Translated by Penn Tomassetti
AN OLD AND CURRENT ‘PROBLEM’
Luis Hernández Navarro
La Jornada, 28th October, 2014
Translated by Sally Seward
One, two, three, four, the crowd calls out, not stopping until they reach number 43, and then demanding at the top of their voices: “Justice!”
“Felipe Arnulfo Rosa”, reads out a voice. “Present!” respond hundreds of angry voices. “Benjamín Ascencio Bautista”, it asks again. “Present!” answer the demonstrators. “Israel Caballero Sánchez”…
These are the names of the students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa who were disappeared by the municipal police of Iguala and Cocula. They are the same people whose faces appear by the thousands on the banners and pieces of canvas that students and citizens carry at all kinds of protests, demanding that the authorities return them alive.
What strange irony. After being separated from national public life for years and appearing from time to time in the media as an educational vestige of the past that needed to be eradicated, the rural normal schools are right in the middle of the debate today. The tragedy of Ayotzinapa, a rural normal school, has shaken the national conscience, taken students from public and private universities out into the streets in almost the entire country, and brought about the most serious political crisis in a long time.
The demonstrations that show solidarity with the normal school students never stop. Every day new forces join: religious representatives, artists, intellectuals, athletes and unions. The attempt of the broadcast media to contain, minimize and distort the meaning of the protests has failed.
Why has this particular tragedy brought about such feelings of indignation? Because it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, as was the murder of poet Javier Sicilia’s son, at a different time and on a different scale. On this occasion, both the stories of police brutality against a group of poor boys, harassed and unarmed, and the image of the pained parents have touched other parents, who see in these events something that could have happened to their children. This creates instant identification and works as a linking element for the social discontent that up until now has been scattered.
The suffering and agony of those parents brings together the uncertainty and insecurity that many citizens experience in many regions. In the story of the normal school students, we discover the feeling of vulnerability brought about by being a young person in a country where young people are recurring victims of the violence of the government. In the story of a mayor who was allowed to escape, we see evidence of the pact of impunity that protects the political class.
But that pain and that rage, that fear and that longing for the young people to return alive has its hard nucleus, its source of legitimacy, and its network of protection in a community fabric that is elusive to the techno-bureaucracy leading the country. That network is the one that gives the social mobilization the source of moral authority currently expanding throughout the society.
Yes, they are not just 43 missing young people. Behind them are more than forty hurting parents and their extended families, mostly with very few resources, who spend their nights awake waiting for their children to appear. Alongside them are many communities, almost all rural, begging for the safe return of their neighbours. Shoulder to shoulder, about 500 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School march, awaiting the return of their schoolmates, whom they sit by and share dormitories with. As if they were an army, thousands of graduates, who are deeply committed to the school that allowed them to get ahead in their lives, accompany them, many of them working in the most remote towns of Guerrero. These graduates take what has been done to the young people as a personal attack. At the forefront are about 8,000 students from other rural normal schools, connected to them long before tragedy arrived in their lives.
The rural normal schools make up an imaginary community, comprised not only of the students that study in their classrooms and live in their dormitories, but also of the students’ towns, the agricultural worker groups they work with in school internships and the communities where their graduates go to work. The current teachers who graduated from within their walls are an important part of it. For all these people, what happens there concerns them.
The rural normal schools are one of the few means of social mobility that young people in rural areas have. The future they make for themselves thanks to their studies has an impact on the lives of the communities. What happens there is important to them. They are theirs: they are a living legacy of the Mexican Revolution, an inheritance of the rural school and the [Lázaro] Cárdenas presidency [1934-40], which they are not willing to give up.
The students who are taught in those schools are also part of one of the oldest student organizations in the country: the Federation of Rural Socialist Students of Mexico (FECSM). Founded in 1935, it has played a fundamental role in the survival of the rural normal schools, which are pestered relentlessly by educational authorities and local governments. Its directors are students with good behaviour and an average grade of no less than eight [out of ten]. Only the best students represent their classmates. The leaders are young people with political training, analytic abilities, organizational skills and a vision.
That community, made up of many different generations and communities, is the one that has kept the rural normal schools from being closed in the past. It is the one that has resisted the aggressions against it. It has made the survival of the project possible.
In the disappearance of the 43 normal school students from Ayotzinapa at the hands of the police, that community sees a serious affront that requires a response. It takes as mockery the fact that the government is not making the location of the young people clear. It becomes indignant before the attempt of the authorities not to make the legal truth coincide with the historical truth. It, with all of its moral authority, calls on the rest of society to join the fight. It demands, with never-ending rage and determination, that its children appear alive.
Gustavo Esteva, La Jornada, 27 October, 2014
Protego ergo obligo, Hobbes wrote. In nation-states, the protection governments give to citizens creates citizen obligations.
No one today would argue that the Mexican government is protecting its citizens. It is the opposite; it even robs them of their autonomous protections. Despite their cynicism, officials are being forced to disguise with all sorts of euphemisms their failure to perform their principal function.
