dorset chiapas solidarity

July 31, 2013

Votán II: The Guardians (Communiqué in preparation for the Zapatista Little School)

Filed under: Marcos, Zapatista — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:31 pm

Votán II: The Guardians (Communiqué in preparation for the Zapatista Little School)

JULY 31, 2013

VOTÁN II.

The Guardians.

July of 2013.

___ZAP_EducacionNow we want to explain to you how the little school will work (the list of school items you’ll need, the methodology, the teachers, the course subjects, the schedules, etc.), so the first thing is…

What you will need.

The only thing that you need, objectively, to attend the Zapatistas’ little school (in addition to being invited, of course, and your one hundred pesos for the book-DVD packet), is the willingness to listen.

So there’s no reason to heed the advice or recommendations of those people, however well-intentioned, who say that you need to bring this or that equipment, based on the fact that “they have been in community.”

Those who really have been in community don’t go around bragging about it, and they also know well that what one truly needs is to know how to look and listen. Those who have come to community to talk (and to try to tell us what to do, or to offer us charity in the form of money or “wisdom”) have been and will be many, too many. And those who have come to listen are very few. But I’ll tell you about that on another occasion.

So you don’t need to buy anything special (I read that someone only had some old tennis shoes to bring, that’s cool). Bring a notebook and a pen or pencil. It is not obligatory that you bring your computer, smartphone, tablet, or whatever you use now, but you can if you like. There won’t, however, be a cellular signal where you will be. There is internet in some caracoles but its speed is, how shall I put it, a little like “pegaso,” Durito’s mount [a turtle]. Yes, you can bring your whatever-you-call-it that you use to listen to music. Yes, you can bring a camera and a recorder. Yes, you can record audio and take photos and video, but only according to the rules, which Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés will tell you about. Yes, you can bring your teddy bear or equivalent.

Other things that might be useful: a flashlight; your toothbrush and a towel (if you want to bathe and it is possible to do so); at least one change of clothes, in case you get covered in mud; your medicines, if they are necessary and a trained capable person has prescribed them; a plastic bag for your identification and money (always keep these things with you—we will only ask you for your identification at registration, to see if you are really you); another plastic bag for the study materials you will receive here; you should also put your (under—if you use it—and outer) wear in plastic bags.

Remember: you can bring as much stuff as you want, but everything you bring you will have to carry yourself. So none of this “I’m going to take the piano just in case I have time to practice my do-re-mi-fa-so-la.” And no, you can’t bring your Xbox, ps3 wii, or that old Atari console.

What is in fact essential to have, you cannot buy. It is what you bring already incorporated within your person and can be found, if you start at your neck, below and to the left.

Okay, having clarified that, I will here list what you do need to attend the little school in community. Without the following requirements, YOU WILL NOT BE ADMITTED:

-Disinclination to talk or to judge.

-Willingness to listen and watch.

-A well-disposed heart.

Your race, age, gender, sexual preference, place of origin, religion, scholarliness, stature, weight, physical appearance, equipment, “long experience” following Zapatismo, or what you wear or don’t wear on your feet, none of that matters.

The Scholarly Space and Schedule.

According to the Zapatistas, the place of teaching and learning—school—is the collective. That is, the community. And the teachers and students are those who make up the collective. All of them. So there is no teacher, but rather a collective that teaches, that demonstrates, that trains, and in it and with it—a person who learns and, at the same time, teaches.

So when you attend your first day of class in community (this will be different if one is taking the course another way), do not expect to find yourself in a traditional school. The classroom that we have prepared for you is not a closed space with a blackboard and a professor at the front of the room imparting knowledge to the students who he or she will then evaluate and sanction (that is, classify into good and bad students), but rather, the open space of the community. And this community is not a “sect” (here Zapatistas, non-Zapatistas, and, in some cases, anti-Zapatistas live together), nor is it hegemonic, homogeneous, closed (here people from different calendars and geographies visit all year around), or dogmatic (here we also learn from Others).

So you are not coming to a school that operates on the traditional schedule. You will be in school every hour of every day during your stay here. The most important part of your time in the little Zapatista school is your living experience with the family with whom you will stay. You will go with them to get firewood, to the cornfield, to the river/stream/spring, you will cook and eat with them (of course, you will only eat what doesn’t harm you or go against your convictions—for example, if you are vegetarian or vegan, they won’t give you meat, but please let us know beforehand because the compas, when they are happy with a visit, often cook chicken or pork, or the community or autonomous municipality or Good Government Council might take one of its collective cows and make a stew for everybody), you will rest with them, and, above all, you will get tired with them.

All in all, during these days you will be part of an indigenous Zapatista family.

And that is the reason why we can’t accept people coming with their camping tent or RV. That is why there is a limit on the number of people who can come. Because many people do indeed fit on these lands, but under the little Zapatista roofs only a few fit. If you want to camp, to live close to nature or its bucolic equivalents, fine, but not here on these dates.

So you won’t be living with your gang, group, or collective. Nor with other “citizens” [like city-dwellers]. If you come with your family, partner, or your not-so-much-a-partner, you can be together if you like, but no one else. None of this “all of us who came from such-and-such place are going to get together to hang out or talk or sing around the campfire or whatever.” This you can do in your geographies and calendars. You (or you and your family, or partner, or not-so-much-a-partner) are coming here to participate in the daily life and knowledge of the indigenous Zapatista people, and, of course, the daily life of non-Zapatista indigenous people.

The Zapatistas are a people that have the particularity of not only having challenged the powerful, nor only of having maintained their rebellion and resistance for 20 years. They also, and above all, have managed to build (in conditions which you will become personally acquainted with) the indigenous Zapatista definition of freedom: to govern and govern ourselves in accord with our ways, in our geography and our calendar. Yes, this part about “our geography and our calendar” defines a considerable distance between ours and other projects. We warn you that this is not only not a model to follow (some things have worked for us and some things haven’t), a new evangelism, or a new fashion for export; it is also not a “construction manual for freedom.” It is not that for the other originary peoples of Mexico, much less for all of the peoples who struggle in all of the corners of the world.

In addition, take careful note, we are defining a time. What you will see here works for us now. New generations will build their own paths, with their own ways and their own times. A concept of freedom does not enslave its future inheritors.

For us, this is freedom: to exercise the right to construct our own destiny, with no one that rules over us and tells us what to do or not do. In other words: it is our right to fall and pick ourselves back up. We know well that this is built with rebellion and dignity, knowing that there are other worlds and other ways, and that, just like we are building ours here, others are going about building their identity, their dignity.

During the week that you live with the Zapatista communities, you will only twice go to a meeting in the Caracolwith all of the students of the zone that you are assigned to. In this meeting, where many different colors and ways from many different calendars and geographies will meet, there will be a teacher dedicated to trying to respond to any questions or doubts that have come up during your stay. This is because we think that it will be good for you to hear the doubts that arose for someone from another country or another continent, another city, another reality…

But the most fundamental part of the little school you will learn with your…

Votán.

Over the course of a few months, tens of thousands of Zapatista families have been preparing to receive those who come to the little school in community. Along with them, thousands of women and men, indigenous Zapatistas, have become a Votán, simultaneously individual and collective.

So you should know what role the Votán will play, because the Votán is, as they say, the backbone of the little school. It is the method, the study plan, the teacher, the school, the classroom, the blackboard, the notebook, the pen, the desk with an apple, the recess, the exam, the graduation, and the cap and gown.

A lot has been written and said about what Votán (or “Uotán”, or “Wotán”, or “Botán”) means. For example, that the word doesn’t exist in the Mayan language and is just a misunderstood or badly translated version of “Ool Tá aan,” which would be something like “The Heart that Speaks.” Or that it refers to an earthquake; or the growl of the jaguar, or the beating of the heart of the earth, or the heart of the sky, or the heart of the water, or the heart of the mountain, or all this and more. But, as in everything that refers to originary peoples, these are versions upon versions from those who have tried to dominate (sometimes with knowledge) these lands and their inhabitants. So, unless you have interest in contemplating interpretations of interpretations (that end up ignoring their creators), here we refer to the meaning that the Zapatistas give to the Votán. And it will be something like “guardian of the heart of the people,” or “guardian and heart of the earth,” or “guardian and heart of the world.”

Each of the little school students, regardless of their age, gender, or race, will have their Votán, a guardian (orguardiana) [feminine].

That is, in addition to the family with whom you will live for those days, you will have a tutor who will help you understand what, according to the Zapatistas, freedom is.

The Guardians [masculine and feminine] are people like all common people. Only these are people that rebelled against the powerful who exploited, dispossessed, disrespected, and repressed them, and they are people who have given their life to that rebellion. Despite this, the Votán that we are does not preach the cult of death, glory, or Power, but rather walks through life in a daily struggle for freedom.

Your personal Votán, your guardian or guardiana, will tell you our history, explain who we are, where we are, why we fight, how we struggle, and alongside who we want to struggle. They will talk to you about our achievements and our errors, study the textbooks with you, resolve any doubts they are able to (and for when they are not able, we have the larger meeting). They are the ones who will speak to you in Spanish (the family with whom you live will always speak to you in their mother tongue), they will translate for you what the family says, and will translate to the family what you want to say or know. They will walk with you, go to the cornfield or to bring firewood or water with you, they will cook and eat with you, sing and dance with you, sleep near you, accompany you when you go to the bathroom, tell you which bugs to avoid, make sure you take your medicine; in sum, they will teach and take care of you.

