dorset chiapas solidarity

December 31, 2014

Festival of Resistances and Rebellions: The Struggle of the San Sebastián Bachajón Ejido

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement, Paramilitary, Repression, Tourism — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:39 pm

 

Festival of Resistances and Rebellions: The Struggle of the San Sebastián Bachajón Ejido

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Published on Dec 28, 2014

Within the Xochicuautla exchange, part of the 1st Global Festival of Resistances and Rebellions Against Capitalism, we were able to speak with representatives of the San Sebastián Bachajón Ejido in the context of the recent recovery of lands. This is what they told us.

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URGENT!!! Threats and harassment against the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement, Indigenous, Paramilitary, Repression, Tourism — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:13 pm

 

URGENT!!! Threats and harassment against the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón

 CASETA-COBRO

URGENT!!!

December 30, 2014

We the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle from San Sebastián Bachajon, are resisting and protecting our territory

The officialist (government-supporting) ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, and his vigilance councillor, Samuel Díaz Guzmán, have threatened to displace us and to raise arrest warrants against us.

In an approach that was between the ejidatarios of the Sixth and delegates from the Chiapas state government to seek a dialogue between the ejidatarios of the Sixth and the ruling party, the government people demanded that we withdraw from the recovered land, so as to tell the ejidal commissioner and his people that dialogue was agreed.

This demand was accompanied by threats that if we did not leave the land we would be displaced and arrest warrants issued against us.

For his part, the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez and the people he has been organizing and paying to create tension, today blocked the roads from San Cristobal-Palenque and San Cristobal-Chilón (Temó).

-However, we, the ejidatarios, women and men, are not afraid because we are not doing anything illegal and we will continue to defend our lands peacefully.

We remain ready to dialogue with the other ejidatarios but not to withdraw from the reclaimed lands.

BACKGROUND

-On 21st December last, we, ejidatarios, men and women from the three centres of San Sebastián Bachajón: Bachajón, Alan Sacjun and Ch’ich, adherents and non-adherents to the Sixth, recovered the lands the bad Mexican government took from us, through CONANP, IPC and SSyPC, without permission and/or authorisation from the ejido, depriving us of our right to consultation and free, prior and informed consent. These lands are of great economic importance to the bad government because they access the ecotourism centre of the Agua Azul waterfalls, a centre that has been enriching them at the expense of our people.

We hold the three levels of government and their accomplices responsible for any physical and/or psychological assault which may take place against our women and men compañeros of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón who are on the reclaimed land.

We demand that they stop the threats and harassment which their own state government agencies are planning against us.

 

“Tierra y Libertad”

“Juan Vázquez Guzmán LIVES, the Bachajón struggle continues”

San Sebastián Bachajón, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the EZLN

More about the Bachajón struggle: https://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/

 

http://komanilel.org/2014/12/30/urgente-amenazas-y-hostigamientos-contra-ejidataris-de-san-sebastian-bachajon/

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EZLN: weaving resistances together with Ayotzinapa

Filed under: Indigenous, Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:58 pm

 

EZLN: weaving resistances together with Ayotzinapa

By: Magdalena Gómez

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On the very next January 2 and 3, 2015, the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and the Indigenous National Congress (CNI) will hold the plenary of conclusions, agreements and pronouncements in Cideci, in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, the results of the word expressed in the different exchanges (sharing) of the First Worldwide Festival of Resistances and Rebellions against Capitalism “What those above destroy those below reconstruct.”

 

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The festival expresses the phase opened at the end of 2012. The EZLN’s death as a project had been repeatedly announced, along with the indigenous cause, adducing that: “it already passed from fashion.” Such an absurdity was disproven on December 21, 2012, when Zapatismo held massive silent marches in various Chiapas municipalities, emphasizing anew their entrance to San Cristóbal de las Casas. In them, the symbolic message was the question: “Did you hear it?” Early in 2013, the EZLN profiled two initiatives of re-articulation; the first was the Cátedra Tata Juan Chávez, convoked jointly with the National Indigenous Congress; the second: during August and December and also the first week in January 2014 the escuelita zapatista (Little Zapatista School) was held, which brought together thousands of national and foreign and foreign students in all the Caracoles to know directly from the Zapatista bases the extraordinary systemization of their autonomous organizational experience in the Good Government Juntas. The CNI held different regional meetings during the first half of this year, which culminated in the August Exchange, in which it was agreed to hold the festival that is about to conclude.