Noncompliance is not exemption. The fact that the government does not fulfil its obligations does not mean that we cannot, indeed, we must, continue demanding that it do so. The current slogan of the demonstrations includes the increasingly faint hope that they must return them [43 students disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero] alive, but it is above all a denunciation: we know that they took them. They must accept the consequences.
There are solid grounds behind the general desire to see the mayor of Iguala, his wife and the governor in jail. But the federal government is using these legitimate and well-founded sentiments as an excuse to avoid its own responsibility. Raúl Zibechi is right: “The state has become an institution where the narco criminal and politician merge to control society” (ALAI Amlatina, 24/10/14).
There was both action and neglect by the federal government in the crimes of Ayotzinapa, and it is complicit in many of the crimes that have been committed in Guerrero and the rest of the country. Whether or not this is legally shaky ground is the responsibility of the established authority. But instead of legal instruments suitable for revoking the mandates of elected or appointed government officials and terminating their impunity, they formulate and implement laws to protect themselves and to control and punish citizens.
Having become an entrepreneur of violence, the government is now the principal source of what is spreading across the country. Again, I quote Foucault: “The arbitrariness of the tyrant is an example for potential criminals and in its fundamental illegality, even a license for crime. Indeed, who will not be allowed to break the law when the sovereign who should promote, implement and enforce it, claims the ability to distort or suspend the law or, at the very least, not apply it to himself? Therefore, the more power is despotic, the more numerous criminals will be. The strong power of a tyrant does not make evildoers disappear; rather, it multiplies them.”
This is about something even worse. There is a moment, Foucault believes (Abnormalities, FCE, 2006, pp. 94-95), in which the roles are reversed:
“A criminal is one who breaks the covenant, who breaks it occasionally when he needs or desires something, when his interests call for it, i.e., when in a moment of violence or blindness, he makes prevail the reason of his interest, despite the most basic calculation of reason. [The criminal is] A transitory despot, a dazzling despot, a despot out of blindness, fantasy, fury, it matters little. In contrast to the criminal, the despot exalts the predominance of his interest and his will; and he does it permanently … The despot can impose his will on the entire social body by means of a state of permanent violence. He is, therefore, the one who permanently … exercises and exalts his interests criminally. He is outside the permanent law.”
Foucault carefully carves out the profile of the legal monster that “is not the murderer, not the rapist, not the one who breaks the laws of nature; he is the one who breaks the fundamental social pact.”
Make no mistake. As Javier Sicilia said long ago, we are as completely fed up with government officials as with the criminals. As he also says, and as Francisco Toledo repeats, we are left speechless before the level of degradation that has now arrived. We are before the mystery of Evil, which cannot be reduced to sociological or psychological causes.
But we cannot close our eyes. The fact is that we are suffering all sorts of crimes and a growing barbarism, such that it is no longer possible to distinguish [barbaric acts] committed by career criminals and amateurs from those that are the direct responsibility of government functionaries at all levels. This is the state at which we have arrived.
Let us say it clearly. And let us recognize with integrity that this is the nature of the struggle we need to engage in. This is about transforming the pain that overwhelms us in this infamous time into the dignified rage that will lead us to rebellion and liberation. We just remember the Zapatistas:
“It is with rage and rebellion, not with resignation and conformity, that we below take offence.”
Translated by Jane Brundage
In Mexico, the small-scale producer of coffee tied to traditional and organic farming, are fighting a battle against two large multinational companies: the Swiss Nestlé, a global leader in the food industry and Agroindustrias Unidas de México (AMSA), which controls about 50% of exports of the country.
Nestlé has acquired a patent on a genetically improved plant that facilitates the solubility of the coffee powder. Thanks to this license, the company will not only expand its control over the coffee producers, but will also increase the risk of genetic contamination on the organic plantations, of which Mexico is the first manufacturer in the world. The granted patent poses a serious threat to the economy of more than 480,000 farming families and about 500 rural and indigenous organizations that are depending on the coffee.
CESMACH puts together 491 affiliates in 32 different rural communities of Chiapas, which means lives of nearly 500 families depending on their work.
CESMACH farmers, facing lots of difficulties, carry forward organic farming, abiding to a strict set of rules meant to protect the fragile environment of the biosphere.
In agreement with the Mexican government and AMSA, Nestlé has invested over the past five years 600 million dollars in Mexico, where several areas intended use is coffee production: e.g. Veracruz, the mountains of the state of Oaxaca and Chiapas, where the altitudes and a mild climate provide ideal conditions for the coffee production.
<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/109231904″>Cesmach – Campesinos Ecologicos de la Sierra Madre de Chiapas</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user2432856″>Andrea Ranalli</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
October 24, 2014
By: Aldabi Olvera
A heavy blanket of fog and rain densely covers the valleys, canyons and mountains of Chiapas. It seems that the strong threads of heaven are gradually forming a wall to convert the territory into a giant prison of the mind,
Travelling these roads, with compañeras and compañeros I visited four prisoners in a week:
Alejandro, indigenous Tsotsil, is imprisoned unjustly in CERESO 5 in San Cristobal de las Casas.
