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The Different Faces of Dispossession” Campaign

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The Different Faces of Dispossession

Http://Www.Rostrosdeldespojo.Org/En/

Our Lands, Our Rights 

Native and Indigenous peoples of the state of Chiapas, Mexico speak out against the Different Faces of Dispossession they experience on a daily basis.

Native Peoples and their territories ARE AT CONSTANT RISK due to forced internal displacement and infrastructure projects that put their community, lives, and their identities as peoples at risk.

They organize to exercise their collective and individual rights through the right to justice and the collective defence of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Different Faces of Dispossession are stories and events from native and indigenous communities that are fighting for justice and against impunity. It also identifies and makes visible those responsible for human rights violations in order to demand that the Mexican state comply with its human rights obligations.

 

“The Different Faces of Dispossession” Campaign

Introduction

DSC5167-500x333The reason behind the Campaign “The Difference Faces of Dispossession” is that governments and national and international investors are determined to commercialize the Land and Territory of Native Peoples.

These same Peoples are today confronting dispossession from indigenous communities that refuse to be accomplices in investment projects that prioritize the production of biofuels, the concession and exploitation of mining projects, dams, the reactivation of the Mesoamerica Project’s infrastructure plans, and energy reform as a platform on which to legalize territorial looting and pillaging. All of this brings with it the destruction of the human and biological diversity of their ancestral lands.

The different faces of dispossession are framed in the government policies that, over the course of the last few decades, have commercialized the natural resources of Native Peoples’ lands in Chiapas. These policies are all part of the long-standing refusal of the Mexican State to fully recognize the collective rights of indigenous Peoples.

Forced displacement in Chiapas

One of these Faces is the situation of internal displacement in Chiapas, which is due to systematic territorial dispossession, and in which the Mexican government is one of the most consistent violators of human rights.

For several years community defense projects have been constructed to demand justice – the restitution of their lands and territories. The repsonse from the Mexican government has been unsatisfactory.

The Different Faces of Dispossession campaign’s first stage begins by exposing the forced displacement resulting from three events in the indigenous communities of: 1) Viejo Velasco, in the municipality of Ocosingo; 2) Banavil, in the municipality of Tenejapa; and 3) San Marcos Avilés, in the municipality of Chilón. The causes of these human rights violations are related to the Armed Internal Conflict in Chiapas.

  • The first event is related to a paramilitary-type action which, along with the actions of Chiapas government officials, casused the Viejo Velasco Massacre of November 13, 2006. The results were six extrajudicial executions, two forced disappearances, and the forced displacement of 36 people: 20 men, eight women, five boys, and three girls.
  • The second event ocurred in the community of Banavil. Here, because members of this community were Zapatista sympathizers, they were attacked by members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), with the complicity of the municipal authorities of Tenejapa. The result was the forced disappearance of one person and the forced displacement of four families who, since December 4th 2001, continue to live in a situation of vulnerability.
  • The third event ocurred in the community of San Marcos Avilés, with attacks at the hands of members of the following major political parties: Mexico Green Party (PVM), National Action Party (PAN), and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Along with the municipal government of Chilón, they perpetrated a systematic attack against a project for autonomy being built by the Support Bases for the Zapatista National Liberation Army (BAEZLN). On September 9th, 2010, this culminated in 170 people being forcibly displaced: 50 women, 43 men, and 77 boys and girls. Currently they remain displaced from their arable lands.

These events of forced internal displacement have one factor in common: they are caused by the widespread violence generated by the effects of the unresolved Armed Internal Conflict. The displaced individuals were never attended to under the legal category of internally displaced persons, the issue of justice was never addressed, and this situation of total impunity is preventing them from returning to their communities. Because of this, their safety, personal physical integrity, and lives remain at extreme risk. The Mexican state permanently violates international human rights instruments, and likewise fails to observe the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (Guiding Principles -UN).

The majority of the displaced population is made up of women, girls, and boys […], displacement disproportionately affects women. Therefore they are in a situation of greater vulnerability because, in addition to being displaced, they face the historical domination through which they live due to their gender, ethnicity, age, and social status.

Conclusion

Federal and state governments have demonstrated in administration after administration their contempt for Mexico’s indigenous Peoples. They are currently deepening their policies of dispossession in order to cleanse the land to facilitate the implementation of strategic projects that necessarily imply the disappearance of social, political, and cultural forms of organization carried out by communities and peoples that are the very source of human diversity.

http://www.rostrosdeldespojo.org/dispossession/

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San Marcos Avilés

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What happened in San Marcos Avilés?

San Marcos Avilés is an indigenous Tseltal community in the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, founded after the Zapatista insurgency of 1994. At that time, all of the residents were sympathizers of the autonomous project, although with the passage of time, several of them stopped supporting that movement, leaving a grouṕ made up of Support Bases for the Zapatista National Liberation Army (BAEZLN).

In 2010, the BAEZLN agreed to build an Autonomous School for their children. However, disagreement from a group belonging to the Mexican Green Party (PVEM), the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the National Action Party (PAN) provoked harrassment towards the Zapatistas. In September of the same year, these threats were so severe that they caused the displacement of the community for more than a month in their efforts to avoid being attacked. In October, they were able to return to their homes, however, since then they have not been able to work their lands because the party members prevent them through the use of threats and harrassment.

Who is responsible?

In the first place, those responsible for removing the BAEZLN from San Marcos Avilés is a group of residents of the same community, identified as party members who have harrassed, threatened, and kept them from being able to work their lands. The Chilón municipal government and the Chiapas state government support these acts of violence, and the threats and harrassment against the BAEZLN have increased. Likewise, there has not been any investigation carried out by the corresponding authorities, who have neglected to find out who is responsible for the threats and harrassment against the Zapatistas. As such, the human rights violation continues in the form of the BAEZLN’s forced displacement from their lands.

What is the legal situation of the case?

When the forced displacement and later return of the BAEZLN to San Marcos Avilés ocurred, the Zapatista Council of Good Government of Caracol II in Oventik denounced the circumstances under which the Zapatistas in this community were living. It demanded respect for the Zapatista project of autonomy. The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) and other national and international organizations have undertaken interventions with state and federal governments, demanding that they attend to the situation of violence caused by the forced displacement.

Unfortunately, to this day there is no investigation of the events on the part of the corresponding authorities. Faced with this situation of impunity, Frayba has requested that the Interamerican Human Rights Commission grant precautionary measures to the BAEZLN in San Marcos Avilés However, until now, the responses and actions have not been sufficient due to a lack of political will on the part of federal and state authorities.

http://www.rostrosdeldespojo.org/cases/san-marcos-aviles/

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Petition

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Mr. Enrique Peña Nieto, President of the Republic,
Mr. Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, Secretary of the Interior,
Mr. Jesús Murillo Karam, Attorney General’s Office of Mexico,
Mr. Manuel Velasco Coello, Governor of the State of Chiapas,
Mr. Oscar Eduardo Aguilar Ramírez, Secretary General of the State Government of Chiapas,
Mr. Raciel Lopez Salazar, Attorney General of Chiapas,

The Faces of the Dispossessed is born in the context of governmental policies throughout the last decades that have commercialized the natural resources of the ancestral territories of the Peoples of Chiapas. They are part of the Mexican government’s historical refusal to recognize the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples.

One of these Faces is the situation of internal displacement in Chiapas, part of the territorial dispossession that is occurring systematically. The Mexican government is one of the persistent violators of human rights.

For many years now communities have been building the defense of their rights, demanding justice, and the return of their lands and territories, without a satisfactory response from competent authorities.

We join the Faces of the Dispossessed Campaign that in its first phase shines light on the displacement of three communities:

Viejo Velasco, in the municipality of Ocosingo; Banavil, in the municipality of Tenejapa; and San Marcos Avilés, in the municipality of Chilón. These three cases are related to the causes and the consequences of the Internal Armed Conflict in Chiapas, from the time of the armed uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation on January 1st, 1994.

We demand that the Mexican government respond to the following petitions:

  • Adopt all of the necessary measures to guarantee the return of community members who have suffered forced displacement; who have the right to their property, freedom of movement and residence, and the true enjoyment of their lands and the natural resources found within them.
  • Guarantee the safety, the psychological and physical integrity, and the very lives of the displaced families.
  • Conduct a complete investigation that is impartial, effective, and immediate with the goal of identifying and sanctioning those intellectually and materially responsible for forced displacement and other human rights violations.
  • Justice and reparation within the framework of international treaties signed and ratified by the Mexican government, as well as the application of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.
  • Implement all measures necessary to ensure that these grave human rights violations are never repeated.

http://www.rostrosdeldespojo.org/participate/petition/

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¿Why this Campaign?

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The Different Faces of Dispossession campaign aims at promoting human rights in Chiapas through social advocacy. It aims to capture the attention of civil society in Mexico as well as other parts of the world. This includes men, women, collectives, organizations, movements, organizational processes, groups that know about and/or are interested in the situation of risk and impunity that daily affects the indigenous communities of Chiapas. These communities are facing displacement and their ancestral territories are being affected by various infrastructure projects.

With The Different Faces of Dispossession campaign, we hope to generate movement and public acts of solidarity on a national and international level that identify and make visible those responsible for human rights violations. We hope that these actions assert pressure and demand that the Mexican government fulfill its obligations.

If you have any questions or remarks about the campaign, please contact solidaridad@frayba.org.mx.

http://www.rostrosdeldespojo.org/campaign/

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EZLN Support Bases in San Marcos Avilés, Chilón, Denounce Aggressions

 ** Frayba demands that the government sanction those responsible and respect autonomy

** They have been resisting attacks, dispossession of lands and death threats from officialist groups for three years

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, December 26, 2013

012n1pol-1-500x330EZLN support bases in the community of San Marcos Avilés, municipality of Chilón, denounced aggressions, dispossession from lands and threats from officialist (pro-government) groups since 15th December : “We have been patient, we have endured and resisted all the bad things that the party members of this community have done to us. Our patience has run out and today we say ‘¡ya basta!’ (Enough!)  The time has come to defend ourselves whatever the cost, whatever may happen and in any way possible.”

The indigenous warn: “We are no longer going to allow them to disrespect us and deny us the right to live in our own community. Starting now, we hold the three levels of official government responsible for everything that may happen, for not having paid attention to the issue.”

The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) has received reports from the international civil observation brigades about “the continuation of harassment, aggressions, death threats and forced displacements” against the Zapatistas of the community. And it points out that the governmental authorities, instead of fulfilling their obligation “to guarantee the integrity and personal security of the inhabitants and look for a solution to the conflict, as of this day their only response has been to administer the conflict.”

Frayba recalls that: “for three years the Good Government Junta of Oventic and the Zapatistas bases in San Marcos Avilés have resisted the group described as Partidista [political party supporters], which has carried out actions against education and the  project of Zapatista autonomy under cover of Chilón officials and the state government.”

Frayba reports that on 11th December, “at 6:30 in the morning, Juan Pérez Cruz and his wife María Elena Cruz, both PRI members, entered the coffee field of a Zapatista, stealing the fruit from 200 coffee bushes.” At 8:00 that same evening, from the house of Pérez Cruz, which is 50 metres from the camp of the civilian observation brigade which stays in the community, “a shot was heard, intended to intimidate the Zapatista bases.” On 12thDecember, at 6 am, Pérez Cruz arrived at the house of a Zapatista and said to him, literally: “I came to advise you that your coffee field no longer belongs to you, now it’s mine because you don’t pay the property tax, don’t go back to your coffee field and your milpa, because I am going to kill you there with a machete.” On the 14th, another shot was fired from Pérez Cruz’ house.

Afterwards, the civilian observers informed Frayba that: “the party members continue with aggressions against other Zapatista bases, consisting of robbing their milpas and workplaces.” The organisation expresses concern about the grave situation and demands that the state government “controls those who act with impunity in the community, sanctions those responsible for the aggressions, death threats, robberies, dispossession and displacement, and ensures respect for the EZLN support bases’ exercise of the right to autonomy, freedom of thought and expression, and right to property and possession of lands to work.”

The problem dates from September 9, 2010, when 170 indigenous of all ages, the  Zapatistas of the ejido, were violently displaced by 30 people from the PRI, PRD and the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico, “who entered with sticks, machetes and firearms” into their homes. The incidents occurred after the construction of the autonomous primary school in the ejido. That day, “so as not to respond to the aggression,” the Zapatistas took refuge in the woods and mountain for 33 days.

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La Jornada, Friday, December 27, 2013

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/12/27/politica/016n1pol

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San Marcos Avilés: attacks on Zapatista Autonomy continue

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas.

December 26, 2013

Bulletin No. 39

Political party supporters from San Marcos Avilés continue their attacks on Zapatista Autonomy

Three years and two months of harassment, threats and displacement

16_17_chiapas_beatriz_de_coro_2_0This Human Rights Centre has documented and received reports from the international civil observation brigades (Bricos), since December 15, 2013, of a continuation of harassment, attacks, and threats of death and forced displacement against Support Bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) in the community of San Marcos Avilés (hereafter SMA), in the official municipality of Chilón, Chiapas.

For three years the Good Government Junta from Oventik and the BAEZLN in SMA have resisted the group described as Partidista [political party supporters] which has carried out actions against education and against the whole project of Zapatista autonomy, under the cover of officials from Chilón municipality and from the state government, now headed by Governor Manuel Velasco Coello.

With reference to the most recent events in SMA, on December 11th, 2013, at 6:30 am, Juan Pérez Cruz and his wife María Elena Cruz, both from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), went into the coffee field of a BAEZLN and stole the fruit of 200 coffee bushes. At 20:00 hours on the same day, from the house of Juan Pérez Cruz, which is fifty metres from the camp of the Bricos, a shot was heard, intended to intimidate the BAEZLN. On 12th December, 2013, at 6:00 am, Juan Pérez Cruz came to the house of a BAEZLN and said literally, “I came to advise you that your coffee field no longer belongs to you, it is now mine, because you do not pay the property tax, do not go back to your coffee field and your milpa [cornfield], because if you do, I will kill you there with a machete.” On December 14th, 2013, ​​another shot was fired from the house of Juan Pérez Cruz.

Given the systematic acts of aggression and harassment against the BAEZLN, they have made ​​known their position:

We the EZLN support bases of this community of San Marcos Avilés have been patient, we have endured and resisted all the bad things done to us by the partidistas of this community [ …] we have now run out of patience and today we say enough! of all the evil deeds they are doing to us, now by agreement of the support bases of the community of San Marcos Avilés we say that the time has come to defend ourselves whatever the cost, whatever happens, and in any way possible we will defend ourselves and we will no longer allow them to disrespect us and deny us the right to live in our own community [ …] As of this moment we hold the three levels of official government responsible for everything that is going to happen in the community of San Marcos Avilés, because they have failed to do anything about this matter [ …]

Following these events, we have received information from the Bricos that the partidistas are continuing with aggressions against other BAEZLN, consisting of robberies from their milpas and other workplaces.

As a result of these events, this Centre for Human Rights is concerned about the grave situation perpetrated against the BAEZLN of SMA. For this reason it demands that the Chiapas state government: controls the Partidistas who are acting with complete impunity in the community; immediately takes appropriate measures regarding the punishment of those responsible for the acts of assault, death threats, thefts, dispossession and forced displacement; ensures respect for the exercise of the right to autonomy, freedom of thought and expression, the right to ownership and possession of the lands worked by the BAEZLN, in accordance with ILO Convention no. 169, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and in mark of respect for the San Andrés Accords.

Background:

On September 9, 2010, 170 people – men, women and children of the BAEZLN, inhabitants of the ejido of SMA, suffered forced displacement, an act perpetrated by 30 people from the same ejido affiliated with the political parties the PRI, the Party of the Democratic Revolution and the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico, who entered violently with sticks, machetes and firearms into the homes of BAEZLN. These incidents took place after the construction of the first autonomous primary school in the ejido, for the start of the planned activities of the Zapatista Autonomous Rebel Education System.

Ii is important to note, that on that day, so as not to respond to aggression, the BAEZLN fled their homes seeking refuge in the mountain and bush. After 33 days of forced displacement without food and without any form of protection, on October 12, 2010, 27 BAEZLN families (women, men, boys and girls, in total 170 persons) returned to their community.

Since 9th September, 2010 , when this Human Rights Centre first had knowledge of the problems in the ejido of SMA, we have informed the government authorities of this situation through various oficios (1) on these dates: September 9, 2010, oficio 031-028-10/033/2010; oficio 031-028-10/088/2010; oficio 031-028-10/089/2010, oficio 31-038-11/167/11; and on 22 February 2013, through oficio 031-038-11/012/2013 among others, in order to seek the fulfilment of their obligation to guarantee the integrity and personal safety of the inhabitants and to find a solution to the conflict, as of today their only response has been to administer the conflict.

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Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre

Note: (1)..An oficio is an official communication           

*-*        http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/boletines/131226_boletin_39_sma.pdf

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Attacks in Chiapas

 

Gloria Muñoz Ramirez,

Los de Abajo

juan vasquezThis week, Chiapas was, once again, the scene of violence against the indigenous and campesinos who defend their land and practice autonomy, facts which are blurred in the electronic media, so busy struggling to spread images of the “intolerable violence” – as they call it – of the teachers from Guerrero, who are protesting against the imposition of educational reform, and the students who have taken the rectory of the UNAM.

Both attacks were directly against Zapatistas and pro-Zapatistas. The former are EZLN support bases from the community of San Marcos Avilés, municipality of Chilón, belonging to the caracol of Oventik. The second exemplify the struggle for the defense of their land in San Sebastian Bachajón, home and birthplace of the leader of the adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, assassinated by five bullets.

Active in the defense of his community since 2007, Juan Vázquez had denounced on 17 April, along with other ejidatarios adherent to the Zapatista initiative, new threats to their territory from a tourism project in the region.

The climate of violence in Chiapas, a state visited last week by the president Enrique Peña Nieto to kick-start his National Crusade against Hunger, is escalating with direct threats and harassment against those who defend their territory. The attacks have never gone away, it is true, but the violent events of this week are warnings that should not be overlooked, because a political assassination has not occurred in the state for a long time.

The attacks on San Marcos Avilés are not new either, but right now the hostilities are renewed against the families of this community, which, since August 2010 – when they established the autonomous school Emiliano Zapata – have been threatened by members of the group they call “party supporters”. The core of the conflict is the intention to displace them from their land.

In a recent communiqué, the Good Government Junta based in Oventik detailed the daily violations that they have suffered for the last three years, and commented that “the three levels of official government have done nothing to stop the acts of injustice and the violations of their human rights which are being committed against our support bases of the ejido San Marcos Avilés. The response has been one of swearing, ridicule and more threats to our   compañeros.”

In Chiapas there is a latent threat of forced displacement against the Zapatistas, and a new political assassination.

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/04/27/index.php?section=politica&article=012o1pol

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Report of the Civil Mission of Human Rights Observation in San Marcos Avilés

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico                                                                                April 25, 2013

mision15On 21 and 22 April 2013, members of the Network for Peace in Chiapas conducted a Civil Mission of Observation and Documentation to the community of San Marcos Avilés, in the municipality of Chilón; as a result of this we state, from the evidence collected, that the community are still receiving death threats, threats of rape, assaults, robberies, and the  main source of aggression, dispossession of their arable land, and threats of forced displacement, prompted by the political party supporters in disagreement with the advances of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN)’s project of autonomy.

Testimonies collected

The situation of escalating violence has intensified into actions during daylight. The women reported that party supporters are now not afraid to threaten and harass them on a daily basis. This results in the women not doing their work outside their home and the men, for reasons of safety, not going out alone to work their land. “…we cannot go out alone due to the threats. Our husbands go to work in groups of three, even though threats to kill them, and rape us continue.”

Likewise women from Support Bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) reported a situation of constant threats of rape, which significantly affects the lives of the women. A woman from BAEZLN describes her current life.

“We are all suffering from this conflict, we harvest coffee with fear. One day when I returned to the house, they had stolen chickens, poisoned pigs, and robbed other things. They also said that if women were out alone they would rape us. Two years ago, my daughter died at the age of 10. The girl died of sadness because they told her many times they were going to rape her. The women´s suffering comes from their concerns that the men will assault them.”

Another woman BAEZLN mentions: “My concern is that I have two children who go to collect firewood, but there are many death threats, and now I do not let my children go out, I don’t feel in peace.”

The children of the BAEZLN are constantly asking why they cannot go out to play; why they are kept locked up; they feel the anxiety of their mothers and fathers and this affects their emotional development; they have difficulty sleeping, they worry about the pain and stress suffered by their families due to the violence in which they live.

The psychological consequences are very serious, and have led to a loss of sleep, as a BAEZLN woman said: “there is a lot of anxiety because of the insecurity, and now none of us sleep due to the risk to the community….”

The testimonies show that the discrimination and exclusion are a result from belonging to BAEZLN, which leads to constant aggressions and humiliations which they are not willing to tolerate any longer.

Statements also show a situation of constant thefts from their own homes and places of work, which according to the victims have intensified, because these acts are now taking place in daylight. Below is one of the statements from a male member of the BAEZLN:

“On March 13, 2013, I had 800 selected little coffee plants (in a bag), then I realised they had stolen seven little coffee plants, which had involved loads of effort to put in the bag, a practice which happens regularly and normally agreed amongst the ejidatarios, who are linked to the authorities and we do nothing, so to avoid consistent provocations

To sum up, we documented many death threats which have been happening in recent months, like on March 27, 2013 when the ejidal and municipal authorities met together in a private place to share information about a BAEZLN man, to decide whether to kill him. They agreed that once they had executed this person, they would do the same with the other BAEZLN. The person who gave this statement asked not to be named, because they would burn him alive or he would have to pack his bags.

It should be noted that during the stay of the caravan, while we were gathering statements from the BAEZLN, we, the participating organizations, were living in a hostile environment. We received information that the party supporters were meeting, calling all men and women, and said that outsiders should not be coming in to solve their problems, that the caravan does not have the right to measure the land, (the party supporters thought that this was the function of the caravan, as we visited a site where BAEZLN denounce dispossession). Subsequently, we reported that the party supporters threatened the caravan with taking away our vehicles, saying “if you do not give them up, the good will become bad, and if blood flows, then blood will really flow”.

Meeting with municipal authorities from Chilón

As part of the Mission of Observation, we requested a meeting with the municipal president of Chilón, Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar, who was unable to attend, but we met with the government delegate in the area, Nabor Orosco Ferrer, and the Municipal Receiver, Francisco Guzmán Aguilar, among other municipal officials.

We shared the documentation of violations to human rights that are being experienced in San Marcos Avilés currently, and expressed our great concern about the situation of constant threats, robbery and risk of forced displacement. We emphasized the obligation of the state to guarantee security amidst a situation of threats, and it is an urgent matter, because the violence is escalating to irreparable levels. We also asked them to provide the necessary conditions for the BAEZLN to return to their land and the right to and respect for their autonomy and self-determination.

For his part, the Municipal Receiver of Chilón, Francisco Guzmán Aguilar, acknowledged the displacement and dispossession of land from the bases of the EZLN since 2010, commenting that “what is certain is that the Zapatistas bought the land, but it was taken from them because they do not pay property taxes, or pay for their light and water”, but he denied the existence of a situation of violence today.

At the same time, the government delegate in the area, Nabor Orosco Ferrer, admitted that there are people with political interests behind these events, who could be provoking the situation of conflict.

Regarding the recent acts of plunder on April 18, 2013, when machines came to work carrying gravel to fill in a lagoon in a plot of land belonging to a BAEZLN, acts organized from the Chilón municipal government, municipal officials told us that: “the filling in of the plot of land is necessary because it has a lagoon which attracts many mosquitoes which transmit diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, but we had no knowledge that part of the land belongs to a BAEZLN”.

Hopes of the BAEZLN

mision19The BAEZLN told us that they hope this conflict will soon be resolved peacefully and with justice, as they are suffering very much. They want to have peace, because they want to see their children playing happily. They are waiting for the return of their lands, which have been taken by the people responsible for the violence, so that peace can return to the community.

Conclusions of the Civil Mission of Observation

The organizations of the Network for Peace have verified that as a result of repeated threats and attacks, there is food shortage among the EZLN families. This does not allow them to live a full life, among other situations that might constitute acts of torture due to the constant and widespread violence committed against them by the party supporters of San Marcos Avilés.

We wish to express our great concerns about the continuing violations of the personal and psychological integrity of the BAEZLN. We regret the lack of action from the government of Chiapas, which has allowed and tolerated the fact that the situation is based on constant human rights violations.

We ask the government to foster actions from the party supporters which involve respect for the autonomy of the BAEZLN, within the framework of the rights of indigenous peoples contained in ILO Convention 169, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the San Andrés Accords, in accordance with Article 1 of the Constitution of the United Mexican States.

In this way the fundamental rights to health, education, housing, residence, freedom of movement and other rights of the BAEZLN families of the community of San Marcos Avilés, which are being violated, can be ensured, respected and protected.

According to the information documented, there is an imminent risk that, for a second time[i], a forced displacement may be carried out by people from the same ejido who are affiliated to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the Mexican Green Ecological Perty (PVEM).

We make clear to the government the seriousness and urgency[ii] of the situation, and ask them to take immediate action to prevent irreparable harm to the life and personal integrity of the indigenous Tzeltales belonging to the BAEZLN in the community of San Marcos Avilés.

