dorset chiapas solidarity

October 29, 2012


Filed under: Movement for Justice in el Barrio, Repression, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:36 pm


Given the situation of repression faced by the Zapatista Support Bases (BAZ), the Committees of the True Word of Kolkata in India, South-West England, and Western Colombia, have asked everyone to show their solidarity by signing and delivering this Worldwide Declaration, to demand an end to the low intensity war against the Zapatista communities.

The proposal is that everyone delivers or sends the letter to President Felipe Calderon and to the Governor of Chiapas, Juan Sabines Guerrero, during the second stage of the International Campaign: “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas”, which runs from 12 October to 17 November.

There are several ways to deliver the letter – by mail, for example – but it is suggested that the best way is to deliver it directly to the offices of the Mexican government and leave it there. If this cannot be done, it is proposed that it is sent by mail, from any corner of the world. Delivering it, or sending it by mail, ensures that a record is kept in the archive.

The addresses can be found below.


Residencia Oficial de los Pinos, Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850
México DF



Oficina del Gobernador
Palacio de Gobierno, 1er. Piso, Centro C.P. 29000
Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México. 





By way of the following worldwide declaration, we address you, Pres. Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and Gov. Juan Sabines Guerrero, with regards to the situations of injustice and repression meted out against the Zapatista Support Base Communities (BAZ) of Comandante Abel, Unión Hidalgo, Guadalupe los Altos, San Marcos Avilés, Moisés Gandhi, Jechvó, and the Zapatista political prisoner Francisco Sántiz López, originally from Banavil, Municipality of Tenejapa, Chiapas.

Given that these situations take place with the backing and complicity of the government that you, as President of the Republic of the United States of Mexico and Governor of the State of Chiapas, respectively, represent:

We, the undersigned, from our respective communities, cities, and countries hold you both responsible for any and all past and possible acts of violence that have and/or will occur upon the autonomous communities in Chiapas.

It is absolutely clear that the ongoing government repression being carried out against the BAZ of Comandante Abel, Unión Hidalgo, Guadalupe los Altos, San Marcos Avilés, Moisés Gandhi, and Jechvó, as well as the unjust imprisonment of the Zapatista political prisoner, Francisco Sántiz López, stem from the same source: the shared ambition and strategy of the municipal, state, and federal governments in their war of counterinsurgency to annihilate the indigenous Zapatistas.

Once more, we hereby make public before you, as well as before international civil society, the most recent cases of repression and provocation, backed by the governments that both of you represent:

  1. Comandante Abel: Beginning on September 6th and 7th, and until the present, the paramilitary group “Peace and Justice” has carried out an armed invasion into Zapatista territory in the Comandante Abel ejido (BAZ). As a result, the entire community was violently displaced and several people were missing for some time while they sought refuge from the violence. Many remain severely ill. The Zapatistas’ land remains occupied by the aggressors, who are currently constructing their own houses as a way to perpetuate the occupation.
  2. Unión Hidalgo: Similarly, this Zapatista community was displaced by the violent aggressions of “Peace and Justice.” With the use of firearms, the aggressors have managed to occupy and expand their invasion throughout a significant section of the community. The situation is made worse because many compas are ill.
  3. BAZ of the ejido Guadalupe los Altos: Six BAZ compañeros were arrested under absurd charges made by the ejidal authorities of Guadalupe los Altos together with the local organization CIOAC HISTORIC: Five of these Zapatista compañeros were arrested on the 30th September, and the last compañero on the 4th October.
  4. Moisés Gandhi: Throughout the month of August, the Zapatista Support Base members of this community have suffered violent attacks and threats of forced displacement by the group of “coyotes” called the Regional Coffee Growers Organization of Ocosingo (Orcao).
  5. Jechvó: In October, groups of PRI militants started harassing Zapatistas bases of support of Jechvó, Zinacantan, violently denying them access to their own water source.
  6. San Marcos Avilés: This community has endured a never-ending nightmare that has garnered international public attention. This nightmare comes at the hands of a local attack group, with backing from political party members, and is the result of their having opened an autonomous school “Emiliano Zapata” in 2010. From forced displacement to sexual assault, these compas have suffered multiple forms of violence and repression solely for wanting to live with dignity and freedom as indigenous peoples.
  7. Since December 4, 2011, Francisco Sántiz López – a Zapatista Support Base Member – has remained unjustly imprisoned on the false accusation that he led a confrontation, which took place in the community of Banavil, Tenejapa Municipality, Chiapas. Despite the numerous witnesses who have attempted to testify on his behalf, the authorities responsible for imparting justice have refused to consider their crucial testimony. These witnesses unambiguously confirm that the accused was not present at the site of the incident. Moreover, both the Good Government Council headquartered at Oventic and the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center have illustrated the impunity enjoyed by the real perpetrators of the murder and acts of aggression that took place in Banavil, Tenejapa, Chiapas.

There are many of us. We represent numerous civil, social, and political organizations, collectives, and groups. We are from dozens of countries, with more joining our cause on a daily basis. Together, we issue the following demands:

  1. An immediate and absolute end to the war against the Zapatistas. An end to the attacks against them carried out by the attack groups that receive any and all forms of government support, be it active or passive, direct or indirect.
  2. The release of the Zapatista political prisoner Francisco Sántiz López and the six support base compañeros from the Guadalupe los Altos ejido: Cesar Aguilar Jiménez, Armando Aguilar Santis, Genaro Aguilar Santis, Delmar Aguilar Santis, Misael Aguilar Vásquez and Hipólito Aguilar Vásquez. May this occur immediately and absolutely unconditionally.

The short time that remains in both of your terms does not mean that we will give up our pursuit of justice. On the contrary, we vow to continue building and advancing in our campaigns and actions. At both the local and international levels, we will continue to disseminate the truth about your political careers, the atrocities that your employees and officials commit, and the legal inconsistencies that have transpired under your oversight.



Filed under: Human rights, Movement for Justice in el Barrio, Uncategorized, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:04 pm


Ante la situación de represión que enfrentan las Bases de Apoyo Zapatistas (BAZ), los Comités de la Palabra Verdadera de Kolkata, India, Sur-oeste de Inglaterra, y Oeste de Colombia, les pide su solidaridad firmando y entregando esta nueva DECLARACIÓN MUNDIAL para exigir un alto a la guerra de baja intensidad en contra de las comunidades zapatistas.
La propuesta es que tod@s entreguen o envíen esta carta al Pres. Felipe Calderón y al Gob. Juan Sabines Guerrero de Chiapas durante la segunda etapa de la Campaña Internacional: “Eco Mundial en Apoyo a l@s Zapatistas” —del 12 de octubre al 17 de noviembre.
Hay varias maneras de hacer la entrega de la carta—por correo postal, por ejemplo—pero se sugiere que la mejor forma es yendo directamente a las oficinas gubernamentales del gobierno de México y dejárselos allá. Si no pueden hacer eso, proponen que la envíen por correo postal, desde cualquier rincon del mundo que se encuentren. Entregándolo o enviándolo por correo postal asegura que se registre y se archive.
Pueden encontrar las direcciones abajo.
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos, Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850
México DF
Oficina del Gobernador
Palacio de Gobierno, 1er. Piso, Centro C.P. 29000
Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México.
Declaración mundial en exigencia de justicia Y LIBERTAD PARa las comunidades zapatistas

Vía la siguiente declaración mundial, nos dirigimos a ustedes, Presidente Felipe Calderón Hinojosa y Gobernador Juan Sabines Guerrero, en cuanto a las situaciones de injusticia y represión contra las comunidades Bases de Apoyo Zapatistas (BAZ) de Comandante Abel, Unión Hidalgo, Guadalupe los Altos, San Marcos Avilés, Moisés Gandhi, y Jechvó, y el preso político zapatista Francisco Sántiz López, originalmente de Banavil, Municipio de Tenejapa, Chiapas.

Ya que estas situaciones ocurren con el respaldo y la complicidad de los gobiernos que representan ustedes, como Presidente de la República de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos y Gobernador del Estado de Chiapas, respectivamente, nosotr@s l@s abajo firmantes, desde nuestras respectivas comunidades, ciudades, y países, los hacemos responsables a ustedes por todos los actos, pasados, presentes, y posibles, de violencia que ha sucedido y/o sucederá en esas tierras chiapanecas.
Nos es sumamente claro que la prolongada represión gubernamental realizada en contra de las BAZ de Comandante Abel, Unión Hidalgo, Guadalupe los Altos, San Marcos Avilés, y Moisés Gandhi, y Jechvó, y el encarcelamiento injusto del preso político zapatista, Francisco Sántiz López, provienen de la misma raíz: la ambición y estrategia compartida de los gobiernos municipal, estatal, y federal de aniquilar a los indígenas zapatistas en su guerra de contrainsurgencia.
Acá de nueva cuenta le hacemos públicos a ustedes, así como a la Sociedad Civil Internacional, los casos más recientes de represión y provocación respaldados por los gobiernos que ustedes representan:
1. Comandante Abel: Empezando los días 6 y 7 de septiembre y hasta la fecha, el grupo paramilitar “Paz yJusticia” realiza una invasión armada a territorio zapatista del ejido Comandante Abel (BAZ). Como resultado, violentamente se desplazó la comunidad y se desaparecieron algunas personas que buscaban huir de la violencia. Much@s se encuentran enferm@s. La tierra de l@s zapatistasse queda ocupada por los agresores, quienes están actualmente construyendo sus propias casas para seguir la ocupación. 

