dorset chiapas solidarity

May 31, 2012


Filed under: Political prisoners — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:51 pm

Patishtán Demands from Calderón an end to Degrading Acts in the Prisons

** The indigenous prisoner exposes the humiliating treatment to which they are subjected

By: Hermann Bellinghausen,

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, May 30, 2012

The political prisoners of the Voice of El Amate (la Voz del Amate), in particular Alberto Patishtán Gómez, by constantly speaking out, reveal the inhuman conditions in which prisoners in Mexican prisons live. Convinced of their innocence, they seem prepared for the punishment and vengeance of the authorities. In a new testimonial from the federal prison in Guasave, Sinaloa, where he was confined in October, Patishtán exposes conditions that at least he, being indigenous, considers unacceptable and humiliating, although we’re apparently dealing with routine procedures in the prison centres, which rather than reintegrating those detained, appear to aim to disintegrate them:

“The security of custody, together with those in charge, violate our rights acting in all vexation: each time that we go down for breakfast, lunch or for any activities we are submitted to pulling down our pants, our underwear, exhibiting our sensitive parts with three squats and a cough, afterwards everyone moving bent down, without the right to speak and with their hands behind their back. We always do all these inhuman searches before women. With all that, I admire how it is that my Spanish-speaking brothers withstand all this treatment, which is not new as my compañeros say, but for me they injure in every way my rights and my indigenous customs and traditions.”

The Tzotzil professor, adherent to the Other Campaign, a prisoner for 12 years, points out: “In Mexico, the rulers state that human rights are respected, but in practice it is the opposite.”

Meanwhile, his compañeros from the Voice of El Amate and those in Solidarity with the Voice of El Amate in the Centre for Social Re-insertion of the Sentenced (Cerss) Number 5, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, denounced once again the lack of medical attention to prisoners, despite the fact that many of them already have diagnosed illnesses, and the prison authorities know that they need treatment.

They denounce in particular the situation of the female prisoner Amelia Jiménez Pérez, who has suffered ovarian cysts for three years and does not receive any treatment. But, they maintain, the lack of attention is generalized, there is no medication or adequate medical services, only negligence.

Violation of human rights

Before this (situation), the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre declared: “The government of Chiapas violates the human rights of individuals who through being deprived of their freedom are the sole responsibility of the Mexican State. The prisoners’ medical care is an obligation of the government, which it is not fulfilling, as has been shown in hundreds of denunciations from all the Chiapas prisons, and it is not doing enough to meet its human rights obligations.”

Within this context, Patishtán demands from Sinaloa that the president of the Republic, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, “the cessation of every degrading act and that our rights be respected. In a similar manner I demand my immediate freedom, as well as that of the Voice of El Amate and those in Solidarity with the Voice of El Amate from this unjust imprisonment.” Lastly, he invited “the people of Mexico and the international community of supporters to join these demands.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Thursday, May 31, 2012

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


Filed under: Sustainable rural cities — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:12 pm

On the 10th of May 2012 the Network for Peace in Chiapas and the Collective of Analysis and Information CAIK presented the report of the Civil Mission of Observation to the Sustainable Cities Programme.

In October 2011, the member organizations of the Network for Peace in Chiapas and the Collective of Analysis and Information (CAIK) conducted a civil monitoring mission of the two already inhabited Sustainable Rural Cities, and four that are under construction or planning, in order to document the current situation in terms of human rights in which the population is directly affected by the Sustainable Rural Cities Programme (CRS Program) that the government of Chiapas is developing in the state.

Following the Civil Monitoring Mission, we present: From land to asphalt. Report of the civil monitoring mission of the Network for Peace in Chiapas and CAIK to the Sustainable Rural Cities programme.

The main conclusions of the report were:

In September 2009, President Felipe Calderón inaugurated the first Sustainable Rural City in the world, called “Nuevo Juan de Grijalva”, a body which, according to officials of the government was the final answer to poverty and dispersion. Under this pretext and that the villages are in the danger zone, and without being consulted and reported previously, communities were or will be relocated to Sustainable Rural Cities.

However, this response of ‘development’ to poverty in the countryside has been strongly criticized by the people who have to be displaced as well as by individuals and civil society organizations. The attention to communities doesn’t seem to be the first aim of this programme, since the interests of private companies often play an important role, as well as certain political interests of the state and federal governments.

Behind the Sustainable Rural Cities Programme there is an underlying territorial restructuring process that is carried out through State structures responding to interests dictated from multinational financial institutions to establish a new social order. The federal and state governments have implemented a number of projects and programmes which portray the goal of eradicating poverty and contribute to the development of people, but in the background they are processes of community disintegration and cultural and territorial dispossession . This process of uprooting dismantles any possibility for people to exercise their right to self determination.

The testimonies of those affected, as reflected in this report, demonstrate the different ways in which the SRC programme violates several internationally recognized human rights of displaced persons to such population centres, including the right to self-determination.

The human rights violations documented by the organizations that participated in this mission testify that people were not involved nor consulted in any phase of this project. On the contrary, most were displaced by threatening to dismantle the infrastructure of services in their communities, or by provoking fear of living in risk zones declared by the government. These violations of the people’s rights are against international conventions on human rights signed and ratified by the Mexican government.

There is also a concern that any collective capacity to decide how to organize a community, and any attempt at social construction coming from indigenous people and peasants and which diverges from the state’s interests, seems to be destined to fragmentation, cancellation or criminalization.