You can ask your Votán anything: if we are really the offspring of Salinas, if SupMarcos is dead or just tanning himself on a European beach, if SubMoy is going to show up at some point, if the world is round, if he or she believes in elections, if he or she is for the Jaguares [Chiapas’ Mexican professional league soccer team], etc. etc. In contrast to other teachers, if your guardian or guardiana doesn’t know the answer, they’ll say “I don’t know.”

Your Votán will also be your simultaneous translator that doesn’t need batteries. Because here, as far as it is possible, you will be spoken to in our native languages. Only your guardian or guardiana will speak to you in Spanish. This way you will experience what happens when an indigenous person tries to speak in a dominant language. The fundamental difference is that here you will not be treated with disdain or mockery for not understanding what is said to you or for mispronouncing words.

There might be laughter, yes, but out of sympathy for your effort to understand and make yourself understood. And note, your Votán will not only translate words, but also colors, flavors, sounds, entire worlds, that is, a culture.

In the meeting that you will attend with your classmates in the zone, you will not be able to ask questions directly of the teacher; rather, you will ask your guardian or guardiana and they will translate the question for the teacher, who will respond in their mother tongue and your guardian will translate back to you. You will of course be left with the doubt as to whether your question was adequately translated and if the answer you got is the same as that which the teacher gave. But, isn’t that exactly what an indigenous person is subject to with a translator in the government courts of justice? This way you will understand that what they call “juridical equality” is just one more monstrosity of justice in our world. Where is juridical equality if the translation of things like “freedom,” “democracy,” and “justice” are made with the same words of those who want to enslave, dispossess, and disappear us? Where is equality if accusation, trial, and sentencing is made by a juridical system that, in addition to corrupt, is imposed in the language of the Ruler? Where is justice in a system whose judgment is based on the premise of cultural dispossession? That is why the school will be like this. That is why the Votán will have this purposeBecause…

They are us.

Your Votán is a great collective concentrated in a person. He or she will not speak as an individual. Each Votán is all of us Zapatistas.

A few weeks ago, Subcomandantes Moisés and Marcos gave the responsibility of spokesperson to thousands of indigenous Zapatista men and women to hold for the days of the little school. During those days in August (and later next December and January), the EZLN will speak through their voice; through their ears the EZLN will listen; and in their heart will beat the great “we” that we are.

So during the days of the Little School, you will have a teacher who is nothing more and nothing less than the maximum Zapatista authority, the supreme head of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation: Votán. And theVotán will also be in charge of…

The Children.

One guardiana for each child/student who is a minor (12 years old or younger) will accompany the mother and/or father all of the time, helping to take care of the child, making sure they don’t get sick, that they take their medicine, that they play, learn, and are happy. If the child knows how to read, the guardiana will study our textbook with the child, and tell stories of how the indigenous children lived before the uprising and how they live now. They will tell terrible and marvelous stories, and jokes, and maybe even sing the children the song about “the moño colorado.” And if the children misbehave, they will tell them not to act like that, because if they do SupMarcos will come with his great big bag of cookies and won’t give them even one, even if they are animal crackers, and that the great Don Durito of the Lacandón will not tell them the story of how he fought, all by himself, against 3.141592 toothless dragons, nor the marvelous story of Lucezita and the Cat-Dog that, they tell me, leaves IronmanBatmanThe AvengersSpidermanX-ManWolverine, and anything else that comes out, in the dust.

All of the children, with the family members that accompany them, will be assigned to the zones closest to

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, under the best conditions we can offer. They will have specially prepared lodging with their mother or father so that they do not get cold or wet if it rains. There will also be compas present who know about health and first aid. And in the case of an emergency, two ambulances and two other vehicles will be available 24 hours a day to take the child to the city if a doctor is needed, or to get medicine if needed. If it is necessary for a family to return to their own particular geography before the school is over, we have a small economic fund to help them with their tickets or gasoline.

In sum, the children will have very special treatment. But neither they nor the adults will escape the…

The Exam.

It is the most difficult test you can imagine. It does not consist of a written exam, a thesis, or multiple choice questions; and there won’t be a jury or a council of judges with university titles to grade you.

Your reality will be your test, on your calendar, in your geography, and your council of judges will be… the mirror.

There you will see if you can respond to the only question on the final exam: what is freedom according to you and yours?

-*-

Vale. Cheers and believe me, I say out of my own experience, what one certainly learns best here is to ask questions. And it’s worth it.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

SupMarcos.

Mexico, July of 2013.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
See and listen to the videos that accompany this text.
Eduardo Galeano narrates an anecdote about a teacher and his students.

————————————————————–

Freedom is, for example, the demand for the freeing of all of the Mapuche political prisoners. The track is called “Cosas Simples” (Simple Things), by the Chilean group Weichafe (Warrior).

————————————————————–

Luna Zapatista” (Zapatista Moon), by Orlando Rodríguez and Miguel Ogando, with “El Problema del Barrio” (The Problem of the Barrio), drawings by Juan Kalvellido. Video production: Orlando Fonseca.

——————————————————–

Translation by El Kilombo Intergaláctico

****************************************************************************

Votán I: A Beetle in the Network (Communiqué in preparation for the Zapatista Little School)

(Durito version freeware).

July of 2013.

Click to closeBefore we explain how the Little School is going to work (at which point we’ll send a kind of “route manual” or “manual of bad manners” or “survival manual”), let’s take a look at what they’re up to “above.” Not because we’re a little scattered (which we are, no doubt), but because we look at their calendars and geographies above, that is, we try to understand.

 

 

Translation by El Kilombo Intergaláctico

To read this in full, please go to our communiqués page: https://dorsetchiapassolidarity.wordpress.com/communiques/

 

 

****************************************************************************

COMMUNIQUÉ FROM THE EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON, 29th JULY 2013

Filed under: Bachajon, Movement for Justice in el Barrio, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:54 pm

COMMUNIQUÉ FROM THE EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 29th JULY 2013

To the people of Mexico and the world

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To national and international human rights defenders

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Network against Repression and for Solidarity

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To the indigenous peoples in resistance

To public opinion

We send our combative greetings to all the peoples and communities who struggle and resist with dignity in Mexico and the world against the capitalist exploitation of indigenous territories to impose their projects for mines, wind energy, tourism and hydroelectricity etc., which seek to make the indigenous disappear because they are an obstacle in the way of the lords of money and power continuing to get richer all the time.

In spite of much repression, our people continue to resist with the intention of achieving victory, as we were taught by our compañero, Juan Vazquez Guzman, who was murdered in a cowardly way by the bad government in the evening of April 24, 2013, by some hitmen who remain free and unpunished, surely enjoying the money that the government paid them to do their job.

Our compañeros Antonio Estrada Estrada and Miguel Demeza Jimenez are still unjustly imprisoned, the first in Playas de Catazajá and the second in el Amate. Our compañero  Antonio Estrada Estrada was arrested on August 7th, 2011, but the police who arrested him did not present him to the prosecutor until August 8th, 2011 because meanwhile they were torturing him and fabricating his crimes; the names of these police criminals and torturers, who will surely continue to affect society with their bad behaviour are: Omar Rodríguez Aguilar, Federal Police, José Alfredo Pérez Flores, Federal Police, José Fernando Furukawa Montes, First Sergeant of the Federal Police, Bulmaro Morales Cruz, State Preventive Police, Isaac Arias de los Santos, State Preventive Police, Joaquín Toala Ramos, Special Police and Jesús López González, Special Police.

According to the statements of these criminals, who fabricated the crimes of our compañero Antonio in collusion with the Public Minister [prosecutor] of Palenque, Chiapas, Lic. Mariano Moreno Jiménez, they accuse him of trying to attack them on August 8th in the early morning, at the height of kilometre 100 + 300 on the federal road from Playas de Catazaja to Rancho Nuevo. These policemen who fabricated the crime of our compañero also planted an discharged .38 handgun, and two machetes, with which he had allegedly attacked the group of policemen who were travelling in their units; he was tortured for a whole day to make him plead guilty to all that he was falsely accused of.

Despite the torture which was inflicted on our compañero, the expert legal doctor for the public ministry of Palenque, by name Dr Jose Zetina Sánchez, a person with a history of various incidents of corruption in the region, said in his medical report of August 8th, 2011, that Antonio had no injuries. But another expert legal doctor from Palenque, named Dr Jorge Trujillo Molina, who also examined him, says in his opinion of August 10, 2011, that he did indeed have wounds and injuries to his body.

The deceit and lies of the bad government to keep our compañero locked away are clear. Compañero Antonio Estrada Estrada is a political prisoner of this bad government, he is wrongfully imprisoned and we will continue to fight for his freedom whatever the cost. Also for our compañero Miguel Demeza Jimenez, who was falsely accused by the Special Prosecutor Against Organized Crime (FECDO) in complicity with the  hardware merchant Emilio Adiel Argueta Ruiz from the Coxito company from Ocosingo, Chiapas and his friend the Salvadoran Ruben Anibal Ramirez Monge, who bought the Prosecutor from FECDO, on October 15th, 2010, so as to go free for the crime of kidnapping a minor which took place on October 7, 2010, and for this reason they blamed our compañero Miguel to wash their hands of it and so that a poor indigenous would  pay for a crime he did not commit. The authority does not care about who is in jail; while a poor person has no money to buy justice, he can continue paying for the crimes of others.