 

The members of the Network for Peace:

Fray Pedro Lorenzo de Nada Human Rights Committee (CDHFP),

Centre for Indigenous Rights, A.C. (CEDIAC),

Services and Consultancy for Peace, A.C. (SERAPAZ),

Support Committee for Community Reconciliation and Unity, A.C. (CORECO),

Economic and Social Development of Indigenous Mexicans, A.C. (DESMI),

Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba),

Education for Peace, A.C. (EDUPAZ), LINK, Communication and Training, A.C. (ENLACE CC),

International Service for Peace (SIPAZ),

and the Chiapas Centre for Women’s Rights, A.C. (CDMCH).


[i] Background: On September 9, 2010, the Good Government Junta Central Heart of the Zapatistas Before the World, Caracol 2 Resistance and Rebellion for Humanity, based in the community of Oventic, San Andrés Sakamch’en de Los Pobres, Chiapas, made a denouncement about the threats, harassment and forced displacement which had been suffered by the 170 men, women and children of the BAEZLN in the ejido San Marcos Avilés, municipality of Chilón, Chiapas; this was following, in August 2010, the BAEZLN building the first autonomous primary school in the ejido, for the start of the planned activities of the Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Education System.

That day, 30 people from the ejido San Marcos Avilés, affiliated with the political parties the PRI, the PRD and the PVEM, headed by Lorenzo Ruiz Gómez and Vicente Ruiz López, entered violently, with sticks, machetes and firearms into the homes of the members of the BAEZLN, and tried to rape two women, who escaped. So as not to respond to this aggression, the BAEZLN left their homes seeking refuge in the bush. After 33 days of forced displacement without food or any protection, on October 12, 2010, 27 families of BAEZLN (women, men, boys and girls, in total 170 individuals) returned to their community. They are still living in a precarious situation, still displaced from their work and under constant threats to their integrity and personal safety. 

[ii] Increase in acts of repression and tension against the BAEZLN in San Marcos Avilés; downloadable here:

http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/acciones_urgentes/130228_actualizacion_au1.pdf

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Denunciation of attacks on families in Chilón in order to take their land

Caravan of observation has presented a report of their visit to the area

Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada, Friday April 26, 2013

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, April 25

manta-sanmarcos1Death threats, threats of rape, attacks and robberies are continuing against Zapatista families in San Marcos Avilés (Chilón). The Network for Peace in Chiapas has released a report about the situation in the community, after a caravan of observation visited last Monday.  “The main source of the aggression is the dispossession of their workable lands by members of the PRI, PVEM and PRD”. There are also threats of displacement “prompted by the disagreement of the party supporters with the progress of the project of autonomy of the EZLN”, the report added.

The women of the community denounced that the party supporters harassed them on a daily basis. One described how: “we are harvesting the coffee with fear. One day when I returned to the house they had stolen the chickens, poisoned the pigs, and robbed other items. They say that if we go out alone, they will rape us. Two years ago my daughter died at the age of 10 of sadness, because they told her many times they were going to rape her.” Children “are constantly asking why they cannot go out and play, they feel the anxiety of their parents”. The psychological consequences “are severe”, the report said. According to another witness, “now we do not sleep on account of the risk”. The discrimination and exclusion against the Zapatistas “is evident”, and provocations “are constant”.

They documented a number of death threats. “For example, on March 27 the ejidal and municipal authorities met in a private place to share information about a Zapatista man and decide if they would kill him. They agreed that once they had done this, they would do the same with the other bases of the EZLN”.

During their stay in the ejido, the caravan experienced “a climate of hostility”, and the party supporters threatened to seize the vehicles of the observers.

Subsequently, the mission of 10 civil organizations met with the Chilón municipal authorities. While the Mayor Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar (PVEM) did not attend, observers met the government delegate Nabor Orozco Ferrer, the receiver (síndico) Francisco Guzmán Aguilar and other municipal officials.

Faced with the documentation of human rights violations, the receiver “acknowledged the displacement and dispossession of land from the bases of the EZLN since 2010, commenting that ‘what is certain is that the Zapatistas bought the land, but it was taken from them because they do not pay property taxes, or pay for their light and water’, but he denied the existence of a situation of violence today”. The Government delegate “admitted that there are political interests behind these events on the part of some people which might be causing the conflict”.

The mission found “food insecurity” among the EZLN families. “This does not allow them to live a full life, among other situations that might constitute acts of torture due to constant and widespread violence committed against them”.

“We regret the lack of action from the government of Chiapas, which has tolerated the constant human rights violations”, the Network for Peace declares, and demands guarantees of health, education, housing and freedom of movement for the EZLN support bases. “There is an imminent risk that, for the second time (the first was in 2010), a forced displacement may be carried out by people from the same ejido who are affiliated with the PRI, PVEM and PRD. We make clear to the government the seriousness and urgency of the situation, and ask them to take immediate action to prevent irreparable harm to the life and personal integrity of the indigenous belonging to the EZLN”, the report concludes.

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/04/26/index.php?section=politica&article=028n2pol 

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Zapatistas Denounce Aggressions from PRI and PVEM Supporters

 ** They threaten the civil mission from the Chiapas Network for Peace

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, April 23, 2013

pic2zapatistasThe Good Government Junta (JBG) of Los Altos, based in the Zapatista Caracol of Oventic, has denounced the numerous aggressions that the support bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) in the San Marcos Avilés ejido (Chilón) have been suffering, particularly this year. The aggressors are identified as “party members” of the PRI and PVEM.

The context in which the communiqué was released is that the civilian mission of the Chiapas Network for Peace was threatened last Sunday, during its visit to the Tzeltal community to document the constant violations of the rights of the Zapatista bases.  Frayba, one of the 10 participating organizations, denounced that: “the party members threatened the ‘Civil Observation Caravan’ with taking away its vehicles,” and warned that if they did not give them up (the vehicles) “the good” would become “the bad, and if blood flows, it is going to flow.” The threats did not materialize, but they give an idea of the climate in San Marcos Avilés. The caravan concluded without further incidents, and announced [it will present] a report in the next few days.

Meanwhile, the Junta recalls that “it has been denouncing all the shameful acts of these party supporters” who provoke problems among the indigenous of the same community. They are “organized by the governors Juan Sabines Guerrero and, now, Manuel Velasco Coello.” The three levels of government “have done nothing to stop the injustices that they are committing against our compañeros.” And he points out: “The response to our denunciations has been swearing, jokes and more threats.”

The communiqué details more than 20 attacks against the Zapatista families from July 2011 until last week, when a Zapatista was dispossessed from a plot of land by the mayor of Chilón, who, on April 17, “sent a tractor to level a 32 by 25 meter plot owned by Javier Ruiz Cruz, which started to work, guarded by 120 people from the different political parties.” “Our compañero was not able to do anything to defend his property.”

The next day “the tractor continued working in the plot, surrounded by the same number of party supporters and seven dumper trucks to carry gravel.” Earlier, last January 29, Ruiz Cruz had reported to the Junta that the land, on the banks of a lagoon, “was circled by the aggressors,” among “rumors that we are dealing with the construction of a military camp.”

The threats and harassment “have not stopped” since 2011, usually headed by the municipal police and the PVEM member Lorenzo Ruiz Gómez. The Junta describes various attacks against the autonomous families: seizure of land, robbery of crops and animals, sacking of coffee fields, death threats, false accusations, suspension of electric service and attacks with arms and with rocks, together with the arbitrary actions of Chilón’s municipal officials, openly colluding with the PRI and PVEM aggressors in San Marcos Avilés.

Already, in March 2012, the PRI member Ernesto López Núñez boasted: “that those in his party have a new plan” to evict the Zapatistas, and that there would be a “second phase of taking away their rights.”

On March 3, “aggressors and authorities of the PVEM met with the principal ringleader” (the above-mentioned Ruiz Gómez), who would have said: “that there is no other way than to murder the children of our compañeros,” and then asked his accomplices “to murder Juan Velasco Aguilar and the rest of the Zapatistas.” His fellow believers, according to the Junta, said they were “ready” to do it and that they have “sufficient weapons”.

The Oventic Junta “blames” the above-mentioned Ruiz Gómez and López Núñez “directly,” as well as the former’s sons, Socrates and Ismael Ruiz Núñez. It adds the PRI members José Cruz Hernández, Santiago Cruz Díaz, Vicente Ruiz López, Manuel Vázquez Gómez and José Hernández Méndez, besides the Greens Rubén Martínez Vásquez, Manuel Díaz Ruiz, Victor Núñez Martínez, Victor Díaz Sánchez and another 30 individuals. These aggressors do not allow the Zapatista bases, who were already temporarily evicted in 2010, to live in peace.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/04/24/politica/022n2pol

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Urgent note: Caravan to San Marcos Avilés receives threats from political party supporters

Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas

April 22, 2013

Urgent Note

Caravan to San Marcos Avilés receives threats from political party supporters who say: “Blood will flow”.

According to information we have received up to now, the political party supporters of San Marcos Avilés have threatened the “Network for Peace in Chiapas Civil Caravan for Human Rights Observation in San Marcos Avilés” with taking away their vehicles; according to information they said: “If you do not hand them over quietly it will be the worse for you, and if blood is going to flow, then blood will flow”.

As a Human Rights Center we demand the prompt and immediate intervention of the Chiapas government to protect and ensure the integrity of the human rights defenders from the civil caravan.

Finally we ask national and international civil society to keep abreast of the situation.

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NETWORK FOR PEACE IN CHIAPAS INFORMS ABOUT CIVIL MISSION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS OBSERVATION TO SAN MARCOS AVILÉS

 

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico,

April 18, 2013

To national and international human rights organizations

To national and international media

To public opinion

Civil Mission for the Observation of Human Rights in San Marcos Avilés, Chilón municipality, Chiapas, by the Network for Peace

logo-red-por-la-paz-copy-300x58The members of the Network for Peace in Chiapas would like to inform you that on 21 and 22 April, 2013, we will be undertaking a Civil Mission of Observation and Documentation to the community of San Marcos Avilés, in the municipality of Chilón, in order to collect testimonies after the recent threats to forcibly displace the support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN), made by the inhabitants of the same ejido belonging to different political parties. In this context, we also hope to meet with the municipal president of Chilón, Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar, and the government delegate in the area, Nabor Orosco Ferrer. At the end of this visit, we will prepare a report which we will present afterwards.

The Network for Peace in Chiapas was set up in late 2000. It is a space for reflection and action composed of 10 civil society organizations, which maintains an ongoing analysis of the local and national context, along with specific actions such as statements about matters of gravity, observation missions or thematic gatherings (Encuentros) on Human Rights. We believe it is important to carry out this mission and the meetings with the authorities, in order to halt the escalation of threats and their possible realization, especially considering that 170 BAEZLN from the ejido San Marcos Avilés have already been displaced, between August and October 2010, and that today they are still living in a precarious situation, remaining displaced from the lands they work, and with their integrity and personal safety under constant threat.

To national and international human rights organizations, national and international media and public opinion, we ask you all to remain alert as to what might happen in the context of the mission and to circulate the contents of the report when it is made public.

Respectfully,

The members of the Network for Peace:

Fray Pedro Lorenzo de Nada Human Rights Committee (CDHFP)

Center for Indigenous Rights, A.C. (CEDIAC)

Services and Consultancy for Peace, A.C. (SERAPAZ)

Support Committee for Community Reconciliation and Unity, A.C. (CORECO)

Economic and Social Development of Indigenous Mexicans, A.C. (DESMI)

Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba)

Education for Peace, A.C. (EDUPAZ)

LINK, Communication and Training, A.C. (ENLACE CC)

International Service for Peace (SIPAZ)

Chiapas Center for Women’s Rights, A.C. (CDMCH)

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Civil Mission in Chiapas in response to threats to EZLN support bases

Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada
Sunday April 21, 2013

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, April 20

_____SanMarcosAviles-SOLIDARIDADMembers of the Network for Peace in Chiapas have reported that this Sunday 21st and Monday 22nd April, they will undertake a civil mission of observation and documentation to the community of San Marcos Avilés, in the municipality of Chilón, “in order to collect  testimonies, following recent threats to forcibly displace the support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), made by the inhabitants of the same ejido who are affiliated to different political parties.”

The 10 civil agencies involved in the action, who have repeatedly expressed their concerns about the Zapatista population of this community, said they also hope to meet with the municipal president of Chilón, Rafael Leonardo Guirao Aguilar, and the government delegate for the area, Nabor Orozco Ferrer.

They also called on human rights defenders, the media and the public “to remain alert as to what might happen in the context of the mission”. At the end of this visit to the Tzeltal families under threat, the observers will present a report.

Threats

They emphasized the importance of the observation and the meetings with officials “in order to halt the escalation of threats and their possible realization, especially considering that 170 Zapatista bases from the ejido San Marcos Avilés have already been displaced, between August and October 2010, and that today they are still living in a precarious situation, remaining displaced from the lands they work, and with their integrity and personal safety under constant threat.”

The Network for Peace in Chiapas, established in 2000, describes itself “a space for reflection and action composed of 10 civil society organizations, which maintains an ongoing analysis of the local and national context, along with specific actions such as statements about matters of gravity or observation missions.” The network is made up of: Fray Pedro Lorenzo de Nada Human Rights Committee (CDHFP), Centre for Indigenous Rights, A.C. (CEDIAC), Services and Consultancy for Peace, A.C. (SERAPAZ), Support Committee for Community Reconciliation and Unity, A.C. (CORECO), Economic and Social Development of Indigenous Mexicans, A.C. (DESMI), Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba), Education for Peace, A.C. (EDUPAZ), LINK, Communication and Training, A.C. (ENLACE CC), International Service for Peace (SIPAZ), and Chiapas Centre for Women’s Rights, A.C. (CDMCH).

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/04/21/index.php?section=politica&article=016n1pol

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From London: Message to politicians of Mexico and in Support of the Zapatistas

You can see another photo here: https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/photo-gallery/

yosoyprotest“STOP THE TERROR ON ZAPATISTA COMMUNITIES”, was the message written on the posters clearly displayed at a talk regarding the “Pacto por México”, at the London School of Economics on Tuesday 12th March, referring to the recent attacks on the autonomous community of San Marcos Avilés, Chiapas, Mexico. Leaflets telling the story, which the media has kept silent about, were also handed out to the listening audience, as well as to the infamous speakers.

The talk was meant to be hosted by Senators from the PRI, PAN and PRD, the three dominant parties in Mexican politics. These political parties have all shared a role in the repression, harassment, and denial of basic human rights to Zapatista communities, not to mention the continuous process of dispossession, loss of identity, and deprivation the indigenous peoples of Mexico have had to endure for the last 500 years due to the negligence, racism and economic interests of the people who govern.

As is common with Mexican bureaucracy, the incompetence and mediocrity of the people who lead the country was evident before the talk even started. The senators of the PRI and PAN were both absent for this session, allegedly due to internal disputes between the two parties. Therefore, the “Pacto por México” became destined to be spoken of by the PRD alone, with boring and hollow rhetoric about how “great” the country will be under these new legislative reforms.

One of the aims of the “Pacto por México”, is to “modernize” the south of the country. Well, “modernize” is probably a polite word to describe what their obscure agenda really implies.

Learn about what they are doing to the Zapatistas in San Marcos Avilés, Chiapas:

  • First and foremost, the attacks on the Zapatistas are part of the PAN-PRI-PRD coalition’s plan to “modernize the south”, established in their “Pacto por México”.
  • According to the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre, there is an imminent risk of forced displacement of the Zapatista Support Bases by people affiliated to the PRI, PRD and PVEM in San Marcos Avilés. Just because they don’t want to pay tax for living on lands that belong to them.
  • Recent weeks have witnessed widespread death threats and harassment of Zapatista Support Bases.
  • Forced displacement and eviction from their lands since 2010 means they cannot work them, resulting in the current alimentary crisis, and threats to their process of autonomy.
  • Many fear, according to a declaration made by party supporters during an assembly in the municipality on the 23rd of February, that attacks and repression are imminent under this new government.

We, as conscious Mexicans and Internationals from all around the world:

– Demand an end to the harassment and terrorising of people’s rights to their own land.

– Demand diligent investigation and corresponding sanctions of those responsible for forced eviction, threats and harassment of the Zapatista Support bases.

– Demand the Mexican government respect and guarantee the process of autonomy that the Zapatistas have been building, established in the San Andrés accords and in the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People.

We greet our Zapatista compañer@s, and express our most sincere solidarity and affection.

Para todos la luz, para todos todo.

Por una democracia auténtica,

Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex

#Yosoy132 – Londres

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Declaration in support of the Zapatistas of San Marcos Avilés from the Committees of the True Word of Kolkata, India, Western Colombia and South-West England

We wish to express our profound concern for the lives and safety of the Zapatista support bases (BAZ) living in the ejidal community of San Marcos Avilés, in the official municipality of Chilón, Chiapas. As a result of their ongoing construction of autonomy, especially the construction of their own autonomous school, named in honor of Emiliano Zapata, they have been subjected to a second nightmare campaign of violence and intimidation, culminating in imminent threats to displace them from their homes.

We recognize that these actions are part of the counterinsurgency strategy, or war of attrition, being conducted by the three levels of government in Mexico against the whole Zapatista movement. Nevertheless, the Zapatistas remain an inspiration to many people throughout the world; they have been in resistance for nearly twenty years and are currently undergoing a resurgence. One part of the government strategy is the use of paramilitary style groups, armed and funded by the State, to attack and undermine the organization’s support base. In San Marcos Avilés, the attacks come from members of the political parties, in this case the PRI, PRD and PVEM. The result of their continual acts of aggression and harassment is that the BAZ do not have access to all their lands, and some of their crops and food plants have been stolen or destroyed, as have most of their belongings. The women are threatened with assault and rape, the livestock are killed, and the children are threatened.

Recent events suggest that an imminent displacement of the BAZ is very likely. On 19th February a group of community ejidal authorities and police came and aggressively demanded payment of the predial taxes, saying this was on the orders of the municipal president and treasury secretary. The BAZ explained that they take nothing from the government, and so do not pay taxes. The reply was “If you do not pay, you will be displaced. We ourselves will arrest you and take you to the authorities. We are going to cut your light and water”. The following day, the party supporters met to discuss how to displace the BAZ, and on February 21st went to meet with the local authorities to advance the plan, and ask for an eviction order. They have since again threatened the BAZ with displacement.

The previous displacement was in September 2010, when 170 women, children and men spent 33 days, during which time two women gave birth, in the open without food or shelter. After an accompanied return they found their homes ransacked, and the threats and intimidation as strong as ever. All this because they want to live with dignity and freedom, and, as indigenous Zapatistas, to struggle for justice, liberty and democracy.

None of the governing authorities have taken any measures to resolve the situation; in fact they have encouraged it, in the hopes that the BAZ will either be provoked to respond aggressively, or will give up the struggle. Their human rights are ignored and violated.

At this time it is more essential than ever for people of good heart throughout the world to express our solidarity with the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés, to raise our voices together to tell them that they are not alone, and to tell their repressors that we are watching them. For much of the last year an international campaign, “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas”, was rolled out in support of the Zapatistas of San Marcos Avilés and other threatened communities, and the strength of its activities put a halt to threats of imminent eviction in the community last summer. Committees of the True Word such as ourselves were set up in response to this great organizing effort. All those who took part in this campaign will not only be alarmed at the new developments in San Marcos Avilés, but will also feel the need to mobilize global solidarity once again to try to prevent the displacement of the BAZ. We call on you all to take action urgently.

For further information, please see this article: https://nacla.org/Zapatista-Displacement-and-Solidarity

Watch the video message: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-8CBt3Vkg

With embraces of solidarity

Committees of the True Word from Kolkata, India, Western Colombia and South West England

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San Marcos Avilés: Forced Displacement and the Hope of Solidarity

Human rights organizations and solidarity activists warn that the Tzeltales of San Marcos Avilés are at risk of a displacement equivalent to that of 2010.

Published by Nacla: https://nacla.org/Zapatista-Displacement-and-Solidarity

For the Zapatista support bases of San Marcos Avilés, the nightmare of displacement has no end. After the end of the international campaign which had prevented the evictions, the government and the political parties renewed the threat, and there are now fears of an imminent displacement.

The ejido San Marcos Avilés is located in a mountainous region of the official municipality of Chilón, in the Highland region in the north of Chiapas. The population of around 140 families of indigenous Tzeltales grows maize, beans, coffee, sugar cane, and bananas, and keep a few cattle, horses, pigs, and chickens. Within the community live families of Zapatista bases of support (BAZ) alongside supporters of the Mexican political parties of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), and the Green Party of Mexico (PVEM).

On the morning of Saturday February 23, 2013 came the news those in solidarity with the Zapatistas throughout the world had feared to hear again: “Urgent: Imminent risk of forced displacement of the support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in the San Marcos Avilés ejido.” This article will try to give the background to the nightmare situation which has been endured by the BAZ of this community since 2010 and show the difference that international solidarity can make at a time of a resurgence of the Zapatista movement.

The eviction

1611In August 2010, as part of the Zapatista Autonomous Rebel Education system and their fight for dignity, freedom, and justice, the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés constructed their own autonomous school, “Emiliano Zapata.” Education is one of the main pillars of Zapatista autonomy and self-determination, since it is completely independent from the state. Their autonomous schools are non-hierarchical and rooted in local indigenous culture and worldviews. Education is seen as a fundamental right of the people and a form of resistance. “We want a good education for our children,” say the BAZ about the foundation of the school, “good learning, a good example. We see that the government has its schools, but it is not good education, nor do they teach our children well; they do not provide good learning, and what they teach has nothing to do with us. So we opened our school.”

A group of the political party supporters in the community, in conjunction with the local police and authorities, began acts of aggression, harassment, and intimidation as soon as the building of the school started. These acts included the theft and destruction of food and belongings, physical and death threats, and land grabs. Within days 29 hectares of land and crops had been stolen from the BAZ. Less than three weeks after the construction of the school, 30 heavily armed men affiliated with the PRI, PRD, and PVEM broke into the houses of the Zapatistas and attempted to rape two women. They displaced 47 men, 50 women and 77 children who, so as not to respond to this aggression, took refuge in the woods and in the mountains, where they remained without food or shelter for 33 days—enduring cold, wet, and hunger, forced to sleep in the mud under plastic sheeting. “They treat us like animals, like dogs. This is what I felt when my son was born on the mountain,” said one of the women.

The return

Supporters from throughout the world mobilized quickly in response to the eviction and organized a solidarity caravan to bring food, clothing, blankets, and medicine to the displaced people. After an accompanied return to the community on October 12, 2010, the BAZ found that the aggressors had looted their homes and stolen their possessions, taken over their lands, broken down their fences, killed their animals, and burned their crops. Moreover, the death threats, bullying, and harassment from the political party supporters continued, preventing members of the community from performing their daily activities, and severely undermining their mental and physical health. The attacks can be clearly seen as another attempt to put an end to the Zapatista autonomous process and force the BAZ to give up the struggle and submit to the projects of the “bad government.”

The JBG of Oventic, Caracol II made a statement: “If anything happens to our brothers and sisters now that they are back in their community, it will be the municipal, state, and federal governments who are responsible, by advising, financing, and arming paramilitaries and manipulating the poor and miserable.

“We the Zapatistas do not bother anybody, we do not evict our compas from the political parties, we do not persecute anyone, we do not steal the land of our brother and sister farmers, nor do we take any other property from other poor people; we only defend what is ours, what are our rights; we live and eat through our own work and sweat, and we want to fight for true democracy, freedom, and justice for everyone. These are our crimes as Zapatistas”.

An enduring nightmare

In August and September 2011, an Observation and Solidarity Brigade visited this and other threatened communities and reported acute malnutrition and an outbreak of fever which took the life of a child. One member of the brigade explained, “The women in particular express the suffering resulting from their displacement, and the pain caused by having no security of any kind, either for themselves, or, above all, for their children. As a direct result of asserting their legitimate right to education, they do not have food, shelter, or water for their children.”

1610However, they also commented: “We see that, in fact, the Zapatista autonomy project asserts the rights that are enshrined in the declarations, conventions, and treaties relating to the rights of indigenous peoples, especially those relating to autonomy and free determination. We witnessed terrible humiliations perpetrated by the bad government, but we also saw with our own eyes that despite the threats of repression, suffering, pain, and poverty, not one of the compañeros wants to give up. This belief in the process of liberation means that the Zapatista movement is stronger than ever.”

A second displacement?

Threats of another displacement, by the same armed actors, remained recurrent. As a result, in November 2011, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba), in conjunction with Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio, an organization of Mexican migrants struggling for dignity and against displacement in New York, issued the “Worldwide Declaration in Support of the Zapatista Support Bases of San Marcos Avilés,” which groups, individuals, and organizations from all corners of the world signed. Over 1,000 protestors from Occupy Wall Street signed a further Declaration of Support.

Then, in 2012, the situation of threats and aggressions intensified to the point that the BAZ sent out an urgent call for help to the national and international community. Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio again responded, sending out an urgent message to the “Compañeros of the world” in July 2012, along with an extraordinarily moving and powerful video message from the BAZ themselves. “In the video message, our Zapatista comrades from San Marcos Avilés send special messages to the world…. They issue an urgent call for national and international support and solidarity with their community, in light of the alarming escalation of threats and hostility…. The culprits remain an attack group of political party members, who have stated that they will kidnap authorities of the Zapatista community, and in this way, forcefully displace the support base members from the ejido…. It is feared that another wholesale displacement of the community, similar to the one that took place in 2010, will occur.”

The BAZ explain, “We cannot enjoy the fruits of our labor with our children, because members of the political parties are eating them on the orders of bad government….The parties do not want the Zapatista organization in the ejido San Marcos. According to them, we set a bad example. They showed they want the organization to disappear. We will continue our struggle … because we have the right to be taken into account. Freedom, justice, and peace are what we are asking for. But we are not afraid because we know quite clearly what we are looking for and how we want to live”.