Red por la Paz Chiapas
Educación para la Paz (EduPaz)
Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (Frayba)
Enlace Comunicación y Capacitación
Servicio Internacional para la Paz (SIPAZ)
Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz (SERAPAZ)
Comisión de Apoyo a la Unidad y Reconciliación Comunitaria (CORECO)
Desarrollo Económico y Social de los Mexicanos Indígenas (DESMI)
Comité de Derechos Humanos Fray Pedro Lorenzo de la Nada
Centro de Derechos de la Mujer Chiapas
Centro de Derechos Indígenas (CEDIAC)
Colectivo de Análisis e Información Kolectiva (CAIK)

Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas A.C.
Calle Brasil #14, Barrio Mexicanos,
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México
Código Postal: 29240
Tel +52 (967) 6787395, 6787396, 6783548
Fax +52 (967) 6783551

May 29, 2012


Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:09 pm

Zapatistas Denounce Land Grabs by Ocosingo Coffee Growers 

 ** The only thing that we do is work and defend our ground, they say

By: Hermann Bellinghausen,

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, May 27, 2012

The Good Government Junta in the Caracol of Morelia denounced land grabs from the autonomous Zapatistas municipalities of 17 de Noviembre and Lucio Cabañas by members of the Regional Organization of Ocosingo Coffee Growers (Organización Regional de Cafeticultores de Ocosingo, ORCAO), with support from the authorities: “The bad governments convince them with miserable projects, using poor people that don’t like work as a tool for harassing our peoples in struggle, with the intention of weakening or wearing out our compañeros.”

The Zapatistas, it adds, “are not provocateurs nor aggressors; the only thing we are doing is working and defending our land recuperated in 1994. We resist and we will resist the aggressions of people manipulated by the bad governments, and they will not convince us to be their beggars.”

The recent aggressions against Patria Nueva community, Primero de Enero (January 1st) Region of Lucio Cabañas municipality, began on April 14 when those from ORCAO “provoked a land grab” with the pretext of expanding the cemetery, “affecting the parcel of our compañero Vicente López Gómez.” Posts and fences were destroyed, “damaging the family’s basic nourishment.”

On the morning of May 21, “a tractor arrived from the ‘Orcaos’ to open a gap for the cemetery.” The opening and expansion affect “the parcels of 16 compañeros, cultivated with corn, yucca, squash, bananas, beans and peanuts,” whose product “was buried by the machine’s pass.” Of the five hectares of the expansion, four of those affected belong to Zapatista bases. “It is a provocation because they are robbing us and they destroy what by right belongs to us. The ‘Orcaos’ never made a proposal to the parcels’ owners or to the competent authorities as to how to reasonably resolve the need for the cemetery or the gap.”

In a similar way members of the ORCAO in Ranchería El Nantze (Altamirano municipality) plunder recuperated lands in the community of 21 de Abril (April 21st). “They cut wires, fell trees, threaten the compañeros in 17 de Noviembre (November 17th) autonomous municipality,” says the Junta and places responsibility on the (Orcao) leaders Cristóbal Gómez López, Manuel Bautista Moshán, Nicolás Gómez López and Nicolás López Gómez, and as “intellectual authors the three levels of government (federal, state and municipal),” who “for years have been hitting us with land grabs, persecutions, threats, for the purpose of finishing off our construction of autonomy, where we demonstrate the righteousness of the struggle for a just and dignified peace constructing a better world.

“They are wrong when they say that we no longer exist or they say we are cowards if we don’t respond to their provocations. As Zapatistas we are not prepared with that ignorance, we know when we respond. Each blow that they give us is one more experience of how to learn to resist.” For the “three levels of government, in complicity with the big neoliberals” the goal is that “among indigenous we finish each other off because they consider us an obstacle.” The Zapatista bases “will not permit that they are destroying, dividing up our recuperated lands” the Junta warns. “We are organized in accordance with our customs and by the decision of our peoples. We know how to govern ourselves with autonomy where we don’t no depend on anyone, and to defend at all cost what is our right.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, May 28, 2012

En español:

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

May 28, 2012


Filed under: Indigenous, Lacandon/ montes azules, Tourism — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:45 pm

Communities Reject Adventure Tourism Project in Chiapas

 ** Plans for construction of lodgings on the lakeshore

** For the indigenous, the current management of visitors is self-sufficient, they say

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

Laguna Miramar, Chiapas, May 26, 2012

The large and beautiful lake that marks the boundary of the Montes Azules [biosphere reserve]is the new goal for tourism investors. Approved by the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources and by the Environment, Natural Resources and Fishing Commission of the Senate, the Miramar Live Nature Stays (Estancias Vivas Natura Miramar) project contemplates the construction of “dwellings” for lodging tourists on the banks of the body of water, a hotel that the authorities call “alternative tourism.”

Only the Emiliano Zapata ejido has been considered in the official plan; 11 double rooms and four suites, a restaurant, bar, offices, laundry and an “employees’ zone” would be built on its lands. Not all are in agreement; many have not been consulted. For years, a regular tourist flow has existed here, never abundant, but which does not seem to alter the life of the village. It (the project) has a major impact here, worse on the neighboring San Quintín ejido, the large military base, just a few kilometres from the lake.

Emiliano Zapata, Benito Juárez, Nueva Galilea and Tierra y Libertad are the towns around Miramar, although only the first one is “legal”;  its residents consider themselves guardians of the lake, although others may also be so, as in their way are the Zapatistas of Nueva Galilea who defend it without government “supports” or tourist investments, more and more private every day.

At a spot in the lake with little islets, a hand-painted sign on wooden boards expresses their rejection: “We don’t want adventure tourism, because the government is creating the tourism of adventures from hell. This plan is full of rats and traps. It is a counterinsurgency campaign and low-intensity war. Here we want justice, liberty and democracy. Here the people govern and the government obeys. EZLN”.

Zapatista bases of support live at a corner of the lake and say they care for the last boundary, the current border between the jungle of man and the one which has done without humanity through centuries of change. Seen from here, it represents the last refuge of the Desert of Solitude (Desierto de la Soledad), as the first conquistadors called it; today the Integral Reserve of the Biosphere or, colloquially, the Montes Azules “Biosphere,” which is not saying whether they are mountains, and whether they are blue. In the classic Maya period there were cities and communities of farmers in the heart of this jungle, now “reserved,” like Tzendales (a notable unexplored archaeological vestige, near the Río Negro), Miramar and, of course, Bonampak in the extreme north.

