction, threats, attacks and robberies, as they are directed by the leaders of the bad government,” are police, ejidal commissioners, ex municipal officials and an ex PRI candidate, among others, from San Patricio and Unión Hidalgo.
“Objective of plundering, killing and taking possession of property”
“It is the same counterinsurgency war of the rich and powerful against our organization and our peoples in resistance. The government seeks the spilling of blood and death when our peoples are constructing their lives by means of the resources that we have, which is the mother earth where we live.” The rebel Junta remembers that in 1994 “we reclaimed it with the lives and blood of our combatants, and we are not going to allow the bad government by means of their paramilitaries to take it away again, because the land that is ours was from our grandfathers and great grandfathers. We are going to defend it whatever the cost may be; if the bad government does not understand the reason, if it has not a human heart, then we know that it has an inhuman heart; but the saddest thing is that the bad government does not directly confront the people, it uses the same screwed poor people from the same race to fulfill its objective of evicting, killing and taking possession of another’s property”.
The Junta places responsibility for these attacks on the government of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero, and on the municipal presidents of Sabanilla, Genaro Vázquez Pérez, and Tila, Sandra Cruz Espinosa.
In Internet: Comunicado completo de la JBG Nueva semilla que va a producir
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
JUNTA OF GOOD GOVERNMENT
New seed that will is going to produce
CARACOL V THAT SPEAKS FOR ALL
NORTHERN Chiapas, MEXICO.
11TH September 2012.
To the national and international civil society
To adherents of the Other Campaign
To the sixth international
To alternative media
To separate bodies of human rights
To the national and international press
Comrades brothers and sisters, the Good Government junta continues to report our compañeros’ current plight, support bases of the new community Abel previously San Patricio, rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipality of La Dignidad, Chiapas, Sabanilla official municipality .
1. On 8th September this year shootings with high calibre weapons occurred with the fire going in the direction of the community. Children , women and elderly people hid out behind trees, logs, rocks and dispersed into the bush, for fear of being shot by the aggressors, losing track of which direction they had taken. They spent the night in the woods, in the rain and in cold weather. For two days their whereabouts were unknown to the rest of their communities. Until now, there remain four people missing and we are looking for their whereabouts; two sisters and two children, the sisters are now displaced and are living under difficult situation, and the children are sick with fever, vomiting, diarrhoea and cold. They are suffering shortages of food, clothing and medicines. In total there are 70 companer@s: mostly children and eldery people. Back in the community our there are a few female and male companeros that stay to defend the land from invaders. The [aggressors] have built 2 trenches and two houses.
2. On the same day, support bases from Union Hidalgo community also moved out for fear of the strong and constant threats of being massacred by paramilitaries from the same community. Companer@s and children also fled to the mountains for three days, and the same, rain, cold and hunger, they came out in another community, and now are also suffering from different diseases. There are ten displaced people and a new born baby, only the youth remained in the community looking after their homes and belongings.
3. On the 9th aggressors extended the invaded territory and measured, extended day 9 where the attackers have taken and measured plots to build more houses. At 4:00 in the afternoon 2 gun shots. Then at 9:30 at night gave another 25 shots of different calibres. At midnight four more shots.
4. On 10th September three armed men came to reinforce the invaders. They are members of Saquija Sabanilla community, one of them was identified as Hipólito Pérez Hernández.
On 11th September they built five houses using tin for the roof and two with canvas. The most influencial paramilitary leaders of the armed group “peace and justice”, are also known as UCIAF, formed by the government. These are CARLOS HAIR CLEBER Conzalez ex PRI candidate who financed the purchase of weapons for invaders. PEDRO RAMIREZ RAMIREZ GUZMÁN and HIPOLITO RAMIREZ MARTINEZ head leader of the Union Hidalgo community, Jesus Ramirez Martinez, Miguel Encino Gomez and Javier Guzman Encino also leaders living in Sabanilla, these are the same leaders who organizedpeople from Ostelukum to invade the same land last year.
5. We make the three levels of government, Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, Juan Sabines Guerrero, the municipal president of Tila SANDRA CRUZ ESPINOZA LUS and the mayor of Sabanilla GENARO PEREZ Vasques, responsible for everything that is happening and will happen to us because they are the masterminds, organize, fund, prepare, arm and train these criminals and paramilitary groups, through their armed forces.
The bad government attempts to divide and weaken the resistance of our people and wants us to be under its control, by planning and creating groups that in exchange receive their crumbs.
We are poor but worthy, we are not beggars, we are free men and women developing our lives for the future of our people by means of our mother earth.