2. Unión Hidalgo: Asimismo, esta comunidad zapatista fue desplazada por las agresiones violentas de “Paz yJusticia.” Utilizando armas de fuego, los agresores han logrado ocupar yextender su invasión por gran parte de la tierra de la comunidad. De igual manera, much@s compas se encuentran enferm@s. 

3. BAZ de Guadalupe los Altos: Seis compañeros BAZ fueron detenidos bajo acusaciones absurdas hechas por las autoridades ejidales de Guadalupe los Altos junto con la organización local CIOAC HISTORICA: Cinco de estos compañeros zapatistas fueron detenidos el dia 30 de septiembre, y el ultimo compañero el 4 de octubre.
4. Moisés Gandhi: Recientemente, durante el mes entero de agosto, las bases de apoyo zapatistas de este ejido han sufrido ataques violentos y amenazas de desplazamiento forzado por parte del grupo de coyotes: Organización Regional de Cafeticultores de Ocosingo.
5. Jechvó: En Octubre, grupos de militantes del PRI empezaron a hostigar a las bases de apoyo zapatistas de Jechvó, Zinacantán, violentamente negándoles el acceso a su propio fuente de agua.
6. San Marcos Avilés: Esta comunidad ha sufrido una pesadilla constante a manos de un grupo de choque, brazo de los partidistas locales, por haber construido su escuela autónoma “Emiliano Zapata” en 2010. De desplazamiento forzado a agresión sexual, est@s compas de San Marcos Avilés han padecido múltiples formas de violencia y represión por querer vivir dignamente y en libertad como pueblos indígenas que son.
7. Desde el 4 de diciembre del 2011, Francisco Sántiz López, Base de Apoyo Zapatista, se encuentra injustamente encarcelado por acusaciones falsas de haber dirigido un enfrentamiento, ocurrido en la comunidad de Banavil del municipio Tenejapa; aunque varios testigos se han presentado a declarar en su favor, las autoridades encargadas de impartir justicia se han negado tomar en cuenta estos testimonios claves. Estos testigos confirman que el acusado no estuvo presente en el lugar de los hechos, incluso la Junta de Buen Gobierno con sede en la Comunidad de Oventic y el Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas han señalado la impunidad de que gozán los verdaderos responsables del asesinato y agresiones ocurridas en la comunidad de Banavil, municipio de Tenejapa, Chiapas.
Somos muchas personas de numerosas organizaciones, colectivos, y grupos civiles, sociales, y políticos. Somos de docenas de países, y más se unen a nosotr@s cada día. Exigimos tod@s las siguientes demandas:
1. Que se pare de una vez la guerra en contra de los pueblos zapatistas. Que se acaben los ataques en su contra por parte de los grupos de choque que reciben cualquier forma de respaldo gubernamental, ya sea de modo activo y directo o de modo pasivo e indirecto.
2. Que liberen al preso político zapatista Francisco Sántiz López y a los seis compañeros bases de apoyo del ejido Guadalupe los Altos: Cesar Aguilar Jiménez, Armando Aguilar Santis, Genaro Aguilar Santis, Misael Aguilar Vásquez, Hipólito Aguilar Vásquez, y Delmar Aguilar Santis. Que los excarcelen de inmediato y sin condición alguna.
Aunque sus mandatos pronto se terminarán, no implica que nos daremos por vencidos. Al contrario, seguiremos construyendo y avanzando en nuestras campañas y acciones. A niveles local e internacional, seguiremos difundiendo la verdad de sus carreras políticas, las atrocidades que realizan sus funcionarios, y las irregularidades jurídicas que han pasado bajo su vigilancia

October 25, 2012


Filed under: Abel, Movement for Justice in el Barrio, Repression, San Marcos Aviles, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:27 pm


State Violence, Global Solidarity, and a New Campaign to Support the Zapatistas

Originally published in English by Upside Down World

The role of the “True Word” in the “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas” Campaign to liberate Zapatista political prisoners and bolster the self-defence of the Zapatista base communities under siege…

“They say they will eat our flesh”

At the beginning of September a large number of political party members in paramilitary-style groups, carrying high-calibre firearms, invaded the Zapatista communities of Comandante Abel and Unión Hidalgo, firing shots. Their goal was to displace the Zapatista support base members (BAZ) from the community, and seize their land. This was not the first assault. In fact, there had been so many attacks that the Zapatistas had given their original community of San Patricio to “our indigenous brothers and sisters”, and set up the new community of Comandante Abel, again on their own land, in hopes of finding peace to live their lives, produce their food, and bring up their children.

The latest attack forced community members to flee, terrified, in all directions and many ended up lost on the mountain. As they recount, “We hid under trees, vines, rocks, and went to the woods and the mountains, for fear of the bullets. We spent two nights in the cold and rain”. “They chased us with bullets, and when we arrived in this place we were already sick. We did not follow the path, but went through the canyon. I felt like there was a jaguar after me, I was lost and terrified, I felt as if I was no longer in the world”.  Eventually they emerged, traumatised, sick and hungry; to this day 83 BAZ from Comandante Abel and Unión Hidalgo remain displaced, taking refuge in other communities, while their attackers are occupying their lands, guarded by a new police encampment.

A woman, reflecting on the night she and her child spent in a cave high in the mountains, offers words describing what has become a ceaseless horror. Unable to take her eyes off her 3-month-old child, she recounts “Fear passes into the milk”, she explained. “My daughter has a fever, and refuses my breast”.

Alongside the destruction of crops and livestock, the BAZ of Comandante Abel describe a chilling scene:

“Through a loudspeaker the paramilitaries are announcing, day and night, that they are going to ‘eat’ us, because we are outlaws, we are beyond the reach of justice and the law”. “If the paramilitaries do not succeed in taking over Comandante Abel community, they say that they are going to massacre us.” “The government buys people, and then persuades them to take our land. It is their policy of war and attrition to make us surrender. We will not stop our struggle and we are not going to give up,” says one of the compas, to applause from the others.


The twin stories of Comandante Abel and Unión Hidalgo are one of many in the almost nineteen year history of counterinsurgency warfare employed by the Mexican state against the Zapatista base communities in their dignified path towards autonomy, and towards that better, more free and just world which they represent, and which gives inspiration to so many. The campaign of attrition is just one aspect of this on-going plan to annihilate the Zapatista movement. Since the elections in July, there has been a very alarming increase in this type of attack.

San Marcos Avilés

Earlier this year, another BAZ community, in a different part of Chiapas, sent out a call for help. Two years ago, 170 BAZ from San Marcos Avilés were displaced by an attack group of local political party members with firearms also supplied by the local police station. Although they managed to return after a month, since that time they have lived under siege, with their land, homes, crops, livestock and possessions stolen or destroyed, enduring a constant nightmare of terror, threats and violence. They asked for help because the tension was rising, and they feared another attack at any time, and because “they should not think that they will stop the struggle of the Zapatistas for the construction of our autonomy and for national liberation with provocation, threats, assaults and persecution, because whatever the cost, and whatever happens, we will continue to go forward, as is our right”.

The Echo Campaign

The Movement for Justice in El Barrio, the Other Campaign New York, rapidly responded to this cry for help and launched, in July 2012, the “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas” campaign with an international call to action. The first phase of this campaign, one of collecting and disseminating information, was, most appropriately for the Zapatistas, for whom the word has been their most successful weapon, called “Walking the True Word”. Hence, it was clear from the beginning that words would be an integral part of this Campaign.

As they relay in an early campaign update, “Day after day, solidarity actions and activities are being carried out in communities, neighbourhoods, towns, and villages in many corners of the world. In order to disseminate the histories and realities which our Zapatista compas are suffering, dignified people from many countries have been working on getting the word out and building networks of support and solidarity to contribute positively to the defence of the EZLN Support Base communities … and the struggle to free Francisco Sántiz Lopez.

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

The MJB have a long and successful history of organising this type of campaign, including having worked on campaigns regarding San Salvador Atenco and San Sebastián Bachajón, and of using the power of the word to raise consciences and inspire rage: “The rage that burns our veins is the force that is given to us to keep fighting. We share a piece of ours with every one of you.”

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

The video messages

 Along with a multilingual website packed with information and other resources, such as an “organising toolkit” of photographs, posters, and fliers, in ten languages, the Campaign’s strongest tool is undoubtedly the video message. The message from the BAZ of San Marcos Aviles, especially from the women whose distress is palpable, contains a raw power to shock and move the strongest audience.

The “Videomensaje de l@s Zapatistas de San Marcos Avilés”, which has now been seen by over 37,000 people on YouTube alone, really kick-started the Campaign. Another video, from the Good Government Junta of Oventic, demonstrates the innocence of the iconic Zapatista prisoner, Francisco Sántiz López, in prison since December 2011 for a crime for which he has been proven innocent.