Investors’ promises offer the sun, the moon and the stars to the indigenous in the form of infrastructure for “nature tourism.” Here where they already have the sun, moon and stars, the best water and the biggest sky in the Lacandón Jungle, what more can hotel owners, restaurant owners, construction companies, contractors, environmental and agrarian officials meddling in tourism, senators, governors, candidates, television networks, soft drink companies and banks offer? What could be better than this?

Some communities are –and all of them should be– guardians of the jungle, the water, the territory and all it contains and nourishes, all they receive each morning from the land, which is called Mother in the four Mayan languages that are spoken in this summit of the canyons, also a convergence of the roads to Las Margaritas and Ocosingo, they even manage to look like highways. It is the summit where the boisterous Río Perla is suddenly added to the calm and stately, finally navigable Jataté, a large robust basin en route to becoming the Lacantún and finally the Usumacinta, far away from that little overrun waterfall, in Corralito, in los Altos, between Oxchuc and Ocosingo.

Emiliano Zapata, although in the majority Chol, is one of the few jungle communities where Tzeltals, Tojolabals and Tzotzils also live. One of the most “cosmopolitan.” The ejido members (not all are in Zapata) tend to disqualify the neighboring villages, who lack land titles, and particularly accuse those from Benito Juárez of destroying forests and contaminating the lake. Benito Juárez’ boat, a huge launch, is accustomed to using a motor, but now this is no longer permitted. Now they have to row from there to cross to Zapata, which is the exit for residents of the lakeshore. Or it was, because the road that comes from Amatitlán, lower Lacantún, already reached Chuncerro, inside the Montes Azules.

According to César, a young Chol who guides the envoys from La Jornada around the lake, the current management of visitors is rational, sufficient and self-sufficient to a certain point, no need for a private hotel. “He who wants to come to Miramar, from anywhere, comes. Just a few days ago 20 visitors came from Comitán and Tuxtla Gutiérrez, families. They came in trucks and camped for three days, so peaceful. The Gringos and French arrive in waves. In vacation time up to 50 people camp or hang hammocks at the beach”, a modest tourism, presumably ecological (more so than a hotel), sufficient for a community that eats from the land and lives surrounded by water, between two large rivers and a portentous lake.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, May 27, 2012

En español:

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

May 27, 2012


Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:31 pm

Clarification of the forged signature of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.    

Mexico, May 25, 2012

On May 25, in the newspaper La Jornada, a display appeared entitled “marking the international week of the disappeared detained “, in the list of names that appear at the end of the document are, among others, those of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the rector of the UNAM, José Narro, Enrique del Ball (sic) and then that of Subcomandante Marcos.

It is necessary to clarify that, in a completely fraudulent manner, they have used the name of the spokesperson and military commander of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, without having asked permission to use his name and, by doing so, that of the EZLN.

We have never had any communication with the man who appears to be responsible for the publication, one Carlos Perzabal Marcué, so that regardless of the text written there, we report that the signature is fraudulent.

It is a shame that this opportunistic rascal takes advantage of the silence of the Zapatistas to usurp their word.

We insist that all communications from Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, which is to say the Command of the EZLN, or from the Good Government Juntas, are published on the official website of the EZLN or are confirmed on this page: Enlace Zapatista. Any other communication that does not appear on this website is false.

We believe that after many years of struggle and resistance, the EZLN has won the basic right that no one can use their name without their consent.

From the support team of the Sixth Commission of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation,

Sergio Rodríguez Lascano


Filed under: Political prisoners — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:04 pm

Patishtan denuncia: outrage at having his head shaved


Political prisoner of the “Voice of Amate”, Patishtan Alberto Gomez, Adherent to the EZLN’s Other Campaign. Detained at CEFERESO No. 8. Guasave, Sinaloa.

With a deep weight in my hand as it touches my head, I realize that when the authorities speak of respect for human rights it is nothing but political demagoguery to deceive.

These authorities at Cefereso have acted against my will and have attacked my dignity, not only as an indigenous and a human being, but also through my customs and traditions. For centuries as indigenous we have worn our hair long (unshaved) for our protection when working in the fields and other places; today I looked at my reflection in the metal sheet that serves as a mirror, and I could not hold back a tear thinking that next time I meet my family they will see me totally without hair; this is one more mockery in the repressive situation in which I now find myself, no doubt in retaliation for the struggle for my freedom I’ve been engaged in.

How much longer senores rulers must we endure these humiliations? This is not the justice for which I have been asking for so long! I demand justice, once again I demand the immediate freedom of all of us in la voz del Amate and solidarios de la voz del Amate, and respect for our traditions, and at the same time I invite the people of Mexico and the international community to join in our demands for justice and freedom.

La Voz del Amate

Alberto Gomez Patishtan
To Live or to Die for Truth and Justice

From the north of the country Mexico, Cefereso No. 8 North-West Guasave, Sinaloa

April 26, 2012

May 26, 2012


Filed under: Political prisoners — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:42 pm

The IAHRC Grants Precautionary Measures to Prisoner Patishtán

 ** The grave deterioration of his health is one of the reasons for the measure

** They attempt against my dignity by violating my customs, accuses the indigenous

By: Hermann Bellinghausen,

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, May 25, 2012

The Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC) announced the granting of urgent precautionary measures (MC 77/12) in favour of the prisoner of conscience Alberto Patishtán Gómez, faced with grave danger to his life and health because of the worsening of his untreated glaucoma. This occurs while the humiliations and mistreatment increase against the Tzotzil professor, who now reports that he was shaved in the prison at Guasave, Sinaloa, where he has been since October.

The IAHRC asked the government of Mexico to instruct the competent authorities “to carry out the medical examinations that permit an evaluation of the beneficiary’s health and to offer him adequate treatment.”

