dorset chiapas solidarity

March 26, 2013

“When they arrested Profe Patishtán, Nobody Believed It,’’ says Martín Ramírez

Filed under: Political prisoners — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:58 pm


“When they arrested Profe Patishtán, Nobody Believed It,’’ says Martín Ramírez

 ** He criticizes four governors who have called for his release but do nothing

** The teacher believes that the arrest was for denouncing the corruption of the mayor of El Bosque


[Professor Martín Ramírez, at the curve where the ambush occurred in which seven police died on June 12, 2000 in Chiapas. Photo: Moysés Zúñiga Santiago]








Foto[Funeral of one of the police murdered in the zone of El Bosque. Photo: Óscar León]


By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy

El Bosque, Chiapas, March 23, 2013

“From the very first day, June 19, 2000, we said that Alberto Patishtán had been kidnapped,” remembers Martín Ramírez López, also a teacher and one of those who have not stopped maintaining, for 12 years and nine months, the profe’s innocence in relation to the ambush in which seven police died, at a sharp bend on the road to the north, which leads to Simojovel, 10 minutes from this municipal headquarters (El Bosque), on June 12 of that year. The same spot had already been the scene of robberies and homicides in previous months.

It is useful to go beyond the forensic reconstruction of the killings (and the theft of some weapons that were never found), and the chronological relationship between the facts and the activities of Patishtán on that day, with the witnesses consistently placing him in Simojovel and Huitiupán, with one exception, Rosemberg Gómez Pérez. He, wounded and lying among dead bodies, “identified” by his voice, according to his June 15 ministerial statement, one of the armed and masked attackers, who inexplicably saved him from the coup de grâce, and “turned out” to be the bilingual teacher, an important critic and public opponent of his father, the then mayor, Manuel Gómez Ruiz; yes, the community leader whose integrity was recognized even by those who had left the PRI, and were then in resistance, as was the case of professor Martín and many more.

Patishtán had just gone to the state capital, with a group of indigenous, to show documentary proof of the corruption reigning in the council of this municipality. He had a leadership position among the teachers and was organizing, with the support of different neighbourhoods in the locality, one of those officialist productive societies called “triple S”, or SSS. When they detained him, “nobody believed it,” Ramírez López remembers. Hundreds of people went out into the streets, they occupied the city hall and sent a delegation to Tuxtla Gutiérrez, “with pay” (they were PRI members), which was neutralized by the government, and other “volunteers,” who exerted pressure, spoke for a minute about his release, and then the occupation was ended.

Governor Roberto Albores Guillén promised that he would free the professor. When he did not fulfill [his promise], the indigenous insisted, and he threatened to blame them for the crime as well. “They saw that he was a hard man, and fear came. Many went back. With the threat from the municipal president they ran away,” Ramírez López says. “We were six teachers who continued to insist, together with Patishtán’s wife.” With the passage of time, she became tired and left him, but that is now part of the personal damage caused by the years of prison that followed.

In May 2000, one month before the ambush in a part of Las Limas, Simojovel municipality, the protesting PRIístas (PRI members) handed over a document “that could only have been written by Patishtán,” and the mayor saw it as a “danger.” According to Professor Martín, “he was at the point of falling, the protection of Deputy Ramiro Miceli Maza was no longer enough; nor was that of the Albores Guillén government.” So the massacre saved him, and even more so did the apprehension of his principal critic and denouncer. “The danger was Patishtán, not the opposition movement; once he was a prisoner, the protest collapsed.”

The ministerial slovenliness in the first statements incriminating him (from the surviving  police agent Belisario Gómez Pérez and the young Rosemberg, from the mayor and from another teacher, Martín Gómez Culebro, on June 14 and 15), as well as those from the municipal police who were openly primed to mention Patishtán as the attacker, and even the statement of Deputy Miceli Maza (June 19, the day of the accused’s apprehension), did not stop them being thought well of in the tribunals. And they miraculously stretched the blame, a month after, to include the driver and EZLN support base Salvador López González.

“The people here always knew that Gómez Culebro was paid to falsify his statements on the orders of the municipal president. Now he has said that he never gave a statement, that they invented everything,” Ramírez López comments.

El Bosque is a relatively small town. Everyone knows each other. Currently, the ex mayor Gómez Ruiz and his son Rosemberg live opposite the Patishtán family. Alberto’s mother, María, a first cousin of Gómez Ruiz, is very sick and does not participate much in the current movement for her son’s freedom, which in El Bosque has hundreds of followers, starting with Maria’s brothers and sisters: Carmen, Julia, Manuela, Demetrio de Jesús and Juan, all Gómez Gómez, and their sisters-in-law Andrea and María. The majority of the official teachers, churches, businessmen, families, even children and youth that don’t yet know the profe back them up.

Many remember, for example, what Rosemberg was like before the ambush which he survived: “15 or 16 years old, an untouchable. He had an escort at all the fiestas and fairs he liked going to. So he always walked around with the police, he was well taken care of,” comments another member of the El Bosque citizens’ movement which insists on the profe’s innocence. Several indigenous, campesinos and women with their beautiful traditional dress begin to arrive for a meeting at the place where Ramírez López talks with La Jornada.

La Jornada collected here some years ago testimony that the same Rosemberg, while drinking heavily, may have expressed remorse “for what we did to the professor” (his cousin, by the way), even confessing that he was rewarded with a new truck for his statement.


Big promises and forgetting

Four governors (Albores Guillén, Salazar Mendiguchía, Juan Sabines Guerrero and Manuel Velasco Coello) have made pronouncements in favour of the profe’s release. “They almost use the same phrases; they have them memorized, like children with the National Anthem,” says Ramírez López ironically, while Manuel, Alberto Patishtán’s brother, arrives at the meeting. “They all say they are in agreement. Do they do anything? They do not. Why do they speak then?”

To cut a long story short, it is worth mentioning that the Zapatista Salvador López González was released during the governorship of Salazar Mendiguchía –who as a candidate promised to free Patishtán–; he inherited from Albores Guillén and the Zedillo government many EZLN prisoners, and ended up releasing all of them. Thus it turned out that one of those accused of the massacre of the police was released based on the inconsistencies and contradictions in the ministerial declarations of the second survivor, Belisario Gómez Pérez. That which the judges considered unsustainable in the case of Salvador, they used to repeatedly condemn, between 2002 and 2004, despite protective orders and appeals, the professor, a faultless community leader (according to numerous testimonies), and now a human rights activist in the Chiapas prisons.

Subsequently, Belisario, the ex-policeman, like the other police widows, “disappeared” from the scene, and there is not even evidence to show that they have been adequately compensated. La Jornada located the former for this report, but considering his current situation and locality, decided not to seek him out this time.



Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, March 24, 2013

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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