Mario, Juan Antonio and Roberto, Tseltal indigenous, are prisoners for political reasons. “Revenge of the police”, say his family. They have just been transferred to CERESO 12 in Yajalón.
A heavy blanket of fog and rain drowns the mountains from the north to the highlands of Chiapas. Despite the heaviness with which the huge threads of nature tie the soul, the walls raised by humans are more terrible. However, a profound word is emerging from the voice or the pen of the prisoners, and there is no density or wall that can stop this voice.
The letters of Alejandro
“I demand the freedom of all political prisoners and those imprisoned unjustly throughout the world…”
Two years ago he could not speak Spanish. Now, as we have documented in Másde131, the indigenous Tsotsil Alejandro Díaz Sántiz is responsible for publishing reports on the situation of the inmates of CERESO 5.
“I’m fine, I feel good,” says Alejandro smiling. At the time of the visit, he has been fasting for 16 days. He shows me his notebook where he has written that he will lift his fast on October 20th. His letters are clear, neat:
“Those who govern in our country and state, peoples, have governed backwards, as they have only caused harm to the rights of human beings, such as disappearances, unfair imprisonments, among others.”
“Do you write this for the students of Ayotzinapa?” I ask.
“The government itself does that,” he replies.
His words are like a complex textile leading into a deep freedom. When I watched him write, he does it slowly, carefully, like a craftsman. I remember when he told me months ago: “If I had not ended up in prison, I would be dead. I did not know how to speak or write, but I learned it through the struggle.”
“Today my lawyers, Sandino Rivero and Leonel Rivero requested remission of sentence from the governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte Ochoa, and Manuel Velasco Coello, governor of Chiapas.”
Remission of sentence is one of the last tools that Alexander has to obtain his release. His lawyers filed on October 16 that the government of Veracruz accept and order his release on account of his work and conduct in prison. He now has to wait for that information from the state government of Chiapas. The answer could take two weeks after it was filed for legal recourse.
On 11 May, Sántiz Diaz completed a period of 15 years in different prisons, from Veracruz, where he allegedly committed the crime of murdering his own daughter, to now in CERESO 5.
He finished reading his communiqué:
“Together we can win true justice. Alejandro Diaz Santiz, Solidarity with the Voice of el Amate, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle.”
I keep thinking about what Alejandro said on a previous visit, that he always wanted to struggle, that he wanted to be Zapatista since childhood, that now he can be an adherent to the Sixth in prison. He fulfilled his dream overcoming his fear of speaking, writing, expressing himself.
A compañera brings him a song. I tell Alejandro that now we are going to leave him a letter to set to music. He smiles and says yes, if he can.
“Why do not you weave hats and bracelets, Alex?” I asked a month ago.
“I do not have time, now I have to write a lot,” he replies.
Neatly, slowly, he begins to write a few lines for me to take out of prison. Then, he accompanies us to the exit. We learn that this October 24th he will spend another birthday in prison. All have gone, I stay until the end. I raise my left arm, close my fist, show him what it says in my notebook. Alejandro Diaz Santiz also raises his left arm and makes a fist, a ritual that we have woven without talking since I first met him, a series of words between the eyes and hands to be repeated until I see him get out of prison.
Threads and torture
The road to CERESO 12 Yajalon, where the three Tzeltal prisoners from San Sebastian Bachajón are held, is steep and curving. In Ocosingo, where there was heavy fighting between the EZLN and the army in 1994, the water forms small streams on the pavements. This does not erase our memory, in contrast, it reawakens it.
The journey is expensive. Sixty pesos from San Cristobal; another sixty from Ocosingo. The whole situation has a high cost for the families of the prisoners who we meet after entering the prison.
“This is costing us a lot, compañeros. It is costing us a lot. Sometimes we despair. We have the idea, but we do not know if we can do it,” they say when thinking what the possibilities are to get their three prisoners out of jail.
“Let’s go in, compañeros.”
“Today is only the day for family visits, but as you have come from far away we will let you in,” says the man in charge of the visitor’s book. This is extremely unusual, usually the watchword of the wardens and directors is to hinder visits to political prisoners.
Juan Antonio, Roberto and Mario, sitting in that order, are on a bench in the courtyard of the prison, full of looms for weaving hammocks. The first thing that strikes you is something that a compañera had told me: “They are very young”.
Nineteen, twenty and twenty-three, surrounded by their families, they look down. We do too. It is hard to know what to say, even when it is already agreed that each will make a presentation. That is why I am here.
“Help me to get my freedom. I have a wife and son, I cannot support them in here,” says Roberto. He cannot explain in a way other than with anger and powerlessness. His tears appear, want to fall and then pass.
Roberto is the best speaker of Spanish. He translates what the others say:
Mario is still in pain from the blows he received. He points to his ribs. He was kicked hard in the torso. He has a scar on his right eyebrow. He still feels dizzy. They put a bag on his head and threatened him if he did not incriminate his compañeros. The prosecutor from Chilón, Rodolfo Jiménez Pérez, said: “If you do not say that you were there, I’ll kill you, shoot you with a bullet and throw you in the river.”