The Echo Campaign

Having grabbed attention from all corners of the world to the situation of the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés, Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio went on to launch the campaign “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas,” on July 27, 2012. This initiative was in two phases—the first, “Walking the True Word,” was one of education and awareness-raising, and the second, “From Truth to Action: Stopping the Repression,” focused on holding protests led by the same communities who learned and became aware during the previous stage. As a result of this effort, “Committees of the True Word” began organizing in support of the Zapatistas in 29 countries, many of them composed of people who were new to the Zapatista struggle.

Although the Campaign was one of solidarity with all the Zapatista communities under threat and their political prisoners, the continual dissemination of information through video messages, events, declarations, letters, articles, statements of support from well-known thinkers, and a great range of activities and actions, combined to keep San Marcos Avilés in the public eye.

“These attacks,” wrote the Peruvian fighter for social justice, Hugo Blanco, in support of the Echo Campaign, “are the spearhead of the attempt to crush the zone liberated from neoliberalism, where the people govern themselves through the Good Government Juntas. These are seen as the great enemy by the transnational corporations…as they are a living example of the fact that Another World is Possible, A World where Many Worlds Fit….It is in the direct interests of humanity to defend the island of freedom that is the Zapatista area.” The Campaign left no doubt that the attacks are part of the war of attrition that has been conducted by the Mexican state against the Zapatistas since 1995, with the aim of eradicating the whole movement and the hope it embodies, from the face of the earth.

In her second letter of support for the Campaign, the great Mexican feminist Sylvia Marcos explored further the reasons behind the paramilitary attacks, “What are they afraid of to make them deploy such destructive force? What is the danger from the proposal, the resistance and the survival of the Zapatistas for the prevailing capitalist order? Is it because they show positively that other forms of life, in justice and dignity, are possible? That the satisfactions of life and the joy of being need not be governed by consumerism and commodification? That we can “live well,” as they say in the Andean communities of South America, with other ways of organization, government, and campesino production, in which the best way of living is not the accumulation of material goods, but community solidarity and sharing what there is?”

The women of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) added their own insights, “The Mexican government targets these indigenous communities because Zapatistas are building an alternative form of living where people have sovereignty over the land and pursue justice for indigenous people. To our compañeras and compañeros of San Marcos Avilés who were displaced for over a month from their community, we stand together with you in your fight against the corrupt government that imposes such cruelty.” Meanwhile, members of South Africa’s largest grassroots movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, the Shack Dwellers Movement, pointed out that the primary goal of all repression is to break our bonds as movements and communities, so we must stay united and firm in our commitments and see our struggles as one.

1612Throughout the duration of this intense period of organizing, inspiration and awareness-raising, from July to November 2012, the situation in San Marcos Avilés remained relatively quiet and no attempts at displacement were made. The aggressors knew the situation was being watched. This can give us all hope that national and international organizing can actively help to prevent repression, that we can make a difference, and that all the hard work is worth it. Most importantly, these campaigns help the Zapatista compañeros to know that they are not alone, that they have allies everywhere, and what is more, knowledge and understanding of their struggle is spread more widely. They help us find one another.

The new threats of displacement

There has been an intensification of the repression in San Marcos Avilés since February 2013, raising concerns about a new attack. There are now fears that another displacement of the BAZ is imminent, following a demand from the authorities and police of the community for the BAZ to pay the local (predial) tax. They replied, “We have suffered very much as a result of all these aggressions from groups of (political) party members, and the government has done nothing. Now is not the time to pay, because we are in resistance and we demand respect for our right to our lands. If we do not receive anything from the government, we are not going to pay taxes.”

The party supporters threatened to arrest the BAZ, take them to the authorities, and cut off their light and water. They then put in motion the process of eviction in conjunction with the Municipal President of Chilón, Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar, and the Agrarian Procurator in Ocosingo, Luis Demetrio Domínguez López. The threat is imminent, and the ejido is filled with growing terror.

In the words of Frayba, “This Center for Human Rights expresses its concerns about the imminent risk to life, personal integrity, and security faced by the BAEZLN, inhabitants of the ejido San Marcos Avilés, stemming from the death threats and harassment which have increased during recent weeks. In addition, their forced displacement and dispossession from their lands, which are their means of subsistence, and which they have not been able to work since April 9, 2010, have led to a food crisis and constant threats against their process of autonomy. We point out the responsibility of the government of Chiapas who, by deliberate omission, has not acted to ensure the integrity and personal security of the BAEZLN and their access to the land, despite several interventions submitted.”

Zapatista resurgence

imgp7237A great sign of hope that may affect the situation in San Marcos Avilés is the recent re-emergence of the Zapatistas from a period of silence. A massive silent march of as many as 50,000 masked BAZ took place on a highly significant day, December 21, 2012, the end of Baktun 13. This day marked the end of one cycle of the Maya calendar and the beginning of another—a time when traditionally worlds change and power is transformed. “Did you hear?” wrote Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, “It is the sound of your world crumbling. It is the sound of our world resurging. The day that was day, was night. And night shall be the day that will be day. Democracy! Liberty! Justice!” Since then, 25 communiqués have been released (to date), and the Zapatista Word has been reborn.

Cultivating hope and action

Recently, solidarity campaigning has been seen to have contributed significantly to the release of the Zapatista political prisoner, Francisco Sántiz López. As a result of very effective organizing, the name of San Marcos Avilés is now well-known. There are people who have never visited the ejido who care about what happens there. Although the Echo Campaign may be over, the Committees of the True Word are still active. Frayba’s release of the Urgent Action brought a rapid response in the form of reports, letters, statements, and articles. Any eviction could not happen quietly, without being noticed and protested against. People are urged to write to the Municipal President of Chilón immediately, as well as the governor of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco Coello, and the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, holding them responsible for any aggressions that may occur.

It is essential to remain vigilant, to keep organizing actions, writing letters, and spreading information, while we make sure we keep the name of San Marcos Avilés, our solidarity with the BAZ, and, of course, hope, alive.

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Harassment Worsens Against EZLN Support Bases in San Marcos Avilés Ejido, Chiapas

** “Party members” threaten to incarcerate the Oventic Junta if it intervenes in the matter of the displaced

Photo

Indigenous Tzotzil support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, in the Municipality of Oventic, located in the Highlands of Chiapas.  [Photo archive/ La Jornada]

By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy

San Cristóbal de las Casas, March 5, 2013

Every day the situation of threats, harassment and tension becomes more serious against the support bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) in the San Marcos Avilés ejido (municipality of Chilón), from followers of the PRI, PRD and the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico, whose ringleaders have even threatened to “incarcerate” the Good Government Junta (JBG) of Oventic, if it should intervene.

According to “trustworthy” information, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) says that this situation has worsened since February 23, when the “party members” met with an unidentified local Chiapas deputy in Ranchería Yoc’ja, Chilón. “After this meeting an assembly was held in San Marcos Avilés, where the “party members (partidistas)” stated: “There will be war against the support bases because there is no longer another way of resolving the problem.”

On February 24, strong rumors were generated that “in the coming days” the “party members” would evict them together with other communities, for this reason the community of Zapatistas bases was on alert.

On February 26, at 8:00 at night, the ejidal commissioner, Ernesto Pérez Núñez, announced through the community’s sound system an assembly meeting the following day, which the 70 ejido members would have to attend, along with the residents who are not (Zapatista). The commissioner also warned: “No one from another place will have the right to come to settle the ejido’s problems, and if anyone from the JBG comes, we are going to incarcerate them.”

From February 27 until the present time, the Zapatista families “are living in a situation of grave tension, under direct threat and harassment of a forced displacement by the party members”.

Frayba “considers it urgent to address the situation of harassment as it is resulting in grave human rights violations, related to personal integrity and security, residency and free transit, among others.” Besides affecting coexistence and harmony in the community and family, it has repercussions in a potential humanitarian crisis “with possible consequences difficult to repair if a forced displacement is carried out for the second occasion against the Zapatista bases,” as already occurred in April 2010.

The new escalation against the autonomous families has already been denounced in recent days (La Jornada, 02/24/13). State authorities have been conspicuous for their inaction to avert possible violence against the Zapatistas of the Tzeltal community.

Amicus curiae on behalf of Patishtán

The University of Minnesota in the United States submitted to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in which it argues that in the case of Alberto Patishtán the evidence should be dismissed from the beginning, “since it was wrongfully obtained and as a result his fundamental rights were violated, which existed since before the publication of the new thesis and jurisprudence of the SCJN.” The Mexican State was obliged to protect and guarantee the rights of the prisoner.

Patishtán’s defense validated the argument developed in the writing (in an amicus curiae, experts on a topic unrelated to a judgement express their opinion with respect to a particular case, supporting elements that can be transcendent in the court’s decision). This, because “it maintains judicial elements for which the SCJN ought to assume its jurisdiction and take up the fundamental issue on the strict question of violations to  guarantees and judicial protection, rights that were trampled at all times in the criminal proceeding.”

Meanwhile, those in Solidarity with the Voice of El Amate, members of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle detained in the San Cristóbal de las Casas prison, also spoke out in this respect: “After almost 13 years of unjust imprisonment of our compañero Alberto, the time has come for the anomalies and irregularities in his case to be discovered.” This Wednesday “there will be a hearing to discuss the SCJN’s resumption of jurisdiction in the matter. We trust that when the ministers discover all the lies in our brother’s case, they will dictate his immediate liberation.”

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/03/06/politica/033n1pol

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the: International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the: Chiapas Support Committee, California, Wellington Zapatista Support Group, UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

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Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center, AC

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

March 4, 2013

Update

Urgent Action No 1

 

Harassment and tension increase against BAEZLN in San Marcos Avilés

This Human Rights Center has received reliable information about an increase in harassment and tension against the Support Bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (BAEZLN) in the ejido San Marcos Avilés by members of the political parties: Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the Green Ecology Party of Mexico (PVEM). (hereafter called party members).

According to documented information, on February 23, 2013 : the party members spoke with a local representative of the state of Chiapas in a place called Rancheria Yoc’ja, in the municipality of Chilón. After this meeting an assembly was held in San Marcos Avilés, at 17:00, where the party members stated that: “[…] there will be war against the support bases, because there is no other way to solve the problem”.

February 24: Strong rumours circulated that in the coming days the party members, together with people from other communities, were going to displace them, for this reason the BAEZLN community remained alert to the situation.

February 26: At 20.00 hours the ejidal commissioner, Ernesto Pérez Núñez, announced by loudspeaker (the community’s audio device) a meeting of the assembly on Wednesday 27th February at 14:00 which all 70 ejidatarios would have to attend, also including those people from the community who were not ejidatarios. At the same time the ejidal commissioner warned: “No one from elsewhere has the right to come to sort out the problems of the ejido, and if those people from the Good Government Junta attend, we are going to incarcerate them.”

From 27 February until today we are told that the BAEZLN are living in a situation of serious tension, harassment and under direct threat of forced displacement by the party members.

Therefore this Human Rights Center considers it urgent to address the situation of harassment because it is causing serious violations of human rights related to personal integrity and safety, residence, and free movement, among others. It is also affecting coexistence and harmony in the community and family, resulting in a humanitarian crisis whose possible consequences could be difficult to repair, if it should lead for the second time to a forced displacement of the BAEZLN.

Background:

See urgent action No. 1 dated February 22, 2013: http://www.frayba.org.mx/ Acción Urgente: Riesgo de desplazamiento forzado a BAEZLN en San Marcos Avilés

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You can sign the Urgent Action through the National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations All Rights for All here: http://www.redtdt.org.mx/d_acciones/d_visual.php?id_accion=258

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From Dorset, England: Urgent request concerning the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés

Compañeras and Compañeros,

The Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group from the UK have written the letter which follows below. It can be printed out by any group, collective or organization and sent in protest against the renewed risk of imminent violent displacement of the Zapatista support bases of San Marcos Avilés. At the end are addresses for officials of the three levels of government, municipal, state and federal. It is only necessary to change the recipient and add your name and any contact details.

We are suggesting the letter be sent first to the local authorities in Chilón and Ocosingo, and then afterwards to the governments of Chiapas and Mexico, because it is the local municipal president who is most directly involved. It can also be sent to your local embassy or consulate, the media and other organizations.

We send you embraces from England

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group

An English version of the letter is attached for your information Sample letter in support of SMA , together with the letter in Spanish ready for printing SMA carta espanol   Please send the letter in Spanish, by post if at all possible.

Here is the letter:

Febrero de 2013

Lic. Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar, Presidente Municipal de Chilón, Chiapas

Lic. Luis Demetrio Domínguez López, Procuraduría Agraria, Ocosingo, Chiapas

C. Julio César Gómez Pérez, Tesorero Municipal, Chilón, Chiapas

Estimados Señores,

Llamado para poner fin a la violencia, y garantizar la seguridad y la protección de los derechos humanos en el ejido San Marcos Avilés, Chiapas

Hemos recibido con consternación e indignación las noticias de un nuevo intento de desplazar a las bases de apoyo zapatistas (BAZ) del ejido de San Marcos Avilés, municipio de Chilón, Chiapas, por parte de unos miembros y simpatizantes de los partidos políticos mexicanos el PRI, el PRD y el PVEM. Nos dirigimos a ustedes con fin de exigir que se tomen acciones inmediatas para evitar nuevamente amenazas y actos de hostigamiento contra los BAZ de esta comunidad; para garantizar y proteger sus vidas, e integridad y seguridad personal, así como sus derechos a la alimentación, a una vivienda digna y a la vida, y a trabajar sus tierras en paz.

Como ustedes sin duda saben, 170 de las BAZ de San Marcos Avilés fueron desplazadas violentamente a través del uso de armas de fuego, en el mes de septiembre de 2010, por un grupo de simpatizantes de los partidos políticos, y fueron obligados a huir a la montaña, donde se quedaron sin alimentos, bebidas o sin algún albergue por 33 días. A su regreso, encontraron sus cosechas y pertenencias destruidas. Según el Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, las BAZ han sido incapaces de trabajar sus tierras, que son su único medio de subsistencia, desde el 9 de abril de 2010, lo que significa que no tienen una fuente de alimento. Los actos de acoso, robo y de violencia han sido un hecho cotidiano, desde esa fecha, y se ha informado una intensificación reciente en las amenazas de muerte, y actos de agresión e intimidación, que culminó en los sucesos de los últimos días, dejando las BAZ bajo la amenaza inminente de desplazamiento.

Hasta ahora, a pesar de denuncias y comunicaciones frecuentes en apoyo a las BAZ, los gobiernos municipal, estatal y federal no han tomado medidas para garantizar su seguridad e integridad. Exigimos que las autoridades mexicanas tomen medidas urgentes para garantizar:

• El cese inmediato de los riesgos de los desplazamientos y las amenazas de muerte y actos de hostigamiento contra las BAZ, por miembros de los partidos políticos en el ejido San Marcos Avilés.

• Las garantías y protección de la vida e integridad de los miembros de la Comunidad Base de Apoyo

• Respetar y garantizar el derecho fundamental a la libertad de expresión y pensamiento en el ejido San Marcos Avilés, y por el derecho de las BAZ a trabajar sus tierras sin molestias.

• Respetar y garantizar el proceso de construcción de autonomía, mediante el derecho a la autodeterminación de los pueblos, establecido con base en el Convenio de la OIT 169 sobre pueblos indígenas y tribales, y la Declaración de la ONU sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, de los cuales ambos México ha firmado, así como en virtud de los Acuerdos de San Andrés.

Entendemos que las amenazas y agresiones provienen de la hostilidad hacia los avances que las BAZ están haciendo en el proceso de la construcción de su autonomía. Queremos establecer claramente que los miembros bases de apoyo de la comunidad de San Marcos Avilés no están solos: tienen todo nuestro apoyo.

Vamos a seguir muy de cerca y estaremos pendientes de los acontecimientos en San Marcos Avilés los próximos días; hacemos responsables a los gobiernos de Chilón, Chiapas y México por cualquier daño que puedan sufrir las BAZ de esta comunidad.

Atentamente

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URGENT REPORT:

IMMINENT EVICTION PLANNED,

TERROR GROWS IN SAN MARCOS AVILÉS

February 23, 2013:

We are extremely concerned about the new threats of displacement against the Zapatista support bases (BAZ) of San Marcos Avilés; these have been shamelessly made by certain inhabitants of the same ejido who are affiliated to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the Green Party of Mexico (PVEM).

We, Mexicans migrants who make up the Movement for Justice in El Barrio in East Harlem, New York, United States, by means of this statement make clear our denouncement of these attacks which are born and nurtured with the backing of the municipal, state, and federal governments. Indeed, we hold these governments responsible for all past and future acts of violence that have occurred and may occur.

Due to these aggressive acts there is a threat that a second displacement of the community may take place, at a similar level to that of 2010, clearly showing that they are part of a historic chain of violence and repression against the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés. We know that the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés are the target of these attacks simply because they are struggling for justice, dignity, freedom, and democracy as the indigenous Zapatistas that they are. Furthermore, these threats are part of the counterinsurgency plan that the Mexican State has been implementing since January 1, 1994.

From the information documented, we know the following:

1.) On 19 February this year, eleven (11) persons including ejido authorities arrived and aggressively delivered to the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés a document demanding the payment of predial tax.

The BAZ of San Marcos Avilés, affirming their justified position, explained that they never pay any taxes to the government, as they are in resistance, and do not receive any kind of support from the government; they demanded that their right to their land be respected. In response, the authorities of the ejido said:

[…] You have to pay because it is an order from the Municipal President and an order from (the secretary of) the Treasury. If you do not pay, you will be displaced. We ourselves will arrest you and take you to the authorities. We are going to cut your light and water […]

2.) Subsequently, this group of party supporters met on 20 February to develop the next steps in their plan to displace our sisters and brothers the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés.

3.) On February 21, the party supporters left the ejido of San Marcos Avilés to talk to the Municipal President and the Agrarian Procurator in Ocosingo seeking support and the best way to undertake the displacement of the BAZ from the community of San Marcos Avilés.

For these reasons, we propose to all the countless allied people of good heart that we join together to denounce what has happened and remain alert for what could happen against the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés.

We repeat that we hold the officers of municipal, state, and federal government responsible for these attacks.

We demand freedom, justice and respect for the process of autonomy that is being constructed by the dignified Zapatista peoples. Our struggles will make these demands reality.

We will continue to update this site with information and translations as often as we can. The site is available here:

https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/latest-news/

Also, the video message from the Zapatistas of San Marcos Avilés already has over 39,000 views. We have to keep spreading the word!

You can watch this video message here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-8CBt3Vkg

 

LONG LIVE THE BAZ OF SAN MARCOS AVILÉS!

LONG LIVE THE EZLN!

We send you embraces from El Barrio, New York

Movement for Justice in El Barrio

 

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Political party militants and police demand that Zapatistas pay predial tax

They are at imminent risk of expulsion from the Chilón ejido, warns the Frayba centre

We will not pay; the government does not respond to complaints made: EZLN support base

Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada
Sunday February 24, 2013

newsmapic4San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, February 23. The Zapatista families of the ejido San Marcos Avilés, in the municipality of Chilón, are at imminent risk of displacement by the inhabitants of the same ejido who are affiliated to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD) and Mexican Green Ecology Party (PVEM). The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) today issued an Urgent Action to demand guarantees for the threatened indigenous from the federal and state governments.

On Tuesday 19, ejidal authorities and police from the community aggressively delivered a letter to the support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), demanding the payment of the predial tax. The Zapatista civilians explained their reasons for not participating in any area of the state and federal governments: We have suffered very much as a result of all these aggressions from groups of (political) party members, and the government has done nothing. Now is not the time to pay, because we are in resistance and we demand respect for our right to our lands. If we do not receive anything from the government, we are not going to pay taxes.

The ejido authorities replied that they had to pay because it was an order from the municipal president and (the secretariat) of Finance. Otherwise they would be evicted. We will arrest you ourselves and take you to the authorities. We are going to cut off the light and water, they said.

On the 20th the party supporters met to agree actions against the bases of the EZLN. According to testimony gathered by Frayba, they drafted a memorandum of agreement in which they agreed to seek the way to displace them, as well as addressing the municipal and state governments to seek strategies for the eviction of the Zapatistas from the community.

On the 21st the party supporters left San Marcos Avilés very early in order to fulfil the agreement and speak with the municipal president and the Agrarian Procurator in Ocosingo, so as to enable the eviction, also sending letters to the municipal, state and federal governments.

The bases of the EZLN reported that the ejido authorities informed them of this. That night, around 9 o’clock, the officialist (ie government-supporting) ejidatarios threatened the Zapatistas, saying that the municipal president of Chilón had given the eviction order and that on Monday 25 they would request intervention by the state government in Tuxtla Gutierrez .

The Frayba centre makes clear its concerns about the imminent risk to the life, integrity and personal safety of the Zapatista bases of San Marcos Avilés, based on the death threats and acts of intimidation which have increased in recent weeks.

To this they add forced displacement and the dispossession of their lands and livelihood since April 9, 2010, a situation that has led to a food crisis and a constant threat to their process of autonomy.

The Frayba centre emphasizes the responsibility of the government of Chiapas, which through deliberate omission has not acted to ensure the integrity and personal safety of the Zapatista bases and their access to their lands, despite several interventions sent by the organization itself to the Mexican government demanding the necessary measures to ensure the integrity and personal safety of the threatened indigenous, along with their right to the fundamental freedoms of free speech and thought, and their right to their dispossessed lands and to the autonomous process which they are building under the right to the free determination of peoples.

It should be remembered that on September 9, 2010, the Good Government Junta from Oventic denounced the forced displacement of 170 Zapatista men, women and children from the ejido, following the building by the Zapatistas, in August of that year, of the first autonomous school in the ejido.

On that day, 30 people from the ejido, led by Lorenzo Ruiz Gómez and Vicente Ruiz López, entered violently, with sticks, machetes and guns, into the homes of the Zapatistas and attempted to rape two women, who managed to escape. So as not to respond to this aggression, the Zapatista families took refuge in the woods. After 33 days of displacement, the 27 families returned to their community on October 12. For more than two years they have remained in a precarious situation, deprived of their lands and under constant threats, which now could be fulfilled.

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/02/24/index.php?section=politica&article=019n1pol

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New Risk of forced displacement of BAEZLN in San Marcos Avilés

Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

February 22, 2013

Urgent Action No. 1

Risk of forced displacement of BAEZLN in San Marcos Avilés

FOTOSMA2According to information documented by this Human Rights Centre, there exists an imminent risk in San Marcos Avilés ejido, municipality of Chilón, that for the second time a forced displacement of the support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) may be carried out by inhabitants of the same ejido who are affiliated to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), and the Green Party of Mexico (PVEM).

On February 19, 2013, 11 people from the community ejido authorities and the police of the community arrived and aggressively delivered a letter to the BAEZLN demanding payment of local tax.

The BAEZLN stated the arguments and reasons which they have had since the start of the armed uprising in 1994 not to participate in any area of ​​the state and federal government saying:

[…] We have suffered much from all these aggressions by groups of party supporters and the government has done nothing. Now is not the time to pay, because we are in resistance and we demand respect for our right to our land; if we do not receive anything from the government, we will not pay taxes.

The response from the ejidal authorities was that:

[…] You have to pay because it is an order from the Municipal President and an order from the Treasury. If you do not pay, you will be displaced. We ourselves will arrest you and take you to the authorities. We are going to cut your light and water […]

Following this, on 20 February 2013, the party supporters met to agree actions against the BAEZLN, at this meeting, according to witnesses, they made an act of agreement whereby they decided to seek ways to displace them, as well as communicating and having discussions with the municipal and state governments to seek strategies for the eviction of the “Zapatistas” within the community.

On February 21, 2013, the party supporters left the community of San Marcos Avilés very early, in order to fulfil the act of agreement signed the previous day. In order to do so, they sought to speak to the Municipal President and the Agrarian Prosecutor in Ocosingo to activate the eviction, also sending letters to the municipal, state and federal governments.

For this, according to the testimony of the BAEZLN, the same authorities mentioned previously told them that they sought to talk to the Municipal President of Chilón and the Agrarian Prosecutor in Ocosingo with the aim of asking for an order to evict the BAEZLN. The same day, February 21, at around 21:00, the inhabitants of the ejido threatened the BAEZLN, saying that the Mayor of Chilón had ordered the eviction and that, on Monday 25 February, the authorities of the ejido would seek the intervention of the state government in Tuxtla Gutierrez. This information was received by the BAEZLN without knowing whether it was true, or if it was a threat from the party supporters of the ejido.

This Centre for Human Rights expresses its concerns about the imminent risk to life, personal integrity and security faced by the BAEZLN, inhabitants of the ejido San Marcos Avilés, stemming from the death threats and harassment which have increased during recent weeks; in addition to their forced displacement and dispossession from their lands, which are their means of subsistence, and which they have not been able to work since April 9, 2010, a situation that has led to a food crisis and constant threats against their process of autonomy.

We point out the responsibility of the government of Chiapas who, by deliberate omission, have not acted to ensure the integrity and personal security of the BAEZLN and their access to the land despite various interventions submitted by the Centre for Human Rights;

Therefore we demand that the Mexican government to take the necessary measures to:

  • protect and guarantee the life, integrity and personal security of the BAEZLN
  • Respect and guarantee the right to fundamental freedom of expression and thought in the San Marcos Avilés
  • Respect and guarantee the right to work the land belonging to the BAEZLN
  • Respect and guarantee the process of building autonomy, under the right to the self-determination of peoples, established under the Convention (No. 169) concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as in the San Andres Accords.
  • Investigation and punishment of those responsible for the forced displacement, dispossession, threats and harassment of the BAEZLN.