This same year, the EZLN suffered one of the most serious attacks that it has faced, just when it is promoting the re-articulation with the CNI and other movements. Last May 2, members of the Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos Historic (Cioac-H, its initials in Spanish) murdered José Luis Solís López, Galeano, a teacher at the escuelita zapatista. The brutality of the crime and the ambush were carried out in La Realidad, one of the emblematic bastions of Zapatismo. Within this context, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos announced his disappearance and the birth of Subcomandante Galeano and, nevertheless indicated that the EZLN reaffirms its option for peace and not war, in favour of life and not death. With the noted process underway, last September 26 it received the blow of the disappearance of 43 normalistas from Ayotzinapa.

The caravans of relatives of the disappeared students were received inside Zapatista lands on November 15, 2014 and Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés expressed a profound message: “Your words are of utmost importance to us: your rage, your rebellion, your resistance. There, on the outside, they are talking and arguing and making allegations over violence or non-violence, ignoring the fact that there is violence on most people’s tables every day. Violence walks with them to work and to school, goes home with them, sleeps with them, and without consideration for age, race, gender, language, or culture, makes a nightmare out of their dreams and realities. We hear, see, and read that on the outside they are debating coups from the right or the left, who to take out of power and who to put in. They forget that the entire political system is rotten.

He also counselled them to avoid division, getting ready to face betrayal and abandonment when the specific cause is out of style and, above all, to look below, and from there, only from there, to weave their alliances. Seek the native peoples, he told them, who since before time was time, possessed the wisdom to resist, and there is no one that knows more about pain and rage. And he warned: “We know that many ask things of you, that they urge you, that they demand of you, that they want to lead you toward one destiny or the other, that want to use you and that they want to tell you what to do.”

One month later: “We Zapatistas, are here. And from here we see, hear and read that the voice of the family members and the compañer@s of the murdered and disappeared of Ayotzinapa is starting to be forgotten and that now, for some folks out there, the more important things are: -the words of others that have taken the stage; -the discussion about what tactics and strategy to follow so that the movement will transcends its limits.

“Therefore we say that what is first, most important and urgent is to listen to the family members and compañeros of the disappeared and murdered of Ayotzinapa. Those are the voices that have touched the hearts of millions of people in Mexico and in the world.” They then expressed their decision to “cede our place at the first Worldwide Festival of Resistances and Rebellions against Capitalism to the relatives and compañeros of the murdered and disappeared normalistas of Ayotzinapa.” Already in 1995 they opened the table for dialogue with the government to all the country’s indigenous peoples; these are authentic democratic lessons. This weaving of secure alliances will show hopeful strategies.

 

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/12/30/opinion/018a1pol

 

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Megaprojects among Major Causes of Conflict

Filed under: Corporations, Displacement, Indigenous, Mining, Tourism, water — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:55 pm

 

Megaprojects among Major Causes of Conflict

 

For over 11 years the Council of Ejidos and Communities opposed to the La Parota dam have been in struggle to defend their territory, culture and identity. Photo Javier Verdin.

For over 11 years the Council of Ejidos and Communities opposed to the La Parota dam have been in struggle to defend their territory, culture and identity. Photo Javier Verdin.

 Correspondents with Fernando Camacho

La Jornada, 30th December 2014

In recent years, megaprojects, including mines, hydroelectric dams, expressways, airports, wind farms, aqueducts and even tourist development, have become one of the main causes of social unrest across the country, report regional correspondents for La Jornada.

This is not only because where megaprojects become established they “deprive” the communities of their natural resources, “ignoring their opinion and their will,” but also because they generate “high levels” of contamination in the soil and water, and [companies] divide the people in order to impose their interests. They are even identified as being responsible for the imprisonment and murder of opposition activists, according to reports by multiple civil society groups.

Mining Companies Impose Their Interests

According to an analysis conducted by this newspaper’s regional correspondents, the mining megaprojects are one of the activities most questioned by the peoples whose lands are exploited by these companies—the majority being foreign—, but specialists from universities and NGOs also object to them.