On the heels of the release of the San Marcos Avilés video message, “Committees of the True Word” (the organic organising cells of the campaign) were being set up not only in Mexico, but in over 22 countries from Chile to Australia, including countries not traditionally involved in this type of campaign, such as Turkey, Panama, Ecuador, India, Uruguay, Portugal, South Africa and Canada. These groups got busy organising public forums, film screenings, distributing informative fliers and pamphlets, publishing articles, reflections, and denouncements, doing translations, holding social media initiatives, art workshops, children’s events, and many others. A Worldwide Declaration in support of the Zapatistas was launched from the United Kingdom.

Soon, well-known intellectuals and activists added their voice. From Peru, the renowned fighter for social justice and editor of Lucha Indígena, Hugo Blanco, sent a beautiful piece entitled “To those who search for a free world”, in which he emphasised: “These attacks, and the continued detention of Francisco Sántiz López, are the spearhead of the attack to crush the zone liberated from neoliberalism, where the people govern themselves through the Good Government Juntas. This is seen as the great enemy by the transnational corporations (the 1% of humanity that crushes the 99%), as they are a living example of the fact that Another World is Possible, A World where Many Worlds Fit….It is in the direct interests of humanity to defend the island of freedom that is the Zapatista area”.

As more informative events were held in places like Germany, Colombia, England and Brazil, news came in of another community under attack – Moisés Gandhi, where, throughout August, the BAZ suffered violent attacks and threats of forced displacement by a group of armed “coyotes” called the Regional Coffee Growers Organization of Ocosingo (Orcao).

The MJB reported on another significant development in the campaign, how it has been able to attract people not previously involved with the Zapatistas:

“Since the beginning of the “Worldwide Echo” campaign, the dignified and courageous story of our compañer@s has been a source of profound inspiration and transformation. Forcing us to recognize our own humanity and interconnectedness in this world, the pain and resilience of our Zapatista compas continue to inspire and move people of all walks of life to join the struggle to support them.

Although our campaign is indeed made up of many long-time supporters and seasoned social justice veterans, the moving story of the BAZ communities has been so powerful that it has also motivated people with limited exposure to social justice struggles and literally no prior knowledge of the Zapatistas.

This is the power of the true word. It enables us to continue building and strengthening our local and global struggles by reaching out to new people of good hearts to join forces and transform our world.”

Overwhelming interest in the Campaign, along with an increase in repression, led by popular demand to its first phase being extended until 12th October, Day of Indigenous Resistance.

More messages of support for the second phase

As the True Word continued to walk, more and more words joined it on its journey, continuing to inspire others to join the struggle.

From Uruguay, the thinker and activist Raúl Zibechi sent a letter, saying                       “Those from above have declared a war on the Zapatista communities, aimed at eliminating all resistance at a time when capital is unleashing hunger and misery upon those from below in order to increase and protect its gigantic profits. To safeguard their continued accumulation of wealth, it is necessary to wipe from the face of the earth all obstacles, every kind of resistance. What the media and the “experts” call crisis, is actually part of this offensive to remove from the scene the peoples and the individuals who refuse to give way….

It is not a coincidence that the Zapatista communities are being repressed. They have shown millions, throughout the whole world, a path of resistance and construction that is multiplying in the most remote places. For those from above, destroying the Zapatista movement would be a double victory: against the peoples and communities of Chiapas and against all those in the world who find inspiration in their example. It would mean bringing down a dream made flesh, like the one we can see in the Good Government Junta of Oventic, and in so many other places. For all these reasons, solidarity is as essential as it is urgent.”

One of Mexico’s most celebrated scholars, activist Gustavo Esteva, issued his own contribution entitled “The Time for Resistance and Solidarity”:

“The demons are on the loose. The war is everywhere. But so too is solidarity—that decision to be together in this common struggle that no longer respects territories. In each place it is different. But everywhere the same phenomenon is reproduced: the people affirm their dignity and say ‘enough!’, and they take their path, and the response from above is intimidation, aggression, corruption, continuous war…

It is urgent to show ourselves on the side of our compañeros…..The threat is immediate. We, the Committees of the True Word, must make ourselves known in every way that we can, so that the strength of our solidarity may be seen. It is the time for resistance. And to resist is to struggle in common, together, in the embrace of solidarity.”

Likewise, the great Mexican feminist Sylvia Marcos sent a message to the Zapatista women:

“We can glimpse the daily and painful struggles which are facing our Zapatista compañeras and we join together with them.  We demand an end to the acts of aggression from the enemies of this educational, social and political Zapatista project which gives hope, especially to women, who see in the Zapatista women the model of being a woman who defends her rights without forgetting to support the collective rights of her people.

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

It was now that the urgent news about the forced displacement of the BAZ of Comandante Abel and Unión Hidalgo arrived, and the efforts of the campaign intensified. The world-renowned writer, linguist, and political commentator, Noam Chomsky, wrote “I would like to  join in support of the campaign “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas,” and of all of those who are standing up courageously to oppose the repression, and who are calling for justice and freedom for the endangered communities and individuals subjected to persecution and serious threats.”

“Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere”

A powerful new video message was delivered to the Campaign from South Africa’s largest grassroots movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo (the Shack Dwellers Movement), sending heartfelt messages of hope and solidarity to the Zapatistas under attack. In this message, also available on YouTube, two young organizers state: “The government wants to create fear in the community. You must be strong…. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. Your struggle is our struggle”.

Statements of support came in from numerous other organisations including the UK-based National Campaign against Fees & Cuts and the women of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) – GABRIELA USA in New York City.

As the launch of the second phase of the Echo Campaign, “From Truth to Action, Stopping the Repression”, was being prepared, the dreaded news came in that another community was being attacked.  Six BAZ from the ejido Guadalupe los Altos had been arrested under absurd charges made by the ejidal authorities of Guadalupe los Altos in collusion with the local organization CIOAC HISTORICA. It was clear that the Campaign was needed more than ever and intensive efforts were put in to making sure that up-to-date information was available.

On October 12th Phase 2 was launched and the Worldwide Declaration, signed by organisations and individuals from 24 countries, was released. Messages of support continued to pour in as more and more people joined the campaign and prepared actions all over the world.

The words of the Second Call to Action, issued for the second phase of the Campaign “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas”, explain the significance of the Word to the Campaign:

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

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

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

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

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

They conclude:

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


The Echo Campaign:

Video message from the Zapatistas of San Marcos Avilés:

Video message from the JBG of Oventic about Francisco Sántiz  López:

For what you can do:


Report on the latest activities of the Committee of the True Word of South-West England.

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous, Lacandon/ montes azules, Movement for Justice in el Barrio, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:07 pm

International Campaign:

“Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas”

Report on the latest activities of the Committee of the True Word of South-West England.

The new Comité’s latest event was a 5 day programme of films, talks, slideshows, workshops and presentations, always followed by discussion, centring on the theme of the Echo Campaign and the latest attacks on the Zapatista communities, but also extending into other related areas. These included indigenous resistance, the Maya today, the Lacandón, the vital importance of the land, land grabs, gentrification and displacement, the destruction of indigenous lands for resource exploitation, Mother Earth, organic local food production and many others.

The aim of the event was to raise awareness of the Zapatista struggle among people who previously knew little or nothing about it, and in this the event was extremely successful. The films and talks were very well-attended, with many people coming for the whole 5 days, and each day the discussion related to how all the themes were related, and came back to the fact that all our struggles are linked and how we must join together, the essential importance of community, the need to save the planet and return to indigenous values, and the continued centrality of the Zapatista movement.

The film that provoked by far the strongest response was the videomessage from the Zapatistas of San Marcos Avilés, which stunned the audience in the same way it has every time the group has shown it. “You cannot show us this film without telling us what we can do about it” was the response, and the Comité made good use of the resources from the Echo Campaign website, , distributing in particular copies of the information sheet “what you can do”. While several people asked specifically for the email address to contact, , many of the participants have no access to the internet, and preferred to join the Comité.

Some of the attendees chose a quote from the week to summarise their learning experience: “you can never be free if someone else is growing your food”, “your struggle is our struggle”, “hope is like a biscuit, it’s no good unless it’s inside you”, “the roots of all living things are tied together”, “we need co-operation not competition”, “no one should own more land than they can cultivate, no one should own more homes than they can live in”, “when a tree is felled, a star falls from the sky”, “let our dignity take root again and breed another world”.


Informe sobre las actividades más recientes del Comité de la Palabra Verdadera del Sur-Oeste de Inglaterra.

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous, Lacandon/ montes azules, Movement for Justice in el Barrio, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:45 pm


Campaña Internacional:

“Eco Mundial en Apoyo a l@s Zapatistas”

Informe sobre las actividades más recientes del Comité de la Palabra Verdadera del Sur-Oeste de Inglaterra.