For its part, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) denounced that “the unjustified transfer of Patishtán was with the intention of discriminating, punishing and repressing the Tzotzil political prisoner, who has been characterized as a defender of human rights in the prisons of Chiapas,” and called on the authorities “to guarantee access to justice, since the delays and obstructions imposed, in the name of the law, put his life at risk while he is in the custody of the Mexican State.” It remembered that: “despite the reforms to article one of the Constitution, this [action] does not fulfill its obligation to respect, protect and guarantee the human rights recognized in the Constitution and in the international instruments that it has signed and ratified.”

Patishtán, an adherent to the Other Campaign, expressed in a letter: “With profound regret, touching my head with my hand I realize that the authorities that talk of respect for human rights are nothing more than political demagoguery to deceive.” Authorities at the Federal Centre for Social Re-adaptation in Guasave “have acted against my will and attacked my dignity not only as an indigenous man and a human being, but against my uses and customs, for centuries, as an indigenous man, we have worn our hair normal for our protection working in the field and elsewhere, and today I have seen my reflection on a metal sheet that is used as a mirror and I have not been able to avoid a tear upon thinking that soon my family will see me totally without hair. That is one more act of contempt that I now encounter as a reprisal for that struggle that I have been maintaining for my freedom. How many more, señores rulers, will have to withstand these vexations? This is not the justice for which I have asked so often. Once again I demand  immediate freedom for those of us in the Voice of El Amate (la Voz del Amate) and those in Solidarity with the Voice of El Amate, and respect for our customs.”

Before that, Frayba condemned “the recent actions by the federal government, which violate the prisoner’s access to justice and defence.” After proving that his “unjustified transfer” from Chiapas to Sinaloa “was ordered by the (Chiapas) Secretary of Government, Noé Castañón León,” the Center promoted an amparo, which was favourably granted with an order for his immediate return to the prison in San Cristóbal.

Nevertheless, the federal government “continued placing obstacles in the way of his return and freedom” by promoting an “appeal for review” of the amparo. This delaying action was admitted on April 19 by the first collegiate tribunal of the twentieth circuit, in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, giving way to the petition de Rafael Pérez Lozada, Unit Director of said circuit, who “officially published that the case was sent to the second collegiate tribunal in Cancún, Quintana Roo, ‘in order to aid the work of this tribunal, said jurisdictional organ will pronounce the corresponding ruling.’” That, according to Frayba, “represents delay and obstruction of access to justice from the federal government, in complicity with the government of Chiapas, in prejudice of Patishtán, who in June will complete 12 years of unjust seclusion.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, May 26, 2012

En español:

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


Filed under: Human rights — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:37 pm

Death Threats Force Human Rights Lawyer To Leave Mexico

 May 25, 2012

Mexican attorney who specializes in human rights cases announced he is leaving the country temporarily because of death threats.

Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, legal counsel for the Tlachinollan Mountain Human Rights Center, is the second rights activist in less than a month to flee Mexico.

“I am leaving the country to protect my life, but I demand from authorities an investigation of the recent threats and acts of harassment against me,” Rosales said at a Mexico City press conference arranged by Amnesty International.

He denounced the government for a “lack of will” to protect human rights defenders in the southern state of Guerrero, where the Tlachinollan Center is based.

“The threats to my person began in 2009 due to the effort we headed to obtain justice for the murder and extrajudicial execution of indigenous people who were tortured,” the attorney said.

The Tlachinollan Center was founded in 1992 to document police and military abuses against Mixtec, Nahuatl, Amusgo and Tlapaneco Indians in the Tlachinollan Mountain region.

As the center’s legal counsel, Rosales has played a key role in important cases such as the February 2002 rape of two indigenous women by soldiers, AI’s Mexico representative, Alberto Herrera, said at the press conference.

Rosales is currently representing the families of two students slain after taking part in a Dec. 12 demonstration in Chilpancingo, Guerrero’s capital.

The lawyer’s departure comes less than two weeks after a Catholic priest who runs a shelter for Central American migrants said he was leaving Mexico after learning that someone had put a price on his head.

The Rev. Alejandro Solalinde founded the Hermanos del Camino shelter in the southern state of Oaxaca, where some 200 Central American migrants arrive each day.


Filed under: Political prisoners — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:31 pm

Alberto Patishtán Denounces Attacks on His Dignity

** It’s even affecting his food, contrary to his customs 

** Frayba denounces repeated obstacles by the government to his liberation 

By: Hermann Bellinghausen, 

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, May 24, 2012 

From the federal prison in Guasave, Sinaloa, Tzotzil Professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez sent a brief manuscript wherein he denounces attacks against his dignity by prison personnel, who have gone to the extremes of disdain and mistreatment that are too much even for an indigenous prisoner with 12 years in three Chiapas prisons, chained for months to a hospital bed and now punished in a high-security penitentiary 2,000 kilometres from his place of origin. 

“Deprived of my freedom unjustly for more than a decade, I have always tried to preserve my indigenous essence, a thing that has not been so easy. Currently it now seems impossible that they are imposing on my customs (treatments) that not only denigrate my dignity as a human being, but begin to attempt against my health by means of food that in my person break the habits that my ethnicity has tried to maintain for centuries,” Patishtán exposes. 

“The food regime to which the federal prison authority has submitted me against my will overflows into one more torment, to which I am submitted as a consequence of the injustice that prevails around my legal situation.” 

“One more time,” he asks President of the Republic Felipe Calderón Hinojosa “to respect my rights,” and demands in the name of his prisoner compañeros in Chiapas “the immediate freedom of the Voice of El Amate (la Voz del Amate), those in Solidarity with the Voice of El Amate (Solidarios de la Voz del Amate) and Innocent Voices.” 