Background:

SMAphoto3On 9 September 2010, this Human Rights Centre received a denuncia from the Good Government Junta Central Heart of the Zapatistas before the World, from Caracol 2 Resistance and Rebellion for Humanity, based in Oventic, San Andrés Sakamch´en de Los Pobres, Chiapas, in relation to the threats, harassment and forced displacement suffered by 170 men, women and children of the BAEZLN from the ejido San Marcos Avilés, Chilón municipality, Chiapas; this followed the building by the BAEZLN, in the month of August 2010, of the first autonomous school in the ejido, for the start of the planned activities of the Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Education System.

That day, 30 people from the ejido San Marcos Avilés, all of whom were affiliated with the PRI, PRD and PVEM, and who were headed by Mr. Lorenzo Ruiz Gómez and Vicente Ruiz López, entered violently, with sticks, machetes and guns, into the homes of members of the BAEZLN, and tried to rape two women who escaped. In order not to respond to this aggression, the BAEZLN left their homes seeking refuge in the woods and mountains. After 33 days of forced displacement without food or any form of protection, on October 12, 2010, 27 BAEZLN families (women, men, boys and girls, in total 170 individuals) returned to their community. They are currently still living in a precarious situation where they remain displaced from their subsistence lands, and under constant threats to their personal safety and integrity.

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Write to:

Lic. Enrique Peña Nieto

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

Lic. Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong

Secretario de Gobernación

Bucareli 99, 1er. Piso, Col. Juárez,

Del. Cuauhtémoc,

C.P. 06600 México D.F.

Fax: (52 55) 50933414;

Correo:  secretario@segob.gob.mx

Lic.  Manuel Velasco Coello

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;

Correo: secparticular@chiapas.gob.mx

Dr. 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;

Correo: secretario@secgobierno.chiapas.gob.mx

Lic. 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

Correo: raciel.lopez@pgje.chiapas.gob.mx

Lic. Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar

Presidente Municipal

Domicilio Conocido S/N, Presidencia Municipal C.P. 29943

Chilón, Chiapas, México

Teléfonos: (01 919) 6710115, 6710230, 6710116, 6710030, Fax: 6710034

Correo: presidenciachilon@hotmail.com

Dr. Emilio Álvarez Icaza

Secretario Ejecutivo de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos
1889 F Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20006

USA

Fax 1-202-458-3992

Correo: cidhdenuncias@oas.org

Javier Hernández Valencia

Representante de la Oficina en México del Alto Comisionado

de Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos

Alejandro Dumas No 165

Col. Polanco.

Del. Miguel Hidalgo

C.P 11560, México D.F.

Tel: (52-55) 5061-6350

Fax: (52-55) 5061-6358

Correo: quejasoacnudhmexico@ohchr.orgoacnudh@ohchr.org

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

Correo: accionesurgentes@frayba.org.mx

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Solidarity Brings Freedom and Justice for Zapatista Francisco Sántiz López

Originally published by NACLA 11th February 2013https://nacla.org/news/2013/2/11/solidarity-brings-freedom-and-justice-zapatista-francisco-s%C3%A1ntiz-l%C3%B3pez

After 417 days of wrongful imprisonment, the Zapatista is freed.

Thanks to all the people and organizations throughout the world who campaigned for his liberation.

Joyful celebrations have taken place all over the world as supporters and Zapatistas rejoiced in Francisco Sántiz López’s liberation after 417 days of unjust imprisonment for crimes he never committed. The order for his release states that the evidence of his innocence was not taken into account, confirming that, as the Oventic Good Government Junta has repeatedly made clear, “his only crime was that of being a Zapatista.” Upon his release on January 25, 2013, the Tzeltal, Francisco, stated: “We are going to continue in the struggle of the EZLN, to follow the path, and we are going to win.”

Background

Franphoto7In the eleventh of Subcomandante Marcos’s recent communiqués, released on January 24, he listed the names of several persecuted individuals. One of these was “Francisco Sántiz López, indigenous Zapatista, unjustly imprisoned by ‘law enforcement’” On January 23, in La Jornada, Hermann Bellinghausen wrote of Francisco, “he remains in prison for no reason, his case frozen, more like a political hostage than a prisoner.”

Francisco is from the community of Banavil, Tenejapa, in the highland region in the north of Chiapas. He is a campesino who also runs a stall in the local market and is married with eight children and 12 grandchildren. He has been part of a committed support base of the Zapatistas for over twenty years, even before the uprising of January 1 1994, and is described by the Oventic Junta as “an honest person who fulfills his community and organizational responsibilities.”

On December 4, 2011, local police arrested and charged Francisco Sántiz López with “leading” a violent confrontation that had taken place that day in Banavil that resulted in two deaths. Although many witnesses were able to testify that he was not present in Banavil when the attack took place—but instead miles away running his fruit and vegetable stall in the municipal headquarters of Tenejapa, where he was arrested—Francisco was imprisoned in CERSS No. 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, where he was confined for 417 days in total.

The incident in question involved an armed attack by a group of PRI supporters against four Tzeltal families, who were not Zapatistas, although they were described as sympathetic to the organization. During the violence, one of the attackers was killed, and one of the victims, Alonso Lόpez Luna, was disappeared; only his arm has ever been found, and his case has never been investigated. The four indigenous families were displaced and remain in inadequate living conditions, far from their rural home on the outskirts of the city of San Cristóbal, while their attackers occupy their lands.

On March 22, 2012, a judge exonerated Francisco of the unproven charges of murder and aggravated assault, and he was released. However, just as he was leaving the prison he was rearrested, this time on a federal charge, for the crime of “being in possession of a Firearm for the Exclusive Use of the Army, Navy and Air Force.” Despite the fact that there is no evidence that Francisco was in possession of a firearm at any time, he was returned to the prison.

The Campaign for Francisco’s Release

Locally, nationally, and internationally, Francisco Sántiz López’s supporters have disseminated information, written letters, circulated petitions, produced videos, and participated in actions, rallies, forums, gatherings, and artistic displays to work for his liberation.

Many of the actions in support of Francisco also focused on another famous iconic and innocent prisoner, the Tzotzil “Professor” Alberto Patishtán Gómez, who has been imprisoned unjustly since July 2000, and who, in 2002, was sentenced to 60 years of incarceration. He has since become well-known and highly respected for his human rights work on behalf of his fellow prisoners—setting up prisoner organizations, such as the Voice of El Amate, within the prisons and for leading the prisoners on hunger strikes to demand their rights and freedoms.

“Breaking Down the Prison Walls”

Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio initiated this global solidarity campaign to bring down the prison walls and liberate these two prisoners. The campaign had four phases: the First and Second Weeks of Global Struggle, in April and June 2012; the “Public Letter Demanding the Immediate Liberation of Francisco Sántiz López and Alberto Patishtán Gómez,” in June; and finally, “for Nine Months: Nine Days of Global Action to Bring Down the Prison Walls” in August and September 2012. With great energy, momentum continued to build throughout the campaign as they organized more and more actions and events. Videos released included messages from the Landless Peoples Movement (MST) from Brazil and the Shack Dwellers Movement from South Africa (Abahlali baseMjondolo).

Movimiento launched the campaign with these words: “We have witnessed with much pain all the attempts to dehumanize Alberto Patishtán Gómez and Francisco Sántiz López, from the false accusations to the legal inconsistencies of the bad government via its three levels and its rulers from every post. They seek to erase the faces of our compañeros to make them invisible. They seek to erase the words of our compañeros to silence them. They seek to eliminate their physical freedom so that they cannot fight any more. Because it is easier to bury beneath prison walls a human body that lacks a face, makes no sound, has no life.

“But we continue listening to them from afar, and their dignified cries, their indispensable lives, call us to walk alongside them to obtain their freedom. They call on us to unite our forces in order to knock down the walls that surround them.

“As an organization of predominantly Mexican immigrants, we have experienced first-hand the inhumane reality of the border and social walls imposed upon us by those from above. We have lived and challenged the many injustices that are like bricks in these walls; we have also lived and seen them crumble. Once all of us unite, combine our forces, and organize, we can accomplish this. For this reason, we view international solidarity as deeply important. United and together, we shall win.”

Declarations of Support—“Their Struggle is Our Struggle”

Franphoto14During the second week of global action the renowned thinker, university professor John Holloway, wrote a letter in support of the campaign for the political prisoners: “To Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio, the Other Campaign, New York. How impressive! Wave after wave of protest for the liberation of Alberto Patishtán and Francisco Santiz López, letter after letter arriving from every part of the world.

“A result, of course, of the organization and determination of the organizers of the weeks of struggle for their liberation. But it is something much more than that. We recognize ourselves in Alberto and Francisco, we recognize that they are suffering for us. Their struggle is our struggle. Their struggle is the struggle of all of us who still dream that there can be a future for humanity, a life of dignity. Their imprisonment is simply another manifestation of the fact that capitalism has no room for humanity. The present system is a constant aggression, a machine of destruction that seeks to destroy all that does not bow to the logic of money, all that stands opposed to the logic of profit. But it cannot succeed because there are people like Alberto and Francisco who say No, that they will not accept it and ……millions and millions and millions more who will not accept.”

A letter from Raul Zibechi, the highly respected writer, thinker, and analyst from Uruguay, presented another very powerful statement: “Those from above are criminalizing the place occupied by the people who are the color of the earth. That is the justice of the State and the bad government. A ‘justice’ that imprisons the children of Pachamama and those who defend and care for her, but rewards with freedom those who destroy her in order to turn her into a commodity.

“The international campaign to free Patishtán and Sántiz López is revealing the true reasons behind their imprisonment. When those from below stand up, when the poor of the world speak out and organize, they are systematically labeled “terrorists” and “violent” and are turned into the targets of defamation campaigns, with all the machinery of repression thrown upon them.

“When those from above steal public resources, when bankers appropriate the money and labor of all others, they are rewarded with positions in the bad governments and utilize state money to save their dirty businesses.

“These are not errors or abnormalities, but rather the true notion of justice held by the State: To protect those from above and condemn those from below. In this world two forms of justice exist: One for the governments and one for the people. The former is implemented by rich, white men who are protected by armed guards, and who hide in palaces to make decisions. The latter is community justice that is decided in assemblies of common people–the people who are the color of the earth–whereby everyone can debate because neither lawyers nor experts are required to distinguish between good and bad.

“They are two justices for two opposed worlds. One day our justice shall judge those from above; and on that day, they shall be condemned to live off their work, to care for the common good. They shall be condemned to live as we, the 99% of humanity, do.

“That day, which is not far off, we will remember our brothers, Patishtán and Sántiz López, as two of the many midwives who made the birth of a new world possible.”

The renowned social struggler from Peru, Hugo Blanco, commented: “In Mexico, jail is not meant for narco-traffickers, but rather, for indigenous people, such as Alberto Patishtán Gómez and Francisco Sántiz López, who have done nothing wrong.

“What crime did these two men commit? Thinking that Mexico should be a place for all Mexicans–one in which everyone works and lives peacefully, without exploiting or being exploited, and enjoys the fruits that the land gives us. A country where everyone may be educated, where everyone may attend to their health, where there are no millionaires and no beggars. A country where everyone is concerned about each other, as they are in indigenous communities; a country that is formed by communities of communities, both in the countryside and in the cities; where there is no one who rules and no one who obeys–where all may decide; a country where everyone may be in deep solidarity, where it is not necessary to step on another’s head in order to move up.

“This is what they had in mind, and they understood that they must not resign themselves to only think as such, but that it is necessary to collaborate with other people in order to build this country of solidarity which would exist in a world of solidarity.”

And the much-loved writer and activist from Oaxaca, Gustavo Esteva, wrote: “The prison of these two compañeros must weigh on us as if it were our own prison. As in truth it is. While they remain prisoners, we are all prisoners, imprisoned by this abominable system from whose bars we have failed to free ourselves . . . . We have to break the chains that still bind our hands and our feet and keep us from the conquest of our autonomy in every corner of the world where we live. Only through these autonomies, entrenched in every area and linked in solidarity everywhere, will we be able to leave our prison.”

The Echo Campaign

Francisco'slogo_cartelEnglishAt the same time as the final phase of “Breaking Down the Prison Walls,” the quite extraordinary Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio also convened the campaign “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas,” which ran from July to November 2012. Francisco’s release was one of the two main demands of this campaign, along with an end to attacks on the autonomous Zapatista communities.

Amazingly, groups and individuals from 25 countries participated in the “Prison Walls” campaign and from 29 countries in the “Echo” campaign, with documents being translated into eleven different languages.

The Legal Position

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) filed an amparo indirecto—an appeal for legal protection—in the federal court in favor of Francisco on October 25, 2012, on account of “the grave violations of due process” committed against him and requesting his immediate release.

The Human Rights Centre stated clearly, not for the first time, that they were convinced that this case “is an example in which the Mexican State utilizes the justice system for criminalizing Zapatista support bases, as a consequence of their exercise of the right to self-determination and autonomy, based on the San Andrés Accord . . . . Convention 169 of the ILO and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

On December 4, 2012, Francisco completed one year in prison. La Jornada reported that Alberto Patishtán said, “the compañero Francisco Santiz asked me to say: ‘I will not tire of asking for justice.’ He is an important example of the crimes that are ‘imposed’ on the innocent who are in Mexican prisons.”

The requested amparo for the protection of federal justice was granted to Francisco on January 3, 2012. On January 10 Frayba wrote: “This Human Rights Centre believes that the federal government has no good reasons to continue to deprive Francisco Sántiz López, support base of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, of his freedom.”

As a result of the legal protection granted, a judge was ordered to determine Francisco’s legal status. On January 25, 2013, Frayba reported that an order had been issued that the case had to be resolved within 24 hours. That same evening, the political prisoner was released. “They know I am innocent,” he said to the press on his release into the waiting arms of his family “and they invented my crime.” He went straight to Oventic to thank the Junta for all the help and support they had given him.

Significance

Francisco’s freedom was made possible by the massive national and international organizing campaigns applying pressure and raising awareness of his plight, as well as the challenge to the legality of his imprisonment—namely the lack of evidence. However, it was a triumph for worldwide solidarity, not for the law.

While his release must give hope to the families, friends, and supporters of Alberto Patishtán Gomez, who hopefully will soon also be freed, and indeed to the other political prisoners in Chiapas and throughout the world, the unjust imprisonment of Francisco Sántiz López and the fabrication of crimes against him have to be seen as another part of the government’s strategy of low-intensity warfare, which, alongside incessant direct aggressions, attempts to destroy the resistance of the Zapatista communities. “His only crime” as the Junta said, “is struggling for his people, telling the truth, struggling for true democracy, liberty, and justice.”

In the words of the Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio’s Echo campaign, “the unjust incarceration of Francisco is not an isolated case but one that forms part of the continuous war by the Mexican State against the Zapatista communities, a war that through harassment, attacks, and arbitrary detentions seeks to undermine and annihilate the resistance and process of autonomy that the Zapatista support bases are bringing to a head in Chiapas.”

His freedom comes at a time of great hope and expectations, following the Zapatista “resurgence” on December 21, 2012, the day of the ending of the cycle of the 13th Baktun of the Maya calendar and the beginning of the “new era” of the 14th cycle. It also comes at a time when the new PRI government of Enrique Peña Nieto is embarking on a whole new strategy of counterinsurgency, based on propaganda, misinformation, and deception. Those who care for democracy, liberty, justice, and that other possible world for which we struggle, must not relax their vigilance.

The final words belong to Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio: “His strength and courage have been an inspiration to us . . . . and a very powerful reason to keep fighting. The walls that enclosed our brother Francisco could not do so against memory. With time, every wall crumbles, but the memory of a people who struggle together for their dignity will never end.

“Today, we, the Mexican migrants of Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio, The Other Campaign New York, are celebrating, knowing that this was not a triumph of the rule of law, which does not exist in Mexico, but a triumph of our Zapatista sisters and brothers and our compañer@s of good heart in different corners of the world. We embrace you all and celebrate with you. In the spirit of ‘Breaking down the prison walls,’ and giving ‘a Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas,’ we struggled together and achieved the release of our brother Francisco.”

Further information about Francisco Sántiz López:https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/francisco/

Video message from the Zapatistas about Francisco Sántiz López:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXuVyJ5YdfA

Video about the International Campaign: “Breaking down the prison walls”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj0lUahDzTs

Video message from the MST (Landless Workers Movement), Brazil:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hUSCv-GPqU

Video messages from the Shack Dwellers Movement, South Africa:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96hJz2t2XVA    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMmwS4ju1PU

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After 13 Months in Prison, the Tzeltal Accused of Homicide is freed for Lack of Evidence

 ** “They know that I am innocent, that they made up my crime,” the Zapatista says as he leaves

** Sántiz López denounces that a PGR public servant confirmed to him that he was forced to apprehend him

By: Hermann Bellinghausen,

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, January 25, 2013

__ZAP_Solidaridad-2012Francisco Sántiz López, support base of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, its initials in Spanish), was released from the San Cristóbal prison this afternoon, due to the absence of evidence for the charges that kept him in prison for 13 and a half months.

The father of eight and grandfather of 12, Tzeltal campesino and businessman, who has been an active member of the Zapatista support base for more than 20 years, declared, upon taking his first steps on the other side of the bars: “We are going to continue the struggle there in the EZLN, to follow the path, we are going to win.”

The demand for his freedom had generated an international solidarity movement in close to 30 countries, which was expressed throughout 2012 in public places and in front of Mexican consulates and embassies in the five continents. In these mobilizations the freedom of Alberto Patishtán Gómez, adherent to the Other Campaign, who has been in prison since 2000, was also demanded.

“They know that I am innocent, that they made up my crime,” Sántiz López declared to the press who were waiting for him outside the State Center for Social Re-insertion of the Sentenced Number 5. “First they accused me of murder, and I got out on bail but I [had to] stay for carrying weapons.”

It’s appropriate to remember that the original motive for his incarceration was the quickly contradicted accusation that he participated in violent acts in Banavil community (Tenejapa), when a PRI group attacked families sympathizing with the EZLN on December 4, 2011. One of the attackers and one of those attacked lost their lives in the acts. The remains of the man attacked have not been located, except for an arm. As a result of those acts, as of this date six indigenous families are still displaced.

Three months later, a judge exonerated Sántiz López, but a new accusation on the part of the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR), for allegedly carrying a prohibited weapon, held him in the San Cristóbal prison until today. At six o’clock this afternoon, surrounded by twenty sympathizers who embraced and applauded him, carrying a bouquet of flowers in his hands under the drizzle and fog, Sántiz López stated: “In Banavil the director of indigenous representation cleared me of the accusations.”

From the beginning, none of the charges against him could be substantiated, while numerous witnesses existed who said he was not at the scene of the crime and was not carrying any weapon when he was detained in the municipal headquarters of Tenejapa the same day.

Today he relates that last January 16 there was an escape of two prisoners from this prison, and they carried out searches. “One of the PGR agents” approached me and said: “You are here? I told him ‘there is no crime’ and he told me ‘I was forced, they obliged me, we are going to talk Francisco, hold on we are going to talk very well, I am going to report which one of us obliged me to make your accusations.’ The PGR told me clearly; it is the public minister (prosecution) together with the Tenejapa judge, Alonso Méndez Guzmán.”

The liberation of the civilian Zapatista was precipitated yesterday when Magistrate Leonel Jesús Hidalgo ordered the resolution of his legal situation in 24 hours, “considering that all the existing evidence in favor of Sántiz López which indicates that he was not a participant in the acts that they impute to him has not been taken into account.”

For his part, the professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez, in the name of the prisoners of the Other Campaign, announced that this morning they made a pilgrimage and a religious ceremony to join the mobilization of the Believing People in the city of San Cristóbal, on the second anniversary of the death of Bishop Samuel Ruiz García.

Patishtán denounced the new prison director, Wenceslao Urbina Gutiérrez, and the accountant Flaviano Clemente Avendaño, for denying him the medication that he needs to be given since he had his operation for a brain tumor at the end of 2012. He also denounced that now the custodians harass and intimidate the family members of the Other Campaign prisoners, and take away the food that they bring to the prisoners.

Lastly, he demanded his freedom and that of the rest of the members of the Voice of El Amate and those in Solidarity with the Voice of El Amate.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, January 26, 2013

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/01/26/politica/019n1pol

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Celebrations in El Barrio, New York following the release of Francisco Sántiz López

Compañeras and compañeros:

Movement for Justice in El Barrio, The Other Campaign New York would like to share with everyone the great news about the release of Francisco Sántiz López, who has endured a wrongful conviction imposed by the repressive bad government of Mexico just because he is Zapatista.

Since December 4, 2011 he has had to suffer unjust imprisonment by the forces of the vindictive bad government of Mexico. His arrest and the time he spent behind bars was absolutely unjust and racist, as Francisco Sántiz López never committed any crime.

His strength and courage has been an inspiration to Movement for Justice in El Barrio and a very powerful reason to keep fighting.

The walls that enclosed our brother Francis could not confine memory. In time, every wall collapses, but the memory of a people struggling with all their being to unite their dignity will never end.

Today, we, the Mexican migrants of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, The Other Campaign New York, are celebrating, knowing that this was not a triumph of the rule of law, which does not exist in Mexico, but a triumph of our Zapatista sisters and brothers and our compañer@s of good heart in different corners of the world. We embrace you all and celebrate with you. In the spirit of “Breaking down the prison walls”, and giving “a Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas”, together we struggled and achieved the release of our brother Francisco.

Long live the EZLN!

From El Barrio, New York.

With love and solidarity,

Movement for Justice in El Barrio

The Other Campaign New York

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Celebrations of the anniversary of the founding of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

In San Cristóbal they commemorate the birth of the EZLN: November 17, 983

On this day the latest phase of the Campaign Worldwide Echo in support of the Zapatistas culminates.

Photo: December 31, 2007, the EZLN militants salute the flag on the anniversary of the uprising on 1 January 1994 –

Victor Camacho

Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada

Saturday November 17, 2012, p. 17

This Saturday, November 17, marks the 29th anniversary of the founding of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN); it also marks the completion of the new phase of the Campaign Worldwide Echo in support of the Zapatistas, which at this time was joined by groups and social organizations from 24 countries and many localities. During the last week protest actions were held at Mexican consulates and embassies in London, Amsterdam, New York, Bilbao and Florence, among others.

In recent months a group of intellectuals from Latin America has come to support this campaign for the Zapatistas in Chiapas with messages and analysis, and this has unwittingly become a public dialogue about Zapatismo today. The most persistent have been Raul Zibechi, Hugo Blanco, Sylvia Marcos and Gustavo Esteva.

Also this Saturday, the Festival of Remembrance will be held in San Cristobal de las Casas, to commemorate the beginning of the political-military organization of the EZLN, which happened on November 17, 1983 in the Lacandon jungle, a date which, since the public appearance of the EZLN in January 1994, has become memorable in many parts of the world.

The therapist and feminist Sylvia Marcos said for the anniversary: “I try to imagine the profound creative process that those extraordinary beings went through, those who first committed to meet with the struggles for justice already existing in the Chiapas jungle. No, they did not get the chance to “teach them” how to make the revolution. Neither did they teach them how to seize power by force of arms. They managed to put their previous training aside, the strict frameworks of the theories and practices of struggle which they had learned before arriving. Here with the unsubmissive and rebellious Maya, it was necessary to learn other ways.”

As a result of that mutual opening between indigenous and guerrillas, and their subsequent meeting with civil society, “the search for justice became more complex, it became peaceful, expressed through Mayan symbols, and Mayan expressions translated into Spanish” (by Subcomandante Marcos), she adds. The author asks several questions, which she describes as crucial: “Why is there so much fear, on the part of the powers, both governmental and de facto? Why this concentration on aggression, this excess of violence?”

Given the fact that the paramilitaries (in Chiapas) are armed with the consent of the three levels of government, Sylvia Marcos asks: “What is the danger from the proposal, the resistance and the survival of the Zapatistas for the prevailing capitalist order? Is it because they show positively that other forms of life, in justice and dignity, are possible? That the satisfactions of life and the joy of being need not be governed by consumerism and commodification? That we can “live well”, as they say in the Andean communities of South America, with other ways of organization, government and campesino production, in which the best way of living is not the accumulation of material goods, but community solidarity and sharing what there is?”

The Uruguayan writer, journalist and analyst Raul Zibechi trusts that the attacks on the Zapatista communities will not succeed in uprooting the seed, due the strength of the communities which have sustained for decades their project of life, despite repression, death, hunger and isolation.

The thinker Gustavo Esteva in his turn said: “As we celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, we must not forget the extraordinary actions of those who created it. It is important, in particular, to highlight a central legacy of Zapatismo: it was from the beginning an intercultural creation which was built through interaction. The Zapatistas have created a community which is always learning and which is continually transformed by linking with others.

At this anniversary celebration, honouring especially the memory of those who lost their lives in this undertaking, we need to emphasize that the Zapatista communities today need our solidarity. At the same time as they are consolidating their achievements, the bad governments are intensifying their actions to undermine their successes, to dismantle their institutions, to block their path. They are increasingly using paramilitary groups which carry out direct attacks, supported by local groups of campesinos, indigenous and non-indigenous, who try to seize the assets of the Zapatista communities and even their land. The repressive actions of the bad governments are passed off as inter-community conflicts,” concludes Esteva.

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/11/17/index.php?section=politica&article=017n1pol

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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

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International Campaign:
“Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas”

RED ALERT:
The Government of Mexico wages war
against the Zapatista communities!