On July 22, 2013, the corrupt Judge Lic. José del Carmen Constantino Avendaño, presiding over the Seventh District Court in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, for the second time ruled against our right in the amparo 274/2011, saying that the seizure of our territory by the bad government does not affect the rights of the ejido, and that the document signed [only] by Francisco Guzmán Jiménez (aka the goyito) and his vigilance committee, handed over with the amparo by the Secretary General of the Government of Chiapas, but without the signature of the ejidatarios, and without prior notice, which is nothing other than an illegal fabrication made to cover their crimes, the judge says is a true act of assembly of the ejido and that it is proof that the highest body [of the ejido] approved the acts of dispossession.

This judge is truly a crook, he surely wants to get a high position in politics, and so goes along with the bad government instead of defending the rights of the people, he sells his dignity and honor, how much will the bad government have to pay Judge Constantino Avendaño to make these corruptions, all the judges and politicians are the same crap, they screw the people to make their bosses, the businessmen, even richer.

Although the government does not like it, we are going to continue to defend our territory because this is where we come from and we are not leaving, despite their repression and their corrupt judges we will defend it as our grandfathers and grandmothers did, until we attain victory.

JUSTICE for our people and FREEDOM for the political prisoners ANTONIO ESTRADA ESTRADA, MIGUEL DEMEZA JIMENEZ and ALBERTO PATISHTAN GOMEZ and all the political prisoners in Mexico and the world.

All our support and solidarity to our Chol compañeros and compañeras from the ejido Tila who are fighting and defending Mother Earth and are celebrating the 97th anniversary of the legalization of their ejido.

Also combative greetings and solidarity to the compañeros and compañeras of the Yaqui Tribe, who are defending their water from the projects of the bad government.

From the northern zone of Chiapas, receive an embrace from the women and men of San Sebastian Bachajón.

Attentively

Land and Freedom!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for Political Prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón Struggle continues!

*************************************************************************

.

Red Flags in Chiapas

Filed under: Acteal, Paramilitary — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:52 pm

Red Flags in Chiapas

Rafael Landerreche

La Jornada, Wednesday 31st July, 2013

It may seem like a joke in poor taste to talk about “red flags” in a specific place when the whole country seems like a little Christmas tree lit up with lights [of violence] everywhere. Apart from the fact that the numbers involved do not diminish any human suffering, the situation in Chenalhó is particularly important because of what this Chiapas municipality represents. Within Chenalhó lies the community of Acteal, which, according to widespread recognition, is the open wound that lays bare the whole of the government policy of brutality against indigenous communities. It is a brutality derived directly from a counterinsurgency strategy backed by President Ernesto Zedillo, today a member of a world council of elders focused on – oh, the globalization of Kafka! – “promoting peace and respect for human rights”.

In Chenalhó in recent weeks, events have been unfolding in a seemingly inexorable way, according to a well-known script, and also denounced step-by-step without the authorities doing anything to prevent its tragic culmination (this passive complicity is part of the script).

An absurd pretext at the end of April, coinciding with the release from prison of the paramilitary leader Jacinto Arias, a native of the ejido Puebla, enabled his paramilitary compañeros  to unleash an attack against Catholics in the community (and although it sounds surreal, it is vital to clarify: this is not a religious conflict). The pretext was an almost routine action: the Catholics decided to rebuild their church, which was falling down. The reaction of paramilitary leader Agustín Cruz Gómez (who is also a Presbyterian pastor and ejido commissioner) was to call on his people to come and take over the land on which the Catholic Church had been built.

The “justification” given for this blatant dispossession was too ridiculous: that there had been people – originally Catholics and now Presbyterians – who “had sweated a lot” (38 years ago) to build the original church. Despite strong and repeated denunciations by the Catholics, Agustín Cruz Gómez and his group, before the deaf ears and impassive gaze of the authorities, raided the premises of the Catholics. They surrounded it with barbed wire. They calmly stole the building material, and they used the municipality’s machines to prepare the ground. This happened and the authorities did not move a finger to stop it. But as soon as the Catholics began to rebuild their church on their own land, the authorities immediately appeared to ask them to stop their work.

To the survivors of the paramilitary attacks and massive displacement that preceded and accompanied the Acteal massacre, this looked like a nightmare repeat of what happened in 1997. They remember how at that time they reported the arms trafficking, the extortion, the burning of houses, the theft of belongings, before the passive gaze of the authorities who simply did nothing and let it pass. The sequence of events, the veiled and cynical responses of the authorities, the alleged round table discussions that led nowhere, all of this the survivors of Acteal have recalled countless times in their public and court statements in order to try in vain to obtain justice; suddenly they were no longer mere memories, but sorrowful and literal updates of what they had experienced.

In the early days it might still have seemed an exaggeration to compare the little incident of the church with the great tragedy of Acteal. But suddenly, on July 18, the violence took a qualitative leap. On that day Agustín Cruz Gómez, pastor-commissioner-paramilitary, launched his army to invade the property of the Catholics and to destroy by force the by-now advanced reconstruction of the Catholic church. Well advised that offence is the best defence, before the Catholics could report their crime judicially, Cruz Gómez publicly accused the Catholics of having poisoned the community’s water supply. This created a frenzy that almost culminated in the lynching of three people.

The state prosecutor, who had been watching the abuses without lifting a finger, finally acted to rescue the near-lynched people in exchange for taking them as detainees (now released). Then, under the pretext of poisoning, the commission emptied the community tank, which left the Catholics without water (while the town council supplies it to the others).

So the situation is not so far from that of 1997: families held hostage in their own homes, without access to water or food, armed guards who do not allow people other than those they choose to leave or enter. There are at least six people who cannot return to their community because of death threats, and several families are in the position of having to move to save their lives. Those most threatened are Francisco López Santiz and Macario Arias Gómez, and the authorities cannot escape their responsibility for whatever happens to them, though their complacency has been evident.

As I write this, I get the news that the pastor-commissioner has moved to Mexico City with his supporters and, surrounded by several evangelical organizations (the least that can be said is that they are naively supportive), has set up a sit-in to protest against the attacks which they claim are initiated by the Catholics – with which the story takes on additional surrealistic tinges. But what appears to be a farce, is in reality the continuation of a far more sinister scenario. The Catholic church in Puebla is now no more than the sandbank in Majomut was in 1997: an excuse to confuse the issue.

Do not let yourselves be fooled. Agustín Cruz and his evangelicals are going to present themselves as victims, not for what happened in Puebla, which falls under its own weight, but because of what, according to them, happened in Acteal. They would become the victims of Acteal, poor people persecuted for religious reasons who were unjustly accused of the massacre. This is a continuation of the perverse attempt to rewrite the history of Acteal so that the government escapes responsibility. Everything is made to appear as a religious problem, and the roles of victim and offender are reversed.

The counterinsurgency strategy is complete: while in the ideological area it attempts to impose their interpretation of the facts, in the everyday life of the communities it adds another twist to the repression and intimidation of those who resist the hegemonic project.

 

Translation by Jane Brundage

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/07/31/index.php?section=politica&article=022a1pol&partner=rss

**********************************************************************

July 29, 2013

Global mobilization against an unjust imprisonment

Filed under: Political prisoners — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:35 pm

 

 

Global mobilization against an unjust imprisonment

The organization from the community of El Bosque is calling for action for the freedom of Professor Alberto Patishtán on August 21st. “It is not only Patishtán who is innocent, there are thousands of compañeros in prison who are imprisoned unjustly,” says Martín Ramírez López, spokesperson for the movement.

JAIME QUINTANA GUERRERO

patishtan

Photo: Moysés Zúñiga Santiago

 

Mexico, DF. “We call on groups, collectives and human rights defenders to struggle and towalk together. It is not only Patishtán who is innocent, there are thousands of compañeros in prison who are imprisoned unjustly. One proof of this is that, on July 4th, eight were released from the Social Rehabilitation Centre (CERESO) number 5, in San Cristobal de las Casas, and one from CERESO number 14, ‘el Amate'”, says Martin Ramírez López, indigenous teacher and spokesperson for the movement for the freedom of Alberto Patishtán, from the community of El Bosque, Chiapas, in a telephone interview with Desinformémonos. The date of the worldwide mobilization is August 21st.

On July 19th there was a global action which involved teachers, social organizations and el Pueblo Creyente (the believing people) in the Diocese of San Cristobal. “The demonstration on August 21st will also be global. In Chiapas, it will take place in Tuxtla Gutierrez. We are about to release a communiqué which will clarify everything”, explained the representative of the movement of the community of El Bosque.

On June 19, 2000, gunmen ambushed a convoy of municipal police, an action which left nine policemen dead and the son of the mayor of El Bosque seriously injured. Salvador López, Zapatista sympathiser, and the Tzotzil teacher, Alberto Patishtán, were arrested and accused of being responsible for the assault. The final decision about the imprisonment of the teacher, considered unfair by human rights defenders, will be given more than 13 years later, in late August.

El Bosque and the counterinsurgency in Chiapas

The community of El Bosque was founded in 1712 by immigrants from the small community of Muken, in the Municipality of San Juan Chamula, after the indigenous rebellion. It was originally called San Juan Bautista. On February 13, 1934, by decree of the Governor of the State, it was named El Bosque. The municipality belongs to what is known as the Northern Zone, bordered to the north by the municipality of Simojovel, on the east by Chalchiuitan, on the south by Larráinzar, on the west by Bochil and Jitotol.