Juan Antonio, Roberto and Mario tell how they were at the celebration of September 15, when early in the morning they and other young people from Bachajón were stopped by members of the police from Chilón who pointed out Juan Antonio. They went against the three of them, detained and tortured them.
Mario looks up suddenly, sadly. I notice a huge scar above his lip. We are left again not saying anything. It is as if we were all under sentence. Not shame, but a punishment that can hardly be expressed in words. Meanwhile, the other prisoners carry on weaving, looking at us sideways curiously.
They dragged Juan Antonio along the ground. His face is still scraped. They kicked him hard on the head. Blood came out of his ear. He has a headache.
He is the brother of Juan Carlos Gomez Silvano, who was a coordinator of the adherents of the Sixth until he was assassinated last March by the Chilón police. According to the three young men, their families and various communiqués released by the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, the arrests were made in retaliation for the capture and subsequent imprisonment of the police officer Sebastián Méndez Hernández in the prison of El Amate.
“They accused us of aggravated assault. As we did not know, we signed it. Bail was 300 thousand pesos. The public defender told us to sign. The witnesses are both police officers.”
An order of imprisonment for attempted homicide was the verdict of Omar Eleria Reyes, mixed trial judge in Ocosingo, issued on September 24 against Juan Carlos, Mario and Roberto, reclassifying the crime and leaving them no possibility of bail.
“My vision is dark, my sight is cloudy and I have to wait. Afterwards I recover,” says Roberto. The health situation of the three concerns their family members, they may have internal injuries.
Juan Antonio remains silent. He does not want to talk. “He has no means to work to support his family,” says Roberto, “we weave hammocks, but in here the ball of thread costs thirty pesos. There is little profit.”
The cost of weaving each hammock is 500 pesos. If the thread is bought in prison it is not worth doing. We talked about the urgent economic need and how they can get out of prison:
“Yes we knew Patishtan, we knew he got out. After all the years that he had done. So they tell us: Yes you will get out. But we are afraid that they will move us to el Amate (the prison far away where the indigenous Tsotsil Professor Alberto Patishtan was held.)”
“Here it is quiet,” says Roberto.
Juan Antonio, Roberto and Mario continue to rest on their arms. We ask what colour thread they need to start weaving: green, blue, red, yellow.
At one point, the families say:
“They cannot not stay like this. They will be ill.”
On leaving we look at their faces. My hand just touches the arm of Roberto. Again there are unshed tears, we look away. A tangle of wires spills water over the hills of Yajalon. We say goodbye. It has started to rain. Outside the prison is a sign that says, “Movement for the Defence of Territory: No to the Highway from San Cristobal to Palenque”. We are charged with bringing in threads to weave, and bringing out their own fabric of woven words.
A light blanket of fog and rain begins to cover the valleys, canyons and mountains of Chiapas. It seems that the water from the sky gradually forms a wall to make the territory into a giant prison of the mind. However, we carry on single sheets the means to climb over any wall: The woven fabric of the word.
Proceso, October 23, 2014
Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas. – Once again, parishioners of Simojovel who are members of the Believing People organization denounced that, like in Iguala, Guerrero, their municipality is governed by corruption and that behind the refusal by Mayor Javier Hernández Guzmán to close the bars of the municipality, there are big interests, such as drug trafficking.
In a communiqué, the Tsotsil Indians denounced that recently not only has the number of bars increased, but also the sale and purchase of drugs, prostitution and the death toll from alcohol.
Members of the Believing People, attending the parish church of St. Anthony of Padua, led by Father Marcelo Pérez Pérez, said that they are living in a critical stage due to the abandonment of Simojovel, which is internationally recognized by the mining industry for its amber, which is marketed inside the country and even exported to other countries.
They denounced the growing insecurity in this municipality in the highlands of Chiapas, which has generated a wave of violence, murders, thefts from roads and houses, and assaults on the streets, plus you constantly hear at night bursts of gunshots in different neighbourhoods.
They also expressed concern about the appalling condition of the road from Puerto Caté to Simojovel. “Here in Simojovel, our sick die before their time because of the inhumane conditions at the health centre,” they said.
And they explained that through pilgrimages, most recently on Saturday 18th, they have demanded that the local, state and federal authorities look at what is happening in Simojovel to enable peace among its inhabitants who are experiencing days of anguish.
“The response from the municipal authority, headed by Javier Guzman Hernandez, is that they are not responsible for this matter, and have no authority to close the bars. Then we discovered his complicity and that of the other authorities. Mrs Cleopatra Flores del Carpio, coordinator of the bartenders, said that the bars will not be closed because they give money to the municipal president, the municipal prosecutor Juvenal Cabrera Torres, and the health officer of Pichucalco, so that they can continue to operate.”
They added: “Behind the bars are other much larger interests. The authorities do not close the bars because they are where most drugs are sold. With this we discover that the authorities are complicit with those who sell drugs. We discover that we are governed by a network of corruption.”
According to the protesters, even the priest has fallen victim to the local authorities and the power groups in this municipality.