La más reciente actividad del Comité de la Palabra Verdadera del Sur-Oeste de Inglaterra fue un evento de 5 días de películas, pláticas, presentaciones, talleres y presentaciones, siempre seguidas por un debate centrado en el tema de la Campaña Eco Mundial en Apoyo a l@s Zapatistas y de los últimos ataques contra las comunidades Zapatistas, además de extenderse a otras áreas relacionadas, como son la resistencia indígena, los mayas de hoy, el Lacandón, la importancia vital de la tierra, la apropiación de tierras, el aburguesamiento y desplazamiento, la destrucción de las tierras indígenas para la explotación de recursos, la Madre Tierra, la producción local de alimentos orgánicos y muchos otros temas más.

El propósito del evento fue dar a conocer la lucha zapatista a personas que previamente sabían poco o nada acerca de ella, y el evento tuvo un gran éxito. Las películas y las platicas tuvieron buena asistencia, mucha gente vino para los cinco días, y cada día la discusión abordaba cómo se relacionaban todos los temas; en las conclusiones se llegaba al hecho de que todas nuestras luchas están relacionadas y cómo debemos unirnos; lo indispensable que es la comunidad; la necesidad de salvar el planeta y volver a los valores indígenas; y la continua importancia del movimiento Zapatista.

La película que provocó el mayor grado de respuesta por parte del público fue el video-mensaje de los Zapatistas de San Marcos Avilés, que sorprendió a la audiencia de la misma manera que lo hace cada vez que el grupo lo presenta. “No nos pueden mostrar esta película sin decirnos qué podemos hacer al respecto”, fue la respuesta, y el Comité hizo un buen uso de los recursos del sitio web de la Campaña Eco, , en particular se distribuyeron copias de hojas informativas con información sobre “lo que puedes hacer”. Mientras que varias personas pidieron específicamente la dirección de correo electrónico para contactar,, muchos de los participantes no tenia acceso a la Internet, y prefirieron unirse al Comité.

Algunos de los asistentes eligieron una frase de la semana para resumir su experiencia de aprendizaje: “nunca podrás ser libre si alguien más está cultivando tu comida”, “tu lucha es nuestra lucha”, “la esperanza es como una galleta, no es buena a menos que la tengas dentro “,” las raíces de todos los seres vivos están unidas entre sí “,” necesitamos cooperación y no competición “,”nadie debe poseer más tierra de la que pueda cultivar, “nadie debería tener más viviendas de las que pueda habitar “,” cuando se tala un árbol, una estrella cae del cielo “,” deja que nuestra dignidad eche raíces y crea de nuevo otro mundo “.



Camina la palabra verdadera por el mundo: apoyo incondicional a los Zapatistas

Camina la palabra verdadera por el mundo: apoyo incondicional a los Zapatistas
Por Jessica Davies
Publicado en Desinformemonos
Chiapas, México. Las historias de agresiones de paramilitares contra las comunidades zapatistas de Comandante Abel, Unión Hidalgo, Moisés Gandhi y Guadalupe Los Altos son algunas de las muchas que han ocurrido durante los casi 19 años de la guerra de contrainsurgencia que ha venido realizando el Estado Mexicano en contra de las bases de apoyo zapatistas, en su camino digno hacia la autonomía, y hacia ese mundo libre y justo que ellos representan. Ese mundo que inspira a tantos. La campaña de atrición es sólo un elemento de este plan prolongado que busca aniquilar al movimiento zapatista. A partir de las elecciones en julio, se ha aumentado este tipo de ataques.
San Marcos Avilés
A principios de este año, otra comunidad zapatista, San Marcos Avilés, hizo un llamado de apoyo. Hace dos años que 170 de sus integrantes fueron desplazados por un grupo de choque de partidos locales, que llevaron armas de fuego brindadas por la policía local. Aunque después de un mes lograron retornar, han vivido desde ese entonces sitiados con sus tierras, casas, milpas, ganado, y pertenencias robadas o destruidas, aguantando así una pesadilla de terror, amenazas, y violencia. Pidieron ayuda debido a que la tirantez aumentaba y temían que en cualquier momento otro ataque sucedería, y porque “no piensen que van a detener con provocaciones, amenazas, agresiones y persecuciones la lucha de los pueblos zapatistas por la construcción de nuestra autonomía y por la liberación nacional, cueste lo que nos cueste, pase lo que pase pero seguiremos adelante, porque es nuestro derecho”.
La Campaña “Eco”
El Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio, La Otra Campaña Nueva York, respondió a este llamado y rápidamente lanzó, en julio de 2012, la campaña “Eco Mundial en Apoyo a los Zapatistas”, vía una convocatoria mundial. La primera etapa de esta campaña, destinada a colectar y difundir información, se llamó “Caminando la Palabra Verdadera”, nombre muy pertinente ya que para los zapatistas, la palabra siempre ha sido su arma más fuerte. Por tanto, desde su inicio ha sido claro que de esta campaña las palabras formarían parte fundamental.
Como relatan en uno de los primeros informes de la campaña. “Día tras día, acciones y actividades solidarias se realizan en comunidades, barrios, pueblos, ejidos, en muchos rincones del mundo. Para difundir las historias y realidades que están sufriendo nuestros compas zapatistas, gente digna de varios países se ha puesto a trabajar en correr la voz y construir redes de apoyo y solidaridad para aportar de manera concreta a la defensa de las comunidades Bases de Apoyo del EZLN… y a la lucha para liberar a Francisco Sántiz López.
”Vamos viendo que con todo esto estamos consolidando nuestras fuerzas y arramblando con las mentiras que salen de la vil boca del mal gobierno de México, para así tomar acción concreta en defensa del otro mundo posible que vienen construyendo las comunidades zapatistas en su proyecto autonómico.”
El MJB tiene una historia larga y exitosa de haber organizado este tipo de campañas, pues han trabajado en campañas por San Salvador Atenco y San Sebastián Bachajón, por ejemplo, y de haber utilizado el poder de la palabra para sensibilizar e inspirar la rabia: “La rabia que quema nuestras venas es la fuerza que se nos da para seguir luchando. A cada una de ustedes le compartimos un trozo de la nuestra.”
La campaña se llama Eco, “porque el digno grito humanizador de ‘¡YA BASTA!’ nos ha afectado a todos los que luchamos de todas partes de nuestro planeta tierra, desde nuestras respectivas trincheras, conectando a luchas muy distintas y parecidas… Porque ese mismo grito ha habitado en nuestros corazones al lado de la alegría y la esperanza… Haremos eco a ello, aportando nuestra voz, nuestro rostro, para hacer que se escuche infinitamente más fuerte… Como si fuera en lengua de nuestro ser.”
Los videomensajes
Junto con un sitio web multilingüe lleno de información y otros recursos, tales como una ‘caja de herramientas organizativas’ de fotos, carteles, y volantes, en diez idiomas, la más fuerte herramienta de la campaña es el videomensaje. El mensaje de los zapatistas de San Marcos Avilés, especialmente la parte de las mujeres y su preocupación tangible, contiene un poder feroz que pueda conmover e impactar hasta el público más inmutable.
El videomensajecuenta con más de 37 mil vistas en YouTube, y constituyó un arranque fuerte para la campaña. Otro video, de la Junta de Buen Gobierno de Oventic, afirma la inocencia del preso zapatista emblemático, Francisco Sántiz López, encarcelado desde diciembre del 2011 por un crimen que nunca cometió, pues se ha aprobado que es inocente.
Poco después del videomensaje de San Marcos Avilés, se empezaron a formar los “Comités de la Palabra Verdadera” (las células organizativas orgánicas de la campaña) no sólo en México sino en más de 22 países, desde Chile hasta Australia, incluyendo países que no son conocidos por su participación en este tipo de campaña, tales como Turquía, Panamá, Ecuador, India, Uruguay, Portugal, Sudáfrica, y Canadá. Estos grupos se pusieron a organizar foros públicos, muestras de película, repartición de volantes y panfletos informativos, publicación de artículos, reflexiones, y denuncias, así como realizar traducciones, iniciativas de redes y medios sociales, talleres de arte, eventos de niños, y más. Una Declaración Mundial en Apoyo a los Zapatistas se lanzó desde el Reino Unido.
Muy pronto, varios intelectuales y activistas sumaron su voz. Desde Perú, el luchador social y director de Lucha Indígena, Hugo Blanco, mandó un escrito muy hermoso, titulado “A quienes buscan un mundo libre”, en lo cual subrayó: “Estos ataques, así como el mantenimiento en prisión de Francisco Sántiz López, constituyen la punta de lanza del ataque para aplastar a la zona liberada del neoliberalismo, donde se gobierna la gente a sí misma a través de las Juntas de Buen Gobierno. Ellas son vistas como un gran enemigo por las empresas transnacionales (el 1% de la humanidad que aplasta al 99%) pues son una muestra viva de que ‘Otro Mundo es Posible’, ‘Un mundo donde quepan muchos mundos’…. Es interés directo de la humanidad defender a la isla de libertad que es el área zapatista”.
Mientras más eventos informativos se celebraban en lugares como Alemania, Colombia, Inglaterra, y Brasil, llegaron las noticias de que otra comunidad fue atacada, la de Moisés Gandhi, en donde, durante el mes entero de agosto, los zapatistas padecieron ataques violentos y amenazas de desplazamiento forzado por un grupo de coyotes armados llamado la Organización Regional de Cafeticultores de Ocosingo (Orcao).
El MJB informó sobre otro avance importante en la campaña, de que pudo atraer a personas que no estaban involucradas o familiares antes con la lucha los zapatistas: Desde el primer día de la Campaña ‘Eco Mundial en Apoyo a los Zapatistas’ ha sido fuente de inspiración y transformación la digna y valiente historia de los zapatistas, la cual nos hace reconocer nuestra propia humanidad e interconexión. El dolor y la resistencia de nuestros compas zapatistas siguen inspirando e impulsando a gente de todo tipo a que se sume a esta lucha para apoyarlos.
“Aunque de por sí esta campaña ya cuenta con la participación de muchos aliados con años de experiencia y otros veteranos luchadoras y luchadores, la emotiva historia de los pueblos zapatistas ha sido tan fuerte que ha logrado tocar los corazones de gente con poco conocimiento previo sobre las luchas sociales y, literalmente, sin haber escuchado antes sobre los zapatistas.
“Ese es el poder de la palabra verdadera, pues nos brinda la posibilidad de seguir construyendo y fortaleciendo nuestras luchas locales y mundiales, alcanzando y reuniendo a personas de buen corazón nuevas para que juntemos nuestras fuerzas y transformemos nuestro mundo”.
Debido al interés abrumador en la campaña, junto con un aumento de la represión, y al pedido del público, se extendió la primera etapa hasta el 12 de octubre, Día de la Resistencia Indígena.
Más mensajes de apoyo a la segunda etapa
Mientras que caminaba la Palabra Verdadera, más y más palabras se sumaron a ésta en su camino, continuando a inspirar a otras personas a que se unieran a la lucha y acompañaran a la Palabra.
Desde Uruguay, el pensador y activista Raúl Zibechi envió una carta, señalando: “Los de arriba declararon la guerra a las comunidades zapatistas… dirigida a exterminar las resistencias cuando el capital está descargando hambre y miseria contra los de abajo para aumentar y proteger sus gigantescas ganancias. Para hacerlo, necesita borrar de la faz de la tierra cualquier obstáculo, todo tipo de resistencia para profundizar la acumulación. Eso que los medios y los “especialistas” llaman crisis, es en realidad parte de esta ofensiva para quitar del medio a los pueblos y personas que no se dejan….
“No es casualidad que repriman a las comunidades zapatistas. Ellas han mostrado a millones, en todo el mundo, un camino de resistencia y de construcción que se está multiplicando en los lugares más remotos. Para los de arriba, destruir al movimiento zapatista sería una doble victoria: contra los pueblos y comunidades de Chiapas y contra todos los que en el mundo nos inspiramos en su ejemplo. Sería derrotar un sueño hecho carne, como el que vemos en la Junta de Buen Gobierno de Oventic, y en tantos otros sitios. Por eso, la solidaridad con… es tan imprescindible como urgente”.
Uno de los académicos más conocidos de México, el activista Gustavo Esteva, también aportó un misivo titulado “Hora de resistencia y solidaridad”: “Los demonios están sueltos. La guerra anda por todas partes. Y por todas partes anda también la solidaridad, la decisión de estar juntos en esta lucha común que ya no respeta territorios. En cada lugar es diferente. Pero en cada lugar se reproduce el mismo fenómeno: la gente se afirma en su dignidad y dice ¡Basta! y toma su camino y de arriba viene la respuesta de intimidación, de agresión, de corrupción, de guerra continua…
“Es urgente mostrarnos del lado de los zapatistas. La amenaza es inmediata. Los Comités de la Palabra Verdadera debemos hacernos presentes, en cualquier forma a nuestro alcance, para que se vea la fuerza de nuestra solidaridad”.
A su vez, la feminista mexicana, Sylvia Marcos, mandó un mensaje a las mujeres zapatistas: “Podemos vislumbrar las luchas cotidianas y dolorosas que enfrentan nuestras compañeras zapatistas y nos unimos a ellas.
“Demandamos el cese a las agresiones de los enemigos de este proyecto educativo y social y político zapatista que es una esperanza especialmente para las mujeres que vemos en las zapatistas el modelo de ser mujer que defiende sus derechos sin olvidar apoyar los derechos colectivos de sus pueblos.
“Sepan ustedes compañeras zapatistas que su proyecto es la esperanza y la luz en el camino para la construcción de un mundo ‘otro’ en donde pueda llegar a ser realidad que ‘somos iguales porque somos diferentes’, como ustedes mismas lo han dicho”.
En ese momento llegaron las urgentes noticias sobre los ataques y el desplazamiento forzado en las comunidades de Comandante Abel y Unión Hidalgo. La campaña se intensificó.
Además, el escritor, lingüista, y comentarista político de renombre mundial, Noam Chomsky, escribió “Me gustaría unirme en apoyo a la campaña ‘Eco Mundial en Apoyo a los zapatistas’, y a todos los que valientemente se levantan para oponerse a la represión, y a todos los que reclaman justicia y libertad para las comunidades amenazadas y personas sufriendo persecuciones y amenazas graves.”