The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal recently reported that mines are a major cause of tension in Latin America, generating about 200 social conflicts in the region, of which about 90 involve Canadian companies that violate the environmental laws of the region where they work and cause the breakdown of the social fabric.

Locally, the Mexican Network of People Affected by the Mining Industry identified at least 35 “hot spots” occasioned by this activity:

  • San Luis Potosí: 10;
  • Oaxaca: 4;
  • Michoacán and Guerrero: 3 each;
  • Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Hidalgo, Puebla and Zacatecas: 2 per state; and in
  • Chiapas, Colima, Jalisco, Durango, Morelos and Veracruz: at least 1 in each state.

Furthermore, in virtually all cases, the mining companies violate Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization—signed and ratified by Mexico—, which establishes the right of indigenous communities to prior, free and informed consultation, to ask for their authorization before implementing any economic project in their territories.

A recent case illustrating the lack of controls on mining companies and the ecological damage that they can cause is that of the Buenavista Copper mine and the Cananea mine, subsidiaries of Grupo Mexico. On August 7, 2014, they spilled 45 million litres of copper sulphate and heavy metals into the Bacanuchi and Sonora Rivers. The spill has almost completely paralyzed economic activities in seven Sonora municipalities.

Another prime example illustrating the poor conditions in which miners work, despite the millions in profits for owners of the mining companies, is the Pasta de Conchos mine located in the coal region of Coahuila—also owned by Grupo México. On February 19, 2006, an explosion occurred that trapped 65 workers at a depth of more than 700 metres.

According to the Coahuila Attorney General, the mine exploded from the accumulation of methane gas, which is derived from the extraction of coal and cannot be smelled. Surviving workers and former employees at that mine said the company forced them to work even when electronic sensors detected concentrations of gas that exceeded permissible levels.

Expressways Deprive Communities

Similarly, the construction of expressways is a source of conflicts in various states; above all, because the process is often rife with land grabs, non-payment of compensation and a lack of consultation with affected peoples.

In the state of Mexico, the case of 15 families from the village of San Francisco, whose homes and businesses were demolished to start construction of the Naucalpan expressway to the Toluca Airport, is emblematic. Additionally, they were fined more than 3.7 million pesos for filling in part of a ravine adjoining the lots where they had once lived.

Although they never refused to leave the land, the former landowners claim that state authorities demolished their houses when they were still inhabited, so they could not rescue either their goods or personal documents. Similarly, they never kept promises that they would be compensated, so that they had to resort to legal means to claim the payment of damages.

In Guanajuato, Magdaleno Ramírez, president of the Indigenous State Council and representative of 26 Ñañus communities, appeared before the National Human Rights Commission to report the violation of the rights of indigenous people by the PAN government of Guanajuato while trying to steal their land for construction of the Silao-San Miguel de Allende expressway.

In the complaint, the indigenous leader accused the state of constantly threatening him that it might withdraw the amparo [injunction-like protection] issued against the expressway. The judicial process has stopped construction work.

Another Source of Conflict: Power Plants and Wind Farms

10689664_590724571049895_6459446259659774191_nRegarding power generation initiatives, one of the latest examples is the Morelos Comprehensive Project, through which it is sought to install two combined cycle thermoelectric plants in the village of Huexca, Morelos. The project also includes a gas pipeline of 160 kilometres that will go through 60 villages in three states (Puebla, Tlaxcala and Morelos) and an aqueduct that will transport 50 million litres of water a day.

 

According to social organizations in the region, the Federal Electricity Commission’s project—where 1.6 million USD would be invested, above all in concessions to the Spanish companies Elecnor and Enagas, and to the Italian company Bonatti—is a “time bomb”. In addition to the environmental implications of the use of different materials in the thermoelectric plants, the gas pipeline would pass through an area of seismic and volcanic activity.

Similarly, in the state of Oaxaca, the installation of 17 wind farms—licensed to 11 international companies—caused several Zapotec and Huave communities on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to organize themselves to resist what they called “the new Conquest”.