Guerrero and Narco-Politics
By: Luis Hernández Navarro
A two metre long narco-banner was found in the early hours of October 16. It appeared on the rear fence of secondary school number 3 in Iguala, Guerrero, less than one kilometre from the 27th infantry battalion. On it, in a message written with letters printed in red and black paint, El Choky asks President Peña Nieto for justice. He denounces, with (first) names, last names and pseudonyms, those responsible for the murder and disappearance of the Ayotzinapa students.
The state’s attorney general, Iñaky Blanco, recently pointed to El Choky as chief of the Guerreros Unidos (Warriors United) gunmen, and the one responsible for ordering the massacre and disappearance of the youths last September 26, after the attack on them from police and gunmen.
The list of those associated with the criminal group and denounced in the banner is long: eight mayors, directors of Public Security, the Secretary of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development’s delegate and different personages. According to the denouncer, “they are the ones who the government allows to walk around free and committing so much crime against the population.” Finally it clarifies: “I don’t have all the blame.” He signs: “Sincerely: Choky.”
The criminal climate denounced in the narco-message is not exclusive to Iguala and to seven municipal presidencies of Tierra Caliente. The kind of relationship between Mayor José Luis Abarca, his local police and organized crime, uncovered with the massacre of last September 26, is present in many Guerrero municipal governments. We’re dealing with a relationship that also involves important local politicians, state and federal legislators, party leaders, police chiefs and military commanders. Thus, we are able to characterize the existing political regime in the state as a narco-state.
Denunciations like El Choky’s run from mouth to mouth among Guerrerans. Business leaders, social leaders and journalists have documented this nexus. Part of the local and national press has published it. In some cases, like in Iguala with the assassination of the Popular Union’s three leaders, formal accusations have even been presented to the relevant authorities. Everything has been in vain.
Those who have warned of the extent and depth of the narco-politics in the state have been eliminated and threatened. When the businessman Pioquinto Damián Huato, the leader of the Canaco in Chilpancigo, accused Mario Moreno, the city’s mayor, of having ties with the criminal group (called) Los Rojos, he was the victim of an attack in which his daughter-in-law died and his son was injured.
The politicians pointed to have invariably denied the accusations and have explained them as the result of political quarrels, or that they are not responsible for the behaviour of their friends or relatives. They have said that the authorities ought to investigate them and that they are in the most willing to clarify things. But nothing has been done. The pact of impunity that protects the political class has acted together time after time.
According to Bishop Raúl Vera, who headed the Diocese of Ciudad Altamirano  between 1988 and 1995, impunity is the most lacerating characteristic of Guerrero and its most important challenge. Its extent and persistence –he points out– encourages crime and the violation of human rights and dignity.
But the violence is not only an issue of disputes between political-criminal groups for production centres, routes and plazas. It is also the result of the decision of the behind-the-scenes powers to get rid of opposition social leaders and to offer protection from (State) power to those who liquidate or disappear them.
The victims of forced disappearance and extrajudicial executions during the government of Ángel Aguirre are many. The correlation of murders and the detained-disappeared during his administration is enormous.
Among many others, the ecologists Eva Alarcón Ortiz and Marcial Bautista Valle; the students Jorge Alexis Herrera and Gabriel Echeverría; the leaders of the Emiliano Zapata Revolutionary Agrarian League of the South, Raymundo Velázquez and Samuel Vargas; the environmentalist Juventina Villa and his son Reynaldo Santana; the Iguala council member, Justino Carbajal; members of the Popular Union Arturo Hernández, Rafael Banderas and Ángel Román; Rocío Mesino, who was the face of the Campesino Organization of the Southern Sierra; campesinos Juan Lucena and José Luis Sotelo, promoters of a self-defence group in Atoyac; the campesino organizers José Luis Olivares Enríquez and Ana Lilia Gatica Rómulo all make up part of it.
The narco-politics is not an issue exclusive to the old PRI. Members of various currents within the PRD have been pointed out as part of it. A member of the New Left [current] and president of the state Congress, Bernardo Ortega, has repeatedly been pointed to as the boss of the Los Ardillos group. His father was in prison for the murder of two AFI agents and was executed on being released.
Servando Gómez, La Tuta, revealed in a video that Crescencio Reyes Torres, brother of Carlos, state leader of the Aztec Sun [meaning the PRD] and part of Grupo Guerrero , led by David Jimenez, is one of the principal “owners” of laboratories for the manufacture of synthetic drugs, allied with the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel.
At the same time, Governor Aguirre has repeatedly been linked with the Independiente de Acapulco Cartel. It is said that its leader, Víctor Aguirre, is the governor’s cousin. Of course, the governor, as well as the rest of those accused, have emphatically rejected the links with criminal groups.
Despite the multitude of denunciations against mayors and state officials, arrests have been scarce. Feliciano Álvarez Mesino, mayor of Cuetzala del Progreso, was arrested for kidnapping and organized crime. He was freed from blame as part of Grupo Guerrero. The official PRI mayor of Chilapa, Vicente Jiménez Aranda, was put in prison for kidnapping.
The murder and forced disappearance of the Ayotzinapa students has uncovered the sewer of Guerreran narco-politics. It remains to be seen whether they can put the lid back on.
