dorset chiapas solidarity

November 27, 2012

Zapatista Craft Shop at Toniná provokes the anger of the Chiapas Government

Filed under: Archaeology / Maya, Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:58 pm

Zapatista Craft Shop at Toniná provokes the anger of the Chiapas Government

** There is an arrest warrant against me and I have committed no crimes: José Alfonso Cruz

** They don’t want anything saying ‘EZLN’ during the tourist events for the ‘end of the world’, accuses the property owner

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

On the outskirts of the City of Ocosingo, Chiapas, near the Toniná archaeological site, Zapatistas from Francisco Gómez autonomous municipality recently set up a shop selling artesanía (crafts) on an area of recuperated land. This has unleashed a government rejection from the official municipality as much as from the state, which issued an arrest warrant against the owner of the next door property, who is also a support base of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, its initials in Spanish).

The core of the conflict is the attractive hand painted sign that the Zapatistas put up on their land, located at the entrance to Toniná, a famous archaeological site where tourist activities will be held next month, taking advantage of the “end of the Maya world” fashion and the end of the year holidays. There is talk of an investment of 5 to 8 million pesos by the municipal government of Octavio Elías Albores Cruz, a PRI member.

According to statements made to La Jornada by José Alfonso Cruz Espinosa, a Zapatista support base who legally owns the Toniná lands up to the foot of the pyramid, who lives near the archaeological zone and who has repeatedly suffered harassment and attempted dispossession by the authorities, they have made it known that they have no objections to the shop, only to the sign which advertises it; this only states that it is an autonomous shop with artesanía from indigenous Zapatistas and that it belongs to the rebel municipality of Francisco Gómez.

“The state attorney is already looking for me,” Cruz Espinosa declared by telephone. “Judicial police dressed as civilians want to search my house, and I had to take shelter in an autonomous community.” He insists that he has not committed any crime, and that his compañeros from the autonomous municipality are within their rights to establish their business and to advertise it.

“The government doesn’t want anything that says ‘EZLN’ [to be visible] during the end of the world tourist events,” he added. These events will be celebrated from December 21 to 23, with the participation of the resident archaeologist, and “almost owner” of Toniná, Juan Yadeum.

Weeks ago, the same Cruz Espinosa denounced the construction of a bridge and a path inside the site, utilizing valuable archaeological material and “destroying a patrimony of humanity.” He placed responsibility on Yadeum, the current mayor Albores Cruz and principally on the former (mayor), Arturo Zúñiga Urbina, who with other associates wants to take advantage of the “end of the world” (events) and the expected influx of tourists from such an exciting event. All this, without the endorsement of the National Institute of Anthropology and History, which while it penalised the archaeologist, did not stop the work.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, November 26, 2012

En Español:


English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the:

International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the:

Chiapas Support Committee, California

Wellington Zapatista Support Group

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network




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