The State of Mexico is currently employing, financing, and sending armed attack groups to carry out violent assaults on the following Zapatista communities. Located in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico, the indigenous communities of Zapatista Support Base members (BAZ) form the backbone of the Zapatista Movement, an autonomous organization of thousands of indigenous peoples that fights for justice, dignity, and democracy:

1.    Comandante Abel (BAZ): Since September 6th and until the present, the paramilitary group “Peace and Justice” has been carrying 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 missing 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 building their own houses as a way to perpetuate the occupation.

2.    Unión Hidalgo (BAZ): Since August, this Zapatista community was displaced by the violent aggressions of “Peace and Justice.” With the use of firearms, the aggressors have managed to occupy and expand their invasion throughout a significant section of the community. The situation is made worse because many compas are ill.

3.    BAZ of the ejido Guadalupe los Altos: Six BAZ compañeros were arrested under absurd charges made by the ejidal authorities of Guadalupe los Altos, together with the local organization CIOAC HISTORIC: Five of these Zapatista compañeros were arrested on the 30th September, and the last compañero on 4th October.

4.    Moisés Gandhi (BAZ): Throughout the month of August, the Zapatista Support Base members of this community have suffered violent attacks and threats of forced displacement by the Regional Coffee Growers Organization of Ocosingo (Orcao).

5. Jechvó: In October, groups of PRI militants started harassing the Zapatista Bases of Support of Jechvó, Zinacantan, violently denying them access to their own water source.

6.    San Marcos Avilés (BAZ): In their video-message (on YouTube: ”Mensaje de l@s Zapatistas de San Marcos Avilés”) that now has over 34,000 views, this Zapatista community of Tzeltal indigenous people explain the constant nightmare that they’re living in at the hands of an armed attack group backed by political party members, for having opened their own autonomous school “Emiliano Zapata” in 2010. From forced displacement, destruction and theft of property and food, to sexual assault, these compas have suffered numerous forms of violence and repression.

Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas: International Solidarity Campaign:

  1. Join the worldwide campaign! Write to laotranuevayork@yahoo.com to join this organizing network comprised of numerous organizations, collectives, and individuals from around the world who are already a part of the “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas.”
  2. Form a Committee of the True Word (organizing cell of the campaign)with your friends, family members, co-workers, etc., to be a part of this campaign.
  3. Circulate information regarding the urgent situation of the Zapatista communities.
  4. Add SAN MARCOS AVILÉS as a friend on Facebook.

web: sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com
e-mail: 
laotranuevayork@yahoo.com

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International Campaign:
“Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas”

RED ALERT!!!

FRANCISCO SÁNTIZ LÓPEZ:
INNOCENT
Zapatista Political Prisoner

Together with the attacks on the Zapatista communities, the Mexican State continues to attack the Zapatista movement by arbitrarily imprisoning its members.

  • Francisco Sántiz López, Zapatista Support Base member and indigenous Tzeltal, has been imprisoned since December 2011 for crimes that he did not commit. His only offense, as has been stated over and over again, is that of being a Zapatista Support Base member. For this single reason, he is being held as a hostage of the Mexican State.
  • On March 22 of this year, Francisco, as he was about to be released, was hit with another accusation of another false crime. For this reason, he remains at the moment a political prisoner, despite the fact that witnesses have corroborated the fact that Francisco Sántiz López was not at the scene of the crime.
  • Thousands of people from around the world are demanding: FREEDOM FOR FRANCISCO SÁNTIZ LÓPEZ!

In addition to Francisco, six BAZ compañeros were arrested under absurd charges made by the ejidal authorities of Guadalupe los Altos, together with the local organization CIOAC HISTORIC: Five of these Zapatista compañeros were arrested on the 30th September, and the last compañero on 4th October.

  •        The current injustly imprisoned Zapatista compas are: Cesar Aguilar Jiménez, Armando Aguilar Santis, Genaro Aguilar Santis, Delmar Aguilar Santis, Misael Aguilar Vásquez and Hipólito Aguilar Vásquez.

Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas:
International Solidarity Campaign:

  1. Join the worldwide campaign! Write to laotranuevayork@yahoo.com to join this organizing network comprised of numerous organizations, collectives, and individuals from around the world who are already a part of the “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas.”
  2. Form a Committee of the True Word (organizing cell of the campaign)with your friends, family members, co-workers, etc., to be a part of this campaign.
  3. Circulate information regarding the urgent situation of the Zapatista communities and the case of Francisco Sántiz López, the Zapatista political prisoner.
  4. Add SAN MARCOS AVILÉS as a friend on Facebook.

web: sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com
e-mail: 
laotranuevayork@yahoo.com

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The Government Continues to Inhibit Resistance Movements among Indigenous Communities

** It reactivates armed groups like Paz y Justicia; the attacks in Chiapas continue: Frayba

** The government does not recognize those displaced due to the conflict and the counterinsurgency, it indicates

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

In Chiapas, those people internally displaced by the armed conflict and the counterinsurgency are not recognized as such by the government. In addition, sustained militarization in the state is part of “the scenarios of the strategy for the Security and Prosperity Alliance of North America (Aspan, its initials in Spanish), through the Merida Initiative,” and includes “permanent and itinerant checkpoints that violate the right of freedom of movement, with a particular presence in the border zone and in Zapatista territory,” the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) maintains in an evaluation of the conflict.

Communities within the EZLN’s zones of influence (“the objective to be destroyed”) continue to be militarized. To this is added the implementation of government social projects which, “together with agencies like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN, have been complicit in the counterinsurgency in this last six-year term,” says the study, which appeared in the new edition of Yorail Maya, Frayba’s regular publication.

The government “seeks to inhibit the resistance movements with social programmes aimed at dividing the communities, immobilizing the peoples through military occupation and the actions of the authorities in complicity with organizations of a paramilitary character and of groups linked to the government of Juan Sabines Guerrero, for the purpose of striking the communities in resistance.” Concerning the reactivation of the armed groups, it identifies “a pattern of direct confrontation from pro-government organizations with a paramilitary history, such as Paz y Justicia, which attacks the communities in the La Dignidad autonomous municipality.”

Over the course of the years, the authorities have denied both the concept of displacement as a consequence of the war and the existence of these displaced. Consequently, it was a “contradictory and utilitarian” action that, on the governor’s initiative, the Congress would approve, on February 14, a Law for the Prevention of and Attention to Internal Displacement within the state, with the support of the UNDP, with the intention of addressing this historically unsettled problem, which has left an open wound, irreparable losses and impunity.”

Nevertheless, testimonies received by the Frayba point out that the UNDP and Unesco “have caused community division, due to the continuance of a counterinsurgency policy driven by the federal and state governments to confront and exclude both the internally displaced and the returned-displaced.” That is how the authorities respond to the demands [of the displaced] for “attention under the guiding principles for displacement  of the United Nations.”

In the Census for Attention to the Displaced, the UNDP and the Chiapas government calculate that there are 24 to 30,000 people in that situation. This census, Frayba clarifies, “was created by the government with groups close to it, those looking for land with a history of exclusion and marginalization diametrically different from those who suffered forced displacement due to the State’s counterinsurgency.” The institutions involved “seek to misrepresent the crimes against humanity committed in Los Altos and the jungles of Chiapas”, and leave them unpunished.

Among others, it mentions 170 Zapatistas from San Marcos Avilés, 87 from Comandante Abel and several families from Unión Hidalgo who are not recognized as displaced. In addition, there are four families from Banavil, 36 people from Viejo Velasco Suárez –where there was a massacre in 2006–, four families from Busiljá and a minor, kidnapped by paramilitaries despite the precautionary measures requested by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Frayba emphasizes that these displaced people were never recognised as such, and concludes: “Internal displacement is not an isolated event, but rather a manifestation of the military and counterinsurgency strategy applied in Chiapas, which directly violates the territory of indigenous peoples.”

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/11/14/politica/023n1pol 

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“This land has already been allocated to those who actually work it and live on it “: Zapatista supporters

4th November

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

URL to article: http://desinformemonos.org/2012/11/esta-tierra-ya-esta-entregada-a-quienes-realmente-la-viven-y-la-trabajan-bases-de-apoyo-zapatistas/

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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.

Yours

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

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Frayba asks for legal protection for EZLN Support Base, due to Procedural “Violations,”

** It demands the liberation of Francisco Santiz and accuses the State of criminalizing the exercise of autonomy

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) filed an amparo indirecto, an appeal for legal protection,  in the federal court in favour of Francisco Sántiz López, base of support of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN), a prisoner in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. This, on account of “the grave violations of due process” committed against him.

Those violations are: lack of an adequate defence and access to justice, by not having a translator or legal defender who knew his language and culture to assist him in his statement to the General Prosecutor of the Republic; taking into account evidence at the margin of legal and constitutional requirements, and on the other hand ignoring the testimonies of the arresting authorities, which corroborate Santiz López’ declaration to personnel at the  General Prosecutor of Justice for the State of Chiapas  at the time of his detention, that he was in the municipal headquarters of Tenejapa last December, and not in Banavil, where the acts of which he is accused occurred.

Because of these irregularities,  Frayba have made an appeal for legal protection for Santiz’ immediate release. The civil agency notes that, in the context of the international campaign “Worldwide Echo (Eco Mundial) in support of the Zapatistas”, which has united actions in more than 20 countries, it is apposite to send letters to Minister Juan Silva Meza, president of the Federal Judiciary Council, and to Jesús Hidalgo Leonel, magistrate of the first unitary tribunal of the twentieth circuit in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, asking for his release.

The appeal for legal protection against the writ of formal prison was presented on October 25, and was admitted that same day in the first unitary tribunal of the twentieth circuit, with the number 30/ 2012. Now, social organizations and individuals are asking the magistrates “that the appeal for legal protection (amparo indirecto) be analyzed and followed up, taking into consideration the context and details of the case.”

The international campaign, which will culminate on November 17, demands: “an end to the harassment of the EZLN’s support bases, and freedom for Francisco, unjustly accused of the federal crime of carrying a weapon for the exclusive use of the Army, Navy and Air Force.”

The letter directed to the magistrate Silva Meza and Hidalgo Leonel repeats that: “irregularities in the investigation were evidenced from the date of his detention,” and they insist on his innocence. It was achieved that his case file “was studied at a reconciliation board, on whose recommendation, the Public Prosecutor’s Office Specialized in Indigenous Justice in Chiapas stopped the criminal action for the crimes of homicide and bodily injuries.”

The Tzeltal trader and farmer remains a prisoner, because a proceeding for the federal crime of allegedly carrying a prohibited weapon was imposed on him. According to  Frayba, “this case has been characterized since the preliminary investigations by the lack of clarification of the events that occurred on December 4 in the Banavil ejido, Tenejapa municipality, where members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party attacked with firearms four families that are allied to the EZLN.”

The civil groups state that they are convinced that this case “is an example in which the Mexican State utilizes the justice system for criminalizing Zapatista support bases, as a consequence of their exercise of the right to self determination and autonomy, based on the San Andrés Accords and its constitutional references,” as well as international benchmarks: Convention 169 of the ILO and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Alonso López Luna, one of those attacked, also disappeared in the events at Banavil. It is alleged that PRI members murdered him, but it has not been investigated.

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, November 2, 2012

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/11/02/politica/016n1pol 

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San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas

November 1, 2012

Informative note 

Actions for the freedom of Francisco Sántiz López, BAEZLN

Support the international campaign “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas”

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) has filed an amparo indirecto, anappeal for legal protection, at a federal court on behalf of Francisco Sántiz López (Francisco), Support Base of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN), in view of the serious violations to the right of due process which have been committed against him.

In this appeal for legal protection we produce the documented information about the human rights violations committed against Francisco, mainly:

  • The lack of an adequate defence and access to justice, not having a translator, or a legal defender who knew his language and culture, to assist him in his statement before the  General Prosecutor of the Republic.
  • Violations of due process, having taken into account evidence[i] outside legal and constitutional requirements.
  • Violations of the principle of presumption of innocence, by failing to take into account the testimonies of the apprehending authorities. These authorities corroborate the statement of Francisco, before the General Prosecutor of Justice for the State of Chiapas (PGJE), that at the time of his detention Francisco was in the municipal headquarters of Tenejapa[ii].
  • Because of these [human rights] violations Frayba have requested, in their appeal for legal protection, the immediate release of Francisco, and consider it apposite to send letters requesting the freedom for Francisco as part of the international Campaign “Worldwide Echo in support of the Zapatistas”. We ask you to to send letters to the Minister Juan Silva Meza, president of the Council of the Federal Judiciary, and to Jesús Hidalgo Leonel, Magistrate of the First Unitary Tribunal of the Twentieth Circuit, requesting freedom for Francisco. We attach (below) example letters and the addresses of the magistrates. Please send a copy toaccionesurgentes@frayba.org.mx

The campaign “Worldwide Echo in support of the Zapatistas” has linkedactions in more than 20 countries demanding an end to the harassment of support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) and the freedom of Francisco. We invite all organizations, communities and individuals to join the actions to be performed until 17 November 2012.

For more information:

www.sanmarcosaviles.wordpress.com

or www.solidaridadchiapas.wordpress.com 

Background

Francisco is an indigenous Tzeltal, and a BAEZLN, who has been deprived of his liberty in the State Centre for the Social Reintegration of the Sentenced No. 5, (CERSS No 5), San Cristobal de Las Casas, since December 4, 2011, wrongly accused by the state of the federal crime of carrying a firearm for the exclusive use of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

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Letter to the President of the Council of the Federal Judiciary

C. Ministro Juan N. Silva Meza

Presidente del Consejo de la Judicatura Federal.

Insurgentes Sur 2417, San Ángel. Álvaro Obregón.

C.P. 01000, México,D.F.
presidenciacjf@correo.cjf.gob.mx

P R E S E N T

We, the signatories to this document, have closely followed the criminal proceedings as well as the actions seeking the release of Francisco Sántiz López, Tzeltal indigenous support base of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, from the municipality of Tenejapa, Chiapas, who is currently detained at the National Centre for the Social Reinsertion of the Sentenced No. 5, (CERSS No. 5), in the city of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

Since the date of his arrest on December 4, 2011, it has been shown that there are irregularities within the investigation, and by insisting in that he is innocent, it was achieved that his record was studied at a Reconciliation Board, on whose recommendation the Public Prosecutor’s Office Specialized in Indigenous Justice in the State of Chiapas withdrew the prosecution brought against Francisco Sántiz López, on charges of murder and aggravated assault.

Francisco Sántiz López is currently being pursued for criminal prosecution, under federal jurisdiction, for the crime of possession of a weapon for the exclusive use of the army, navy and air force. A trial, that from the time they started the preliminary investigations, has been characterized by a lack of clarification of the events that occurred on December 4, 2011, in the ejido Banavil, Tenejapa municipality, where a group of members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) attacked with firearms four families allied to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

We know that on October 25, 2012, an Amparo Indirecto was presented against the order of imprisonment for the crime of possession of a firearm for the exclusive use of the army, navy and air force; this was admitted that same day in the First Unitary Tribunal of the Twentieth Circuit, with the number 30/2012.

Based on the above, we are writing to you to respectfully request that this Amparo Indirecto be analyzed carefully and followed up, taking into consideration the context and details of the case.

We believe that the case of Francisco is an example of the Mexican state using the system for the prosecution and delivery of justice to criminalize the support bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, as a consequence of their exercise of the right to self-determination and autonomy, based on the Agreement of San Andrés and national reference points established in Article 2 of the Constitution of the Republic in relation to Article 1, as well as international benchmarks, these being ILO Convention no 169 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We, the undersigned, for the purpose of receiving any kind of notifications give as our address the residence located at Calle Brasil número 14, Colonia Barrio de Mexicanos, in the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México.

That is all for now, we greet you, repeating our request along with our highest consideration.

Sincerely

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Letter to the Magistrate of the First Unitary Tribunal of the Twentieth Circuit

Magistrado Jesús Hidalgo Leonel

Primer Tribunal Unitario del Vigésimo Circuito

Palacio de Justicia Federal Edificio C, Boulevard Ángel Albino Corzo No. 2641,

Colonia las Palmas C.P. 29040, 1er. Piso, Ala B Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas

leonel.jesus.hidalgo@correo.cjf.gob.mx

P R E S E N T

We, the signatories to this document, have closely followed the criminal proceedings as well as the actions seeking the release of Francisco Sántiz López, Tzeltal indigenous support base of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, from the municipality of Tenejapa, Chiapas, who is currently detained at the National Centre for the Social Reinsertion of the Sentenced No. 5, (CERSS No. 5), in the city of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

Since the date of his arrest on December 4, 2011, it has been shown that there are irregularities within the investigation, and by insisting that he is innocent, it was achieved that his record was studied at a Reconciliation Board, on whose recommendation, the Public Prosecutor’s Office Specialized in Indigenous Justice in the State of Chiapas withdrew the prosecution brought against Francisco Sántiz López, on charges of murder and aggravated assault.

Francisco Sántiz López is currently being pursued for criminal prosecution, under federal jurisdiction, for the crime of possession of a weapon for the exclusive use of the army, navy and air force. A trial, that from the time they started the preliminary investigations has been characterized by a lack of clarification of the events that occurred on December 4, 2011, in the ejido Banavil, Tenejapa municipality, where a group of members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) attacked with firearms four families allied to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

We know that on October 25, 2012, an Amparo Indirecto was presented against the order of imprisonment for the crime of possession of a firearm for the exclusive use of the army, navy and air force; this was admitted that same day in the First Unit Court of the Twentieth Circuit, with the number 30/2012.

Based on the above, we are writing to you to respectfully request that this Amparo Indirecto be analyzed carefully and followed upgranting his immediate release.

We, the undersigned, for the purpose of receiving any kind of notifications give as our address the residence located at Calle Brasil número 14, Colonia Barrio de Mexicanos, in the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México

That is all for now, we greet you, repeating our request along with our highest consideration.

Sincerely


[i] The weapon Francisco is accused of carrying, a 22 mm pistol, was handed over, along with 5 rifles, by residents of Banavil, (who according to the family of the deceased Alonso López Luna, participated in the attacks and the disappearance from that day of the person named previously) to the Specialist Judge for Indigenous Reconciliation, Alonso Méndez Guzmán, in a plastic bag, showing that there was no chain of custody for this item, and thus that the necessary measures were not taken for its protection and preservation, to determine traces of the crime.

[ii] Contrary to the declarations of the charge, three witnesses who falsely reported that he had been detained in the ejido of Banavil and who “assured” the weapon concerned, at the time of his arrest.

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“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

 

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International Campaign:

“Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas”

https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/


Numerous Groups of the #YoSoy132 Movement Issue Public Support
for the “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas” Campaign

Compañeras and compañeros:


Receive warm greetings and embraces on behalf of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, The Other Campaign New York. We are writing to share with you the latest news on our worldwide campaign:

Day after day new voices join our efforts to express their rage at the acts of repression meted out against the Zapatista communities by the bad government of Mexico—motivated by the realization that our struggles, though distinct, are rooted in the same soil and confront the same enemy.

That said, we wish to announce that various groups, and assemblies of Yo Soy 132 have received the call issued by our Zapatista compas, and have thereby joined the “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas” Campaign. In this way, these national and international collectives of Yo Soy 132 have taken on our dignified demands of freedom for Francisco Sántiz López and justice for the Zapatista Support Bases who are presently under siege by forces of the repressive government of Mexico.

In the words of the Yo Soy 132 collective from the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua:

“The Zapatistas are not alone, we are with them; the struggle for a better México belongs to everyone… We have become tired of the current situation of our indigenous brothers and sisters of Mexico, and for this reason, we have decided to stand in solidarity and raise our voice in their support… With this we also say “enough of so much injustice!” that the Government has created since the Zapatista uprising; we know that once we disturb the government, we must struggle constantly to resist.”

Solidarity is our principal tool to continue building our organizing networks based on mutual support, and to continue the work of bringing down the border walls, at the local, national, and global levels, which those from above impose upon us to keep us divided. It is, in sum, clear that we shall continue building internally and externally to support the Zapatista resistance.

That being said, compas, the following is the list of the cells, groups, and assemblies of Yo Soy 132 that have joined the “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas” Campaign:

Yo Soy 132 of Campeche, assemblies of: San Fco. de Campeche, Cd. del Carmen, Escárcega and Camino Real.

Yo Soy 132 Chihuahua, Chihuahua

Yo Soy 132 Wuppertal, Germany

Yo Soy 132 Barcelona, Spain

Yo Soy 132 Chile

Yo Soy 132 – Montreal, Canada

Yo Soy 132 – Munich, Germany

Yo Soy 132 – London, England

Yo Soy 132 – Chicago, USA

Indigenous Languages Circulation Group of #Yo Soy 132

From El Barrio, New York…


Movement for Justice in El Barrio

The Other Campaign New York

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PRI harassment of Zapatista Support Bases returns in Jechvó

** Just like in 2004, they are violently denied a water supply

** The aggressors arbitrarily detained a member of the affected community

By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, October 17, 2012

Groups of PRI members in Zinacantán municipality, who not so long ago were PRD members, are again harassing the Zapatista community of Jechvó, denying them thejr water supply with violent acts, like they did in 2004, and jailing an autonomous representative. The Good Government Junta Central Heart of the Zapatistas before the World, for the Caracol of Oventic, said: “These are the same people who attacked our compañero and compañera support bases on April 10, 2004, when they went to give some water to our compañeros in the community of Jechvó, because the party members had deprived them of their right to using spring water.”

Remembering the ambush that almost cost the life of several indigenous who were marching that afternoon: “Several compañeros were injured in this attack, with rockets, stones, clubs and firearms, for the crime of giving water to our compañeros. The different authorities didn’t do anything about it. Those people who are looking for a problem over the water,” it is not because they are short it. “There is no reason for what they are doing,” adds the Junta.

Mariano Gómez Pérez, Zapatista base (civilian) from the community, solicited the intervention of the autonomous judge and the Junta, after the “officialists” threatened to cut off their water on September 30. “The autonomous judge sent a letter inviting the PRI agent and some former Zapatistas to deal with the issue on October 7. The letter arrived in the hands of the PRI agent on October 5. Instead of accepting the invitation, the agent and his community planned to detain a compañero and thus cause a provocation”.

They break the silence faced with violations

Gómez remained imprisoned the entire day in reprisal for his notification to the autonomous judge, and later “was taken out of the jail and taken before the authorities and an assembly of more than 100 people,” where they accused him of “other fabricated crimes.” They drove him to the Zinacantán municipal judge, and he (the municipal judge) advised the PRI members not to accept the invitation from the Zapatista judge, and openly “favoured” them.

“Faced with so many injustices, human rights violations and inhumane attitudes” from community and municipal authorities “and the bad state and federal governments,” the Junta warned: “We will not remain silent nor with our arms folded. We will defend what is ours, what belongs to us, our resources and our territories.”

Moreover: “What is indeed clear is the nightmare for the supposed Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero and the supposed president of the Republic, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, of having their hands stained with (the) blood of lots of innocent compañeros; of carrying in their thoughts all the horrors that they have committed. Sabines Guerrero and Calderón Hinojosa are surnames that stain the history of our country, along with many other previous surnames.”

It recapitulates how, since 2003, the Zapatista bases “started to be deprived of their right to water” in Jechvó, Elambó Bajo, Elambó Alto, San Isidro Chaktoj, Jechch’entik and other communities, “by people affiliated with the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) with the objective of making them surrender”. The Junta for the region bought a natural spring and constructed a tank, “which people from the parties, backed up by the official authorities, now (want).” The aggressors are “the same people,” but now they are returning as the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, its initials in Spanish).

“Although in lots of propaganda they try to hide their unjust actions, and in the communications media they publish that the government is in favour of justice, democracy, respect and development, and that ‘they are actions and not words’, meanwhile attacks, threats, evictions, unjust incarcerations, violation of rights and persecution are what exist in our towns, yes indeed these are actions and not words,” the Zapatista Junta says. “No matter how much you try to hide rotting flesh, you cannot stop it smelling. And however beautiful its covering may be, you won’t stop it rotting”. The Junta concludes by demanding that the rights of the Zapatista bases be respected.

Comunicado integro (Entire communiqué in Spanish)

————————–

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Thursday, October 18, 2012

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/10/18/politica/020n1pol

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STATEMENT ABOUT THE BAZ OF EJIDO GUADALUPE LOS ALTOS

From Movement for Justice in El Barrio, the Other Campaign New York

Sisters and brothers:

The recent public denunciation from the Good Government Junta “Towards Hope” of La Realidad Trinidad is deeply disturbing while, at the same time, indicative.

These words of our Zapatista sisters and brothers arrived on the evening before the second stage of the “Worldwide Echo”, when dignified rebel hearts from more than 22 countries were preparing to undertake protest actions against the bad government of Mexico, the main “mastermind” – explains the Junta – of this prolonged violence.

With these acts of provocation, in search of even more violence and aggression, the bad government and its local coyotes reveal the depth of their cruel shared stupidity.

From this denunciation we learn, and we repeat, the following facts:

1. As we write these words, six compañeros BAZ have spent weeks in prison on absurd charges made by the ejidal authorities of Guadalupe los Altos, together with the local organization CIOAC HISTORIC: Five of these compañeros were detained on September 30, the last on 4 October.

2. After several attempts in good faith on the part of the Good Government Junta “Towards Hope” to resolve the situation peacefully, the ejidal authorities and leading members of the group CIOAC HISTORIC continue to deprive of their liberty and, at the same time, violate the human rights of our prisoner compañeros: Cesar Aguilar Jiménez, Armando Aguilar Santis, Genaro Aguilar Santis, Delmar Aguilar Santis, Misael Aguilar Vásquez, y Hipólito Aguilar Vásquez.