 Ciudad Altamirano is a large city on the Guerrero side of the border with the state of Michoacán.
 Grupo Guerrero is a current, or faction, within the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) in the state of Guerrero.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translation: Chiapas Support Committee
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
October 23, 2014, at Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester Centre, United Kingdom. A group of 25 people met. We as Mexicans and non-Mexicans, students and non- students, demand justice for our comrades abducted by the Mexican state.
We cried out each name of the 43 missing comrades and we demanded their appearance was imposed in life. Then we took a Solidarity photograph as a sign of our indignation, worthy rage and solidarity with the families and friends of the missing, the murdered, the comrade in a coma and those injured.
From Manchester, UK, We send Solidarity greeting to Ayotzinapa students, also to all normalistas and teachers part of CNTE.
The event was organized by Colectivo Zapatista Manchester, Armadillo Productions in collaboration with students and people shocked for this situation.
Photographs: Manchester Zapatista Collective and Armadillo Productions.
Indigenous from the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) joined the Global Day of Action for Ayotzinapa, and in each of their communities, roads and in their homes, lit candles and marched with banners, to demand the appearance alive of the 43 students from the Isidro Burgos Rural Normal school in Ayotzinapa, who have been forcibly disappeared since last September 26.
This is the second manifestation by the guerrilla group, who also demanded the unconditional release of the jailed leaders of the Yaqui, Mario Luna Romero and Fernando Jiménez Gutiérrez. “Although small, our light is a way to embrace today those who are needed and whose absence hurts,” they said.
October 23, 2014
Research conducted collectively by Koman Ilel, Kolectivo Zero, Radio Ñomdaa and Más de 131.
Polhó, Chiapas. With candles, in silence, men, children and women of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) mobilized again for the students, families and teachers of the rural Raúl Isidro Burgos normal school in Ayotzinapa.
As they said in the communiqué released on 19 October, they were “illuminating” the paths, standing on the hillsides in communities in the five regions in which the Zapatistas caracoles are located.
When travelling the roads of the region of Los Altos, groups of at least hundred people could be seen in Oventic, Polhó, Acteal and Yabteclum.
“Presentation alive of the 43 missing students, punishment of those responsible for the killings and the enforced disappearances,” read one of the banners raised in front of the church at Polhó.
“We support the students, teachers and relatives of the Raúl Isidro Burgos normal school in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico,” read another banner.
In addition, the Zapatistas also demanded the “unconditional release” of Mario Luna and Fernando Jiménez, indigenous Yaqui prisoners in Sonora opposed to the operation of the Independence Aqueduct, who were arrested in September.
In the communiqué of August 19, signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, the Zapatistas said:
“Although small, our light will be a way to embrace those who are missing today and whose absence hurts. Let this light show that we are not alone in the pain and anger which is seen in the lands of the Mexico of below.”
“The rich man dreams of extinguishing the first light. It is useless, now there are many lights and they are all the first” says the Fourth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, issued by the EZLN in 1996.
The Zapatista mobilisation was carried out at the same time, responding to the call of thousands of people who demonstrated in Mexico. From the Federal District panoramic pictures showed a huge slogan in white painted on the ground of the plaza of the Zocalo saying: “It was the state.”
Members of the Indigenous National Congress read a declaration in the Zocalo, which was also signed by the EZLN, warning that they will continue mobilizing until the students of the normal school are found and the Yaqui Indians are freed. They branded the Mexican government as a “Narco State” and accused them of using “terrorism” against the population.
Also in San Cristobal de las Casas eight thousand people with candles mobilized demanding the safe return of the normal school students.
Meanwhile, Las Abejas de Acteal, Tsotsil indigenous adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, mobilized and issued a communiqué on 22nd October in which they compared the disappearance of the normal school students and the massacre of October 2nd, 1968, with the death of the children from the ABC nursery and the massacre of 45 people who lived among them on December 22, 1997, during the presidency of Ernesto Zedillo.
“We know the pain, we have lived it,” their communiqué says, “we say again, with all respect, that today more than ever, we will not allow any more deaths, more massacres, more disappeared people in our Mexico.”