“Una injusticia en cualquier parte es una injusticia en todas partes”
A la campaña se entregó un videomensaje nuevo y poderoso del movimiento de base más grande de Sudáfrica, Abahlali baseMjondolo (el Movimiento de Habitantes de Casas de Cartón), para enviar mensajes de esperanza y solidaridad a los zapatistas bajo ataque. En este mensaje, también disponible en YouTube, dos organizadores jóvenes dicen: “El gobierno trata de reprimirlos y meterle miedo en la comunidad”, “Cualquier lucha contra la injusticia es nuestra lucha. Creemos que una injusticia en cualquier parte, es una injusticia en todas partes”.
Pronunciamientos de apoyo llegaron de parte de numerosas otras organizaciones, incluyendo la Campaña Nacional Contra los Recortes y Cobros (NCAFC) del Reino Unido y las mujeres de Filipinas por los Derechos y Empoderamiento (FiRE) – GABRIELA, de la Ciudad de Nueva York.
Después llegaron las noticias graves de que otra comunidad fue atacada, justo cuando se preparaba el inicio de la segunda etapa de la Campaña Eco, De la Verdad a la Acción, Parando la Represión.” Seis zapatistas del ejido de Guadalupe los Altos habían sido arrestados bajo cargos absurdos hechos por las autoridades ejidales de Guadalupe los Altos conjuntamente con la organización local CIOAC histórica. Fue claro que se necesitaba la Campaña más que nunca, y que también se actualizara toda la información sobre ésta.
El 12 de octubre inició la segunda etapa y la Declaración Mundial, firmada por organizaciones e individuos de 24 países, fue difundida. Mensajes de apoyo seguían llegando mientras que más y más personas se sumaban a la campaña, preparando acciones en todas partes del mundo.
El significado de la “palabra” para la campaña se explica en la segunda convocatoria, difundida para llamar a la segunda etapa de la iniciativa “Eco Mundial en Apoyo a los Zapatistas”:
“Para prevenir que esto suceda – que con las manos entrelazadas salgamos de esta oscuridad – los de arriba se dedican a destruir todas las luces que hacen los pueblos dignos. Por esto despliegan sus estrategias de violencia y destrucción, y nos atacan, encarcelan, reprimen, agreden, violan, roban, callan, y mienten.
“Por ello los de arriba, desde que llegó esta noche, han tenido como blanco principal a los pueblos originarios del mundo, ya que han hecho aportaciones importantes al respecto.
“Ante esta amenaza de extinción planetaria, nos urge movilizarnos para defender esta y todas las luces que brillan en nuestro camino en construcción hacia otro mundo posible. Y como la palabra fue y es la primera forma de luz, nos urge defender las tres primeras palabras de todas las lenguas que, según cuenta el Viejo Antonio, son ‘democracia, libertad, justicia’.
“No es casualidad que estas palabras no se encuentran en los gobiernos, cárceles, escuelas, medios de comunicación masivos, o las demás instituciones sirviendo los privilegios de los de arriba. Más no es casualidad que aquellas sí se encuentran…en los pueblos dignos de abajo, en especial los pueblos indígenas de México y del mundo. Mientras los de arriba siguen atacando y destruyendo estas luces, nosotras seguiremos defendiendo y construyendo más luces, más salidas, más mundos.
“Aunque todo lo que hace que la noche oscurezca lo usan los de arriba para mantenerla oscura, y a nosotros divididos – en una palabra: la mentira – nosotros traemos en el corazón lo que hace que la luz ilumine… Esto se llama la verdad.”
Y finalizan:“Si piensan los de arriba que pueden seguir con su guerra y violencia en contra de nuestras hermanas y hermanos zapatistas sin consecuencia alguna, están equivocados. Esta vez los pueblos dignos del mundo tendrán la palabra.”