In the town of Union Hidalgo, a group of 28 villagers agreed to lease their land to the company Mexican Wind Developments, a subsidiary of the Spanish Renewable Energy company, but after a few months they changed their minds and organized themselves, demanding that the Agriculture Prosecutor decree cessation of the contracts.

Another iconic, recent case of megaprojects begun without asking for the consent of the people is the Independence Aqueduct in the state of Sonora, by which annually 75 million cubic metres of water would be diverted from the Yaqui River watershed to the Sonora River in order to supply water to the city of Hermosillo [Sonora state capital].

Although in 2013 the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation granted an amparo [injunction-like protection] filed by the Yaqui tribe against the environmental impact statement issued by the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources for the aqueduct, it continues to operate while a consultation has not been held among the indigenous people on this issue, and thus has not met the requirements of being free and informed, according to protesters.

Tourist Development

Tourist projects can also become elements of conflict or ecological imbalance, as is demonstrated by the case of the Cabo Cortés project in National Cabo Pulmo Park in Baja California Sur. The project aimed to construct a marina for more than 400 boats, 27,000 hotel rooms, shopping centres and two golf courses in a region of low population density and great water scarcity.

However, in June of 2012, after various civil organizations and academic experts, had for years warned of the infeasibility of the project, then-President Felipe Calderón announced cancellation of the licences granted to the Spanish company Hansa Baja Investments

 

Translated by Jane Brundage

 

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/12/30/politica/013n1pol

 

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Yaqui, Acteal, Ayotzinapa: The Covenant in Xochicuautla during the Festival of Resistance and Rebellion

Filed under: Indigenous, Zapatista — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:00 pm

 

Yaqui, Acteal, Ayotzinapa: The Covenant in Xochicuautla during the Festival of Resistance and Rebellion

By: Aldabi Olvera 

Festival1

Photo: Erika Lozano

 

More or less, this was what the Yaqui spokesman said in Spanish:

“We come here to uphold the oath we made in Vícam in 2007:

An injury to one is an injury to all.”

Earlier, the spokesman had spoken in Yaqui and among the message of his tribe could be made out: “mourners,”,“Ayotzinapa,”  “Mario Luna,” “Fernando Jiménez.”

Then: “This December 6th was the hundredth anniversary of the storming of Mexico City by the revolutionary armies. We are sure that the Yaqui group which has come should perform a ceremony like this.  This custom that carries deep meaning is not performed just anywhere“.

Ten o’clock, World Festival of Resistance and Rebellion, Ñatho community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, Lerma, State of Mexico, the arbour where the Yaqui Tribe twice performed the Deer Dance before the deeply moved gaze of those who attended to share the festival; the Yaqui ceremony on lands worked by the people and collectives in labour so that this covenant could be made.

 

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And a circle of colours, of people with different clothing, people with very different words; a circle with the colours of the Otomí-Ñatho peoples, the Triqui peoples, the Nahua from Tlanixco, Tsotsiles from Acteal, Tseltales from Bachajón; a circle where the deep pains of Mexico are in fellowship. On the one side, under the arbour, the Yaqui Tribe, and on the other side, looking at the tribe, being with them, other indigenous peoples. Groups of adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle and the free media make the halo which listens and will carry this message to other sides. In the middle of all of them are a cross and a painting of a virgin of Guadalupe which says: “Rebellion. Resistance.”

Different colours. The deep pains of Mexico. The same pain.

A few minutes after the start of the ceremony, the families of the 43 normalistas from Ayotzinapa come to stand behind the indigenous peoples.

 

“We understand you” said the voice of the Yaqui to those in pain.

They understand them. Porfirio Díaz sent the Yaqui Tribe into exile in the south of the country. Álvaro Obregón massacred them. Here they continue.

“It is our duty to fight for those who fought, who even gave their lives so that we could be here, and it is our duty to leave the conditions so that we will still be here in 200 years. We should be afraid, not for ourselves, but for what we cannot do for the future.”

 

Tomás Rojo, the spokesman who was leading this word, called a day before the ceremony for the mandate and petition from the traditional authorities of his tribe. Tomás has spent several months exiled from Sonora, touring the country to disseminate the story of his people:

“We are going to propose an embrace.”