The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) denounced that the government has again impeded Patishtán’s freedom. It remembered that on February 29 in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the competent judge resolved the protective order (amparo) filed by the defence for returning him to Chiapas. “Nevertheless Felipe Calderón, by means of the Federal Secretary of Public Security, filed an appeal on April 3 to delay or annul his return.” 

The teacher at a public primary school in El Bosque municipality, in 2000 “was involved in the homicide of seven police, besides ‘planning and carrying out’ the ambush with a member of the EZLN’s support bases” recapitulates Frayba. “Inexplicably” he was sentenced then, “despite the fact demonstrated in the trial that the one who accused him, the municipal president’s son, a minor of age, openly lied, for which reason the judge absolved the man co-accused,” but not Patishtán. 

“During the more than 11 years of his unwarranted sentence, Alberto has been a model social struggler in favour of the cause of the most forgotten, generally poor and indigenous. His incessant struggle has allowed the liberation of hundreds of persons accused of non-existent crimes or crimes they did not commit, but all that work has not reached the point where they cease the incarceration of an innocent man, a social struggler, a political prisoner whose freedom Tatic Samuel demanded, and whose innocence Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero recognized,” the civil organisation says. 

In 2010 he was diagnosed with glaucoma (an irreversible disease that slowly clouds vision). “His health situation was aggravated by the lack of medical attention that exists inside the State Centres of Social Reinsertion and Re-adaptation” in Chiapas. “As punishment for the struggle for his freedom and for human rights defence, on October 20, 2011, while he was on a hunger strike with theSolidarios de La Voz del Amate, he was transferred to the Federal Re-adaptation Centre in Guasave,” at the request of the (Chiapas) Secretary of Government Noé Castañón León, as Frayba documented weeks ago.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, May 25, 2012

En español: 

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


Filed under: Political prisoners — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:26 pm
Letter from Patishtan: the food in prison violates our customs

Having been unjustly deprived of my liberty for more than a decade, I have tried to preserve at all times my indigenous essence, which has not been easy. Now it seems to be impossible, as what is being imposed on my customs not only denigrates my dignity as a human being, but also is beginning to affect my health by means of the food, which although for many would certainly be a privilege, for me breaks the habits that my ethnicity has tried to maintain for centuries.

Currently the diet to which I have been submitted by the federal prison authority against my will has become another torment to which I am submitted as a result of the injustice that prevails around my legal situation.

Once again I ask the President of the Republic, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, to respect my rights, while we demand immediate freedom for [the prisoners of] the Voice of el Amate, Solidarity with the Voice of el Amate and Innocent Voices.

With regard to the Violation of my dignity I invite all of Mexico and the international community to join the call for justice and freedom.


“THE VOICE OF EL AMATE” Member of the Other Campaign, Political Prisoner
Alberto Gomez Patishtan

From the North of the Country of Mexico, Cefereso No. 8, Guasave Sinaloa

April 24

May 25, 2012


Filed under: Political prisoners, Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:39 pm
Convocation for the
From Friday, June 8th to Friday, June 15th of this year.
May 24, 2012
To our sisters and brothers, the family members and allies of Alberto Patishtán Gomez:
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 realize the:
To take place from Friday, June 8th to Friday, June 15th of this year.
Compañeras y compañeros:
From our corner of the world, El Barrio, New York:
We greet you with much affection and high spirits.
We greet you with much emotion running through our veins.
We greet you with much rage that gives pulse to our brown and dignified heart.
We greet you with fury. With anxiety. With yearning. With pain.
We, the women and men Mexican immigrants, who form Movement for Justice in El Barrio, The Other Campaign New York, would like to share with you this urgent proposal:
By way of the following words we issue our humble hope: That together we may begin the second – and hopefully, final – phase of our, now global and historical, struggle for freedom and justice for our brothers, the indigenous political prisoners, Alberto Patishtán Gómez, adherent to The Other Campaign, and Francisco Sántiz López, member of the EZLN Support Base.
Day in and day out, this struggle continues to grow, to expand, and to touch the innumerable hearts and dreams of so many honest and dignified people of our planet.
This struggle emerges and runs with the previous support given to the “Week of Worldwide Struggle for the Liberation of Patishtán and Sántiz López: Bringing Down the Prison Walls!” from our Zapatista sisters and brothers of the Junta de Buen Gobierno (Good Government Council) and from the families of Francisco and Alberto. Their messages of support and a brief history on the two cases appear in the documentary “Brining Down the Prison Walls: The Struggle for Patishtán and Sántiz López”:
Today, this struggle has guided us to a plateau—one which demonstrates that its reach is now global, as it encompasses lands near and far that have joined the call to free our beloved comrades, Francisco Sántiz López and Alberto Patishtán Gómez, and to fight against the unjust system of repression and destruction from which their incarceration stems.
They, you, we have received the voice and dream of our two brothers and their peoples. We have received them and as a consequence, we have become their own.
Today we can see with sober eyes that in all parts of Chiapas and in all of Mexico, in South Africa, in Brazil, in England, in Scotland, in New Zealand, in Argentina, in Austria, in Switzerland, in Spain, in the U.S.: the people are concerned, the people are rising for Patishtán and Sántiz López.
In addition, during these past few days, we have seen that the mobilizations we carried out during the “Week of Worldwide Struggle for the Liberation of Patishtán and Sántiz López” have produced certain cracks in the prison walls.
One of these cracks is illustrated by the reaction of the bad government of the repressor Juan Sabines, bad governor of the state of Chiapas, who recently responded regarding the case of Sántiz López.
This response left his mouth – filthy as it is from so much deceit – like a fly: Complete deception.
But it is a sign that the bad government feels obligated to speak on the matter, and it is a symptom that the bad government is weakening. Now the whole world is watching.
Compañeras and compañeros:
In light of this, now more than ever, we must exploit its obvious and exposed weakness and continue organizing; we must increase the pressure, so that the bad government may obey the will of the dignified people and that these walls disintegrate.
In spite of the horrific conditions, our brothers Alberto and Francisco continue to fight from the inside. Their cries of dignity still reach us here.
We cannot wait any longer: OUR PRISONERS OUT NOW!!!
Our campaign shall continue.
For this reason, we ask you once more to join us in demanding that the bad powers of Mexico, in particular the repressor Pres. Felipe Calderón and the repressor Gov. Juan Sabines, immediately release our compañeros Alberto Patishtán Gómez and Francisco Sántiz López.
This time with more people, more countries, more communities, more screams, more determination to set our brothers free.
To this end, we propose the following:
o That together we unite our forces and organize actions – from our particular locations and respective forms of struggle – such as demonstrations, marches, informative street actions, fliering, public forums, theatre, teach-ins, and any other activity to realize the
From Friday, June 8th to Friday, June 15th of this year.
Please let us know as soon as possible if you accept our proposal and will participate. You may communicate with us via e-mail at:
We would like to thank those who participated in the first Week of Worldwide Struggle, and thank in advance those who will participate in this second week. We believe that we find ourselves in a strategic moment—one that now requires more voices echoing the dignified call for freedom and justice.
Together with will achieve, without a doubt, what our compas deserve.
Our embraces of love and solidarity.
From El Barrio, New York:
Movement for Justice in El Barrio
The Other Campaign New York