October 24, 2012

“From Essex, England …”
 New video message of solidarity with the Zapatistas

Filed under: Movement for Justice in el Barrio, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:51 pm

“From Essex, England …”
 New video message of solidarity with the Zapatistas

 Sisters and brothers:

We send loving embraces and greetings from Movement for Justice in El Barrio, The Other Campaign New York. Today finds us with joy and hope in our hearts after receiving the following news:

From the Zapatista Solidarity Group of Essex, UK, and as part of our international campaign, comes a new video message of support for the Zapatista communities besieged by the bad government of Mexico. In this beautiful post, with images and visions of Essex, the compas send greetings to the Zapatista communities and demand that the bad government of Mexico stop the war of repression against them. With posters of the campaign “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas” in their hands, and anger in their hearts, this message ends with recordings of a demonstration where our compas from Essex are shouting the slogan, “ZAPATA LIVES! THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES!”

This clearly shows that the organizational efforts of the campaign continue to expand and take root in many parts of the world. We wish to share widely this beautiful greeting of rage, dignity, and hope that we have been given by the Zapatista Solidarity Group of Essex.



October 23, 2012

They are us [Ellos son nosotros]

Filed under: Indigenous, Repression, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:59 pm


They are us

[Ellos son nosotros]

Pablo Gonzalez Casanova, Luis Villoro and Gilberto Lopez y Rivas

The Maya Zapatista movement led by the EZLN has become a national and worldwide reference point for its

achievements in the building of autonomous processes, based on the principles of participatory democracy, in which those who command obey the will of the communities, in which government is seen as a service for which we all have responsibilities to fulfil, in which the good of the community is its purpose and reason for being, and in which all religious beliefs are respected.
This other way of exercising power, practising politics and adopting ways of social solidarity for living together, has developed in spite of constant harassment from the State strategy of the re-colonization of territories to take over their resources, of counterinsurgency, of maintaining a military and police siege, of systematic attempts to co-opt, infiltrate  and provoke, and if all else fails, of the direct action of paramilitary groups who attack communities at close range, who invade their reclaimed land, burn and destroy their houses, schools, clinics, crops and belongings, and cause the displacement of peoples, and who claim, in addition to enjoying impunity, the role of the clandestine state hammer on the anvil of the Army, always present, and the factional management of the Judiciary, ever ready to criminalize the Zapatistas and members of their support base. We know about the attacks and harassment through denuncias from the good government juntas of Morelia (especially Moses Gandhi ejido), La Realidad and Roberto Barrios, and in particular we know of the counterinsurgency actions against the autonomous Zapatista community of Comandante Abel, autonomous municipality La Dignidad, which is besieged by paramilitary and state police, in a modus operandi that shows the direct links and complicity between the  paramilitaries and the repressive forces of the state.Based on a recovered dignity, which is reinforced daily, the good government juntas and the local autonomous municipal governments have made progress in significantly important areas such as health, education, and the production and marketing of products by the communities, through a self-sustaining and redistributive outlook. In the context of a national emergency caused by the bad government in the service of capital and of the global  imperialism led by the United States, the experiences of the Zapatistas and of the other indigenous peoples in the country’s geography who have chosen autonomy, are equidistant from the opposite pole where balances the misery, death, selling out and repression that were left by the six years which are now ending, and the bad omens which were started by the fraud and the imposition.

This aggression towards the Maya Zapatista communities has already been denounced at a national and international level by various groups, associations and organizations who consider as their own the civilized achievements of their [the Zapatistas’] autonomous processes and their proposals for the rescue and rebuilding of a nation where everyone fits, and for a struggle against capitalism based on collective participation, giving a leading role to the exploited, discriminated and oppressed who resist, below and to the left, the control and domination of the workers, and who join the struggle of the people against the comprehensive occupation of their territories and resources, and who denounce the emptying and discrediting of democracy overseen by the media dictatorship, the powers in charge, and by organized crime both within and outside the bad government.

Those groups accompanying the Maya Zapatistas and their Zapatista Army of National Liberation also feel also in their own hearts the onslaught of the Mexican state through its armed forces and paramilitaries against the autonomous municipalities, based on the understanding that they [the Zapatistas] are us, that have not been, and are not, alone, and that if they attack one of us, they attack all of us.

Leaving aside the words of indignation from all those in the nation and around the world, we [Pablo González Casanova, Luis Villoro y Gilberto López y Rivas] stand in solidarity with our Zapatista brothers and sisters and demand an immediate cessation of the criminal assault which is one more act of supreme violence against Mexico and against humanity.



Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT): origin, Mexico chapter, and pre-trial on dams and reservoirs

Filed under: Human rights — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:41 pm


Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT): origin, Mexico chapter, and pre-trial on dams and reservoirs

Do you know what the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) is? Do you know that for the next three years the PPT in Mexico will delve into and judge the crimes against humanity committed by the Mexican State against the Mexican people? Here we present a brief overview of the history of the PPT, its origin, its moral authority, the major concerns of its Mexico Chapter and suggestions on how to follow the information presented in one of its first pre-trials: “Dams and reservoirs, peoples’ rights and impunity.”

The Russell Tribunal

With the aim of examining war crimes committed by the United States in Vietnam, Bertrand Russell summoned 15 public figures like Lelio Basso of Italy to gather in London, in November 1966. The first session of the first tribunal convened by the British philosopher was presided over by Jean-Paul Sartre. Members of the tribunals included Julio Cortázar, Simone de Beauvoir and Lázaro Cárdenas. After Russell’s death, the tribunals that bore his name became permanent, encouraged by dignitaries such as one of Lelio Basso’s own disciples, the jurist Luigi Ferrajoli.

As heir to this tradition, today’s Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT), established in 1979, has reviewed cases of serious human rights violations that we now consider crimes against humanity perpetrated in a number of different places in the world, including  Western Sahara, Argentina, Eritrea, Philippines, El Salvador, Afghanistan, East Timor, Zaire, Guatemala, Nicaragua and  Colombia.

The information that we share in this note about these tribunals of conscience comes from an interview we did with José Roberto Ruiz Saldaña, one of Luigi Ferrajoli’s disciples, who explained the origin and current importance of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT).

The context

Let’s go back to the 1960s. Before 1968, “the hegemony of the United States in the Cold War” was marked. There was no human rights culture, no human rights institutions, no alter-globalization civil society as we know it today. Bertrand Russell’s notion of calling together all those celebrities in London and then establishing a public opinion tribunal to judge those crimes in Vietnam was “one of the brightest ideas in the civic career of the great British philosopher.” Our interviewee reminds us that Russell, “along with Albert Einstein, participated in mobilizations against the atomic bomb and joined in the pacifist movement for the rights of real live people, not for the benefit of institutions or existing powers.” Russell “never fell for the seductions of any ruling power.”

Lelio Basso

No less valuable was the initiative of Lelio Basso, “the noteworthy Italian political leader, a Constitutionalist who suffered the harsh rule of Mussolini, enduring persecution and imprisonment.”   Basso reintroduced the option of the public opinion tribunals: “We recall that the coup d’etat in Chile took place in 1973 and that the atrocities of the Pinochet dictatorship motivated Lelio Basso to take up the idea anew.  He felt that action was obligatory.” Thus, new sessions of the Bertrand Russell tribunals were held at the beginning of the 1970s, this time dealing with the dictatorships of the Southern Cone.

Lelio Basso had the idea of converting the public opinion tribunals into an ongoing phenomenon, but he died in 1978. His disciples and circle of friends were among the public figures who instituted the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) in Bologna in 1979, “one of the most effective options for promoting human rights on the international level.”

One important aspect of the PPT is that, “at the request of those affected or oppressed, a matter is investigated with full jurisdictional rigor, insofar as possible obviously, given that repressive governments do their best to keep evidence from coming to light. Once a concrete case is studied and members are familiar with it, the PPT, which maintains its headquarters in Rome in the same building with the Lelio Basso Foundation, votes to hold a session on the issue. This is the way analyses have been conducted and condemnations have been issued on dictatorships in Latin America, the war in El Salvador (when the session was held in Mexico), crimes committed in the ex-Yugoslavia, and restrictions on rights to asylum in Europe imposed by right wing governments, etcetera.”

Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT)

Advocates of public opinion tribunals claim that “peoples have the right to self-determination and that this is does not entail despotic sovereignty; instead, it has to do with their capacity and their power to demand their rights. The emphasis on the people is not unwarranted.” The basic idea is that “the struggle and promotion of human rights should take place through legal channels, which are not to be looked down upon. Although Lelio Basso is a well-known socialist activist, his is a modern socialism that does not scorn the law. As a matter of fact, in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Lelio Basso encouraged young people to study and practice law.”

The utilization of ordinary courts of law, UN bodies, or regional tribunals “is important, but when one realizes that a human rights culture also advances via the promotion of a democratic culture, one based on legality and the value of persons, the appeal to a public opinion tribunal takes on the same level or proportion of importance as the appeal to legal, jurisdictional channels”.

Moral condemnation

In Mexico it would seem, stated the interviewee, that “people have forgotten that the need for accountability is not limited to the past when it comes to human rights violations, at least at the moral level, but that it also has to do with recent violations, and we are falling behind in our pursuit. The political advisability of condemning the abuse of power from a moral position is now becoming more obvious.”