The Yaqui are beginning to embrace, one by one, advancing to the members of other peoples. At the end, they also embrace the fathers and mothers of Ayotzinapa.

The covenant closes.

“It seemed that they made the shape of a snake,” says someone from my collective.

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“With this ceremony we signed a sacred covenant of solidarity with the sisters and brothers from the different original peoples of Mexico and the families of Ayotzinapa (…)”

“(…) A sacred covenant that requires no papers, only the word and the true commitment, the territory of the tribe has been marked, this means that here the struggle will go on forever as brothers and sisters.”

During the ceremony, the Yaqui performed the handing over of a reed mat:

“We tell you our archive, because here are all the scenarios of our ancestors, cultures, heritages, territories, struggles and wisdom, the four cardinal points, all of this is the meaning of the ceremony. It is not done just anywhere, but as now is struggle and war, we do it here so we can have the strength of nature, our ancestors and our forebears, the first inhabitants who fought so we could have Land and Freedom.”

Also, as in the time of the Spanish invasion, they drew a line in the territory of Xochicuautla:

“Now it is marked here and that means that for centuries and forever the struggle of the Yaqui peoples and the covenant will remain in these lands, any fight or confrontation with the bad governments and we will be here (…).”

These quotes were taken from a text which the Tlachinollan Mountain Rights Centre entitled  The Yaqui Tribe Strengthens the struggle of the families of Ayotzinapa and the Peoples of the CNI. The words are from Don Librado Valenzuela Valencia, member of the Council of Elders of the community of Vicam.

Mole and carnitas, pork in green sauce and mash, romeritos, vegetable soup, atole of oats and corn, of guava, tea and coffee: the food that is brought by the people of Huitzizilapan and Tlanixco, the food of the Yaqui Tribe and Xochicuautla; the six prisoners who are defenders of the water, the voice of the children of the Nahua who are shut away in government prisons, while the paramilitaries responsible for the Acteal massacre in 1997 are released, the gasping voice of the former prisoner Alberto Patishtan: “Thanks to you, here I am free,” the story of his hunger strikes, La Voz del Amate and the appeal from prison from the prisoner, also Tsotsil, Alejandro Diaz Sántiz.

The blankets that head off the frost, the white grass of Xochicuautla, the warmth of humanity against the “hard and strong cold of this territory,” the songs of the night, the dances that warm the spirit, the fires, the Temazcal, the documentaries about the fishing in resistance of the Cucapá community, the opening film about the struggle of the Otomi peoples against the road; for all this Xochicuautla thanked and exalted with a small white bag full of native seeds from the Otomi-Mexica Forest. They are to be sown throughout the world. They travel with that commitment.

And also the gathering, the covenant of these peoples with those who resist in and from the City, the collectives from the schools such as UAM, the story of the Mexican Electricians Union, “several of our compañeros have fallen on the way,” the history, the meeting with the whole world, the voice of those who come from France fighting an airport, from Canada fighting mining, and memory from Argentina facing dispossession today and dictatorship yesterday.

Finally, the people of San Salvador Atenco share their word against the new airport Peña Nieto announced this year:

“Here we continue, the peoples of Lake Texcoco.”

There is always joy in resistance. The Dance of the Muledrivers of Xochicuautla is heard again. The mothers and fathers of Ayotzinapa eat, and look with attention to the indigenous peoples. Because our pain must be like the death of a tree, the destruction of a river, the death of a partner; for just as you care for your land, how will we not fight for our children. Because I’m also indigenous Mixtec and my brother is going to teach the children of the sierra who do not speak Spanish.

My brother is Mixtec. He is disappeared.

The sound is heard of the Dance of the Muledrivers of Xochicuautla, which represents the struggle of the serfs against the masters and against the thieves (Carlos Salinas, Enrique Peña Nieto on this occasion). The sound is heard of the Dance of the Muledrivers of Xochicuautla and the mothers and fathers of Ayotzinapa come close to the profound dance of the indigenous peoples.

And their seeds are carried in small white bags.

And a banner with a picture of Emiliano Zapata:

“Land and Freedom.

No more ecocide.

San Francisco Xochicuautla.”