May 24, 2012


Filed under: Political prisoners, Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:47 pm

Campaign for the Freedom of Alberto Patishtán attracts International Support

 ** Brazil’s MST joins the demand for his release and that of Francisco Santiz López

** Mexican immigrants carry the petition to the General Consul in New York City


Andrés Núñez, former compañero in prison of professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez, during a fórum for his liberation in San Cristóbal de Las Casas on the 12th May

Photo: Moysés Zúñiga Santiago

By: Hermann Bellinghausen,

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, May 23, 2012

“If the Mexican government does not want to be judged in international courts for crimes against the population and the popular movements” it must free Professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez and the Zapatista Francisco Santiz López, “as an immediate matter”, declared Rafael Vilas Boas in the name of the Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (Movimiento de Trabajadores Sin Tierra de Brasil, MST), at the end of the worldwide week for the freedom of the two indigenous men.

Meanwhile, Mexican immigrants from the Movement for Justice in el Barrio, from the Other Campaign in New York, stormed into the General Consulate of Mexico in that city on Monday, with the same demand. Despite the initial refusal to attend to them by consular personnel, who even closed the installations full of “countrymen”, the Consul finally listened to them and “behind him a large banner was unfolded saying: ‘justice and freedom for Alberto and Francisco.’” Before a “profound silence” from the public, “we echoed the dignified call originating from Chiapas for our two prisoners”, says the New York movement, convoker of the worldwide week.

In the MST’s videotaped message, Vila Boas says that if Patishtán continues a prisoner “it is because he is very competent, the work that he was doing was very good, and not criminal”. He is not “an enemy, but a pride for the country”, he adds. “If Mexico wants to be a democracy it is necessary to free the professor.”

With respect to Santiz López, he maintains: “The MST has a relationship of admiration and respect for the Zapatista movement, which is opposed to a model of political representation which is not in the interest of the great mass of the population. The compañero was collaborating in the organization of society, [therefore] he cannot be considered a criminal. He is a hero.” The Brazilian spokesperson considered it necessary “for Mexican society to make the distinction between a criminal action and grassroots organising”.

This morning, the Platform in Solidarity with Chiapas and Guatemala and the Centre for Documentation on Zapatismo delivered a letter for the Ambassador at the Mexican Embassy in Spain with the pronouncement in favour of the freedom of the two indigenous men, issued at the Global May Forum (Foro del Mayo Global) that took place at the weekend.

Other actions were carried out in the Parque del Retiro in Madrid and in Barcelona. In the Mexican capital, Other Campaign collectives held a Sunday meeting for several hours in the Bellas Artes (Fine Arts) esplanade demanding freedom for Patishtán, “a prisoner of conscience arbitrarily transferred to a high-security prison in Guasave, Sinaloa,” and for Santiz López, “detained and blamed because of being a Zapatista support base.” They demanded “justice and voice to the silence that met the hunger strike and fast, which was valiantly maintained in 2011 by the following Chiapas prisoners: Pedro López Jiménez, Rosario Díaz Méndez, José Díaz López, Alfredo López Jiménez, Alejandro Díaz Santiz and Juan Díaz López, Andrés Núñez Hernández and Rosa López Díaz, Juan Collazo Jiménez and Enrique Gómez Hernández.”

Members of the Las Abejas group, meanwhile, declared this Tuesday in Acteal (Chenalhó) that “the governments try to disarticulate and sow fear and terror in the independent organizations, social movements and collectives that are not in agreement with the system that is being exercised in Mexico, and with that strategy they have incarcerated Patishtán ever since 2000, falsely accused of participating in the homicide of seven police.” They demanded his freedom and the freedom of the “compañero” Santiz López, support base of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional), “arbitrarily incarcerated since December 4 [2011], accused of acts that happened in the community of Banavil (Tenejapa).”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Thursday, May 24, 2012

En español:

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

Acting to free Alberto Patishtán and Francisco Sántiz

Filed under: Political prisoners — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:21 am

Acting to free Alberto Patishtán and Francisco Sántiz

 May 23, 2012

x carolina

Freedom for Chiapas political prisoners, Francisco Sántiz López  and Alberto Patishtán Gómez is what spurs the week of actions “Bringing Down Prison Walls” carried out in various parts of the world from May 15-22. Called by the Movement for Justice in the Barrio in New York, this solidarity campaign is supported by family members of the two prisoners and the Zapatista Good Government Council of Oventic,  Chiapas. See video subtitled in English:

Who are they?