Violence against migrants is one of the problems that this kind of tribunal must judge: “In México we need a public opinion tribunal that will take up the huge problem of the human rights violations of Central American people. Everyone now looks to the northern border, as if Mexico didn’t have a southern border. And the immigrants are having a terrible time of it. Public opinion tribunals are becoming all the more necessary, and not only for our fellow citizens, but also for Central Americans whose rights are violated by Mexican authorities.”

PPT Mexico Chapter

Mexico is now being examined and will be judged by this prestigious tribunal of conscience. For three years, the PPT will receive all the necessary information ––testimonies, denunciations, and supporting documentation of crimes against humanity committed by the Mexican State in these seven major areas of concern:

  1. Dirty war, violence and human rights violations: Violence against the people of Mexico ranging from the massacres perpetrated in 1968 and 1971, to more than 90,000 deaths in the war on drugs and repression against the citizenry during the present term of office.
  2. Violence against women and feminicides: All forms of aggression, violence and murders of women in Mexico cloaked in impunity.
  3. Violence against migrants: Kidnappings, executions and forced disappearances of Central American migrants in Mexican territory, and the lack of protection by the Mexican State for our fellow citizens who have emigrated to the United States in search of opportunities they do not have in Mexico.
  4. Violence against nature and environmental devastation: The destruction of the territory, biodiversity, water, flora and fauna, and the rural, campesino and indigenous way of life that coexisted with and preserved these ecosystems. This violence has been aggravated with megaprojects such as dams and reservoirs, mines, railroads, and the expansion of ports, tourist corridors and even would-be natural wildlife preserves that exclude indigenous farmers, but not World Bank projects that plunder the biodiversity.
  5. Corn and life in the Mexican countryside: A thousand-year-old plant, the basis of the civilization and culture of Mesoamerica now under attack, its diversity threatened by genetically modified plants in the context of a policy of dismantling and destroying farm life in Mexico in order to expel the now proletarianized farm labour force to the cities.
  6. Violence against labour: The destruction of workers’ rights, won during a long series of historic struggles waged over centuries and now cancelled or repealed through acts such as massive firings, unemployment, underemployment, informal employment, increasing precariousness, outsourcing and all forms of work without job benefits or social security.
  7. News media: The concentration in a few hands of the high-technology news media like television, radio, telephone and internet services, coupled with the exclusion, criminalization and persecution of free, alternative and community media; attacks, murders and hostility against people engaged in communications, news reporting and journalism, along with attacks against freedom of information and expression, as well as the right of all Mexican people to be informed.

Consult the web page of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT), Mexico Chapter, at:

Dams and reservoirs, the rights of peoples, and impunity

As part of the PPT Mexico Chapter’s discussion table on environmental destruction, a pre-trial on the construction of dams and reservoirs in Mexico will be held on November 5 and 6 in Temacapulín, Jalisco. Denunciations will be heard regarding the effects on numerous communities and peoples, some of whom have already been displaced and others who have been threatened with forced displacement; accusations will also be heard of serious environmental human rights violations that have occurred due to the imposition of such projects, and their implications for the process of the privatization of community property: water and territories.

At the pre-trial, the affected movements from various states in Mexico will present 8 cases related to hydroelectric and water supply projects. A space for denunciations will also be opened in order to receive testimonies of other cases that have not been previously shared with the pre-trial jury.

The interdisciplinary pre-trial jury is made up of: Miloon Kothari, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing and member of the Housing and Land Rights Network, South Asia Regional Programme (India); Maude Barlow, President of the Council of Canadians (Canada), and Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the General Assembly of the United Nations; Monti Aguirre, Latin American Program Coordinator at International Rivers (USA); Patricia Ávila, researcher at the Laboratory on Political Ecology and Society of the Ecosystems Research Center, UNAM, and recipient of the National Medal of Science, 2003 (Mexico); Francisco López Bárcenas, attorney (Mexico); and Luís Daniel Vázquez, Coordinator of the Doctoral Program in Social Sciences of the Latin American Social Sciences Institute (FLACSO).

On November 8, the jury will hold a press conference in Guadalajara regarding the final pre-trial verdict and another in Mexico City on November 9.

To find out more about pre-trial activities on “Dams and reservoirs, peoples’ rights and impunity,” consult the page of the Mexican Movement of Those Affected by Dams and Reservoirs in Defence of Rivers.

The pre-trial programme is available at:

For more pre-trial information on Facebook, see: PPT Presas

On Twitter: #PPT_presas_mx


The information on the origin of the PPT was originally published as an interview at:



Illegal Works in the Archaeological Zone of Toniná, Chiapas, are denounced

Filed under: Archaeology / Maya, Tourism, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:20 pm



Illegal Works in the Archaeological Zone of Toniná, Chiapas, are denounced

** “For the personal benefit” of the former PAN mayor


** The authorities have not stopped the construction works
Residents of the Toniná area ask authorities to take more interest and not to permit the destruction of the national patrimony Foto: La Jornada** The authorities have not stopped the construction works


By: Hermann Bellinghausen

“The patrimony of humanity” is being destroyed in the archaeological zone of Toniná, Chiapas, for the benefit of private parties “because a tourist walkway is being constructed using heavy machinery, almost at the very bottom of the site, and on lands where many priceless remains have been found,” residents of the zone denounced, and pointed to the former municipal president and PAN member Arturo Zúñiga Urbina as the constructor, who “benefited himself”, while being mayor, by doing the work on his own land and on land owned by his associates Ciro Espinosa and Armando Cruz Mena. He did all this without the support of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, INAH) or the Archaeology Council, who have however not stopped the work.

In recent days, following an anonymous complaint, presumably from a tourist, “a commission from the Archaeology Council visited the place to evaluate the damage”. Nevertheless, “it has not been observed that the work that Albores Constructions, owned by the engineer Manuel Albores Cruz, is carrying out has been suspended,” adds a testimony delivered to La Jornada.

The zone’s residents demand that: “the competent authorities take more interest and do not permit the destruction of the national patrimony.” The new mayor of Ocosingo, Octavio Albores Cruz, a PVEM member, has not intervened in the issue either and it is feared that he may have private interests in the matter, which occurs on the eve of the profitable and imminent Maya “end of the world.”


“What is most serious is that all this is happening with the full knowledge of the archaeologist in charge of the zone’s excavations, Juan Yadeum Angulo”, continue the accusers. “The project in question is financed by the ex-municipal president Zúñiga Urbina, who, supported by a tourist lodge project on his land, is currently completing an access road, in coordination with other property owners bordering the archaeological zone, to its detriment.”

Alfonso Cruz, one of the neighbours in opposition, and an EZLN support base, when consulted emphasizes that “the remains of mounds that are being affected by the work” are visible, and he affirms that a bridge is being constructed “using material from the archaeological monument” of Toniná. The other pieces of land where they are attempting to construct tourist infrastructure, with damage to the archaeological patrimony, are the El Cayab ecotourist center, and the property of Espinosa and Cruz Meza, mentioned earlier.

Alfonso Cruz, who lives on the outskirts of the archaeological site, comments that the Archaeological Council withdrew an official vehicle from Yadeum Angulo, apparently as a punishment for allowing these works [to take place], “but the construction work did not stop”. Meanwhile, the INAH delegate in Chiapas, Emiliano Gallaga, has not intervened either in this extremely unclear case which is affecting pre-Hispanic burials inside one of the state’s most important Maya sites.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, October 21, 2012

En español:





Police Break Up Michoacán Student Protests

Filed under: Human rights, Repression — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:19 pm


Police Break Up Michoacán Student Protests

Using tear gas and water cannons, hundreds of federal and state policeFotografía: Gustavo Aguado
ended student occupations at three teachers’ colleges in the southwestern Mexican state of Michoacán in the early morning of October 15.

Protesters and other students were beaten in the raids, which resulted in the arrests of 176 students—168 in the town of Tiripetío, two in the town of Arteaga and six in the autonomous indigenous municipality of Cherán.

The students reportedly threw rocks at the
police and set fire to 13 of the 90 vehicles, including buses and patrols cars, that they had seized during the weeklong protest. Michoacán officials said 10 police agents were injured, three of them

The students were demanding a one-year postponement of changes to the
curriculum that would require them to study English and computer
science; they also sought an increase in the number of fourth-level
students. Mexico’s rural teachers’ colleges, which largely provide
instruction for campesino and indigenous students, have suffered from
neglect and budget cuts for years and have been a focal point for
protests [see Update #1109]. This was the second major student protest
in Michoacán so far this school year. Students started a building
occupation and strike on Sept. 4 in the Michoacán University of San
Nicolás de Hidalgo (UMSNH) in Morelia, the state capital; rightwing
students led by a group called the “White Angels” broke up the
occupation on Sept. 25 and Sept. 26.