The imprisonment of Patishtán, which is considered unjust by the movement of El Bosque, occurred in a context of conflict. With the birth of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and its strong influence in the region, the federal government began a counterinsurgency war in the state of Chiapas. To do this, it organized paramilitary groups which sowed terror in the region and created divisions within the communities. In the community of Acteal the government showed how far it was willing to go, with the massacre carried out by paramilitaries which left 45 dead on December 22, 1997.

A call to action

The community of El Bosque has taken on the defence of Alberto Patishtán and, together with the Catholic Organization el Pueblo Creyente, has carried out actions for his freedom – including pilgrimages, marches and prayers. Martín Ramírez López reaffirms the determination of the people: “If the judges do their job badly, the people will continue to struggle and Patishtán will be freed”, he says.

“On July 19th the community of El Bosque and el Pueblo Creyente marched around the prison where hundreds of campesinos and indigenous people are unjustly imprisoned”, said the indigenous teacher. “We cried out in front of the Social Rehabilitation Centre (CERESO) number 5, in San Cristobal de Las Casas, and also performed a pilgrimage around it. The pastors of El Bosque, Simojovel and other parishes in the diocese were present. We call on our Catholic and non-Catholic brothers and sisters, because the struggle for the freedom of the prisoners is not from any religion, or political party. Here we talk as brothers and the idea is to struggle together. We walk towards freedom, struggling”, concludes Martin Ramírez López.

 

July 29, 2013

http://desinformemonos.org/2013/07/movilizacion-global-contra-una-prision-injusta/

 

 

 

July 28, 2013

San Sebastián Bachajón: Following the Assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, the Struggle for the Defence of the Land Continues

Filed under: Bachajon, Movement for Justice in el Barrio — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:21 pm

San Sebastián Bachajón: Following the Assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, the Struggle for the Defence of the Land Continues

The following article was first published in Upside Down World: http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4391-san-sebastian-bachajon-following-the-assassination-of-juan-vazquez-guzman-the-struggle-for-the-defense-of-the-land-continues

juan-vasquez-guzman1 “The government does not like the people to organise and defend what is theirs; they repress us with state forces and order assassination to silence our movement”, declared the ejidatarios (communal landholders) of San Sebastián Bachajón recently. Despite the assassination of their much-loved community leader Juan Vázquez Guzmán, they insist: “we are here, we are staying here and we are not going to leave our land which is the birthplace of our mothers and fathers, our grandfathers and grandmothers, who also fought and gave their lives for the mother earth.”

 

Their struggle against luxury tourism in their territory

The indigenous Tzeltal ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón is situated in the jungle region of   the state of Chiapas in South-East Mexico. It is located in an area of great natural beauty, rich in flora and fauna. The common lands of the ejido straddle the access road to the spectacular series of turquoise waterfalls of Agua Azul, and are not far from the great Maya archaeological site of Palenque. For over 20 years, the Mexican government has planned, as part of the “Maya World” concept, a high class tourist mega-project in Chiapas to rival Cancun; Agua Azul is to be the “jewel in the crown” of this development, with a luxury “eco-lodge retreat” complete with arrival at the waterfalls by helicopter or seaplane. Unfortunately for the people who have lived on and cared for this land for centuries, for whom territory is the basis of a dignified life, they are now the only obstacle to what could become, for rich tourists, “one of the most special experiences in the Western hemisphere”, and, for the resort owners, a lucrative source of income. The realization of this project would inevitably involve dispossessing or co-opting the indigenous population, and taking over their ancestral lands and territory.

As a result, the ejidatarios of Bachajón have become the recipients of daily threats, aggressions, arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances, imprisonment, extensive use of torture, and attacks from paramilitary groups. The strategy of the three levels of government has been to develop alliances with, and give support to, local political party members so they will back the government plans, and to criminalise those who resist these plans, with the aim of generating conflict among the communities in the area.

Since 2006, Juan Vázquez Guzmán had been at the center of the struggle in defense of the common lands of the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón. On 24 April, 2013, he was shot dead with six bullets in the doorway of his home. He was aged only 32, and the father of two small children aged four and seven. His community members were left devastated, and his assassins escaped into the impunity which reigns in Mexico. There has been no evidence of an investigation into the murder, and the material and intellectual authors of the crime have not been identified.

Focus of conflict: the ticket booth

bachajon2In 2007, the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón “organised to defend our mother earth and natural resources”, and decided to become ‘Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle’, a Zapatista initiative which seeks to bring together the struggles of all those ‘from below and to the left’. As part of their struggle, they decided to take back control of the booth where tourists buy tickets to view the waterfalls.

In a communiqué released on July 2, 2013, they describe what this booth represented to them: “Our toll booth is a symbol of our struggle and resistance…. It represents the exercise of our right to autonomy and self-determination, not for personal gain but for the collective benefit of our people; using the income from the booth, work and projects are carried out for the common good and the defence of our territory; it is a space of struggle.”

Government-backed forces have violently evicted the Bachajón ejidatarios from the booth on repeated occasions. One of the most serious attacks was on February 2, 2011, when federal and state authorities took possession of an area of the common lands, as well as the ticket booth, through the use of state forces together with armed civilians. This provoked a clash which resulted in the arbitrary detention of 117 people, “as a means of dissolving the indigenous organization in resistance and of pressurizing them into handing over their lands into the control of the Mexican state”, according to San Sebastián Bachajón’s legal representative, Ricardo A. Lagunes Gasca.

Following the events of February 2, 2011, the ejidatarios of Bachajón put out an urgent call for solidarity, which was answered by Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York, who coordinated an international campaign which continued until the last four of the prisoners were set free on July 23, 2011. “Here in Chiapas law and justice do not exist, but rather the government imposes its mandate,” Juan Vázquez Guzmán explains in one of the videos released during the campaign. “We will never negotiate our lands. The only thing we are asking is that they respect our right to self-determination as indigenous people. We are demanding justice, control of our land and territory, and, above all, the right to care for ourselves and conserve the natural resources of the land.”

The Amparo

b3-300x200On March 2, 2011, one of the founders of the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón filed a petition requesting amparo (an order for legal protection) against the arbitrary deprivation of their common lands, and protection of their territory and collective rights. The acts of February 2, 2011, the petition stated, constituted “a partial and definitive deprivation of the common use lands, without consultation, and without the full, prior and informed consent of the General Assembly.”

On January 30, 2013, the Seventh District Judge of Tuxtla Gutiérrez gave judgement on the amparo after almost two years, declaring the request inadmissible. A different court, on May 16, 2013, overturned this decision, and ordered the amparo to be reinstated, referring the claim to the General Assembly of the Ejidatarios. The matter remains unresolved; as the community’s lawyer has pointed out, this is just the beginning: the theft of the rest of their land is still to come.

At the end of May 2013, the ejidatarios sent a delegation to Mexico City to present a letter to the president of the Council of the Federal Judiciary, asking him to ensure impartiality and objectivity in the resolution of their amparo. They also visited the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to demand the return of their territory, and asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington to issue measures to protect the autonomous authorities of the ejido and the family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán.

The struggle continues

bachajon circulo_Mesa de trabajo 26 copia 6 English round largeAt the end of May, 2013, a worldwide alliance of grassroots community organizations announced a new initiative in support of the adherents to the Sixth from San Sebastián Bachajón. The Week of Worldwide Action: “Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!” took place from Tuesday, June 25 (Juan’s birthday) to Tuesday, July 2, 2013.

Groups and individuals from all five continents took part, and acts of solidarity took place in countries including Mexico, the US, the UK, Germany, India, Austria, Peru, the Philippines, Argentina, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, France, Italy, Uruguay, Brazil and Colombia. Messages of support were received from many parts of the world, from organizations such as the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity and the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre, and from well-known writers and thinkers Hugo Blanco, Sylvia Marcos, Gustavo Esteva, and Raúl Zibechi.

In his pronouncement, Gustavo Esteva concluded: “The struggle of Juan and the people of San Sebastian Bachajón is clearly in the forefront of the battle in which our destiny will be defined…..  Juan’s struggle is directly linked with that of all of those who are defending their lands and their waters, their territories and their common properties, and also with all of those who have taken to the streets in other struggles against corruption and for justice.”

“Juan’s total commitment”, wrote Sylvia Marcos, “to the struggle for a dignified and autonomous life for his people and for the safeguarding, protection and defence of their territory was the reason for his vicious murder”.

bachajon1On July 2, 2013, hundreds of men and women from San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, carried out one of their traditional acts of protest, an “informative roadblock” of the Ocosingo-Palenque highway, near the entrance to the Agua Azul waterfall. They released a communiqué the same day which they read aloud  during the roadblock: “The men, women and children of San Sebastian Bachajón are willing to give their lives for our mother earth and for our struggle, just as compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán did, and as the native peoples of Mexico and the world have done for hundreds of years against oil, mining, wind, gas, dams and tourism projects, all of them bringing dispossession and death to our people, intending to destroy our way of life, our language and our culture.”

As they said in an earlier communiqué, on May 6, 2013: “The bad government wants to fill our lands with death and fear, so we get tired and no longer continue to defend our life, the people, our mother earth….but we are here and we are not going to leave, because even though they kill us and want to destroy us as indigenous peoples, the heart of the people is alive and will continue struggling whatever the cost.”