Francisco Santiz López, a farmer and fruit and vegetable vendor from the Tzeltal indigenous community of Tenejapa, Chiapas, belongs to the support base for the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), and participates in the resistance against the bad government and the construction of autonomy in his community. He was arrested on December 4, 2011, and originally charged with provoking a conflict in which Pedro Méndez López, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was killed after he and fifty more members of his party bearing clubs, machetes and firearms attacked families in the Banavil ejido. Francisco has witnesses who swear that he was working at his fruit and vegetable stand in Tenejapa at the time of the attack and was finally acquitted of the murder charge in absence of evidence against him, but at the moment he was about to walk out of prison, a federal charge was slapped on him for the illegal possession of weapons for the exclusive use of the Army even though his arrest report says he was not carrying any weapon. The Good Government Council of Oventic calls the “attitudes of judges, prosecutors and bad state and federal governments insupportable and unacceptable; corrupt and manipulative, they are accustomed to fabricating crimes and condemning innocent people”.  The Council supports Francisco as “an honest person who fulfills his responsibilities to the community and the organization” and demands his freedom, while pointing out that his unjust imprisonment is part of the ongoing war waged by the federal government of Mexico and the state government of Chiapas against the Zapatista communities through arbitrary arrests and attacks by paramilitary groups or organizations affiliated with political parties.

Alberto Patishtán Gómez, an elementary school teacher from the Tzotzil indigenous community of El Bosque, has spent 12 years in prison, falsely incriminated for killing 8 policemen who died in an ambush on June 12, 2000. In reality “el profe” was framed for standing up to the corrupt, repressive municipal government imposed against the will of the people. During his years in prison, Alberto has pushed for the organization of prisoners and has been instrumental in  founding two prisoner groups: La Voz del Amate in prison # 14 at Cintalapa and Solidarios con La Voz del Amate in prison #5 near San Cristobal de las Casas. These groups have occupied the prison yards for long periods of time beginning in January of 2006 in the Amate prison, when Subcomandante Marcos was visiting political prisoners in various prisons in the country. Patishtán and the two groups have engaged in several hunger strikes that have resulted in the freedom of more than 130 indigenous prisoners. On October 20, he was furtively transferred in the early morning hours to the maximum security prison Guasave in Sinaloa, 2,000 kilometers away from home, in reprisal for fomenting the hunger strike that was in course at the time.  At the new prison, he is denied treatment for his glaucoma, which is advancing rapidly. His lawyers won a protective writ last February 26, which deems the transfer unjustifiable and orders his return to Chiapas, but the Department of Public Security headed by Genaro García Luna is appealing the decision. In a letter dated April 25, 2012, Alberto denounces torture in the Guasave prison, charging that the authorities “are subjecting us to being locked down 7 days a week with only 3 hours [out of our cells]. In so doing, they continue to torture us psychologically and have brought on several illnesses [among the prisoners]”. Urgent demands include his immediate transfer back to Chiapas and medical attention. If these demands are not met, he runs two very serious risks: going blind, and/or being sent to the super maximum prison at Islas Marías, as recommended by the PRD Chiapas state government of Juan Sabines.

Forum against political prison and for the freedom of Alberto Patishtán Gómez

The week of solidarity comes on the heels of a Forum held on May 12 and 13 at Cideci/Unitierra in San Cristobal de las Casas, where 200 people listened to the words of Alberto Patishtán and 16 other prisoners in recordings, videos, letters, or reports given by family members about their cases. The prisoners and their collectives are as follows: La Voz del Amate: Alberto Patishtán Gómez, prisoner in federal prison #8 en Guasave Sinaloa,  Rosario Díaz, in state prison #5 de San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Solidari@s de la Voz del Amate in state prison #5: Pedro López, Juan Collazo, Alfredo López, Rosa López, Alejandro Díaz, Juan Díaz, plus Enrique Gómez in state prison #14 el Amate. EZLN support base: Francisco Sántiz in state prision #5. Prisoners from San Sebastián Bachajón: Antonio Estrada in state prison #17 at Playas de Catazajá, Miguel Vazquez  in  state prision #16 at Ocosingo,  Miguel Demeza in state prision #14, el Amate.Prisoners in the state of Guerrero held at Tecpan de Galeana: Máximo Mojica, María de los Angeles Hernandez, Santiago Nazario. La Voz de Loxicha: Alvaro Sebastian Ramírez.

Experiences were also shared by ex political prisoners Abraham Ramírez Vásquez of CODEDI-Xanica and  Victor Herrera Govea of Mexico City, as well as by Andrés Núñez and Jorge Díaz, Solidarios de la Voz del Amate, and  Ignacio del Valle of the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land in San Salvador Atenco. Messages were read from La Pirata, Cruz Negra  Anarquista and the CGT, among other groups.

Information and audios by Koman Ilel:

Photos and audios by Radio Pozol:

Audios by Radio Zapatista:

Photos and audios by Multimedios Cronopios:

To Alberto and Francisco:  “If you’re locked up, it’s because of something you did for your people”

In a press conference videotaped on May 14, Alberto Patishtán’s son Héctor; the schoolteacher Martín Ramírez from El Bosque , and Nacho del Valle from San Salvador Atenco call on people to participate in the week of activities to win freedom for the two political prisoners from Chiapas.  Héctor thanks everyone for their support for his father, a man of faith, and comments that after traveling 2,000 km to visit his dad, he was denied entry. Only his sister Gaby was allowed to go in, and only for 30 minutes. She reports that her dad was smiling and in good spirits even though he’s subjected to horrendous conditions where he’s only allowed out of his cell to see the light of day 15 minutes every 24 hours. Martín Ramírez speaks of  Alberto Patishtán as a person who’s always looking out for people and helping others to get organized. That’s why so many people began to follow him when he stood up to the bad government in El Bosque in 2000. He says: “I’m sure Patishtán is going to walk free very soon and it won’t be long before he’s working in his own town once again. Those of us from El Bosque are not just standing around waiting for the government to let him go. We’re struggling night and day. Men and women shout out, old folks, young folks, too”. Nacho del Valle, who spent 4 years in a maximum security prison and finally walked free, stresses that the goal of prison is to break people mentally and physically, and says it’s also true that in spite of all attempts to fill you with fear and do away with you, it’s possible to keep on with the struggle when a person is conscious. He says:  “Compañeros, brothers, maybe we don’t know each other in person, but it’s not necessary. You, Alberto, and you, Francisco, I know you because of what you do, I know you because you resist. If you’re locked up, it’s because of something you did for your people, raising your voice, saying ‘enough is enough’, taking the initiative, and creating consciousness. With your resistance, you give us an example of dignity…”