The government realises that our support bases do not believe in their lies, that by giving us petty money our living conditions would improve. We know already they want to control and continue with their plan to take ownership of the wealth of our country.
Therefore, the government sends their armed groups to kill, dislodge and destroy our lands, whilst talking about peace, about defending human rights, about justice in Mexico; asking financial support from UN to supposedly to combat against poverty, and for social development of the people, but money is only being used to arm and fund groups to kill.
What kind of peace is the government referring to?
Is it peaceful to finance, organize, prepare armed groups that kill their own brothers and sisters, their own people?
Is it peaceful to shoot a village full of men, women, children and elderly people, who are forced to flee, hide behind trees, rocks, logs to save their lives and to suffer from, rain, cold weather, sun and hunger in the mountains?
What is the grave crime they have committed these compa(s), and child(ren)? Is it a crime to own a piece of land to live and support a family?
It is unbelievable that whilst they are saying to the world how they are fighting against crime , at the same time, they are really protecting groups, leaders, acting against people in resistance. The bad government well knows who these people are, their whereabouts, what government position they hold. But the bad government does nothing to stop this, because they are top leaders themselves of these armed groups and criminals.
All those crimes committed daily are not considered crimes, on the contrary, they are protected and left free by the bad government.
Where is all that the media advertises about all those who attack anyone and are reported to the authorities would be prosecuted?
We are not against those who are not on our side, quite the opposite, the ruling group living in San Patricio community was granted a piece of land that belonged to us, because they also have the right to live. Therefore, our support bases moved to the Lampara territory where they built their new community in honour of our dead companero Abel, for each group to organize, work and enjoy their dwelling rights.
Let’s make clear to the bloody cheating, lying and vile government, that we will not relinquish, we will fight for our land until the end of our lives if necessary, if they believe that there was not enough blood shed on 1st January 1994 for us to have a place in this world.
To govern by obeying
THE DENUNCIA COMES WITH THE STAMP OF the GOOD GOVERNMENT JUNTA , the new SEED that is going to produce, AND SIGNED BY THE REPRESENTATIVES at the TIME
Damián López Pérez
Estrella Sanchez Sanchez
Edgar Vazquez Gutierrez
The JBG New seed that is Going to Produce about armed paramilitary attacks in the autonomous community Commander Abel.
Caracol V that speaks for all Roberto Barrios, Chiapas Mexico, Junta of good government, New seed that will produce
7th September, 2012.
To national and international civil society.
To adherents of the Other Campaign.
To the zezta international.
To alternative media.
To independent human rights organisations.
To the national and international press.
Companeros, brothers and sisters, the Good Government Junta denounces the situation we are living in the new community Abel, previously known as San Patricio, Autonomous Municipality of La Dignidad, Rebel Zapatista Chiapas, Sabanilla official Municipality.
1. – On 6th September 2012 at 7 o’clock in the morning, a group of 55 armed people arrived in the community with weapons of different calibres and set up a camp 200 meters from the new community mentioned above located within our companeros’ land.
-The paramilitaries are from Union Hidalgo community and are PRI supporters from San Patricio, Sabanilla municipality. The group arrived with the intention to invade and eject our companeros from their lands and get their possessions.
As soon as they arrived, they built roofs and put up a red flag. At 11 am on the same day, they began to steal green corn belonging to our companeros.
-at midday they shot using a 22 gauge gun.
-At 3 o’clock in the afternoon, three officials from the bad government accompanied by PRI family members and children from San Patricio arrived to the place where the invaders are and then left. Later on around 70 paramilitaries arrived to join the invaders.
-At 8 pm on the same day, the paramilitaries moved around in different directions and shot 26 times.
-At 12 pm, we heard two shots again with a 22 gauge, and more paramilitary reinforcement arrived.
2.-At dawn on 7th September there were around 150 paramilitary invaders, who began to cut down sunflower plants, destroy goal posts, fences for pasturing and the belongings of our collective support bases.
-At 10:10 in the morning, one of our companeros went outside his home to check what was going on and was shot with a 30 caliber gun, another bullet hit the wall of his room. The Three responsible members for the shots were wearing Military uniforms and balaclavas; two of them triggered 9 mm pistols and another one used a AR-15 gun, the latter one fired a volley of shots.
-At 10:30 am the group surrounded the community by standing 150 meters away from it. All the aggressors were carrying weapons of different calibres. It is believed that they carry 19 weapons.