For further information in English: http://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/en-ingles/

*************************************************************************************

July 27, 2013

Frayba Denounces the Unjustified Delay in the Release of 3 Residents of the Ejido Puebla

Filed under: Acteal, Frayba, Paramilitary — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:06 pm

Frayba Denounces the Unjustified Delay in the Release of 3 Residents of the Ejido Puebla

 ** It calls on the three levels of government to address the growing violence in Los Altos (the highland region) of Chiapas

** They were arrested under false accusations and locked up for 67 hours without receiving food

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

cgtpolho.normalThe Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) has denounced the unwarranted delay in the release of the three residents of the ejido Puebla (Chenalhó, Chiapas), two of them EZLN support bases, arrested by authorities of the same ejido last week under false and malicious accusations of allegedly “poisoning” the water in a water tank.

On Tuesday, July 23, at 11:45 PM, the following were set free under the legal concept of reserves of law: Mariano Méndez, his son Luciano Méndez (both Zapatistas) and Juan López, “arbitrarily deprived of their freedom on July 20.” During the judicial investigations, Frayba points out, “the integration and determination of the preliminary investigation was unjustifiably delayed.”

During their detention in the installations of the Specialized Prosecutor for Indigenous Justice, Mariano, Luciano and Juan were locked up for approximately 67 hours in unhealthy conditions, without receiving food. Besides, “there was unwarranted delay in the judicial investigation, on the part of the prosecutor for the Public Ministry (MP, its initials in Spanish), in the reception and consideration given to the evidence” in favour of the detainees.

On the other hand, Frayba has recorded new information and testimonies about the acts of July 20 in the Puebla ejido. One of these states: “At 8:30 PM, when I was eating at my house, a group of people arrived from Colonia Puebla who are with the ejido authorities. They hit me with fists in the face, on my back and in my stomach, they also hurt my shoulder; then they took me to the basketball court where Mariano and Luciano were and they tied me up there.”

Another testimony mentions: “All the people got together, they threatened to spray us with petrol”.  It identified among them Agustín Cruz Gómez (ejido commissioner), Juan Arias Gutiérrez, Juan Gutiérrez Arias, Alonso Jiménez López (who was the ejido commissioner in 1997, the year in which the paramilitary escalation was unleashed which would culminate in the Acteal Massacre), Antonio Hernández Gómez (also an authority in 1997), Antonio Gutiérrez Méndez, Alejandro Gutiérrez Cruz, Mario and Javier Hernández Cruz, Javier Cruz López, Gustavo Entzín Cruz, Lorenzo Gómez Gómez. Of these, says the testimony, “we see that they were involved in the acts at Acteal on December 22, 1997.”

The people who gave these testimonies demonstrated fear “about what is happening in the region of Los Altos” and they reveal, according to the Frayba, “that the situation of violence has been worsening since the release of those materially responsible for the Acteal Massacre, granted by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation.”

Frayba expressed “concern and alarm” over what was revealed, reiterating the need for “urgent” attention to the violent situation, “since it has provoked violations of the human rights to freedom, integrity and personal security, among others, included in international conventions and treaties signed and ratified by the Mexican State”, because of which it urges “their respect and application” from the three levels of government.

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, July 26, 2013

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/07/26/politica/019n1pol

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

**********************************************************************

July 25, 2013

Three Indigenous Accused of Poisoning the Water in Ejido Puebla are released

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:54 pm

Three Indigenous Accused of Poisoning the Water in Ejido Puebla are released

 ** Junta denounces violence against Zapatista bases of Oventic

** They blame “PRI and PRD party members for screwing around with our compañeros”

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

The three indigenous from the ejido Puebla were released (from jail) on Tuesday night, two of them Zapatistas, who had been in the indigenous prosecutor’s installations in San Cristóbal de las Casas since the weekend. They are Mariano Méndez Méndez, Luciano Méndez Hernández and Juan López Santiz.

A little earlier, the Good Government Junta Central Heart of the Zapatistas before the World, with its seat in the Oventic Caracol, in Los Altos (the Highlands) of Chiapas, had denounced the violence against Zapatista support bases and Catholics in this ejido, in the autonomous municipality of San Pedro Polhó (official municipality of San Pedro Chenalhó). It placed responsibility on the “party members” of the PRI and PRD, “who are always screwing around with our compañero support bases” and who in 2012 cut off their supply of electricity.

“Where is the tranquility that the three levels of bad government announce so much? Where is the peace? Enough of so many falsehoods!” The Zapatista Junta also demanded “the cessation of the harassment and the death threats from the ejidal commission, other community authorities and members of the ejido’s Evangelical church.”

The autonomous Zapatista government identified the aggressors and accusers: “Those who did these barbarities call themselves Germán Gutiérrez Arias, Agustín Cruz Gómez (ejido commission), Lorenzo Gutiérrez Gómez, Javier Cruz López, Lorenzo López Méndez, Juan López Arias, Diego Hernández López, Nicolás Sántiz Arias and Agustín Méndez López.” Calixto and Benjamín Cruz Gómez, sons of Commissioner Cruz Gómez, were also present.

“This Junta has in its knowledge that the problem began due to religious grounds with Catholics and non-Catholics. On July 20, the authority of the Puebla ejido invents a problem, making the announcement over sound equipment that the water tank ‘is poisoned’, without saying who did it”, it recapitulates.

“Hearing that, our compañeros Mariano and his sons Luciano and Mauricio Méndez Hernández went to see their tank which they have separate [from the community tank], 50 meters from where the pro-government folks have theirs. Minutes later the party members arrived, without giving time for anything, the commission proceeded to arrest them, accusing them of poisoning the water.”

Mariano Méndez and his son Luciano were arrested and tied up. “Mariano is injured in his back and one arm is immobilized”, the Junta says. Besides, the officialists (pro-government party members) “went to arrest Juan López Sántiz in his house, also accused of participating”. His apprehension was: “without any crime, just with pure falsehoods”.

At the time of the incident, Rosa Hernández Méndez, Mariano’s wife, “went to see what was happening, but she was hit in the face there. The officialists tore her blouse and pulled her hair, while her husband and son (had) their hands and neck tied to a post on the basketball court, immobilizing them”, on the point of being burned with gasoline.

“On making the investigation, the authorities of the ejido Puebla did not permit a water sample to be taken. That is evidence of the big falsehood. All of this is supported by the three levels of bad government”, the Junta maintained.

“They did not let the human rights defenders see our compañeros because they did not want them to see and confirm the beatings and their state of health. By being present, the public ministry (prosecutor’s office) became an accomplice.

“The problem, apparently about the construction of the chapel, is in reality an attack against the Zapatista support bases and their sympathizers who for years have also been victims of threats, displacements and other barbarities from paramilitaries, community, municipal, state and federal authorities. The bad government’s institutions of justice have done absolutely nothing, other than incarcerate our compañeros without any evidence, with their only crime that of being Zapatistas and organizing their lives autonomously,” the Junta points out.

“The governments, judges and prosecutor’s agents are experts at fabricating crimes against innocent people and never at applying justice, as they have done every time, and they have shown far and wide in our state and in our country that they continue committing many injustices against our people, against innocent people…..

————————————————-

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Thursday, July 25, 2013

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/07/25/politica/017n1pol

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

*****************************************************************************

Unjustified delay in the release of three people arrested by the authorities of the ejido Puebla

Filed under: Frayba — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:44 pm

02670-frayba7865938_nCentro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, A.C.

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, July 24, 2013

Bulletin No. 18

Unjustified delay in the release of three people arrested by the authorities of the ejido Puebla

Yesterday, April 23, 2013, at 23:45 pm, the two support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, Mariano Méndez (hereinafter Mariano) and Luciano Méndez (hereinafter Luciano), along with Mr Juan López (hereinafter Juan), all of whom were arbitrarily deprived of their liberty on July 20, 2013, were released under the legal concept of Reservas de Ley. During judicial investigations the integration and the determination of the preliminary investigations were unjustifiably delayed.

During their detention in the facilities of the Specialised Prosecutor for Indigenous Justice, Mariano, Luciano and Juan were locked up for about 67 hours in unsanitary conditions, without food; in addition there was an unwarranted delay in the judicial investigation by the Prosecutor of the Public Ministry in the receipt and analysis of the evidence in favour of the detainees.

Moreover, we present new information collected by this Centre for Human Rights, about the events of July 20, 2013 in the ejido Puebla:

[…] At 8:30 pm, when I was at home eating, a group of people came from the colonia Puebla, who are with the ejido authorities. They punched me with their fists in the face, back and stomach, and hurt my shoulder, then they took me to the basketball court where Mariano and Luciano were and there they tied me.

Another witness mentioned:

They gathered all the people, they threatened to spray us with petrol, and they were Agustín Gómez Cruz, Ejidal Commissioner; Juan Arias Gutiérrez; Juan Gutiérrez Arias; Alonso Jiménez López, Ejidal Commissioner in 1997; Antonio Hernández Gómez, authority in 1997; Antonio Gutiérrez Méndez; Alejandro Gutiérrez Cruz, Mario Hernández Cruz; Javier Hernández Cruz, Javier Cruz Lopez, trustee of works; Gustavo Entzin Cruz, Lorenzo Gómez Gómez; we see that these people were involved in the events of the Acteal Massacre of December 22, 1997.

The testimonies of those people who were interviewed expressed fear about what is happening in the region of Los Altos, showing that the violence has become worse since the release of the material authors of the Acteal Massacre, which was granted by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation.

For the foregoing reasons this Centre for Human Rights expresses its concern and alertness, reiterating that it is urgent to address the situation of violence, since it has led to the violations of rights: to freedom, integrity and personal safety, among other human rights, which are included in international conventions and treaties signed and ratified by the Mexican state, and which the three levels of government are urged to respect and implement.