The protesters at the teachers’ colleges received strong support from
local and national groups. The Michoacán section of the National
Education Workers Coordinating Committee (CNTE), a large rank-and-file
caucus within the conservative National Education Workers Union
(SNTE), backed the protests even before the Oct. 15 police operation.
In Cherán local officials condemned the raid, which they said “broke
into our community with great violence.” The town is the site of an
often-violent struggle between residents and illegal loggers that has
led the municipality to declare itself autonomous, with the municipal
government chosen through indigenous customs rather than formal
elections [see Update #1131]. The Network Against Violence and for
Solidarity (RvsR), which grew out of solidarity work with the rebel
Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) in the southeastern state of
Chiapas, denounced “the atrocious manner of humiliating The Other, the
manner of treating youths who defend a just struggle with dignity. The
violence has been initiated by the governments, by their reforms; they
are the ones who are responsible.”

On Oct. 17 thousands of protesters marched through the streets of
Morelia, tying up traffic and virtually paralyzing the city, to demand
an end to the repression and the release of the 74 students who were
still being detained. The protest was organized by the state CNTE; the
organizers estimated the crowd at 40,000, while local authorities put
the number at 15,000. Participants included local students; students
from the teachers’ college in nearby Tiripetío; members of the
Purépecha Nation, an organization of activists from the state’s main
indigenous group; and leaders in teacher union locals from the Federal
District (DF, Mexico City) and the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala
and Veracruz. Later in the day, about 500 teachers’ college students
seized a refrigerator truck and four buses, using them to block La
Huerta Avenue, near a main highway, while about 100 other students
demonstrated near the state attorney general’s office.

Demonstrations continued throughout the week. On Oct. 18 CNTE
supporters and students started a sit-in at Melchor Ocampo Plaza, in
Morelia’s historic center, while others began blocking Madero Avenue
in two places the next day. The protesters said they would maintain
the sit-in and the blockages until all the students were freed from
detention. Also on Oct. 19, groups of students protested inside the
state legislature building, holding up photographs that they said
showed excessive use of force during the police operations.
Legislators from the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution
(PRD)—which lost control of the state to the centrist Institutional
Revolutionary Party (PRI) with the election of current governor Fausto
Vallejo Figueroa in 2011—backed the protesters and charged that the
government treated students like criminals while not touching the drug
cartels that have established themselves in the state.

In the DF, some 70 students from the National Autonomous University of
Mexico (UNAM) blocked Insurgentes Avenue for almost four hours on Oct.
19 in solidarity with the students in Michoacán. As of Oct. 20 all but
eight of the students arrested on Oct. 15 had been released, either
without charges or else on bail. (Adital (Brazil) 10/16/12; La Jornada
(Mexico) 10/16/12, 10/18/12, 10/20/12, 10/20/12, 10/21/12; Agencia
Reforma 10/21/12 via Terra (Mexico))

Outgoing Mexican president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa was scheduled to
visit Cherán on Oct. 16 as part of a last official tour of Michoacán,
his native state, but the Cherán visit was cancelled after the
violence at the teachers’ college there. Calderón had been expected to
announce promises of aid for the town.

Quadratín (Morelia, Michoacán)



October 20, 2012

The Patishtán Case is a “Legal Tragedy,” says US Prisoner of Conscience Abu-Jamal

Filed under: Uncategorized — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:01 am


The Patishtán Case is a “Legal Tragedy,” says US Prisoner of Conscience Abu-Jamal.

** Condemned for the murder of an FBI agent, the activist speaks from prison in Pennsylvania

** The Tzotzil professor was released from a DF hospital after having a brain tumour removed

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, October 18, 2012

Mumia Abu-Jamal, the most well-known prisoner of conscience in the United States, and the most belligerent for his freedom and for justice, classified as a “legal tragedy” the case of the Tzotzil professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez. He said this in a public message from the Pennsylvania penitentiary where he is serving what until last year was a death sentence, and has been in prison for 31 years.

Meanwhile, it is reported that Patishtán was discharged from the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery in Mexico City, where a brain tumour was removed last week, and on this Wednesday he was transported by ambulance to Tuxtla Gutiérrez, where he is convalescing in the Vida Mejor public hospital.

The African-American journalist and activist said that Patishtán, “affectionately known in his home town as El Profe”, is, “in spite of this legal tragedy, a widely respected and deeply loved teacher and spiritual leader; as well as being recognised as a formidable organizer inside the prisons.”

In Mexico, “a primary education teacher, who also has been a community organizer in the indigenous town of El Bosque, Chiapas, was falsely framed for the death of seven police and faces 60 years in prison,” records Mumia Abu-Jamal. Patishtán – he points out – “is incarcerated despite contradictory police reports and sworn statements from 10 witnesses who saw him in another community at the time of the ambush; and he has been in prison for 12 years.” Due to “the pitiful medical attention that he has received, including an erroneous diagnosis of ‘glaucoma,’ he has suffered an almost total loss of vision and recently learned that he has a brain tumour.”

Since 1981, Mumia Abu-Jamal has been serving a sentence for the murder of an FBI agent during a violent police operation in the city of Philadelphia against the Black resistance movement Move. For three decades he remained “on death row” (as his book and radio programme are called), only in January of this year was that sentence revoked, although he remains in prison, from where he does not stop talking, analyzing and offering his opinion on the wrongful and criminal policies in his country. On repeated occasions he has supported the Zapatista Movement of Chiapas and now he joins the cry for the liberation of the Tzotzil professor, an adherent to the Other Campaign.

We’re dealing with “a struggle even more crucial than ever due to his grave health problems,” Mumia Abu-Jamal concluded.

Meanwhile, the Tzotzil Alfredo López Jiménez, of the group Solidarity with the Voice of El Amate, also of the Other Campaign and a prisoner since 2007 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, was moved to the Hospital of Cultures in this city for surgical intervention for a hernia, after a long period demanding medical attention for a problem that potentially puts his life at risk. Nevertheless, the operation has been postponed until next week, his family members reported.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, October 19, 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



Mining Moratorium Expires in Chiapas

Filed under: Mining, Uncategorized — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:33 am

Mining Moratorium Expires in Chiapas

Moratorium On Mining Expires in Chiapas

By: Jose Plascencia, Chiapas Support Committee

The state of Chiapas produces about 3.1% of natural gas, 1.8% of oil, 7.5% of electrical production, and contains about 30% of México’s surface water. This means Chiapas is one of the richest states in terms of natural resources.

It is estimated that just ten countries contain between 50 and 80% of the planet’s biodiversity; Mexico is one of them. The state of Chiapas includes about a third of the Mexican flora (around 8,000 different plant species) and 80% of the tropical tree species in the country. Approximately 30% of amphibians, 28% of reptiles, 65% of birds, and 55% of mammals known in Mexico are found in Chiapas. What this means is that Chiaps is also one of the regions richest in biodiversity.

Unfortunatley, Chiapas is also home to a diversity of minerals, which include some of the more highly exploited such as gold, silver, lead, titanium, and zinc. This makes Chiapas of huge interest to transnational mining corporations seeking mining concessions, many of which are granted in the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range, which begins in the northwest of Chiapas and extends into Central America.

This territory is also home to communities that have generational history in the region whose interests are being ignored and human rights outright violated. One famous case is that of anti-mining activist leader Mariano Abarca Roblero of the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA), who was shot to death in front of his home. Abarca was one of the most visible figures to publicly denounce the negative impacts of Blackfire Exploration Limited’s mining practices in Chiapas. At one point Mariano Abarca had to file charges against two Blackfire employees for threatening to kill him for continuing to organize community members to protest the loss of land and subsistence to mining concessions. As of now, three men linked to Blackfire are in prison for Abarca’s murder.

Blackfire has also admitted to the validity of documents filed in 2009 by REMA with the Chiapas Attorney General’s Office that exposed Blackfire’s monthly payments of $1,000 to the bank account of the Mayor of Chicomuselo, the town in which Mariano Abarca was organizing. This payoff sealed a mutual agreement that municipal authorities would suppress opposition from community residents.

The conflict around mining is not new, it is a complex conflict that dates back to more than 500 hundred years of history of oppression and exploitation and was recently made worse by constitutional reforms in 1993 to pave the way for NAFTA. These reforms allowed for an increase in mining concessions to transnational mining corporations that have caused an even greater transfer of wealth because most of the profits generated are not invested back into the communities in which these mines are located, (and don’t get me started on the labor violations)! Mining companies also gain access into the communities because of promises of development, but it’s all marketing.

What typically happens is that the mining companies mine the areas for several years, devastate the local water supplies and in some cases causing serious issues of public health with increased cases of chemical poisoning, lung disease, and leaving the community without the ability to go back to their subsistence farming because lands are contaminated. So these transnational mining corporations are basically leaving communities sick, jobless, and landless after pillaging their mines.

Presently in Chiapas the air is buzzing with talk that a moratorium on mining that had been placed on the region is about to be lifted, or may very well be lifted by the time you’re reading this. What this means is more displacement of communities, of culture, serious environmental degradation of one of the last remaining biospheres our planet has, loss of wild life, and the list goes on and on….

October 18, 2012

PRI harassment of Zapatista Support Bases returns in Jechvó

Filed under: Repression, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:17 pm


PRI harassment of Zapatista Support Bases returns in Jechvó

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

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

By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy

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

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

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

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


They break the silence faced with violations

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

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

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

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

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


Comunicado integro (Entire communiqué in Spanish)


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Thursday, October 18, 2012

En español:





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