Shackdwellers in South Africa take up demands

In a videotaped message from South Africa, Mzwake, President of the Shackdwellers Movement, expresses his solidarity and announces that last April 27, they held a march to demand democracy, something that doesn’t exist in neoliberal South Africa, and that day they raised the demands for the liberation of the prisoners in Chiapas.

Two videos

Two videos made by the Koman Ilel collective that were screened in the Forum on May 12 and 13 are an excellent way to get to know professor Patishtán and understand his current situation a little better.

Alberto and his people is a portrait of an assembly held on March 17, 2012 in  El Bosque, where family members and neighbors remember the way the elementary school teacher did everything in his power to rescue the community from the situation of abandonment it was in in 2000, and the way in which his efforts aroused the rancor of town president Manuel Gómez Ruiz. Another teacher, Martín Ramírez,  states that townspeople back Alberto as a political prisoner imprisoned for defending his people. He mentions that more than ten statements and testimonies verify the presence of Patishtán in another town the day of the ambush. He also refers to the incongruous testimony of Rosemberg Gómez, the son of the municipal president, making people laugh out loud as he describes the trajectory of an alleged killer bullet that makes an interesting loop. It should be remembered that Rosemberg  has often stated when he goes on drunken binges, that his reward for lying against  Patishtán was a brand new Ford pickup.

A Visit with Alberto is about the 2,000 km trip set out upon by Patishtán’s daughter Gaby, his son Héctor, and friends, to the maximum security prison at Guasave, Sinaloa, where he has been locked up since his unjustified transfer on October 20, 2011. As the visitors look at the construction of new units in an enormous prison complex, Gaby reflects about how being held in almost total isolation can psychologically endanger people who live there. After a short, half-hour visit, she says: “In spite of everything, I was surprised by the enthusiasm and high spirits of my Dad. It was just the opposite of what I expected. He cheered me up and sends his greetings to everyone”. But she also observed that his glaucoma is getting worse all the time and that the need for medical treatment is urgent.

Week of actions

The week of actions to free Francisco and Alberto has included a march in the community of El Bosque, Chiapas, on Friday, May 18, attended by more than a thousand people, plus mobilizations in New York, San Francisco, Madrid, Paris and other cities in England, Scotland, Catalonia, Argentina, South Africa, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, New Zealand and Holland.

Three different events were held in Mexico City. The first, called by the Zentro Region of the Other Campaign took place on May 16 outside the Office of Federal Prisons in the Zona Rosa. The second action was held outside Mexico’s Secretary of the Interior on May 18 with the participation of the Workers Sector of the Other Campaign and the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity. And the third was integrated into a longer campaign in support of the Zapatista communities under attack, featuring the presentation of a new album, “Rola la Lucha Zapatista”, in the esplanade of the Bellas Artes Palace, with the participation of Lengua Alerta,  Mc Lokoter, Ideología Vigente,  Instituto del Habla & Ajixar, Cienpies, The Páramos. Golpe Líriko, Aníbal Méndez, Teokalli, Rivolta, I-Jerome, Chava y sus Rolas, Sicario Sound Machine, and SangreMaíz. The first cut of the album can be heard on Regeneración Radio:

What to do?

Organize a public show of solidarity wherever you are.

Add your signature to a letter in support of Alberto Patishtán Gómez:

Send a letter to federal and state officials demanding freedom for Francisco Sántiz López:

Write a letter to Alberto. Letters must be handwritten and cannot include photos, images, stickers, drawings or objects. His address is:


Amnesty International Criticizes Journalists’ Protection in Mexico

Filed under: Journalists — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:05 am

Amnesty International Criticizes Journalists’ Protection in Mexico

 May 23, 2012
Amnesty International Criticizes Journalists’ Protection in MexicoPhoto: Protests have been held demanding protection for Journalists

Amnesty International on Monday severely criticized what it said was the Mexican government’s lack of action to protect journalists in the country, adding that proof of that are the murders of six members of the media in less than a month.

The organization said in a communique that the six recent killings demonstrate “the failure” of Mexican authorities to protect freedom of expression and to defend media employees from threats and violence.

“This new wave of killings of media workers should serve as a wake-up call to the Mexican authorities, who must do more to protect journalists who are at risk for carrying out their work,” Rupert Knox, AI’s Mexico researcher, said.

The most recent killing occurred last Friday, when the mutilated body of 39-year-old crime reporter Marco Antonio Avila Garcia was found on a highway in the northern state of Sonora, one day after he was kidnapped in Ciudad Obregon, where he lived and worked for two newspapers.

Mexican authorities, according to Knox, “rarely identify or bring to justice those responsible for attacks on journalists, creating a climate a fear and vulnerability amongst those still brave enough to continue their work.”

“It is vital that full and impartial investigations are carried out immediately, including making use of new federal investigative powers, into each of these cases, to ensure the killers are brought to justice,” he said.

AI insistently has asked Mexican authorities to begin enforcing the Protection Law for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, which was recently approved by Congress.

Throughout Mexico, 81 media employees have been killed since 2000, according to figures compiled by the independent National Commission on Human Rights.

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