******************************************************************************************************

July 24, 2013

In Chenalhó, Seeds of “Violence and Hatred”

Filed under: Acteal — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:00 pm

In Chenalhó, Seeds of “Violence and Hatred”

 ** Impunity “only generates more conflicts”

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

Las Abejas of Acteal maintained that that acts in the ejido Puebla (Chenalhó municipality, Chiapas), where there is an alleged dispute over land that a Catholic chapel has   occupied for decades, are “a message of hatred and violence”. Evangelicals from the PRI, linked to the paramilitaries who perpetrated the Acteal Massacre, violently detained Mariano Méndez Méndez, Luciano Méndez Hernández and Juan López Méndez this Saturday and delivered them to judicial authorities, accusing them of “contaminating” the community’s water, an act that has not been confirmed.

Macario Arias Gómez, who together with Francisco López Santiz is threatened with  death by the PRI authorities, told La Jornada by telephone that those arrested are badly beaten “not in the face, but in the ribs and back, which the (agents) and lawyers of the Public Ministry cannot see”.

The PRI members place responsibility on Arias Gómez “for there being a problem” over a chapel that was never before in dispute, in a community where other Christian churches predominate, but only one group of officialist (pro-government) Evangelicals, improperly, is opposed to the Catholics re-building their chapel for worship. They finally took possession of the plot of land and jailed two indigenous EZLN support bases and a neighbour who defended them.

Arias Gómez relates that after the rumour had been circulated that the village’s water was “poisoned,” Mariano Méndez went to check his tank, “and it was there that they grabbed him, beat him up and accused him”. According to other testimonies, the PRI members emptied all the storage tanks afterwards, leaving the community without water and disappearing the possible evidence.

Meanwhile, the Civil Society Organization Las Abejas said: “Impunity in the Acteal case, and above all the release from prison of the paramilitary authors of the massacre, has generated more violence. This is precisely what is happening in the Colonia Puebla, because the paramilitaries already saw that robbing and killing is not punished; to the contrary, they receive rewards from the government.”

The Tzotzil organization points out: “Impunity only generates more conflicts and deaths. The counterinsurgency strategy of ex-President Ernesto Zedillo has left a legacy of pain and violence. And that is precisely what continues to be nourished in Puebla. The violence of the community authorities, by destroying the work of re-construction of the Catholic chapel on Thursday, July 18, and the aggression and physical torture of three people on July 20, is a clear message of hatred and violence.”

Las Abejas emphasize that the authorities of the place “instead of resolving the conflict through dialogue and as Tzotzil brothers, resort to violence, just as in 1997 the same authorities of this community beat our compañeros; what is happening is similar to how the  problem was worsening in 1997” (culminating in the Acteal Massacre).

The new conflict, the organization concludes, “has to do with the impunity and injustice that the bad government imparts,” and proposes: “While the land dispute is being resolved, the authorities must punish those responsible for the aggression against the detainees”, who should be released. And if “anything happens” to the compañeros of Las Abejas, “those responsible will be the ejido commissioner and the other community authorities”, as well as the municipal government, the state government of Manuel Velasco Coello and the federal government.

———————————————————-

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/07/24/politica/019n1pol

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

*****************************************************************************************************

Chiapas Cancels ‘Disastrous’ Forest Carbon Offset plan

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:56 pm

Chiapas Cancels ‘Disastrous’ Forest Carbon Offset plan 

 

Image: IEN

from Friends of the Earth-U.S. 

The state government of Chiapas has cancelled a controversial forest protection plan that critics said failed to address the root causes of deforestation and could endanger the lives and livelihoods of indigenous peoples. The program is linked to California’s cap-and-trade program through a complex “carbon offset” scheme that has yet to see the light of day.

Carlos Morales Vázquez, the Mexican state’s secretary of the environment, on July 8 told the Chiapas daily El Heraldo that the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation program “was an utter failure, and the program is cancelled.”

What the suspension of the program means for California’s agreement with Chiapas remains to be seen. The program, instituted in 2011 after Chiapas signed an agreement with California as part of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, AB32, has been widely criticized by civil society groups for its lack of clear objectives, absence of baseline measures of deforestation, and failure to engage indigenous people’s organizations or take into account historic tension over land rights that plague the region.

Europe’s emissions trading system, the largest carbon market in the world, does not accept REDD credits. The EU says reductions in carbon emissions from forest preservation are impossible to verify accurately, that preserving one forest in one place may only drive deforestation to another area, and that industrial pollution remains in the atmosphere for centuries while forests are more vulnerable to short-term changes.

“The idea that California could reduce its climate emissions by asking the state of Chiapas to preserve its forests was absurd from the beginning,” said Jeff Conant, international forests campaigner with Friends of the Earth-U.S. “The suspension of the program can only be seen as recognition that there are better ways to meet our goals of preserving ecosystems, supporting indigenous peoples’ rights and defusing the climate crisis.”

Friends of the Earth-Mexico, also known as Otros Mundos, called the REDD+ program in Chiapas “a chronicle of a disaster foreseen.”

“The failure of the REDD+ program shows why projects that attempt to commercialize nature can’t work in Chiapas,” said Claudia Ramos-Guillén of Friends of the Earth-Mexico. “This project has had tremendous costs for the indigenous and peasant communities of the state. Programs by which the tropical nations of the global South are paid to absorb the climate pollution of the industrial North are destined to fail as long as real solutions to the climate crisis are not put into practice.”

Morales, the Chiapas environment secretary, told El Heraldo that the program “didn’t have the results that were announced. I believe that environmental problems need to be addressed with real strategies, not just as casual occurrences.”

This spring, draft recommendations for moving the agreement between California, Chiapas and the Brazilian state of Acre generated a storm of criticism. Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace International, Global Justice Ecology Project, the Indigenous Environmental Network and dozens of other groups sent a letter to California’s Governor Jerry Brown asking him to reject the proposal, saying: “[The] proposal is not only unlikely to deliver real, additional and permanent emission reductions, but it would also prevent Californians from getting the benefits of AB 32 at home.” Groups in Chiapas and Brazil also sent letters to California authorities denouncing the effort.

Despite the news that the REDD+ program in Chiapas is suspended, the Action Program on Climate Change in Chiapas continues to refer to REDD+ as a keystone of the state’s climate change strategy, indicating that the project could be moved to other areas.

SOURCE: Earth First!

 

Is Chiapas carbon deal cancelled?

Ecosystem Markplace on July 19 reported that the Chiapas REDD project has not been cancelled, but is being reconfigured to conform to the recommendations of an advisory panel established for the project called the REDD Offsets Working Group (ROW).

 

****************************************************************************

The JBG from Oventik denounces the violence which occurred on 20th July against Zapatista Support Bases in Ejido Puebla, Municipality of San Pedro Polhó.

Filed under: Frayba, Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:25 pm

The JBG from Oventik denounces the violence which occurred on 20th July against Zapatista Support Bases in Ejido Puebla, Municipality of San Pedro Polhó.

* GOOD GOVERNMENT JUNTA*

* CENTRAL HEART OF THE ZAPATlSTAS BEFORE THE WORLD * 

* CARACOL TZOBOMBAIL LEKIL YU’UN J’AMTELETIK *

* TA TA O’LOL ZAPATISTA YO’ON SJUNUL YELOB STUK’IL BALUMIL *

July 22, 2013.

* TO PUBLIC OPINION *

* TO THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL PRESS *

* TO NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CIVIL SOCIETY *

* TO HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS *

* TO THE ALTERNATIVE MEDIA *

* TO ADHERENTS TO THE OTHER CAMPAIGN *

* TO ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH INTERNATIONAL *

* BROTHERS AND SISTERS. *

oventic2.grandeTHE GOOD GOVERNMENT JUNTA CENTRAL HEART OF THE ZAPATISTAS BEFORE THE WORLD BASED IN OVENTIK, CARACOL II RESISTANCE AND REBELLION FOR HUMANITY, HIGHLAND ZONE OF CHIAPAS.

WE DENOUNCE THE VIOLENCE WHICH OCCURRED ON 20TH JULY 2013 AT EJIDO PUEBLA, AUTONOMOUS MUNICIPALITY OF SAN PEDRO POLHÓ.

1. – This Good Government Junta has knowledge that the problem began for religious reasons between Catholics and non-Catholics and this difference has led to serious problems.

2. – For example, on July 20, 2013, the authority of the ejido Puebla (commissioner) invented a problem, making an announcement over the loudspeaker to say that the water tank was poisoned, but not saying who by.

On hearing this, our compañeros Mariano Méndez Mendez and his sons Luciano Méndez Hernández and Mauricio Mendez Hernández, went to look at their water tank, which was separate, about 50 metres from that of the ‘officialists’.

Minutes later the party supporters arrived, and without giving time for anything, the commissioner proceeded to arrest our compañeros, blaming them for poisoning the water.

3. – The support bases who were arrested are:  Mariano Méndez Mendez and Luciano Méndez Hernández, because the other managed to get away, although he was pursued by the party supporters.

The compañeros who were arrested were beaten and tied up and Mariano’s back was injured and he cannot move his arm.

In addition to the arrest of the two compañeros, they went to arrest Juan López Sántiz at his home also accusing him of participating in poisoning the water.

4. – Compañera Rosa Hernández Méndez, Mariano’s wife, went to see what was happening to her husband, but she was also hit in the face there, they tore her blouse and her hair was pulled by the officialists. Meanwhile her husband and son were immobilized, tied by the hands and neck to the pole of the basketball court, and they were going to burn them with petrol.