Some activists have asked us for background information about the massacre of the students from Ayotzinapa School in the city of Iguala in Guerrero, Mexico. There is not much information circulating in English, so here is more in case you want to know:
The Ayotzinapa School is an iconic school for elementary rural teachers (that’s what the word “normalista” means, because they are teachers of “escuela normal” which means “elementary school”). So when we say “students,” that is what they are, but they are studying to be teachers. They are mostly indigenous people and peasants. The school is located in the heart of the mountains (the Sierra), in a very, very, very poor rural area. It is iconic because it is where two important teachers in the 60s and the 70s started a guerrilla movement that truly challenged the system. These important guerrilla leaders were Genaro Vázquez and Lucio Cabañas. They were both teachers, and they first organized non-violent civil rights groups demanding social justice, but they became guerrilla leaders because they found out that there is absolutely no way for people to learn how to read and count numbers if they cannot eat, and Guerrero is a very poor state where people literally starve to death while rich tourists in Acapulco and Iztapa celebrate Film Festivals and Book Fairs. (This is not a metaphor: there was a film festival with James Stewart in Acapulco in the 60s while the guerrilleros were killed in the Sierra and now the Governor of Guerrero wanted to go on with his International Book Fair after the massacre of the students). The governors of Guerrero have been always tyrants linked to anti-guerrilla death squads, the Government counter-insurgency “dirty war” and organized crime. Sadly, this is not the first massacre either (Aguas Blancas 1995). What makes it different is that the Governor of Guerrero and the Mayor of the Iguala City were “selected” by the former Mayor of Mexico City, AMLO, the same man who hired Rudolph Giuliani in Mexico City to apply his “Zero Tolerance” plan against crime, and is considered to be a “leftist” and “the hope for the future”. So as you can see, under a capitalist system, these “leftist” leaders who decide to be part of the problem are never part of the solution.
The school has a high level of demand each year, with about 600 people applying, but it only has seats for 140 new students each year because the Government has been always willing to close it. It does not close it because it cannot, since the school has a lot of support from the communities.
Which explains part of what happened: the students were preparing a rally for October 2, the anniversary of another student massacre (1968), and they were planning to boycott the Mayor’s wife ceremony (her annual report as head of some activities first ladies are assigned to in Mexico, but in this case the wife is also involved in the organized crime). With the permission of the bus drivers, they “borrowed” two buses which they were going to bring back later, as they usually did. This is indeed illegal, but it was also customary and a non-violent action which does not justify what happened next.
The Mayor got angry when he learnrd that they were going to protest at his wife’s official ceremony and ordered the Chief of Police to “take care of them”. The police department of that city is so involved in organized crime, that they shot some of them without even arresting them (according to the testimony of two students who survived), then they arrested the rest and handed them to the drug-smuggler assassins to torture and murder them. One of them was flayed. The others were tortured. There are non-confirmed testimonies that the rest of the students were also tortured and their bodies burned.
The search for their bodies has also uncovered the existence of many mass graves. Iguala City, where the massacre occurred, is a bridge city for drug smugglers, the main cartel there being named “Guerreros Unidos” (“United Warriors”). All kinds of drugs are sent from there mainly to Acapulco Harbour, but also to other harbours. It is also an area of poppy cultivation.
The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which conducted the caravan of victims of organized crime, led by poet Javier Sicilia (who came here visiting OWS and actually had an action in HSBC Bank), proposes to end organized crime by legalizing drugs. They say it is the only way to stop that spiral of violence, but their proposal is highly criticized by corporate media, because it challenges the capitalist system.
The Zapatista communities joined the international protest this past October 22 lighting “a candle of dignity for Ayotzinapa” and here is their statement in English: http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2014/10/23/joint-declaration-from-the-national-indigenous-congress-and-the-ezln-on-the-crime-in-ayotzinapa-and-for-the-liberation-of-the-yaqui-leaders/
We will continue protesting here in New York this Sunday in Union Square at 3:00 pm and then we will decide what’s next regarding Ayotzinapa and also future actions in NYC against the construction of an airport in Atenco.
OCCUPY WALL ST ZAPATISTA
(Background information from Malú, a Mexican writer who has been supporting the Zapatista movement for 20 years and has been supporting the Occupy movement since September 2011.)
The following information concerns the legal information about the call for protection (amparo) of the comrades of San Sebastián Bachajón (judgement 274/2011) from the dispossession of their land made on February 2nd, 2011.
On September 29th 2014, the Third Collegial Court of Tuxtla Gutierrez unanimously revoked (in judgement 224/2014) the cancellation of judgement 274/2011 (a ruling passed down by the Seventh District Judge of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas), after a complaint lodged by the Sexta adherents of San Sebastián Bachajón. The court subsequently ordered that the case be sent to the Mexican Supreme Court, because of the relevance and transcendence of the issue in terms of the International Right of Indigenous Peoples.
The ruling of the Seventh District Judge, José del Carmen Constantino Avendaño, had been revoked because it had been considered to have interpreted the Law of Protection incorrectly with regards to ‘substituted representation’. In the case at hand, the ejidatario Mariano Moreno Guzmán – founder of San Sebastián Bachajón – was an appropriate substitute representative because his legal action sought to defend the collective rights of his fellow ejido members in the face of the Ejidal Commission’s complicity in the acts of dispossession initiated by both the government authorities of Chiapas and of Mexico. These acts had begun on February 2nd 2011, when a police operation (involving around 800 officers) took land (which remains under their control by force and without the consent of the General Assembly of Ejido Inhabitants) with the support of the Ejidal Commission – with the aim of facilitating privatisation of resources and the establishment of a tourism Megaproject.
The Collegial Court recognised the legitimate legal action of Mariano Moreno Guzmán, and thus referred the case to the Mexican Supreme Court – with the hope that it would resolve Moreno’s case once and for all. The following motives were given for this referral:
The possible action of the Supreme Court regarding this case would allow for the development of the legal rulings that could benefit the indigenous communities of Mexico. We will keep you informed about the progress of this process.