3. – Leaders of the armed paramilitary group “Peace and Justice” are the heads of the plan to eject, threaten, assault, and rob our companeros, their names are: Pedro Ramirez Guzman secret official agent from of Unión Hidalgo municipality of Sabanilla; Jesus Ramirez Guzman communal officer; Ramiro Gomez Encino security councillor of this community Ignacio Gómez Guzmán; Luis Gomez Encino, Oscar Gomez Ramirez, Miguel Gómez Encino, Hipolito Martinez Ramirez, Carlos Clever Gonzales Cabello former PRI leader candidate for Peace and Justice Rolando Gomez Guzman ex-militar; Manuel Cruz Guzmán San Patricio officer, Geronimo Martinez Ramirez secret officer of the same community of San Patricio; Conrado Gomez Guzman municipal ejido agent of Union Hidalgo; Javier Guzman Encino ex-official of the county government in Sabanilla. These are the leaders following what their bad government is telling them to do against our people.
4. – All this is the same story of counterinsurgency war from the evil rich government, against our organisation and our people in resistance. The government is urging bloodshed and death, whilst our people in resistance are developing their lives through the natural resources that our mother earth provides where we live. We won’t allow the bad government to dispossess us of our land with the force of their paramilitary groups, that we regained in 1994 through sacrificing lives and blood of our companeros,. The land belongs to us, belonged to our grandparents and great grandparents, when the bloody Spanish arrived took it and death and bloodshed was spread from millions of natives from this land, so we say that the land is ours and we will defend it whatever the cost may be; the bad government is unreasonable, they have not human heart; we already know their heart is inhuman, but the saddest thing is that the bad government doesn’t face directly the people, they use the same poor people even from the same race, to meet its target of plunder, killing and seize the natural wealth.
For all these aforementioned acts of crimes, we make responsible the federal government Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, the government of the State of Chiapas, Juan Sabines Guerrero, the chielf of Sabanilla, Genaro Vazquez Perez, and the municipal president Sandra Cruz Espinisa for what might happen to our companer@s children and elderly people, whose lives are at serious risk right now. We ask kindly sisters and brothers to keep an eye on the current situation our companeros and support bases are undergoing.
To govern by obeying
Good Government Junta
STAMP OF GOOD GOVERNMENT ATTACHED TO THIS LETTER, THE SEED THAT WILL PRODUCE, AND SIGNED BY THE MEMBERS OF THE JUNTA
Enrique Cruz Hernández
Alex Gomez Perez
Efrain Perez Gomez
Estrella Sanchez Sanchez
Report from the caravan of Observation and Documentation to the Zapatista community of Comandante Abel
from the Free Media Centre
Days later they were found in the cornfields of a nearby community in solidarity.
Officials and former officials, and military and former military members are driving the paramilitary group Paz y Justicia in Sabanilla.
The Zapatistas from Comandante Abel community resist the attacks from the Government counterinsurgency.
Today the caravan will meet another group of displaced people from Unión Hidalgo.
Wednesday 19 Aug: The community of Comandante Abel is under siege from paramilitaries and state police.
Last night, the state police fired into the air in the community of San Patricio
The police camp is established in the school of the community of San Patricio which was displaced today.
The caravan also visited 70 people displaced in the attack of 6 September.
There are more people from the community of Comandante Abel who were displaced by the paramilitary attack of 6 September.
News from Sipaz:
Press conference regarding report of the caravan to the Comandante Abel community
The civil organizations, collectives, and free media that formed part of the caravan of support and solidarity with the Comandante Abel community have called for a press conference this coming Monday, 24 September, at the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) to make public the report drawn up following the investigations undertaken by the caravan’s members on 18-20 September.
It should be remembered that the attacks against the Comandante Abel community resulted in the displacement of approximately 70 families from two neighbouring communities; these were also visited by the caravan.
|Attacks, forced displacement, and disappearances of Zapatistas in the Comandante Abel community|
On 18 September 2012, an observation caravan, in which many civil society organizations and alternative media are participating, left to investigate the prevailing situation in the Zapatista community of Comandante Abel, official municipality of Sabanilla, in the northern zone of Chiapas.
In its most recent communiqué, the Roberto Barrios Good-Government Council (JBG) denounced that on 6 September at approximately 7am, a group of about 55 people, carrying firearms and wearing military-type uniforms in masks forcibly displaced Zapatista support bases from the community using gunfire. According to this same source, on 8 September, in light of the constant harassment and immediate risk to their lives and personal security, 70 Zapatista families fled, taking refuge in the neighbouring mountains under precarious conditions of health and nutrition. Presently the whereabouts of 14 persons, including two children, are unknown.
It should be remembered that a year ago several aggressions were committed in the San Patricio community, for which reason the Zapatistas of that community decided to move themselves to a different set of lands recovered by the EZLN in 1994. This was the founding of Comandante Abel.