3. This unjust imprisonment – along with the physical attacks faced by other BAZ communities – is part of the plan of “divide and conquer”, with which the three levels of bad government of Mexico, through provocations and conflicts between communities, continue writing and articulating repression against the Zapatista movement.

This also reveals the true nature of the counterinsurgency war of the bad government, and reminds us that what perhaps may seem like isolated or hostile acts should in reality be seen as a matrix of continual violence directed against the Zapatista resistance and their progress in the construction of autonomy based on dignity, justice, self-determination, and indigenous knowledge. Power always looks after itself.

From El Barrio, New York, we strongly denounce all past, present, and future acts of aggression, violence, provocation and repression against the EZLN support base communities (BAZ). Since the second stage of the International Campaign “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas” begins today, we commit ourselves once more to continue to struggle through concrete forms of solidarity to stop this repression and support our Zapatista compañer@s. We invite all other dignified rebel hearts who have been, and will be, born in our Mother Earth, to add their voices and strength to continue building this mirror of dignity for ourselves, others, and everyone, which is called “solidarity.”

The rage that burns our veins is the force that is given to us to keep fighting. We share a piece of ours with every one of you.

Long live Indigenous Resistance!

Long live the EZLN!

RESPECTFULLY:

MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE IN EL BARRIO

THE OTHER CAMPAIGN NEW YORK

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Denuncia issued: 6 Zapatista Support Bases remain in prison

** Their families are threatened with expulsion if they do not pay “co-operation” money

** The Good Government Junta “Towards Hope” demands the release of the detainees

Members of the Junta de Buen Gobierno in La Garrucha

Photo: Víctor Camacho

By: Hermann Bellinghausen,

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, October12, 2012

The Good Government Junta “Towards Hope” of the Jungle Border region, with its headquarters in La Realidad Trinidad, denounced that six Zapatista support bases from the Tojolabal community of Guadalupe Los Altos (Las Margaritas municipality) remain imprisoned after 12 days for being Zapatistas, and their captors threaten to expel their families. The autonomous government holds responsible for these attacks the leaders of the CIOAC “Historic”: the former PRD deputies Luis Hernández Cruz and José Antonio  Vásquez Hernández.

Repeated provocations are made against the EZLN’s support bases by the authorities and inhabitants of Guadalupe Los Altos ejido, who also belong to “the official PRD and PAN parties,” the Junta points out. The Zapatista bases have been harassed for years, and some have been imprisoned a few times. The first time was in April 2000, and the second in April 2010. In both cases, for refusing to participate in actions that did not seem right to them or which were not involved with the ejido.

On December 20, 2011, the officialists [political party members] took plots of land away from two ejido members. The community decided to relocate an official school on one of these plots. The Zapatistas disagreed once again, “they do not get involved in anything that has to do with the bad government and besides, they have their own autonomous school.” One part of the community “analyzed that it would be unfair for our compañeros to participate.” But the following day they invaded their land. They found the brother of the owner of the land and his wife there; they tied him to a tree. On December 23, they detained three more.

Now the officialists have again argued that the autonomous (Zapatistas) must participate in the government’s public works (school, roads). They even “charge” them for the days that the community “lost” through taking care of them as prisoners; including the proceedings against them in the official municipal headquarters. Faced with a new cooperation (fee) “for something in which they are not involved,” the Zapatistas refused. Five were imprisoned last September 30, and one more on October 4. Authorities and CIOAC members are keeping César Aguilar Jiménez, Armando, Genaro and Delmar Aguilar Santis, Misael and Hipólito Aguilar Vásquez deprived of their freedom.

The La Realidad Junta points out that: “in co-operations for the benefit of the community, our compañeros have been involved”, when they are not projects from the “bad government.” They have [committed] no crime, it maintains, “but they provoke us for being Zapatistas in resistance, since this is what the three levels of government teach them and ask them to execute.”

The rebel authorities maintain that they have sought a peaceful solution “by all means.” On October 2, the Junta sent an official letter to the community and its authorities, demanding the release of those detained, “which they ignored.” Instead, “they demanded the presence of the Junta, and, on October 4, it [the Junta] went to the community” and investigated “what was the crime” of their compañeros. The captors exhibited an official record “that they had already elaborated, which said that it was because of an accumulation of co-operations [to an amount] of 430 pesos for each of our compañeros,” but “refused to tell us what they were for.” What the CIOAC members did say to the Junta was that: “our compañeros will be evicted if they don’t comply.” The threat, the Zapatistas warn, if carried out “would lead to new problems.” The officialists insisted that if they do not sign their agreements, the detainees would not be released, “so we can think about where we are going to relocate them, because if we don’t they will continue in jail like any criminals.”

The Junta regrets that “these brothers” do not understand that the government “is taking advantage of their innocence to create problems among the indigenous, and it controls  and influences them with its insignificant projects in exchange for committing these acts of injustice and provocation. Unfortunately they don’t realize what these acts can unleash.” And it adds: “We do not want problems. They are not our enemies. We are clear that right will win in the end, and it is not through fear that we do not come to free our compañeros. We understand that is not the way, fighting and beating each other. We do not in any way want to violate human rights, like they do.”

The Junta expresses concern for the health of the detainees. Given the unhealthy conditions of their confinement, four of them “are in very poor health.” And it admits: “We are clear that in that community there are brothers who realize that what they are doing is not just, but through pressure and threats from those that organize these unlawful acts they are made accomplices.”

The ejidal authorities involved are Ranulfo Hernández Aguilar, Ruperto Vásquez Santis, Gerardo Aguilar Jiménez, Ciro Vásquez Rodríguez, Margarito Aguilar López and Lucio Vásquez Aguilar, as well as Carmelino Rodríguez Aguilar and Alejandro Vásquez López, who organize these acts.

The Junta demands the immediate release of its compañeros “so that we do not see ourselves obliged to take other more serious measures. Those people know that our compañeros are not alone, we are going to defend them at all costs.”

Comunicado íntegro de la JBG Hacia La Esperanza

————

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, October 13, 2012

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/10/13/politica/016n1pol

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PROTEST AT THE MEXICAN EMBASSY IN LONDON

WORLDWIDE DECLARATION DELIVERED

Today, being the first day of the second phase, “From Truth to Action, Stopping the Repression”, of the “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas” campaign, and also the Day of Indigenous Resistance, a protest was organised at the Mexican Embassy in London, England, by activists from Bristol and Dorset, against the attacks by the bad government of Mexico against the Zapatista communities. News had just broken of a new attack on the community of Guadalupe los Altos, and the imprisonment of 6 Zapatistas.

The following document was delivered to the Embassy:

THE WORLDWIDE DECLARATION IN SUPPORT OF THE ZAPATISTAS

The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network, representing groups, individuals and collectives from throughout the United Kingdom, hereby send this message to accompany our presentation of the ‘Worldwide Declaration in support of the Zapatistas of Chiapas, Mexico’ to the Embassy of Mexico in London, England.

We are delivering the Declaration today, Friday 12th October, 2012, because it is the Day of Indigenous Resistance, and marks the 520th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, and the start of the colonial endeavour to destroy the indigenous peoples of these lands. This date also marks the beginning of the second phase of the ‘Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas’ campaign.

The Declaration has been signed by 112 organisations and 162 individuals from 24 different countries, all of whom are shocked and appalled at the blatant acts of violence, abuse, intimidation, harassment and attrition currently being directed against the Zapatista support base communities in Chiapas, Mexico, in violation of theirinalienable right to autonomy as indigenous peoples, as enshrined in the internationally recognized ILO Convention No. 169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, both of which the government of Mexico has signed.

Since this Declaration was issued in July 2012, there has been an alarming escalation in acts of aggression against Zapatista communities, and 83 members of two villages remain displaced more than five weeks after being attacked by paramilitary groups with firearms, openly supported by the local authorities and police force.

We wish to reiterate our horror and dismay that a government which seeks to portray itself as a model of liberty and justice could openly support such hostilities against its own indigenous people.

WORLDWIDE DECLARATION DEMANDING JUSTICE FOR THE ZAPATISTA COMMUNITIES AND FREEDOM FOR FRANCISCO SÁNTIZ LÓPEZ

We view with profound concern, and demand an immediate end to, the continued acts of intimidation and aggression and the human rights abuses being committed against members of the Zapatista support base community in San Marcos Avilés, official municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, Mexico. We also call for the immediate liberation of the Zapatista political prisoner Francisco Sántiz López, who has been jailed since December 2011 in a flagrant abuse of justice.

Responding to the numerous denouncements and calls issued by the Zapatista Good Government Junta of Oventic and the community of San Marcos Avilés, we manifest in this declaration our solidarity with our brothers and sisters there, as well as with Francisco Sántiz López.

We are aware of the very serious new threats being made against the community of San Marcos Avilés by representatives of political parties in the area. Of particular concern are the open and blatant threats of displacement, physical violence, and the on-going climate of hostility promoted by these individuals. We consider such reprehensible aggression to be extremely serious in light of the events of September 2010, when vigilantes from the Green Ecological Party of Mexico (PVEM), the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), led by Lorenzo Ruiz Gómez and Vicente Ruiz López, attacked Zapatista support bases, displacing 170 people and destroying their property and crops.

In relation to the case of Francisco Sántiz López, a Zapatista support base from the Banavil ejido of Tenejapa, who was originally detained in December 2011 under false charges of having orchestrated a conflict in Banavil, we affirm the evidence collected by the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre and recounted by several witnesses, that he indeed was not present at the location where the events took place on 4th December 2011. His false imprisonment and the continued refusal of local authorities to examine this evidence are, in our view, further indication that the judicial system in Chiapas is wielded as tool of political repression against those who struggle for justice.

In respect to current events in San Marcos Avilés, we demand:

· An immediate end to all death threats, verbal and physical harassment, and threats against the property and well-being of the Zapatista Support Base members by elements of the political parties in the San Marcos Avilés ejido

· Protection for the life and safety of the Zapatista support base members of San Marcos Avilés

· Respect for the Zapatista Support Base community’s inalienable right to autonomy as indigenous peoples, as enshrined in the internationally recognized ILO Convention No. 169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, both of which the government of Mexico has signed

In respect of the case of Zapatista support base Francisco Sántiz López, we demand his immediate and unconditional release, as well as a swift investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators of violence in Banavil, Tenejapa Municipality, Chiapas.

To our brothers and sisters suffering injustice and violence in Chiapas, we remind you that your struggle is not carried out in silence, nor is it invisible. Indeed, countless individuals, organizations, and communities from around the world remain vigilant regarding your situation and have joined an international campaign in solidarity with your struggle. For our part, from cities across the world we send you a warm embrace, to let you know that we know who you are and what you are fighting for, and to say that we will do whatever we can to support you. We will all continue to make an echo of your just demands, an echo that resonates with the collective heartbeat of the earth.

Signed:

To view the full list of signatures, please click here: https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/worldwide-declaration/

 

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OVER 300 DAYS IN PRISON: FRANCISCO SÁNTIZ LÓPEZ, ZAPATISTA POLITICAL PRISONER, IS INNOCENT!

 Originally published by Upside Down World

“His only crime is struggling for his people, telling the truth, and fighting for true democracy, liberty and justice…” says the Good Government Junta (JBG)[i] of Oventic of their compañero Francisco Sántiz Lόpez, who has been unjustly imprisoned in the state penitentiary in San Cristόbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, since 4th December 2011. On 29th September 2012, a week before his 57th birthday, Francisco completed 300 days behind bars for a crime it has been proven he did not commit.

Though all the current news of attacks, threats and sieges faced by the Zapatista communities in rebellion have tended to overshadow Francisco’s story, it is a story that deserves to be told and understood widely. It reflects the recent history of indigenous peoples, their struggle for democracy, liberty and justice, and the unceasing attempts during the last 520 years to wipe them, and all they represent, from the face of the earth. The dignified struggle of Francisco and all the Zapatistas echoes that story to the world.

 “Although the bad governments and political parties never tire of saying that there is no injustice or violation of human rights,” comments the Junta, “we wonder what kind of freedom, justice, peace and respect they are talking about, when their prisons are full of innocent people, when our communities and towns are filled with threats, abuse, assaults, harassments, displacements and devastation wrought by paramilitaries and people from different political parties…”

 

Francisco Sántiz Lόpez

Francisco is an indigenous Tzeltal[ii] campesino from the ejido[iii] of Banavil, in the municipality of Tenejapa in the Highland region in the north of Chiapas. By all accounts he is well respected locally, and is someone community members turn to for advice and support. He has been a Zapatista support base (BAZ) for more than twenty years, since before the uprising of 1994. He is, says the Junta, “an honest person who always fulfils his responsibilities in his community and organisation”. He lives in Banavil with his wife and family, and makes his living by running a fruit and vegetable stall in the municipal capital of Tenejapa. His letters reveal him to be a deeply committed and spiritual person, deriving comfort and inspiration from his faith.

 

Banavil

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) explains the background, “since 2009 there have been acts of harassment by the PRI[iv] group towards families sympathetic to the EZLN, due to their opposition to the arbitrary actions committed by PRI-affiliated caciques[v]. Examples of these actions are: the looting of lands, illegal logging, the imposition of arbitrary taxes and co-operative work, threats and abuse, physical assault, and denial of the right to education…all of which have been denounced by the victims before the appropriate authorities, who have failed to take any action. There has been noinvestigation….or punishment of those responsible and the authorities do not intervene to resolve the situation or guarantee legal or social security in the Banavil ejido”.

This situation of tension and intimidation is not unique to the Tenejapa area; indeed it must be set in the context of similar activities promoted, under the protection and with the encouragement of the three levels of government, by armed political party members, organised in paramilitary style groups, throughout the area of Zapatista influence.

 

The attack

The simmering situation in the ejido Banavil came to a head in the early morning of 4thDecember 2011, when 50 PRI supporters, with firearms, clubs and machetes, made a fierce and prolonged attack on four families “sympathetic to the EZLN”. They surrounded and broke into the house of Alonso Lόpez Luna, who was beaten and taken away. Only his arm has been found. Alonso’s son, Lorenzo Lόpez Girόn, was shot twice while trying to defend his father, and at least six other people were injured. During the confrontation, one of its two main instigators, Pedro Méndez Lόpez of the PRI, was killed.

As a direct result of this assault, the four aggrieved families were, and remain, displaced; they are, according to Frayba, in “a critical situation” with “inhuman housing conditions”and some of the PRI members who attacked them are occupying their lands.

Despite the fact that the true culprits have been widely identified, by the victims, the Junta and even by Frayba, no investigation has been carried out into the disappearance of Alonso Lόpez Luna, the shooting of his son, or the destruction of the homes and the displacement of the four families, even though the culprits have been widely identified. However, two people were arrested, charged and detained, on the very day of the attack, for the murder of the PRI leader, Pedro Méndez Lόpez: these were the seriously wounded Lorenzo Lόpez Girόn, and the Zapatista support base Francisco Sántiz Lόpez, who many witnesses affirm was elsewhere at the time of the incident.

On 4th December, 2011, Francisco was, as usual, working at his market stall selling fruit and vegetables in the town of Tenejapa – a considerable distance from Banavil. The displaced family of the missing Alonso have said clearly, “At the time of the attack, compañero Francisco was at his fruit stall at the county headquarters. Some of us went there to ask for his help”. In addition, they add, “we were not the ones who attacked the party members, they came to our homes and attacked us”.

It was at his market stall that Francisco was arrested. He was accused of homicide, and ofleading a confrontation”. No reason was ever given for his being arrested. There was no weapon in his possession, and, as Frayba point out, there is no evidence of any kind putting him in possession of a firearm or other weapon at any time, despite the accusations against him.

The JBG of Oventic have made clear that there are twelve witnesses willing and able to testify that Francisco was not involved in the confrontation. Since this time, Francisco has been held in the penitentiary the State Centre for the Social Reinsertion of the Sentenced (CERSS) No 5, while “the caciques, who are organising attacks of every kind, are living freely in their homes”.

 

A new charge

On 22 March, 2012, Francisco and Lorenzo were told that they had been cleared of the charges and were to be released. Just as they were leaving the prison, Francisco was stopped and rearrested, this time on a federal charge: that of carrying a weapon reserved for the exclusive use of the Mexican army and armed forces. The JBG responded: “as we know well, those who carry firearms for the exclusive use of the army are not the Zapatistas, they are the paramilitaries from the different communities”.

This crime is equivalent to that of murder and aggravated assault in terms of sentencing, and conveniently enabled the state government to make a statement to La Jornada [vi] that Francisco’s imprisonment was now outside their control. The newspaper commented that Francisco was being kept as “a virtual political hostage, and possible currency for exchange”. “Independent lawyers, human rights organisations and autonomous Zapatista authorities have confirmed…Francisco’s innocence, and place responsibility on the government for keeping …him imprisoned for political reasons and to cover up for the presence of paramilitary groups…in Tenejapa”.

Lorenzo was able to return home. When he left prison, despite having been detained for over 3 months, the two bullets were still in his body. He had received no medical treatment apart from painkillers, had difficulty walking, and was in great pain.

 

The criminalisation of autonomy and the repression of justice

In August 2012, Frayba issued a bulletin[vii] of denouncement detailing the violations of due process against Francisco Sántiz Lόpez, and their fears that a judicial sentence will be issued against him. “During the arrest and prosecution of Francisco the following human rights have been violated: personal liberty, presumption of innocence, judicial guarantees, a fair trial, and the protection of the law…..this is evidence of his persecution for the political work he has been performing in the Highlands of Chiapas…”

In this document Frayba issue a stunning condemnation: “the Mexican state is using the system of law enforcement and justice administration to criminalise the support bases of the EZLN, because they are disturbed by their progress in the right to self-determination through Zapatista autonomy, founded in the San Andrés Accords and the international benchmarks: ILO 169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”.

This continued imprisonment of an innocent man, they believe, amounts to political persecution and the suppression of justice. They continue to say that in the detention order the judge neither acknowledged the statements of the witnesses, nor of the local authorities, which confirmed “that the arrest took place in the county seat of Tenejapa, which means, therefore, that Francisco was not in Banavil at the time of the attacks”.There is, they add, absolutely no evidence that Francisco “was carrying the weapon referred to”.

The last Zapatista prisoner before Francisco was Patricio Domínguez Vázquez, from the community of ejido Monte Redondo, Comalapa, who was freed without charge on the 6thJune 2011, following worldwide actions in his support. Before Patricio, Miguel Hernández Pérez, Diego Martínez Santis y Miguel Méndez Santis, from Pozo in the official municipality of C’ancuc, were imprisoned for over 3 months in 2010, before also being released without charge.

As the Movement for Justice in El Barrio (MJB) tellingly point out to us all: “We know that it is no coincidence that in Mexico, as well as here in the United States, the jails and prisons are filled almost exclusively with those from below – indigenous, migrants, black, poor, Latino, women and men, and all marginalized groups – since only the true criminals could benefit from this misery: the multinational corporations and their political lackeys. Those from above believe that people who struggle must be crushed and encaged.”

 

Support for Francisco and for all the Zapatistas

Francisco has become an emblematic figure, representing the struggle of all those who the system is attempting to crush. Are we prepared to look on while this occurs and do nothing? How many more times must this happen?

People around the world have been enraged at the case of Francisco, and at the concerted efforts by the three levels of the bad government in Mexico to demoralise, terrify and coerce the Zapatistas to abandon their struggle for autonomy.  To co-ordinate these voices, the “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas” campaign,convoked by the Movement for Justice in El Barrio, the Other Campaign New York, was launched at the end of July 2012 with an urgent call for action.[viii]

As well as the liberation of Francisco, the Echo Campaign also “aims to raise awareness about the dire situation faced by the besieged BAZ communities of Comandante Abel[ix], Unión Hidalgo, San Marcos Avilés, and Moisés GandhiThese communities are currently being attacked, or threatened with attack, by paramilitary-style groups who operate with complete impunity under the protection of the government security forces. The groups, which are made up of indigenous members of local political parties, operate at will, destroying the homes and possessions of the BAZ and stealing their land, crops and livestock. Their aim is to dispossess them of their land and territory and take it over for their own use, build their own houses, and indeed, destroy the entire Zapatista organisation, as part of the government’s 19 year campaign of counterinsurgency against the movement.

Of Francisco, the Echo campaign states: “our compañero Francisco Sántiz López has been imprisoned for crimes that he did not commit. His only offence, as has been stated over and over again, is that of being a Zapatista Support Base member. For this reason, he is being held as a hostage of the Mexican State.”

Asked about the progress of the campaign so far, Teresa Lopez, of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, responded:
“Since the launch of the Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas campaign, many Committees of the True Word have formed throughout the world. In fact, many people organising actions have never been active in the struggle before. This shows that support for Francisco and the Zapatistas, in general, is increasing. This growth of organized support will ensure that we achieve the freedom and justice for Francisco that we all seek.”

 

Why does the Mexican state so badly want to destroy the Zapatistas?

“There is no doubt,” says the Junta, “that the manufacture of crimes against Francisco….was planned, organised and run from the three levels of bad government. They are trying at all costs to prevent the construction of the autonomy of the indigenous peoples in Zapatista territory….and to annihilate our organisation and the dignity of our people.”

To do this, they are intending to steal the Zapatistas’ lands, the basis of everything, and by continual day and night harassment to provoke a reaction from them.

The well- known Mexican activist and intellectual, Gustavo Esteva, explains the situation very well in his message to the Echo Campaign:

“We are in World War IV. It is not a war between countries. It is a war of those from above against those from below. Because we, those from below, are now walking in rebellion… because we are no longer willing to let them continue to destroy our Mother Earth, and to continue to kill and imprison us they have unleashed a continuous war against us, from outside and inside, making it more and more difficult for us to live. They want to turn the whole world into a prison.

“Both Francisco Sántiz López and San Marcos Avilés are frontlines in this great war that escalates daily in the Zapatista communities. It is urgent to show ourselves on the side of our compañeros…. The threat is immediate…..It is the time for resistance. And to resist is to struggle in common, together, in the embrace of solidarity.”

As for the Zapatistas themselves, they have no intention of giving up:

“We want to make clear to the three levels of bad government and the people they have paid, controlled and manipulated, that whatever it costs us, no matter what happens, we will continue, because reason and justice are on our side”.

“It is,” says Hugo Blanco, the renowned Peruvian political activist, in his message to the Echo Campaign, entitled: ‘to those who search for a free world’, “in the direct interests of humanity to defend the island of freedom that is the Zapatista area.”

For more information:

Video-message from the JBG of Oventic about Francisco:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXuVyJ5YdfA&feature=player_embedded 

Information on Francisco:

https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/francisco/ 

The Echo Campaign:

https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com 

For what you can do:

https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/what-you-can-do/

https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/materials/


[i] Junta (JBG), Council of Zapatista rotating authorities who “govern by obeying” https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/communique/ 

[ii] Mayan language-speaking indigenous group

[iii] Ejido, communal landholding

[iv] Political party

[v] Chiefs

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A judge recognizes his innocence, but Sántiz remains in prison

Companions and visitors sing mañanitas to the Zapatista

Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada

Monday October 8, 2012

Los Llanos, Chiapas, October 7.  Francisco Sántiz López has been a prisoner for all of this year, accused of charges which the judge ruled to be unfounded. If he is still detained in this state prison number five, it is clearly to send a message. Is it because he is a base of support of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation? Or is it just because the PRI caciques (chiefs) of Banavil and Tenejapa are so powerful that they can overwhelm the state and federal courts with bribes and grossly fabricated evidence?

There seems to be no other explanation for the fact that this man of 54, a fruit vendor in the municipal seat of Tenejapa, where he lives with his family, and a Zapatista support base (but not a miliciano, it is pointed out) since 1992, remains in the State Centre for the Social Reintegration of the Convicted (CERSS) on charges for which he was acquitted six months ago (and therefore he is not convicted).

Not that Francisco Sántiz is an obscure or unknown prisoner. He has supporters who are convinced of his innocence in over 20 countries ranging from South Africa to Japan, from the extreme south of Argentina to the heights of Norway. As they see it, with his baseball cap and his rhythmic silence, he is a famous man. Outside the prison he is not alone. Nor is he alone inside: he is part of the occupation of the organized prisoners from the other campaign, struggling like he is to be released, because that would be justice. They are also well-known, at least in the world of international solidarity, but not as renowned as Francisco, who along with Alberto Patishtán (who was in this occupation a few days ago) is recognized as emblematic of the struggle for justice and against discrimination. Both highlight how, in Chiapas, innocent indigenous end up as prisoners.

Sántiz López was charged in December with taking part in violent acts recorded in the community of Banavil, where two people were killed. Six Tzeltal families were expelled and today are still taking refuge in San Cristobal de las Casas.

The Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba), which has taken the case, recently said that the detention order from the first federal judge in Chiapas did not give value to the testimony of witnesses or authorities which say that the arrest took place in the county seat, and that Francisco was not in Banavil at the time of the attacks. Nor has it been proved that he had used a gun.

Currently, explains Frayba, Francisco is charged with the crime of possession of a firearm for use by the army and armed forces, while the charges of murder and aggravated assault were withdrawn on March 22, to remove the criminal action from the [jurisdiction of] the public prosecutors (Ministerio Público).

So, Sántiz López was notified of his release, and when he was leaving the prison a hurried new indictment based on evidence provided by the same caciques who had testified falsely in December and had been responsible for the two murders in Banavil. This charge provided the opportunity to take Francisco, just as he set foot on the street, and return him to his cell, or rather to the occupation among his compañeros, who today, with his Sunday visitors, sang, accompanied by guitar, traditional songs (Las Mañanitas) for his birthday.