5. -Those that carried out these atrocities are called: Germán Gutiérrez Arias, Agustín Cruz Gómez ejidal commissioner, Lorenzo Gutiérrez Gómez municipal rural agent, Javier Cruz López trustee of public works, Lorenzo López Méndez from the light committee, Juan López Arias from the security committee, Diego Hernández López from the health committee, Nicolás Sántiz Árias assistant to the municipal agent and Agustín Méndez López public works assistant; also present were Galixto and Benjamín Cruz Gómez, sons of the ejidal commissioner Agustín Cruz Gómez.

6.- Because of this the non-Catholics, who are party supporters belonging to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), have for a while been screwing our Zapatista support base compañeros, and they have cut off the light of our compañeros since 2012.

7.-They are now in the public ministry in San Cristóbal de las Casas, detained without having committed any crime, they are deprived of their liberty only through pure lies.

8. – When making investigations, the authorities of ejido Puebla did not allow a water sample to be taken. That is the proof of the great falsehood. All this is supported by the levels of bad governments.

9. – They did not allow the human rights defenders to enter to see our compañeros, because they did not want the beatings and the state of health of our compañeros to be seen and confirmed by another person. By being present, the public minister became an accomplice.

Now the apparent problem with the construction of the chapel: when it is in reality an attack on the Zapatista support bases and their sympathisers who for years have also been the victims of threats, displacements and other atrocities from paramilitaries, and from community, municipal, state and federal authorities.

Hence, in spite of the intervention of Frayba, the institutions of justice of the bad government and the three levels of government, have done absolutely nothing other than imprison our compañeros without any proof at all, just for the sole crime of being Zapatista and organizing their lives autonomously.

Governments, judges and ministers are experts at manufacturing crimes for innocent people and never dispensing justice, they have done this all the time as they have demonstrated throughout our state and our country, they continue to commit many injustices against our people, against innocent people, and all kinds of human rights violations which they are committing every day.

10. – For all this; Where is the peace, announced loudly by the three levels of bad government? Where is the peace? Enough of so many falsehoods! Immediate freedom for our compañeros Mariano Mendez Méndez, Luciano Méndez Hernández and for Juan López Santiz!

An immediate cessation of the harassment and death threats being made by the ejidal commissioner, other community authorities and members of the Evangelical Church of the ejido.

11. – We call on all those persons, groups or organizations to remain aware of all that the bad governments are doing and committing against our peoples.

We the Good Government Junta, we will not stop publicly denouncing the provocations, harassment and assaults suffered by our compañeros and compañeras the support bases. Even though the bad State, municipal and federal governments continue to support, advise and back the aggressors to continue provoking, threatening and manufacturing crimes against innocent people.

We the Zapatistas continue to go forward with the construction of our autonomy and the exercise of our self-determination. We will continue with our struggle for democracy, freedom and justice for all.

That is all our word for now, we remain alert as to what may happen to our Zapatistas.

* ATTENTIVELY *

* GOOD GOVERNMENT JUNTA CENTRAL HEART OF THE ZAPATISTAS BEFORE THE WORLD, HIGHLAND ZONE OF CHIAPAS *

* STAMP OF THE JUNTA *

* SIGNED *

* DAVID GÓMEZ GIRON *

* GERMAN VASQUEZ HERNÁNDEZ *

* DANIELA GÓMEZ MÉNDEZ *

* MAURICIO GOMEZ JUÁREZ *

***********************************************************************************************

Frayba Denounces the Beating of Three Arrested Tzotziles in Chiapas by Evangelicals

Filed under: Frayba, Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:21 pm

Frayba Denounces the Beating of Three Arrested Tzotziles in Chiapas by Evangelicals

 ** Two of the victims are EZLN support bases; prosecutor prevents physical examination

** Authorities of the ejido Puebla  “falsely” accuse them of poisoning the water, the Centre maintains

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

san_Pedro PolhoTwo of the three Tzotzil residents of the ejido Puebla (Chenalhó municipality, Chiapas) arbitrarily arrested on Saturday by a group of Evangelicals, were found to be support bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN): Mariano Méndez Méndez and Luciano Méndez Hernández. The third, Juan López Méndez, of the Baptist religion, was arrested for showing his disagreement with the apprehension of the Zapatistas.

The Frayba Human Rights Centre was able to document that the three are injured from the beating that the Evangelicals gave them. The Evangelicals are headed by ejidal commissioner Agustín Cruz Gómez and by other followers, from the same religion, of the former PRI mayor Jacinto Arias Cruz, who was convicted for his participation in the Acteal Massacre, and recently released [from prison] by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation.

As for the detainees, “falsely accused by ejido authorities of ‘poisoning the water’”,  Frayba specifies that they were transferred at 12:30 AM on July 21 to the facilities of the Specialized Prosecutor for Indigenous Justice, belonging to the Prosecutor’s Office of the Highlands District, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. At two o’clock in the morning, they were locked in cells of that same government agency.

Witnesses cited by Frayba “assert that they were beaten, and that Juan López Méndez, for being in disagreement with the decisions made by ejido authorities, was arrested and likewise beaten by the same authorities”.

Frayba denounced the Office of the Indigenous Prosecutor for “obstructing work in defence of human rights”, and it stated that, “due to the context of violence”, its personnel went to that Office this Sunday, but the prosecutor of the Public Ministry (Ministerio Público, MP), head of Mesa number 4, Socorro Gómez Santiz, “did not permit the verifying of the situation of the physical and psychological integrity of the detainees, given that different witnesses confirm that they are injured.”

Nevertheless, Commissioner Agustín Cruz Gómez took the opportunity that same Sunday afternoon to present charges to the MP against the detainees. The authorities permitted this, despite the fact that the accuser was also the one who had done the beating. Everything indicates that the usual proceedings in Chiapas were put aside in order to blame and punish innocent indigenous. The state prisons are full of such people, as Alberto Patishtán Gómez has been denouncing since his imprisonment.

Finally on Monday the lawyers managed to visit the detainees, but the MP prevented an assessment of their physical condition. The deadline for bringing formal charges expires at five am today Tuesday, and apparently they did not give their statements until Monday afternoon.

Moreover, according to reports collected by Frayba, the residents of ejido Puebla  are without a water supply, “since the authorities decided to empty the tanks that supply the community, a situation that is harming the residents”, and causing distress. A climate of provocation is evident, the state authorities have not acted to prevent it and the health inspectors have not confirmed the existence of poisoning.

According to testimony of the residents, “during the detentions (arrests) that occurred on July 20, the ejido commissioner accused the Civil Society Las Abejas of Acteal “of leading and provoking the situation of instability in which the ejido is living, due to the construction of the new chapel”. The principal persons accused are Macario Arias Gómez and the catechist Francisco López Santiz.

Frayba shows “utmost concern” and demands that the federal government, as well as the Chiapas government, “attend to the problem”, release “immediately” Mariano Méndez Méndez and Luciano Méndez Hernández, Zapatista bases, and Juan López Méndez, and provide them with immediate medical attention, “since they were beaten at the time of the arrest and are physically affected”.

It also demands that the physical and psychological integrity of the detainees and of Las Abejas of Acteal members, specifically Macario Arias Gómez and Francisco López Santiz, be guaranteed.

Lastly, Frayba demands that the government “attend to the conflict situation in the ejido Puebla  through dialogue and that agreements between the parties in conflict be given priority”.

On Monday afternoon, according to reports from the place also known as Colonia Puebla, the atmosphere was tense. Hostilities were reported against the Catholics, and some cases of collective hysteria for fear of the alleged “poisoning,” which heightens the tension.

At nightfall it was reported that PRI members in Puebla were holding two members of the “Samuel Ruiz” Social Action organization (previously Cáritas Chiapas), the parish council member Pedro López Arias and Gilberto Pérez, who were taking food supplies and water to the families under attack; at the close of this edition they had not been released.

———————————————————-

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/07/23/politica/015n1pol

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

***********************************************************************************************

July 23, 2013

Urgent Action: The Violence Escalates in the Ejido Puebla

Filed under: Frayba — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:45 pm

Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, A.C.

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México

20th of July of 2013

AU No. 02

Urgent Action 

The Violence Escalates in the Ejido Puebla

 

 

Two Catholics deprived arbitrarily of their freedom, beaten and threatened with lynching 

Three Catholics accused of heading the construction of a chapel threatened with death. 

banner_fraybaAccording to information provided to this Center of Human Rights today, at approximately 18:00 hrs, en the ejido Puebla, Chenalhó, Mariano Méndez Méndez y Luciano Méndez Hernández, members of the Catholic Church, were detained arbitrarily in a violent manner while sustaining blows under the pretext of having poisoned the water in the community.

Upon being apprehended near their homes, they were dragged for fifteen minutes on the way to the school of the ejido a, once there, tied at the hands and neck and immobilized to a post in the basketball court by Germán Gutiérrez Arias and community authorities. Afterwards, they were threatened with being doused in gasoline and set on fire “in order to finish them both at once”. Among the attackers were Nicolás Santiz Arias, Assistant to the Municipal Officer and Agustín Méndez López, Assistant of Public Works; also present were Calixto and Benjamín Cruz Gómez sons of the Head of the Assembly of the ejido, Agustín Cruz Gómez.