(52) 961 157 69 24
1st October, 2014
Translation by Oso Sabio
“We are a group of Mexicans in Glasgow, Scotland. We marched last Sunday in one of the most important squares of the city and today in front of the library of the University of Glasgow because most are students of that institution.”
AN OLD AND CURRENT ‘PROBLEM’
Nation-building is full of violence. Many nationalities have built themselves up at the cost of others. Mexico is not the exception and the Yaquis are one example. Today, the dispute over water has caused “the Yaqui problem” to re-emerge in Sonora. A leader of this ethnic group, Mario Luna, from the town of Vicam, is in prison. He maintains that his imprisonment is explained by his opposition to the removal of water from his community. In contrast, the local government says it is for stealing a car and temporarily depriving the owner of his freedom. This is one more episode in the difficult historical relationship between the nation and the Yoeme and the system of power that reigns in the rest of the country, in the great nation.
TWO CLASHING NATIONAL INTERESTS?
The “Yaqui problem” or the “Yaqui’s problem with the rest of Mexico” goes back a long way, from the difficult relationship between Yaquis, Jesuits and colonial authorities. The tension, which sharpened in the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, and its consequences linger on. The last episode of the contradiction between what survives of the Yaqui nation and the government of Sonora revolves around the Independence Aqueduct, a local government project made to take water from the El Novillo dam and to stock Hermosillo. The Yaquis maintain that this aqueduct, which was built by a governor who has his own lake on his ranch “Pozo Nuevo” [“New Well”], infringes on the tribe’s right to 50% of the water from the Yaqui river, according to the 1940 ruling from President Cárdenas.
The concept of nation does not have a single definition, though a simple dictionary definition is useful for our purposes: a nation is a social group that possesses a sense of identity, has a shared historical experience and substantial cultural elements and that for the most part inhabits an identifiable geographic area.
By 1821, the Yaquis already possessed all the attributes of a small nation, since, during the colonial era and under the control of the Jesuits, they formed a solid community structure and a strong sense of ethnic identity that was accentuated after the Jesuits left. With Mexican independence and the power vacuum that followed, the Yaqui organization was strengthened. It clashed head on with liberal politicians from the national government and the ambitions of foreign interests that wanted their lands, waterways and labor. The outcome was a series of rebellions and alliances with other indigenous and white groups.
The Yaqui historiography is extensive. There are some very useful works that can help in understanding the tensions of the last two centuries in the regions between the Yaqui and Mayo rivers, such as those by Héctor Cuauhtémoc Hernández, Insurgencia y autonomía: Historia de los pueblos yaquis, 1821-1910 [Insurgency and Autonomy: History of the Yaqui People, 1821-1910], (CIESAS, 1996); or the doctoral thesis by Ana Luz Ramírez on the relationship between Yaquis and the regime that emerged from the Mexican Revolution (The College of Mexico, 2014).
At the moment of New Spain’s disintegration and the beginning of the difficult construction of the Mexican State, the Yaquis lived in full autonomy, but it did not last. The government of Sonora was always divided in the 19th century, but desirous to impose its political and military authority over all the territory and on its own terms. That increased the appetite for Yaqui resources — land, water and labor — and led the relationship among the eight Yaqui towns and the State authority to waver between negotiations, mutual recognition and head-on collision. From that collision emerged political-military-religious men that are already a part of the regional history as well as national history: Juan Banderas and his movement (1825-1833), Cajeme and Tetabiate at the end of the century.
When the Mexican State finally consolidated at the national level in the Porfiriato [rule of Porfirio Díaz, 1876-1911], great colonizing businesses emerged, like the company Constructora Richardson, which obtained 400 thousand hectares in the Yaqui area. It was then that the government opted for a “final solution” to the problem — mass deportation to Yucatan and Veracruz in order to disperse the Yaqui nation. At the outbreak of the 1910 Revolution, some Yaquis joined the revolutionaries but others remained in rebellion and the new regime decided to combine repression (the Lencho massacre in 1917) with assimilation, deportations and military-agricultural colonies, where they gave lands, assets and certain autonomy to the Yaquis in exchange for loyalty.
In 1926, under pressure from the expansion of “modern” foreign economic interests in the land, the Yaquis joined the remaining “De la huertistas” [followers of Sonoran governor Adolfo de la Huerta, who led a successful coup detat´against President Venustiano Carranza in 1920 and a failed one against Álvaro Obregon in 1923] and carried out one last great rebellion. The federal government, controlled by Sonorans, followed the harsh policy of the old regime and proposed, according to Ana Luz Ramírez, “the cultural extermination of the Yaquis” which included aerial attacks and even suggested using poisonous gas against them (pp. 146-174).
Defeated, deportations of the Yaquis continued in 1927. The arrival of “Cardenismo” [Presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas, 1934-40] and the marginalization of “Callismo” [rule by President Plutarco Elias Calles, 1924-28, and as "El Maximato, from 1928-34] was necessary so that the Mexican president could meet with the Yaqui governors and give them back a part of their lands and water.