One arm is not enough evidence

The weapons which prove the new charge belong to the caciques Alonso López Ramirez and Agustín Méndez Luna (former mayor of Tenejapa), and his followers. These would be the same people who attacked those who today are the displaced of Banavil. The state government has already compensated the aggressors for the accidental death of one of their own. An arm belonging to the dead man from the families of the displaced was found on the mountain; the rest of his body has disappeared, but nobody has investigated this crime. An arm is not sufficient evidence of a crime (corpus delicti), the judge told the relatives. Unlike his fellow prisoners, Francisco speaks little but is convinced that they cut him into pieces.

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/10/08/index.php?section=politica&article=022n1pol

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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) [1] 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.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, October 6, 2012

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/10/06/politica/017n1pol 

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the: International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the: Chiapas Support Committee, California, Wellington Zapatista Support Group, UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

“Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas”

https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/ 

FROM SOUTH AFRICA: VIDEO MESSAGE IN SUPPORT OF THE ZAPATISTAS

 

In a powerful new video message, Zodwa and Mnikelo, members of South Africa’s largest grassroots movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo (the Shack Dwellers Movement), send heart-felt messages of hope and solidarity to the numerous Zapatista communities currently facing severe government-backed repression, to the Zapatista political prisoner Francisco Sántiz López, to the women Zapatista, and to the women of the world. Deeply familiar with the destructive and painful impact of repression, since its founding in 2005, the Shack Dwellers Movement has itself endured constant attacks, including forced displacement, arbitrary arrests, destruction of property, and even deaths, orchestrated by forces of the local government. Reflecting on these experiences, our compas from South Africa affirm that since the primary goal of all repression is to break our bonds as movements and communities, we must stay united and firm in our commitments and see our struggles as one.

On behalf of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, The Other Campaign New York, it is with great pleasure that we share this video-message with you. We ask that you please share and circulate this message as widely as possible. Thank you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMmwS4ju1PU&feature=youtu.be

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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!

sincerely,

Movement for Justice in El Barrio
The Other Campaign New York

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WORLDWIDE CALL TO ACTION FOR THE ZAPATISTAS OF COMANDANTE ABEL, UNIÓN HIDALGO, GUADALUPE LOS ALTOS, SAN MARCOS AVILÉS, MOISÉS GANDHI, JECHVÓ, AND FRANCISCO SÁNTIZ LÓPEZ 

 

WORLDWIDE ECHO IN SUPPORT OF THE ZAPATISTAS


From Truth to Action, Stopping the Repression

October 12th until November 17th
To our sisters and brothers of Comandante Abel:

To our sisters and brothers of Unión Hidalgo:

To our BAZ sisters and brothers of Guadalupe los Altos:

To our sisters and brothers of Moisés Gandhi:

To our sisters and brothers of San Marcos Avilés:

To our sisters and brothers of Jechvó:

To our sisters and brothers, the family members and allies of Francisco Sántiz López:

To our Zapatista sisters and brothers:

To the Committees of the True Word in Mexico and the World:

To our compañer@s of The Other Campaign:

To our compañer@s of the Zezta Internazional:

To our compañer@s, adherents to the International Campaign in Defense of El Barrio and all our allies from around the world:

To Civil Society in Mexico and in the world:

The following is an urgent call to action from Movement for Justice in El Barrio, The Other Campaign New York, to carry out the:

Second Phase:

From Truth to Action, Stopping the Repression

“Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas”

Sisters and brothers:

To all our compañer@s, we send warm greetings and embraces on behalf of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, The Other Campaign New York.

In response to the global demand for justice inspired by the recent acts of provocation and hostility, which are each time more savage, against the Zapatista Support Base Communities (BAZ) at the hands of the bad government and its armed death packs, it is with anguished and troubled hearts that we write these words, which are for your immediate consideration:

The appalling increase in acts of repression against the Zapatista Support Base communities of Comandante Abel, Unión Hidalgo, the BAZ of Guadalupe los Altos, Moisés Gandhi, and Jechvó, in addition to the ongoing terror and threats of displacement endured by the San Marcos Avilés community, has been alarmingly violent. As a direct consequence of the invasions and violence of the attack groups “Peace and Justice” and the Regional Coffee Growers Organization of Ocosingo (Orcao), which operate in paramilitary fashion and as coyotes of the bad government, there are displaced BAZ populations, destruction and theft of food and personal belongings, and profound suffering. Recently, as part of the bad government’s long-term “divide and conquer” strategy, in the ejido Guadalupe los Altos, authorities and leaders of the ejido Guadalupe los Altos and the organization CIOAC HISTORICA unjustly arrested six compañeros BAZ. Manipulated by the bad government, these leaders and authorities seek to promote conflict between BAZ and non-BAZ, to try to weaken the Zapatista resistance.

As such, our compas from the Juntas de Buen Gobierno (Good Government Councils) and the affected communities have issued numerous denouncements and have urgently called for the mobilization of global solidarity actions targeting all levels of the bad government of Mexico.

In light of this, and given the continued threat of forced displacement hanging over San Marcos Avilés, it is incumbent upon us to add and bring together all of our hands and voices to prevent another act of aggression from happening against our compas from San Marcos Avilés.

If those from above believe that they can continue waging their violent war against our Zapatista sisters and brothers without repercussions, they are deeply mistaken. This time around, the dignified peoples of the world will have their say.

Before the growing global demand for justice and an end to the current and possible attacks, we are writing to you to propose that we join forces once more to carry out the Second Phase: “From Truth to Action, Stopping the Repression.” This new phase is different from its predecessor – which sought to raise awareness in our communities about the dire situation that our Zapatista support base compas, and the Zapatista political prisoner, Francisco Sántiz López, are facing – in that it will be a period of direct action and protest from October 12 to November 17. As you will understand, these dates were chosen for their great significance in the history of indigenous struggles throughout the world: the Day of Indigenous Resistance and the anniversary of the Birth of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN).

During this second phase, we call on all dignified and rebel hearts to join in the struggle in solidarity with our Zapatista compañer@s. We invite you to organize protests against the bad government of Mexico in all its local and international offices, if and when possible. In places where this is not possible, we propose that you continue walking the true word, spreading information about these urgent situations and our solidarity campaign, by organizing informative events and constant activities.

If you would like to join our efforts and accept our proposal, please let us know as soon as possible by sending an e-mail to:

laotranuevayork@yahoo.com

For further background and to keep up-to-date with the phases and developments in this campaign, we invite everyone to read the first call to action, released on July 25, which is available here:

https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/1st-call-to-action/

SECOND CALL TO ACTION

“FROM TRUTH TO ACTION, STOPPING THE REPRESSION”

First and foremost, we would like to thank all the people who are continuing to give light and life to this worldwide campaign, which for more than two months now we have been creating and shaping together. Thank you for sharing this path with us and for continuing to walk alongside us.

Since its beginning at the end of July, when the first call to action was released, the“Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas” International Campaign has been a meeting point for thousands of people of good heart who have responded to the call of the Zapatistas for support and solidarity.

In addition, in many countries, solidarity cells called “Committees of the True Word” have been organized around this meeting point, and are continuing to build support networks and raise public awareness about the repression currently being faced by the Zapatista support base communities and the Zapatista political prisoner Sántiz López.

More of these “Committees” continue to be set up every day, as more groups and people of good conscience join the campaign.

Together, we have all started the work of, to borrow a phrase from the wise Old Antonio, “walking the true word,” by organizing in our respective communities, ejidos, towns, neighborhoods, and countries to sow the words of San Marcos Avilés and Francisco Sántiz López like seeds which will grow, in their turn, into a struggle to support them.

More and more people are finding each other every day, seeking and meeting in the darkness and obscurity of lies and indifference, which those from above have constructed in order to keep us divided. Fumbling in the dark, we continue to meet each other, and searching, day after day, for a way to break through into the light. As our ancestors say, our collective words contain the essence of life on this planet: memory – and, once spoken and shared, our words become fire.

We remember that this darkness was both born in and gave rise to, that time the EZLN describe as “the long night of those 500 years.” While the political, economic, cultural, and social systems of those from above continue to move our lives and Mother Earth closer towards total extinction, the resistances of those from below continue to build other exits to escape this obscurity.

To prevent us from joining hands and rising from this darkness, those from above have committed to douse out all the lights radiating from dignified people. This is why they are deploying their strategies of violence and destruction, and are attacking, imprisoning, repressing, assaulting, violating, robbing, silencing, and lying to us.

This is also why those from above, the creators of this long night, have chosen as their main target the indigenous peoples of the world, who have made significant contributions to the struggle against the darkness.

Faced with this threat of planetary extinction, we must mobilize urgently to defend each and every light that illuminates our path towards the construction of another possible world. And as the True Word was and is the first form of light, it is vital that we defend those words which Old Antonio tells us were the first three in every language:“democracy, freedom, justice.”

It is no coincidence that these three words cannot be found in the governments, jails, schools, mass media, or the other institutions serving the privileges of those from above. Nor is it a coincidence that these same three words are alive, in many different ways, among the dignified people from below, especially the indigenous people of Mexico and the world. While those from above continue to attack and destroy these lights, we will continue to defend and create more lights, more solutions, more worlds.

Even though those from above are using the lies which give the night its darkness to keep us divided, in our hearts we carry that which makes the light shine…This is called truth.

In order to actively support the defense of the light that shines from the Zapatistas, an exemplary indigenous movement, whose struggle has always been for and with both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples alike, we call on and invite everyone once again to join this campaign, and to carry out its second phase, which will consist of a month of strategic and direct actions.

Beginning on October 12, the Day of Indigenous Resistance, and lasting untilNovember 17, the Anniversary of the Birth of the EZLN, we invite everyone to organize actions – according to our own ways and abilities – in our respective communities and countries during this period, so as to echo the call of the indigenous Zapatista communities of Comandante Abel, Unión Hidalgo, the BAZ of Guadalupe los Altos, San Marcos Avilés, Moisés Gandhi, Jechvó,  and the indigenous Zapatista political prisoner Francisco Sántiz López.

During these days of action, compas, let us unite, honor, remember, and support all the Zapatista communities and in particular, the following ones, as they are presently under siege:

· Comandante Abel: 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 missing 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.

· Unión Hidalgo: Similarly, this Zapatista community was displaced by the violent aggressions of “Peace and Justice.” With the use of firearms, the aggressors have managed to occupy and expand their invasion throughout a significant section of the community. The situation is made worse because many compas are ill.

· BAZ of the ejido Guadalupe los Altos: Six BAZ compañeros were arrested under absurd charges made by the ejidal authorities of Guadalupe los Altos together with the local organization CIOAC HISTORIC: Five of these Zapatista compañeros were arrested on the 30th September, and the last compañero on 4th October. They are: Cesar Aguilar Jiménez, Armando Aguilar Santis, Genaro Aguilar Santis, Misael Aguilar Vásquez and Hipólito Aguilar Vásquez.

· Moisés Gandhi: Throughout the month of August, the Zapatista Support Base members of this community have suffered violent attacks and threats of forced displacement by the group of “coyotes” called the Regional Coffee Growers Organization of Ocosingo (Orcao).

· Jechvó: In October, groups of PRI militants started harassing the Zapatista Bases of Support of Jechvó, Zinacantan, violently denying them access to their own water source.

· As our compas from San Marcos Avilés detail in their video-message, available below, they have lived in a constant nightmare at the hands of a local attack group, with backing from political party members, for having opened their own autonomous school “Emiliano Zapata” in 2010. From forced displacement to sexual assault, these compas have suffered numerous forms of violence and repression solely for wanting to live with dignity and freedom as indigenous peoples.
Their video-message, which has already had over 36,000 views, can be watched here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-8CBt3Vkg
At the same time, our compañero Francisco Sántiz López, a Zapatisa Support Base member and indigenous Tzeltal, has been imprisoned since December 2011 for crimes that he did not commit. His only offense, as has been stated over and over again, is that of being a Zapatista Support Base member. For this reason, he is being held as a hostage of the Mexican State.

For more background, please consult the video-message from the Zapatistas about Francisco Sántiz López here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXuVyJ5YdfA&feature=plcp

For those who wish to learn more about the background and progress of this campaign, we invite you to visit the campaign website which contains extensive information about the besieged BAZ communities, such as Comandante Abel, San Marcos Avilés, and the BAZ of Guadalupe los Altos, here:

https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/
We hope that the videos and website continue to be useful tools in this struggle, which is already spoken in 10 languages and is seen in dozens of countries the world over. Hopefully it will continue to grow, reaching new places and peoples.

In closing, if you accept this proposal and will participate in the Second Phase, we ask that you please let us know as soon as possible by sending an email to:

laotranuevayork@yahoo.com

From our brown and dignified hearts, from this Barrio of migrants, we send you our warmest greetings and embraces.

 

FREEDOM AND JUSTICE FOR THE ZAPATISTA COMMUNITIES
AND FRANCISCO SÁNTIZ LÓPEZ!

LONG LIVE THE ZAPATISTAS!

LONG LIVE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES! 

With love and solidarity,
Movement for Justice in Barrio

The Other Campaign New York

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IMPORTANT NEWS ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN IN SUPPORT OF SAN MARCOS AVILÉS AND FRANCISCO SÁNTIZ LÓPEZ

“Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas: Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and Francisco Sántiz López”

https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/

Sisters and brothers:

Please receive warm greetings and hugs from Movement for Justice in El Barrio, The Other Campaign New York. We would like to share with you this important news report on the progress of our campaign “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas: Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and Francisco Sántiz Lopez”.

To summarize, the first phase, “Walking the True Word”, is being extended until 11 October due to the overwhelming interest generated by it. Immediately after, in recognition of the Day of Indigenous Resistance, October 12, the second stage, that of worldwide action, will begin. Lasting over a month, this second phase will end on November 17, in honour of the historic birth of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), which was formed on that day in 1983.

DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND, THE FIRST PHASE IS BEING EXTENDED

First of all, we would like to thank everyone who has called for the First Phase, “Walking the True Word”, of the campaign to be extended. Because of this, this phase is being extended and will continue for the entire month of September and until 11 October, to give us all even more time to disseminate information on the situation of San Marcos Avilés and Sántiz Lopez, and to invite others to join this campaign in time for the start of the second phase.

It has been a month now since we started this struggle, and already many “Committees of the True Word” have been born in many parts of our planet, with their main responsibility to carry and sow the names and faces of “San Marcos Avilés” and “Francisco Sántiz Lopez” as seeds of dignity and rebellion.

Day after day, solidarity actions and activities are being carried out in communities, neighborhoods, towns, and villages in many corners of the world. In order to disseminate the histories and realities which our Zapatista compas are suffering, dignified people from many countries have been working on getting the word out and building networks of support and solidarity to contribute positively to the defense of the EZLN Support Base community of San Marcos Avilés and the struggle to free Francisco Sántiz Lopez.

We can see that, in this way, we are consolidating our forces and exposing the lies coming out of the mouth of the bad government of Mexico, in order to take concrete action in defense of that other possible world which the Zapatista communities have been building through their project of autonomy.

As mentioned above, the second phase of our international campaign, “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas: Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and Francisco Sántiz Lopez”, will take place from October 12 to November 17. These dates were chosen for their historical significance. They are symbols of our various struggles and a compass pointing towards a dignified future. The peoples of the world, in spite of the more than 500 years of oppression they have experienced, not only still live, but are key players in the struggles for a better, dignified and rebel world. In their resistance and struggle for autonomy, the EZLN are planting seeds and building alternatives to this unjust system which is imposed on us from above. For this reason, they are beacons and examples for us all. With this in mind, let us hope we can all carry on organizing more activities and reaching out to more people to continue to increase the pressure and demand for justice and freedom for our Zapatista brothers and sisters.

To finish, here once more is the link to the video message from San Marcos Avilés, which is at the same time a call and a tool for worldwide solidarity:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-8CBt3Vkg

Please carry on circulating it.

Well, compas, our hearts are full of emotion, courage, and hope. All the collective efforts we are making together, united, truly touch our hearts and are having an important impact.

We will continue to fight, continue to grow…

With love and solidarity,

Movement for Justice in El Barrio

The Other Campaign New York

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“Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas:
Freedom and Justice for
San Marcos Avilés and Francisco Sántiz López”

https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/

SYLVIA MARCOS TO ZAPATISTA WOMEN:


“THE WOMEN OF MEXICO JOIN YOUR STRONG AND DETERMINED STRUGGLE”

In a moving and crucial letter, Dr Sylvia Marcos adds her voice and the voices of all Mexican women to the “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas: Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and Francisco Sántiz López” Campaign, demanding in burning words an end to the aggression against the Zapatista project and the immediate release of Sántiz López.

The great Mexican thinker, academic, and feminist—known worldwide for her numerous articles and books on gender, Mesoamerican religions, and indigenous knowledge in Mexico—addresses directly the women of the Zapatista movement in the following statement. She writes that the dignified women of Mexico are on their side, as they see “in the Zapatista women the model of being a woman who defends her rights without forgetting to support the collective rights of her people.”

Author of the recently published book Women, Indigenous, Rebels, Zapatistas, Dr Marcos expresses her hope that the “cry” emanating from around the world manages to stop “the aggressions against the autonomous education project and against all the ways of life of the Zapatista organization,” as “autonomous education forms the new beings who will make this other world a reality.”

These words serve as an important reminder that what the Zapatista project offers extends beyond the jungles of Chiapas; it holds significance for the entire world. Leading the construction of this project are the indigenous zapatista women.

On behalf of all the women who lead Movement for Justice in El Barrio, it is with great pride that we share the full letter from Dr Sylvia Marcos.

Long Live the Zapatista Women! Long Live the Women of the World!

Message from Dr. Sylvia Marcos for the Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas: Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and Francisco Sántiz López

Dear compañeros,

I am totally outraged by the situation of violence and repression that exists in the Zapatista community of San Marcos Avilés, and by the situation facing the compañero political prisoner Francisco Sántiz Lόpez.

Here’s my message for the Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas: Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and Francisco Sántiz López.

Compañeras women and men of the world,

The Zapatista women, brave and rebel compañeras, are defending the legacy of Zapatista autonomous education; and from here, the women of Mexico join their strong and determined struggle.

They can count on our support as they continue building the world we all long for.

We can glimpse the daily and painful struggles which are facing our Zapatista compañeras and we join together with them.

We demand an end to the acts of aggression from the enemies of this educational, social and political Zapatista project which gives hope, especially to women, who see in the Zapatista women the model of being a woman who defends her rights without forgetting to support the collective rights of her people.

You must know, Zapatistas compañeras, that your project is the hope and the light on the road to the construction of an “other” world, where it can become a reality that “we are equal because we are different”, as you yourselves have said.

We support them and we hope that the cry emanating from around the world will stop the aggressions against the autonomous education project and against all the ways of life of the Zapatista organization. In San Marcos Avilés, Zapatista support base, a way of life is being put in action which makes possible today the worlds to come which we all wish for: Worlds where justice, dignity and peace and gender harmony can be experienced and made possible. Autonomous education forms the new beings who will make this other world a reality.

And the unjustly imprisoned Zapatista compañero Francisco Sántiz Lόpez must be freed.

Sylvia Marcos

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NEW URGENT MESSAGE FROM THE ZAPATISTAS OF SAN MARCOS AVILÉS

Please circulate widely

Compañer@s of the world,

Receive strong embraces from Movement for Justice in El Barrio, The Other Campaign New York.

By way of the following, we share with you and make public a new and extremely urgent video message from the Zapatista community in resistance of San Marcos Avilés.

In this message, our sisters and brothers of this community of Chiapas recount with words and faces full of emotion and rage the history of the nightmare that they are currently living. This nightmare began after the opening of the community’s autonomous school in 2010. They passionately denounce the constant acts of aggression and terror carried out by attack groups of the dominant political parties in the region. These groups seek to squash the Zapatista movement and its struggle for justice, dignity, and autonomy.

Additionally, in the video message, our Zapatista comrades from San Marcos Avilés send special messages to the world – particularly to women, political prisoners, and all dignified communities. They issue an urgent call for national and international support and solidarity with their community, in light of the alarming escalation of threats and hostility.

Shortly after the production of this video message, particularly in the past few days, more threats against the Zapatista support base members have taken place in San Marcos Avilés. The culprits remain an attack group of political party members, who have stated that they will kidnap authorities of the Zapatista community, and in this way, forcefully displace the support base members from the ejido. They have also made threats against those who denounce these acts of aggression and harassment, claiming that they will incarcerate them. It is feared that another widescale displacement of the community, similar to the one that took place in 2010, will occur.

We share with you the link to this video-message, which we hope will be circulated widely:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-8CBt3Vkg

Long live the EZLN!

Long live the Zapatistas!

With love and solidarity

Movement for Justice in El Barrio
The Other Campaign New York

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TZELTALS FEAR THE DISPLACEMENT OF ZAPATISTA SUPPORT BASES IN THE CARACOL OF OVENTIC 

 ** They identify members of the PRI and PVEM as promoters of the threats

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

According to a report from the Tzeltal community of San Marcos Avilés, belonging to the Zapatista Caracol of Oventic, a new displacement of the Zapatista support bases from the area is being planned. This could happen “within the next few days” at the hands of “local party members,” from the attack group that has tormented the rebel support bases of San Marcos Avilés since 2010. The “party members” are meeting in “extraordinary assemblies to discuss these matters,” they add.

These people have themselves made public their violent plan for the displacement. The threatened community reports “that these party members are trying to get more people in the Pantelhó, Corralito and La Providencia communities to help them carry out the displacement. They have boasted that they feel very capable of doing it, since the candidate Leonardo Guirao Aguilar (PVEM, or Green Party) won the recent election in Chilón municipality; his party won at the state level and the PRI at the federal level.”

The indigenous identify as the promoters of these threats Lorenzo Ruiz Gómez and Manuel Díaz Ruiz (PVEM) and PRI members Vicente Ruiz López, José Cruz Hernández, Carmelino Hernández Hernández, Ernesto López Núñez, Manuel Vázquez Gómez, Aristeo and Alejandro Núñez Ruiz.

Besides the “announcement” of the plan for displacement by the attack groups mentioned, “a worrying increase in insults, destruction of flora and crops, and thefts has recently been seen in the community” civil organisations report. “Due to the aggressive acts, there will not be sufficient food this year”, for the Zapatista families of San Marcos Avilés. In past weeks, the situation of threats and aggressions has intensified so much, “that a repetition of what occurred in August 2010, or worse, is feared. The lives of the San Marcos Avilés Zapatista support bases are at serious risk.” The persecuted indigenous in resistance, some 200 people, purchased the land 12 years ago and have the title deeds to prove it. “As throughout Zapatista territory, however, this does not stop the governments from giving the land to others in return for driving out what those from above most fear: the threat of a good example”, a call for international solidarity by Other Campaign organizations, which have shown repeated concern for the fate of this community, pointed out days ago. Soon, a civil caravan will tour some of the flashpoints in the geography of resistance and counterinsurgency.

““Particularly in the past few days, more threats against the Zapatista support base members have taken place in San Marcos Avilés. The culprits remain an attack group of political party members, who have stated that they will kidnap authorities of the Zapatista community, and in this way, forcefully displace the support base members from the ejido”. They threaten those who denounce the acts of aggression with prison if they persist. The organizations emphasize: “as a result of this a complete forced displacement of the community is feared, at the level of the one in 2010.”

The start of San Marcos Avilés’ misfortune was the establishment of the Emiliano Zapata School, part of the Zapatista Autonomous Education System, in August of that year (2010). The pro-government people unleashed an already latent hostility, and within a few weeks the Zapatista families had to take refuge in the mountains for 33 days. On their return, they found their houses and planted crops ransacked and destroyed. Two years later, spurred by the electoral victory for governor of their co-believer Manuel Velasco Coello, the attack groups seem ready to consummate the widely announced attacks and dispossessions, in the face of the passivity of the state government.

____________________________________________________

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/08/07/politica/018n2pol

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the: International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the: Chiapas Support Committee, California, Wellington Zapatista Support Group, UK Zapatista Solidarity Network.

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VERY URGENT!!!!!

“Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas:                                                 Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and Francisco Sántiz López” 

https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/

URGENT REPORT:

IMMINENT DISPLACEMENT PLANNED,

GROWING TERROR IN SAN MARCOS AVILÉS 

August 6, 2012

Compañer@s:

Greetings to you all from Movement for Justice in El Barrio, the Other Campaign New York.

In view of the seriousness of the latest acts of hostility and aggression in the community of San Marcos Avilés, the Zapatista support bases (BAZ) have urged us to share this report with you:

FIRST: We report that, at this very moment, a NEW FULL DISPLACEMENT of the BAZ community of San Marcos Avilés is being planned, to be carried out within the next few days by local party supporters, members of the ‘attack group’ that has plagued the BAZ of San Marcos since 2010. The party supporters are meeting in extraordinary closed assemblies to discuss these matters.

With arrogance and hatred, they have made public this violent plan of displacement. At the same time, according to information sent from San Marcos Avilés, it is reported that these party supporters are trying to get more people from the communities of Panteló, Corralito, and La Providencia to help them carry out the displacement. Furthermore, they have boasted that they feel very capable of doing this, as the candidate Leonardo Guirao Aguilar (PVEM) won the recent local elections in the Municipality of Chilón, and the PRI won at the federal level.