When they were gathered there together, they were surrounded by Humberto Méndez Méndez, brother of Mariano; the head of the assembly of the ejido, Agustín Cruz Gómez; Lorenzo Gutiérrez Gómez, Rural Municipal Officer; Javier Cruz López, Trustee of Public Works; Lorenzo López Méndez, of the Light Committee; Juan López Arias, of the Security Committee; and Diego Hernández López, of the Health Committee, who hurled insults against Macario Arias Gómez, Pedro López Guzmán, representatives of the Catholic Church, and Francisco López Santiz, catechist, inciting the persons present to catch them and kill them, something that hadn’t happened because those three people were not to be found anywhere. In agreement with testimonies, currently, approximately 35 persons of the Catholic religion are being kept surrounded in the chapel.

During these events, Sra. Rosa Hernández Méndez, the wife of Mariano Méndez Méndez was also attacked with blows by some of the women in the community; in addition, we have knowledge that the Municipal Trustee, Andrés Gómez Vázquez, arrived at the ejido Puebla was not allowed to leave. 

Because of the seriousness of this situation this Center of Human Rights demands: 

 

  • That the life, integrity and personal security are protected and that they are freed immediately the following persons: Mariano Méndez Méndez, Luciano Méndez Hernández, Humberto Méndez Méndez and the 35 people pertaining to the Catholic Church who are  in the chapel of the ejido Puebla. 
  • That the integrity and personal security of Sres. Macario Arias Gómez, Pedro López Guzmán and Francisco López Santiz threatened with death and, at close of this intervention, are being searched for in the ejido, are protected. 
  • Investigation, sanction and punishment for those responsible for the violent acts in the ejido. 
  • The immediate cessation of the death threats and the hostility on the part of the authorities of the ejido Puebla and the reestablishment of a normal situation.

 

 

Antecedents:

The 7th of April of 2013, 32 Catholic families agreed to begin the work of redesign and construction of a new chapel, as the old one was deteriorating, which implied a risk for the community.

The 12 of April of 2013, they began to demolish the old chapel with the intention of constructing the new one.

The 29 de April of 2013, at 15:00 hrs. a group of approximately 140 persons, headed by the head of the assembly of the ejido, Agustín Cruz Gómez, and by other authorities of the community, such as Lorenzo Gutiérrez Gómez, Municipal Officer; Juan López Arias of the Security Council; Miguel Cruz Arias of the Education Committee; Lorenzo López Méndez of the light committee; and members of the  Trustees of Works and Health Committee, all of them pertaining to the Institutional Revolutionary Party and members of the Evangelical religion, many of them pastors of that church, broke down the door to the entrance of the property of the Catholic Church where the chapel and a community kitchen is located, invaded the land and, after measuring and placing a landmark at 28.3 meters (approx. 93 feet) from the entrance, they threatened that they would seize from that parcel of land any building materials found in that space. Since that day, work was interrupted.

After the threats and hostilities, the 1st of July of 2013 the members of the Catholic religion decided to resume work on the construction of the chapel.

The 18 of July of 2013, at approximately 19:00 hrs. a group of people headed by Agustín Méndez López and Javier Cruz López of the Board of Trustees of Works, they destroyed that which had been constructed of the new chapel.

 

 

 

Send your appeals to:

 

Lic. Enrique Peña Nieto

Presidente de la República

Residencia Oficial de los Pinos

Casa Miguel Alemán

Col. San Miguel Chapultepec,

C.P. 11850, México DF

Tel: (52.55) 2789.1100 Fax: (52.55) 5277.2376 

 

 

Lic. Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong

Secretario de Gobernación

Bucareli 99, 1er. Piso, Col. Juárez,

Del. Cuauhtémoc,

C.P. 06600 México D.F.]

Fax: (52 55) 50933414;

Correo:  secretario@segob.gob.mx

Lic.  Manuel Velasco Coello

Gobernador Constitucional del Estado de Chiapas

Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas, 1er Piso
Av.
Central y Primera Oriente, Colonia Centro, C.P. 29009
Tuxtla
Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México

Fax: +52 961 61 88088+ 52 961 6188056

Extensión 21120. 21122;

Correo: secparticular@chiapas.gob.mx

Oscar Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar

Secretario General de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas

Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas, 2do Piso

Av. Central y Primera Oriente, Colonia Centro, C.P. 29009

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México

Conmutador: + 52 (961) 61 2-90-47, 61 8-74-60

Extensión: 20003;

Correo: secretario@secgobierno.chiapas.gob.mx

 

Lic. Raciel López Salazar

Procuraduría General de Justicia de Chiapas

Libramiento Norte Y Rosa Del Oriente, No. 2010, Col. El Bosque

C.P. 29049 Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas

Conmutador: 01 (961) 6-17-23-00. Teléfono: + 52 (961) 61 6-53-74, 61 6-53-76, 61 6-57-24,

61 6-34-50

Correo: raciel.lopez@pgje.chiapas.gob.mx

 

Lic. José Arias Vázquez.

Presidente Municipal Chenalhó,

919 11 90 137

 

Dr. Emilio Álvarez Icaza

Secretario Ejecutivo de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos
1889 F Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
USA

Fax 1-202-458-3992

Correo: cidhdenuncias@oas.org

Javier Hernández Valencia

Representante de la Oficina en México del Alto Comisionado

de Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos

Alejandro Dumas No 165

Col. Polanco.

Del. Miguel Hidalgo

C.P 11560, México D.F.

Tel: (52-55) 5061-6350

Fax: (52-55) 5061-6358

Correo: quejasoacnudhmexico@ohchr.orgoacnudh@ohchr.org

Send a copy to:

 

Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, A.C.

Calle Brasil 14, Barrio Méxicanos,

29240 San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México

Tel: 967 6787395, 967 6787396, Fax: 967 6783548

Correo: accionesurgentes@frayba.org.mx

 

 ***************************************************************************************

July 22, 2013

Tonalá Masa Companies Launch Campaign against the Digna Ochoa Centre

Filed under: Maize — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:43 pm

 

 

Tonalá Masa Companies Launch Campaign against the Digna Ochoa Centre

 ** They include accusations, threats and slander against cooperative members

** Independent producers defend their right to sell at prices more accessible for the population

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

consejo-autonomo-300x187Companies producing Masa (dough for tortillas) and tortilla in Tonalá, Chiapas, through some state and regional media, have unleashed a smear campaign against the Digna Ochoa Human Rights Centre. It harasses, threatens and slanders the tortilla producers and distributors of the la Bersaín Hernández Zavala Cooperative Society, part of the Regional Autonomous Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle.

Therefore, the autonomous tortilla makers and defenders “fear operations and verifications using public force, violating the rights of the cooperative society’s members”, made up of distributors on mopeds, collectors, machine operators, dispatchers and proprietors, who have organized themselves like this since March 26. “On different occasions they have been singled out and criminalised by the municipal authorities, accusing them of being criminals,” the Digna Ochoa Centre denounces.

Last Tuesday, July 16, on the program Notinúcleo, from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Tonalá masa and tortilla companies spread “assertions and direct accusations against Nataniel Hernández Núñez and Bersaín Hernández Zavala, director and president respectively of the Centre’s Board of Directors, and the latter also the founder of the now historic Tonalteco Civic Front. They labeled them as: “pseudo leaders who are dedicated to blocking highways and taking over municipal presidencies without any authority to intervene,” and accused them of “wanting to monopolize the masa and tortilla industry in Tonalá and neighboring municipalities.”

What the autonomous tortilla sellers have done is defend their right to sell at prices more accessible to the population, outside the local mafias, and organize themselves in the Sixth with the autonomous council of the coastal region; in the same way as business people, tricycle taxis and other independent groups that are harassed by the authorities.

The false accusations go further, because they characterize them as “a group of distributors who are distinguished by bearing a red star, who go out committing robberies and generating delinquency in the city, shielding themselves in the organization named Civic Front”, where “they pass themselves off as human rights defenders (people) who only seek to obstruct the social peace that exists in the municipality”.

On Wednesday, July 17, during the officialist (pro-government) programme My City (Mi Ciudad), of the Notinúcleo broadcast from Tonalá, personnel from the municipality presented themselves “to talk about the regularization of tortilla companies in the municipality.” Aarón Cisneros (treasurer), Manlio Alonso Villasis Adad (representative from Health) and Armando de los Santos García (Director of Civil Protection) “stated ‘that they would enforce the regulations and a minute agreement.’” The agreement was allegedly signed on May 2 between authorities and groups of tortilla makers to endorse verification of the establishments on these July dates.

“This Centre has accompanied the process since the formation and consolidation of the cooperative society, and has witnessed and documented several meetings with municipal authorities, and at no time has any agreement and/or document been signed wherein operations for the tortilla factories are accepted.” On the other hand, a written document exists that established the creation of a “technical consulting committee for masa and tortilla” on May 2, the Digna Ochoa Centre mentions. “City Hall has sought to dispossess the tortilla distributors on mopeds of their source of work, despite the fact that it is allowed in the rules of masa and tortilla.”

On June 20, the regional council of the Coast declared: “Ever since this group of common people, humble workers has decided to be part of our organization, they have been victims of threats, harassment, jokes, disrespect from authorities and a group of impresarios that used to monopolize the masa and tortilla industry in Tonalá.” They have “obliged” the gas companies “not to sell to the small tortilla makers who are not in agreement with their impositions and manipulations.” They conduct “simulated operations” to harass the distributors “and to ask them for a payoff or bribe with the excuse of making routine inspections.”

 

——————————————————

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, July 21, 2013

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/07/21/politica/016n1pol

 

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

 

 

 

*******************************************************************************************

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.