Roberto Barrios JBG denounces attack on Comandante Abel community
The Roberto Barrios Good Government Council (JBG) has denounced the situation lived in the new community of Comandante Abel, which previously had been known as the San Patricio Zapatista Rebel autonomous municipality of Dignity (official municipality of Sabanilla), where on 6 September PRI militants from Sabanilla invaded lands pertaining to the Zapatistas. In a communiqué, the JBG indicated that the attackers forcibly removed the residents of this space with the intent of taking over the land and property.
The invaders stole green corn and destroyed pastures, among other crimes. The number of “invaders” reached 150, according to the denunciation, who at different times opened fire with guns. In light of the threat that the presence of this group represents, the JBG found President Felipe Calderón, governor Juan Sabines, Sabanilla mayor Genaro Vázquez Pérez, and Tila mayor Sandra Cruz all responsible for whatever it is that might happen in the days to come.
Faced with Paramilitary Aggression, Zapatistas found the community of Comandante Abel
** They assert that they are displaced from their community due to the continuing government plan of attack
** An NGO report reveals that the situation will be aggravated by the PRI taking power
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, August 5, 2012
In the face of paramilitary attacks, the Zapatista community of San Patricio, in La Dignidad autonomous municipality (Caracol Roberto Barrios), decided last May to move to another part of the land recuperated by the EZLN in 1994, and to found the new community of Comandante Abel.
The Space for Struggle against Abandonment and Repression, which is coordinated in the Network against Repression and for Solidarity in Chiapas, presented a report from the observation brigades to San Patricio which details the change “as the result of a process of dignifying the struggle of the Zapatista support base families,” who suffer constant and unpunished paramilitary persecution.
The mobilization of civil society stopped the war in 1994, but the Mexican government continued it through other means and designed the Chiapas 94 Campaign Plan, whose offensive phase ordered, to quote, “the forced displacement of the population under Zapatista influence into official shelters or refugee zones; neutralization of the San Cristóbal Diocese; capture of Mexicans identified with the EZLN; expulsion of undesirable foreigners; death or control of equine and bovine livestock; destruction of planted and harvested crops, and use of ‘civil defence’ (to) break the support relationship that exists between the population and the transgressors of the law.”
In the Chol region (Tila, Tumbalá, Sabanilla, Salto de Agua, Palenque and Yajalón), the strategy was deployed through Desarrollo, Paz y Justicia (Development, Peace and Justice), a “paramilitary organization formed, financed, trained and protected by government structures,” which “was never disarmed, and the arms that the State financed continue threatening the integrity of the Zapatista support bases 18 years later.” Between 1995 and 1997, the paramilitaries displaced thousands of people. “They controlled roadways, kidnapped, tortured, raped, disappeared, murdered, burned homes, stole crops, animals and belongings. Now, with the return of the PRI to the presidency and of Manuel Velasco Coello, of the Green Ecologist Party (another face of the PRI) to the governorship, conditions favour the paramilitary group,” the report maintains.
The counterinsurgency scheme is in force in Zapatista territory. It is enough to look at the actions against communities belonging to different Caracoles: Nuevo Paraíso, San Marcos Avilés, Bolom Ajaw or San Patricio. The Chiapas 94 Campaign Plan continues in operation: “death or control of livestock, destruction of crops and harvests, use of civilian self-defence (paramilitaries).”
San Patricio was founded in 1995. For years, Paz y Justicia would harass the Zapatista families, “creating mistrust and divisions.” Faced with the rebel resistance, the paramilitary group operates along with PRI families “for the purpose of obstructing the process of autonomy.” Last May, the residents decided to relocate, with the support of more than 200 Zapatista support bases from other regions, to another area of recuperated land on the La Lampara plot (previously invaded for a month and a half by the paramilitaries of Paz y Justicia, now known as Uciaf). This is how the Comandante Abel community was born. “They left what had been constructed to create a new community, which once again gives new meaning to the will, discipline, love and conviction of the EZLN’s deceased comandante, who was in charge of the Tzeltal and Chol region of the Northern Zone.”
Observers report shots fired into the air and recurring threats of displacement. When the Zapatistas made the move, there were shots (May 16 and 28) and new threats. Now “the community resists and constructs.” Following the September 2011 invasion of San Patricio, the indigenous lost their crops. Now, after being robbed of the goods produced collectively “they construct homes, plant milpa; the collective jobs and cooperatives continue, the autonomous school and health care continue underway.”