Here we publish the names of the members of this ‘attack group’, according to the reports, and their respective political affiliations:

· Lorenzo Ruiz Gómez of the PVEM; Vicente Ruiz López of the PRI; José Cruz Hernández of the PRI; Manuel Díaz Ruiz of the PVEM; Carmelino Hernández Hernández of the PRI; Ernesto López Núñez, Ejidal Commissioner, of the PRI; Manuel Vázquez Gómez, Security Board, of the PRI; Aristeo Núñez Ruiz of the PRI; Alejandro Núñez Ruiz of the PRI.

Recently, in addition to the announcement of the plan for displacement, there has been a worrying increase in abuse, destruction of flowers and crops, and theft in the community. As a result of these acts of aggression, the BAZ do not have enough food for this year.

These reports confirm once again what we have always known, that these attacks are part of the plan of extermination which has been carried out since 1994 against the indigenous Zapatista population. Today it is more urgent than ever to disseminate the truth about the situation in San Marcos Avilés, the repression from the bad government, and the dignified resistance of all the Zapatistas.

SECOND: We report that many people from around the world have already joined our worldwide campaign, forming “Committees of the True Word” in their respective communities. A direct result of this is that we now have content on the San Marcos Avilés website in NINE LANGUAGES! : Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, German, Bulgarian, Japanese, Italian, and Greek.

We will continue updating this site with information and translations as regularly as possible. The site is available here:

http://sanmarcosaviles.wordpress.com/ in Spanish

https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/ in English

In addition, the video message from the Zapatistas of San Marcos Avilés has already had more than 20 thousand views. We thank you all for having shared this among your social networks and contacts. We have to keep spreading the word!

You can see the video message here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-8CBt3Vkg

Well, compas, that is all for now. We will keep you informed.

LONG LIVE THE BAZ OF SAN MARCOS AVILÉS!

LONG LIVE THE EZLN!

We send combative embraces from El Barrio, New York.

Movement for Justice in El Barrio

The Other Campaign New York

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INTERNATIONAL CALL FOR SOLIDARITY WITH THE ZAPATISTA SUPPORT BASES OF SAN MARCOS AVILES 

Article published on Upside Down World, Thursday, 02 August 2012 http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/3793-international-call-for-solidarity-with-zapatista-support-bases-of-san-marcos-aviles

“It is not only the task of the independent/alternative media to circulate the truth, but rather it is the responsibility of us all to do so” 

“Our compas from San Marcos Avilés are suffering this violence because they are indigenous, because they are Zapatistas, and because they have opened their own autonomous school.” 

 

Terror hangs in the air of San Marcos Avilés. This small indigenous Tzeltal-speaking community lies in the highland region of the state of Chiapas, in the Mexican South-east. Its population are like shadows; hunger, disease, threats, harassment and violence stalk their days, fear, shouts, gunshots and loud music fill their nights.

Now the women, men and children have sent out an urgent call to the world for support, a call that echoes in our very heartbeat and demands our solidarity, “as if it were said in the very language of our being”.

This urgent message comes from over 200 Zapatista support bases (BAZ) in San Marcos Avilés, who are trying to live according to their own indigenous ways and struggling for freedom, justice, democracy and a dignified life for all, but who are faced with men with high calibre firearms who intend to eradicate all that the Zapatistas represent and believe in. 

 

Background 

The nightmare of terror began in August 2010, when the BAZ constructed a small wooden building to house their new autonomous school, ‘Emiliano Zapata’. Zapatista Autonomous Rebel Education is, along with their systems of health and collective work, one of the most well-known achievements of the organisation, and of crucial importance as the BAZ work towards the construction of their own autonomy. Not only can the children learn according to their own culture and traditions, wear their customary clothing, speak their own languages and eat their traditional foods, but they can also learn the truth about their own history and situation. Learning is a shared experience, enjoyed together, without any form of competition or judgement.

“We attach great importance to the autonomous school”, say the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés. “We want a good education for our children, good learning, a good example. We see that the government has its schools, but it is not good education, nor do they teach our children well; they do not provide good learning, and what they teach has nothing to do with us. So we opened our school …”

The attacks on the BAZ began immediately after the construction of the school. Members of the Mexican political parties the PRI, PRD and PVEM, in armed “attack groups”, encouraged by the three levels of government, began to threaten and harass the community, attempting to rape their women, steal their land and possessions, and plunder their crops and livestock.

Within two months the attacks had reached such a level of violence that 170 BAZ,  many of them women and children, were forcibly displaced from the community and had to take refuge on the mountain. Here they lived under pieces of plastic sheeting, sleeping on the ground in the mud without any basic necessities, “we had no tortillas to eat; we had no pozol to drink”, through 33 days of wet, cold and hunger. During this period two of the women gave birth.

“I speak for all my fellow women: we are suffering a lot with our children. They do not take us into account, they see us like animals, like dogs. So I was told when I had my son in the mountains. That’s what really hurts in my heart. We hope to move the hearts of our fellow women when they see this video”.

When groups from neighbouring communities and the local Human Rights Centre assembled to escort the BAZ back to their homes, the BAZ found that their dwellings, belongings, plantations of corn, beans, bananas, sugar cane and coffee, and their few chickens and cattle, had been destroyed, plundered or stolen. Since that time the Zapatistas of San Marcos Avilés have lived in a state of trauma and terror, enduring constant threats, attacks, violations and insults. The state of mind of the women, unable to provide for their children, is one of especially profound concern.

 

Statement from the Good Government Council (JBG) of Oventic

“We denounce,” they wrote in July, 2011, “the events now occurring in this community. …..Our compañeros and compañeras, the Zapatista support bases of San Marcos Avilés, are living in a very difficult situation, in their own community, caused by people affiliated to different political parties and by the authorities of the same community……they are facing death threats, harassment, loss of their cultivated lands, and evictions from their own community, purely because they started to set up an autonomous education system for their people.

“The aggressors also put our coffee fields up for sale, at a price of 14,000 pesos per hectare, in order to get money to buy more firearms….. The amount of land our compañeros have now been deprived of is 31¼ hectares and 8,500 coffee trees; all of this is now in the possession of the aggressors from the political parties.

“In this situation of aggression, threats and theft of their land faced by our compas …..they have endured many injustices made against them and have shown great patience in not responding with violence. And neither have we….responded violently in word or deed to these attacks and threats, because the Zapatistas are people of reason and principles and we do not want to fight our own indigenous brothers and sisters. But the bad governors of our State and our country seek at all costs that among the indigenous we see our brothers and sisters as enemies and kill each other.

“The bad government has done absolutely nothing to resolve and prevent the serious problems which could happen in this community; what the state and municipal governments have done is to support and back the attackers so they can continue provoking, threatening and stripping our Zapatista support bases of their belongings. There are no signs of this aggressive and arrogant attitude of the bad governors and their people coming to an end.

“All the aggressions, persecutions and provocations are committed by those people affiliated to the different political parties, and by the paramilitaries supported, advised and paid by the municipal, state and federal governments who are the masterminds of these human rights violations.

“Our support base compas of the community of San Marcos Aviles …….have the right be in their own community and to work the land which belongs to them…….They should not think that they will stop the struggle of the Zapatistas for the construction of our autonomy and for national liberation with provocation, threats, assaults and persecution, because whatever the cost, and whatever happens, we will continue to go forward, as is our right…..And we demand that they [the BAZ] be respected and that their stolen belongings be returned to them”.

 

What are the issues here? 

The words of the newly released Call to Action leave no room for doubt:

“We stress here that these attacks are not isolated incidents, but rather are integral components of the prolonged war of extermination that the bad government of Mexico, together with capitalist interests, has carried out for the past 18 years to wipe out the Zapatista movement and all it has given to the world.

“The objectives of this war have been and remain to continue the colonial project and destroy at any cost indigenous autonomy and resistance, and take over their ancestral lands, and in this way, exploit for the exclusive benefit of those from above the natural resources with which our Mother Earth provides us.

“Repression, violence, and death are meted out by the bad government of Mexico to those who resist this, who defend their lands, their identities, their cultures, and autonomy – their very existence.

“Our compas from San Marcos Avilés are suffering this violence because they are indigenous, because they are Zapatistas, and because they have opened their own autonomous school.” 

There is also the issue of land, the most basic and essential resource, vital to people’s sense of history and identity, home of their ancestors, source of their culture, and means of their survival. In this case, the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés bought the land twelve years ago and have the title deeds to prove it. As throughout Zapatista territory, however, this does not stop the governments from giving the land to others in return for driving out what the powerful most fear: the threat of a good example.

“We want there to be happiness in our lives and in the lives of our children. We want to have corn that is no longer stolen. We want tranquillity to be able to grow our pumpkins on our land. We want to find peace again in our hearts, and we want to eat with love what we have”.

The current crisis 

In recent weeks, the situation of threats and aggressions has intensified to the point where a repetition of the events of 2010, or worse, is feared at any time. The lives of the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés are seriously at risk, along with their dignified struggle for a better world.

Their urgent call for solidarity has been taken up by one of the most effective, experienced, admired and inspiring campaigning organisations struggling for justice at a grassroots level, the Movement for Justice in el Barrio (MJB), of the Other Campaign New York. 

“Particularly in the past few days, more threats against the Zapatista support base members have taken place in San Marcos Avilés. The culprits remain an attack group of political party members, who have stated that they will kidnap authorities of the Zapatista community, and in this way, forcefully displace the support base members from the ejido. They have also made threats against those who denounce these acts of aggression and harassment, claiming that they will incarcerate them. It is feared that another wide-scale displacement of the community, similar to the one that took place in 2010, will occur”.

The MJB first released a powerfully moving and shocking video, in Tzeltal with Spanish and English subtitles, in which the compas of San Marcos Avilés tell their own story.

“They think we are worthless. They treat us badly, like animals. They do what they want with us. That is still happening now. When we sow our maize, we cannot take it home. They come to steal our beans, cane … bananas, they steal everything. All we do is sow and work and there is nothing….

“We cannot enjoy the fruits of our labour with our children, because…members of the political parties PRI, PRD, and PAN are eating it ….on the orders of bad government.

“The parties do not want the Zapatista organization in the ejido San Marcos. According to them, we set a bad example. They showed they want the organization to disappear. We will continue our struggle, there is no choice, because we are not committing any crime … because we have the right to struggle to be taken into account. Freedom, justice and peace is what we are asking for. But we are not afraid because we know quite clearly what we are looking for and how we want to live”.

This story evoked a response from all corners of the world. The MJB followed it up on July 27th, 2012, with the launch of a worldwide campaign: “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas: Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and Sántiz López” 

The campaign will be in two phases. The first, an intense period of education, of which this article is part, is to be followed by a phase of direct action.

The call also symbolically includes all Zapatista support bases, especially those from other communities which are also under attack. For this reason the MJB also calls for freedom and justice for the Zapatista prisoner of conscience Francisco Sántiz López, who has been imprisoned since October 2011 for crimes it has been proved he did not commit. Francisco comes from the community of Banavil, Tenejapa. In the video message, the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés call for the liberation of all political prisoners.

In true Zapatista fashion, the MJB call on the people of the world to set up Committees of the True Word, in whatever ways they can, in order to inform, educate and help raise awareness of the current situation of crisis in San Marcos Avilés. The Movement also undertakes to “share all reports we receive with the community of San Marcos, so that they know they are not alone”.

We believe that the true word and knowledge are very important for the struggles of those from below—it is not only the task of the independent/alternative media to circulate truth, but rather it is the responsibility of us all to do so…..Education and knowledge are also tools and weapons in the struggle for justice, dignity, and democracy—they are nothing less than the forms in which we will construct this new world we seek.”

And in the words of the Baz of San Marcos, “perhaps one day, together, we may attain what we are fighting for – that there be a dignified justice”.

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW 

– Watch the videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-8CBt3Vkg 

Show it to everyone you know. Organise a screening.

– Inform yourselves. Look at the website https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/ 

Circulate the Call for Action to all your contacts

– Set up a Committee of the True Word

Let the MJB know you have done so on

laotranuevayork@yahoo.com 

ORGANISE!

————————

URGENT: COMMUNITY IN CHIAPAS, MEXICO, THREATENED WITH IMMINENT ATTACK, EVICTION AND DEATH.

The zapatista supporters find their houses ransacked on their return.

Human rights organisations have warned that the population of nearly 200 Zapatista supporters in the indigenous community of San Marcos Aviles are at very serious risk of violent assault and displacement. The threats made against them have increased sharply since the Mexican elections in July.

The aggressors are government supporters organised in paramilitary style groups who are heavily armed with shotguns, rifles and pistols, and are specifically threatening the women and children. They have already stolen the land, crops and livestock of the community, leaving them without a food supply. Observers report that the situation is one of siege, and that the families are heavily traumatised.

In 2010, 170 men women and children were forced to take refuge in the open on the mountainside during the rainy season for 33 days. The current situation is one where it is feared another such tragedy may occur at any time. The aggressors are threatening to kidnap the community authorities and forcibly displace the rest of the population. Anyone denouncing this harassment, they say, will be locked away.

In the face of this alarming situation, an urgent call for support has been released.

For further information, please see: https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/

For a powerful and moving video message, please visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-8CBt3Vkg

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2012/07/498489.html

https://london.indymedia.org/articles/12640

~

**********

~

INTERNATIONAL CALL TO ACTION:

“Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas:
Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and Sántiz López”


July 27, 2012
To our sisters and brothers, the family members and allies of San Marcos Avilés:

To our sisters and brothers, the family members and allies of Francisco Sántiz López:

To our Zapatista sisters and brothers:

To our compañer@s of The Other Campaign:

To our compañer@s of the Zezta Internazional:

To our compañer@s, adherents of the International Campaign in Defense of El Barrio and all our allies from around the world:

To the Civil Society in Mexico and in the world:

The following is an urgent call to action from Movement for Justice in El Barrio, The Other Campaign New York, to carry out the:

“Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas:
Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and Sántiz López”

SISTERS AND BROTHERS:

From the brown heart of El Barrio, New York, receive affectionate greetings and an urgent proposal of struggle on behalf of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, The Other Campaign New York.

The following is a new and urgent convocation to carry out the:

“Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas:
Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and Sántiz López”


First Phase: Walking the True Word
August 2012

To all those who fight for justice, dignity, freedom, and democracy, and against the oppression, violence, hatred, scorn, poverty, and terror that are the world of those from above…

To those who work to build another world, another communication, another politics, another knowledge, another culture, another history, another future…

To those who search for and create our path by looking from below and to the left… who learn about life by listening to the wise words of the ancestors…

To those who dream of freedom in all its resplendent colours…

To those who reject the injustices that, in every country, are imposed and called “economy” and “government”…

To those who find inspiration, hope, resonance and reflection in the Zapatistas…

Today, with urgency, we are called upon to mobilize, with our whole being, solidarity and support for our Zapatista sisters and brothers of the community in resistance of San Marcos Avilés and for the Zapatista political prisoner Francisco Sántiz López: Responding to the numerous denouncements and calls issued by the Good Government Council of Oventic and the community of San Marcos Avilés, we stand in solidarity with them and add our echo to their dignified “ENOUGH!” against the recent attacks that the Zapatista support base members, the essence of the Zapatista Movement, are facing.

Particularly, this convocation seeks to anticipate and prevent further violence againstSan Marcos Avilés at the hands of local political party members who have, during the past few days, made renewed threats. These individuals are the “strong arm” of the region’s dominant political parties. They have of late revealed their plan to displace our sisters and brothers of the Zapatista support base. According to recent threats, these enemies of the people intend to kidnap Zapatista community authorities and, in turn, violently displace other Zapatistas from their community. They have stated, additionally, that they will incarcerate anyone who continues to denounce these unjust aggressions.

We stress here that these attacks are not isolated incidents, but rather are integral components of the prolonged war of extermination that the bad government of Mexico, together with capitalist interests, has carried out for the past 18 years to wipe out the Zapatista movement and all it has given to the world.

The objectives of this war have been and remain to continue the colonial project and destroy at any cost indigenous autonomy and resistance, and take over their ancestral lands, and in this way, exploit for the exclusive benefit of those from above the natural resources with which our Mother Earth provides us.

Repression, violence, and death are meted out by the bad government of Mexico to those who resist this, who defend their lands, their identities, their cultures, and autonomy – their very existence.

The Zapatista ejido and community of San Marcos Avilés, which is made up of Tzeltal indigenous people, has endured an unending nightmare of terror since 2010, when the community’s autonomous school, “Emiliano Zapata,” was constructed as part of the Zapatista Rebel Education System—constituting a major step forward in the community’s advance towards autonomy. During the past two years, this community has suffered various forms of extreme violence, including death threats, harassment, plunder, sexual aggression (including attempted rapes), forced displacement, and others, at the hands of members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), and the Green Ecological Party (PVEM) of Mexico, and their armed attack groups.

Similarly, our compañero Francisco Sántiz López, also an indigenous Tzeltal-speaker and Zapatista from Chiapas, has remained unjustly imprisoned since December 4, 2011, for false crimes that he never committed. His only “crime” is that of being a member of the Zapatista support base. Today he remains a hostage of the bad government of Mexico in its war against all Zapatistas.

It is clear that the violence exercised against both San Marcos Avilés and Francisco Sántiz López stems from that same source.

Community members of San Marcos Avilés have reported that the threats against them have spiked at an alarming rate during the past few days.

In light of these acts of violence and aggression, we would like to propose the following plan of solidarity and struggle, as part of the “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas: Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and Sántiz López.”

This campaign is distinguished for its “two-pronged” strategy, and will consist of two interrelated phases.

FIRST PHASE:
Walking the True Word: Promotion and Circulation
Timeframe: Entire month of August

The first phase, which is called “Walking the True Word,” will span the entire month of August and has as its principal objective the dissemination of information within our respective communities, neighborhoods, ejidos, networks, and countries regarding the current situation of absolute injustice occurring in San Marcos Avilés and the case of the unjust imprisonment of Francisco Sántiz López.

To this end, we propose that around the world, from the smallest community to the largest metropolis, we concentrate our organizing efforts and resources on raising consciousness in our communities and networks by forming Committees of the True Word as a way to effectively disseminate critical information regarding the current situation of San Marcos Avilés and the unjust incarceration of Francisco Sántiz López.

  • · These “Committees of the True Word” will serve as seeds that will sprout roots in distinct and common lands to grow consciousness, knowledge, and more than anything, rage and inspiration to take concrete action in support of our sisters and brothers of San Marcos Avilés and Francisco Sántiz López.
  • · Each committee will seek to disseminate and promote widely the current situation ofSan Marcos Avilés and Francisco Sántiz López, as they are both are Zapatista support base members. Of particular priority is reaching out to people who are unfamiliar with the history of the Zapatistas. Everyone should know this history of profound pain, hope, and inspiration.
  • · It is not necessary to belong to an organization or collective. In this campaign, we can all form a committee on our own and be supportive. Committees can be formed with friends, co-workers, neighbors, or relatives.
  • · If you are already a member of an organization, association, collective, labor union, group, team, club, etc., you can form your own committee with your fellow members.
  • · During this first phase, to be clear, the Committees of the True Word can organize a wide range of activities to accomplish our goal. Among the numerous options include: public forums, distributing informative fliers and pamphlets, teach-ins, publishing articles, reflections, and denouncements, translations, social media initiatives, artistic works, etc. The possibilities are endless.
  • · We invite all those from below to come together to support our Zapatista sisters and brothers of San Marcos Avilés and our brother Francisco Sántiz López who are all fighting for our shared liberation.
  • · Form your Committee of the True Word now!

As soon as you have formed your committee, please let us know what activities you intend to carry out and the location of the committee via email at:

laotranuevayork@yahoo.com.

We believe that the true word and knowledge are very important for the struggles of those from below—it is not only the task of the independent/alternative media to circulate truth, but rather it is the responsibility of us all to do so.

Moreover, we believe that this phase of consciousness-raising is particularly important, especially in light of the fact that our compas from San Marcos Avilés are suffering this violence for being indigenous, for being Zapatistas, and for having opened their autonomous school. Education and knowledge are also tools and weapons in the struggle for justice, dignity, and democracy—they are nothing less than the forms in which we will construct this new world we seek.

As such, in this campaign, education on San Marcos Avilés and Francisco Sántiz López will serve as another way in which we rebel against this system of injustice and oppression, which oppresses at the level of knowledge as well. We shall make use of what those from above seek to repress in order to achieve what we are fighting for: “a dignified justice.”

To facilitate the expansion of this phase, we would like to offer a few small tools:

1. As some of you may know, we have produced a new and moving video message from the compas of San Marcos Avilés, which is available here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-8CBt3Vkg
Please contact us if you wish to obtain a high quality version of the video suitable for public screenings.
2. We also put together a new website in English and Spanish with web pages with content in French, Italian, German and Japanese and with updates, reports, and important information, and other educational materials on San Marcos Avilés andFrancisco Sántiz López. The website is available here:

https://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/

Following the lead of the community of San Marcos Avilés and the Good Government Council, the goal of this phase is to imbue with knowledge the hearts of as many people as possible, and to bring awareness to the world regarding the constant government-backed violence and the resistance of the dignified people.

Immediately after this intensive educational phase, there will be a phase of direct action.

Alongside our Zapatista sisters and brothers of San Marcos Avilés and of the Good Government Council of Oventic, we echo their just demands:

  • · AN END TO THE WAR AGAINST THE ZAPATISTAS OF SAN MARCOS AVILÉS.
  • · IMMEDIATE FREEDOM FOR OUR ZAPATISTA COMPAÑERO FRANCISCO SÁNTIZ LÓPEZ.

The gravity of these two situations cannot be ignored. As part of the global struggle for justice, dignity, and democracy, we must respond with open hearts.

  • · If you accept our proposal and will participate in this campaign, please let us know as soon as possible via email at

laotranuevayork@yahoo.com.

Likewise, please write and send us chronicles of each activity that is carried out via your Committee of the True Word. We will circulate all report backs on the activities realized as part of this campaign, so as to expand the scope and reach of our struggle. We will also share these reports with the community of San Marcos Avilés and the Good Government Council, so that they stay updated and know that they are not alone. These chronicles and report backs can be sent to the same e-mail:

laotranuevayork@yahoo.com

Because their humanizing cry of dignity, their “ENOUGH!”, has affected all of us who fight for justice from around the world, from our respective trenches of struggle, and has connected very distinct and similar struggles alike… Because this very cry has dwelled in our hearts alongside hope and happiness… We shall let it resound in our echo by adding our voice, our countenance, to ensure that it is heard more profoundly… As if it were said in the very language of our being…

For the defense of the Zapatista Resistance, we add our echo…

Long live the EZLN!

Long live the Zapatistas!

Long live The Other Campaign!

With love and solidarity,

Movement for Justice in El Barrio
The Other Campaign New York

~

**********

~

EZLN Support Bases Ask the Global Community for Support

** They are from San Marcos Avilés, municipality of Sitalá

** They report constant aggressions, robberies and threats

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, July 24, 2012

“The PRIístas make us suffer a lot, we no longer want that,” said support bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, its initials in Spanish) from the community of San Marcos Avilés (municipality of Sitalá, in the traditional zone of the Tzeltals), when making a call for international solidarity. They denounced constant aggressions, robberies and threats of expulsion: “When we plant our milpa, although it is young corn, we cannot take it to our homes. They come to steal our beans, our (sugar) cane and bananas. As for the cane, they cut it all and that is pure evildoing. Although we sow and we toil, they take it all and now we have nothing.”

The indigenous Zapatistas added: “The political parties take advantage of everything that we plant.” The current situation of the families in resistance “came about because the authorities of the governments of Felipe Calderón and Juan Sabines Guerrero give no importance to our claims. They [the attackers] even started to enter our houses. Some have horses, cattle; all these were ours before the arrival of our suffering. Some have cement, sheet metal, rods for constructing their houses, a shop, a car. They stole everything [from us].” Besides, “we cannot enjoy the fruits of our labour with our children, since the ones who consume it, are those (from the) political parties, the PRI, PRD and PAN.”

In a video released last night, the indigenous, with faces covered, argue in Tzeltal in favour of autonomous education: “We give a lot of importance to the school. We want there to be good teaching for the children, good learning, a good example. We see that the government has its schools, but it is not a good education, nor do they teach our children well, and what they teach has nothing to do with us. So we opened our own school.” This gave the government supporters a pretext to attack the Zapatista families and expel them in 2010, after classes were started on August 16 of that year.

“In the following days a compa who lives down there was cited by the official authorities. When he presented himself with another compa at the official agency, they wrote a document and attempted to make them sign it, so that there would no longer be EZLN support bases here. Our compañeros refused. The authorities and aggressors locked them up, and afterwards wanted to send them to prison.”

They remember the origin of the persecution that they suffer now: “We constructed the school up there. That day they once again wanted to destroy the metal sheets [for roofing]. The aggressors were not in agreement and the authorities agreed to run us out of our homes once and for all. They discussed their plans to mistreat us with the government. They carried machetes, sticks and stones in their hands.” In consequence, they [the support bases] stayed “under a tree” for “one month and three days,” covered “with pieces of broken canvas. It was the rainy season and the children slept in the mud; there were no tortillas to eat, nor pozol to drink.”

A woman with her face hidden intervenes: “They don’t take us into account, they treat us like dogs. That’s what I was told when I gave birth to my son in the mountains.”

Calling on civil society and solidarity organizations to put an end to this escalation of violence which makes them fear a new eviction, they declare: “We are going to continue. We are not committing any crime. We have the right to struggle so that they take us into account. What we are asking for is liberty, justice and peace. We are not afraid, because we know clearly what we are seeking and how we want to live. Men, women youth and children are in struggle. So, we want you all to know the bad government’s crime here in San Marcos Avilés.”

____________________________________________________

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/07/25/politica/018n1pol 

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the: International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the: Chiapas Support Committee, California, Wellington Zapatista Support Group, UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

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