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Monday, August 6, 2012
Third Report on San Patricio – Brigades of Observation RvsR Chiapas
31ST March 2012
THE CIVIL AND PEACEFUL RESISTANCE OF THE ZAPATISTAS FROM SAN PATRICIO AGAINST THE PARAMILITARY GROUP UCIAF
In Chiapas, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and its autonomous communities have now been resisting a comprehensive war of attrition 1, generated by the Mexican state, for over eighteen years. This war is exercised through various counterinsurgency strategies. Counterinsurgency is defined as a series of military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological and civil actions carried out by the government to defeat an insurgency 2 . In Chiapas these actions range from the formation of paramilitary groups, the military occupation of the indigenous territory of Chiapas, the injection of money through social programmes, political persecution, the fabrication of charges and the imprisonment of innocent Zapatista bases of support.
Today in Chiapas, the Zapatista autonomous rebel municipalities are resisting a paramilitary attack, obviously supported and planned by the three levels of government. The Zapatista community of San Patricio, founded on land reclaimed in 94, has resisted several attempts to dispossess it by the paramilitary group UCIAF (Unión Campesina Indígena Agrícola y Forestal), which is a splinter [group] from the paramilitary group Paz y Justicia.
Paramilitary groups have evolved from the assassins (sicariato) and from the phenomenon of the white guards (guardias blancas) in the Mexican countryside. They are distinguished because they have a military structure, they dress and operate as soldiers, and bear weapons which are for the exclusive use of the armed forces. In military theory, paramilitaries are those groups that are distinct from the regular armed forces of any country or state but which observe the same organization, equipment, training or mission as the first 3 . Another military term used to refer to the paramilitaries is “militarized civilian personnel,” whose objective is to locate, harass and destroy the insurgent forces.
The paramilitary groups in Chiapas are found mainly in the northern jungle and Los Altos regions, where one of the most important in the early stage of formation of paramilitary groups was Paz y Justicia, “which was born on August 5, 1995 as a front of ejidatarios, campesinos and authorities of the municipalities of Salto de Agua, Tila, Túmbala, Yajalón, Sabanilla, Chilón, El Limonar and Nuevo Limonar, all affiliated with the PRI” 4. 17 years since the State sowed the paramilitary seed in these municipalities, the violence against the Zapatista bases of support has never disappeared; the years from 95 to 98 were the “years of terror,” followed by a supposed calm where there were no massacres, but the dirty war against the Zapatistas still continues today. Several years ago there were publicly documented UCIAF attacks on San Patricio. Since that time the paramilitaries have tried to invade the reclaimed lands without success, due to the strength of the Zapatistas and the support of national and international solidarity.
In September 2011, the predio of La Lámpara, part of the reclaimed land of San Patricio, was once again invaded by the paramilitaries of the UCIAF from Ostelucum and Union Hidalgo. In October of that year the Governor Sabines offered new land and money to the paramilitaries in exchange for leaving the Zapatista lands. The paramilitaries accepted and left. The press of Chiapas quickly brought to light the new news that the government of Sabines had supposedly brought “peace” to San Patricio, but, is empowering a paramilitary group bringing Peace? This arrangement between the government and the paramilitaries in Chiapas only feeds the violence and ambition of other neighbouring paramilitaries like those of Lazaro Cardenas, los Moyos and El Porvenir.
The Brigade of Support and Solidarity No. 9 to San Patricio reported that the paramilitary leader Pedro Ramirez Guzman of Union Hidalgo, the son of a former soldier named Hippolytus Ramirez , is preparing a new attack along with other paramilitaries from Sabanilla: Jacinto Gómez Sánchez, Rodrigo Guzmán Gómez, Rolando Gómez Guzmán and Amador Ramírez Guzmán.
Other acts of harassment reported were threats made to the Zapatista representative, and a rumour of another invasion prepared for 16 and 17 January, which did not take place. The importance of these daily threats is the aim: to generate fear, attrition and stress in the community, without a direct confrontation.
In addition Brigade 10 reported that on January 16, 2012, at around 11:43 in the morning, a municipal police van arrived with 6 officers and two civilians. They were in the community for 15 minutes and then left, coincidentally the same day, at 9:42 in the evening, 6 shots were heard at the foot of the hill and at 11:05 pm lights were seen on the hill coming down from Ostelucum.
January 25 was the handing over of government support to the party members in the region, which generated a high level of traffic; the vans full of women, men and children passing through San Patricio shouted ‘we are not afraid of the Zapatistas’.
The brigades of Observation and Solidarity in San Patricio will continue until there is an end to the harassment from the paramilitary group UCIAF from Ostelucum, Union Hidalgo and El Porvenir, which, together with the government, is trying to sieze the reclaimed land won by blood and fire in 94.
SOLIDARITY AGAINST REPRESSION
NETWORK AGAINST REPRESSION AND FOR SOLIDARITY IN CHIAPAS