“We hope so much it’s now over,” says a compañera from Huitzizilapan, which is, like Xochicuautla, defending their territory against the Toluca-Naucalpan highway, concessioned to the Higa Group of Armando Hinojosa Cantu.

“Rather, now comes the good,” says a compañero from DF.

The next day, Christmas Eve, it starts raining continuously, insistently. The water from the sky highlights the colour of the new murals which carry the face of David Ruíz García, an indigenous Otomi who died on the return trip from the homage in La Realidad, Chiapas, to José Luis Solis, “Galeano,” the Zapatista murdered on 2nd May 2014.

A member of the cooperative #AlertaXochicuautla says:

“The mountain is sad because all the compas left.”

The social networks answer:

“We are still in Xochi!”

The covenant is sealed. The new territory of resistances has been defined. As the song which was sung by the choir of children from Xochicuautla says:

“Their way of death will not pass.”

 

http://www.masde131.com/2014/12/yaquis-acteal-ayotzinapa-el-pacto-en-xochicuautla-durante-el-festival-de-las-resistencias-y-rebeldias/

 

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December 30, 2014

Inauguration of the First World Festival of Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion

Filed under: La Sexta, Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:58 pm

 

 

Inauguration of the First World Festival of Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion

by SIPAZ

 

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On 21 December, the First World Festival of Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion “Where those from above destroy, those from below rebuild” opened in the San Francisco Xochicuautla community, Lerma municipality, Mexico state.  At the invitation of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) which provided them space, the parents of the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa led the event.  Before the stage, 43 chairs were erected with the faces of the disappeared students, to demand their presentation with life.  The event was attended by more than 80 organizations that comprise the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), which represents 35 indigenous peoples of Mexico, as well as adherents to the Sixth from 32 Mexican states and 26 countries.

The EZLN members who attended the event, as had been announced in a 19 December communique, participated for their part “with their faces uncovered so that they do not identify us.  Or, better, so that they identify us as yet another one of you our comrades of the Sixth.”

During the launch of the festival, participants warned that the government would not silence their voices, “even when they disappear our sons and our identities.”  José Luis del Frente, from Indigenous Peoples in Defense of Mother Earth CNI, expressed that they would continue in their mission “to reconstruct our lands, no matter the time it would take.  The trees that have been destroyed will flower once again.”

The “sharings” of the festival will be held in the community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, Lerma municipality, and in Amilcingo,  Temoac municipality, Morelos, on 22 and 23 December.  From 24 to 26 December, the Grand Cultural Festival will be celebrated in Mexico City.  On 28 and 29 December the sharings will continue in Monclova, Candelaria municipality, Campeche, and from 31 December to 1 January, the Festival for Anti-Capitalist Rebellion and Resistance will take place in the Oventik caracol, located in the Chiapas highlands.  Finally, on 2 and 3 January there will be held a plenary meeting for conclusions, accords, and pronunciations at CIDECI, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas.

 

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http://sipazen.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/national-inauguration-of-the-first-world-festival-of-anti-capitalist-resistance-and-rebellion/

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National Human Rights Commission to Investigate Army’s Actions in Iguala

Filed under: Human rights — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:42 pm

 

National Human Rights Commission to Investigate Army’s Actions in Iguala

 

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Sergio Ocampo Arista, Héctor Briseñas

La Jornada, 29th December, 2014

Tixtla, Guerrero – Luis Raúl González Pérez, head of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) confirmed that the CNDH is compiling two legal files: one related to a recommendation for President Enrique Peña Nieto regarding the September 26 events in Iguala, when 43 students disappeared from the Ayotzinapa normal school and three Ayotzinapa students and three others were killed; and the other to investigate possible human rights violations committed by troops attached to the 27th Infantry Battalion of the Mexican Army.

Legitimate Demand

Interviewed on the campus of the normal school of Ayotzinapa in the town of Tixtla—where González arrived with his team to meet with the parents of the 43 disappeared students—, he explained that the file is being assembled: “The parents’ demand is legitimate. They are feeling the pain. Any human being who is not outraged by this barbarity has no feelings. The pain I saw reflected makes it apparent that we all have to speak out that we might get to the bottom of this unfortunate event.”

Regarding whether the CNDH will investigate the performance of the Mexican Army in the case, González said “The CNDH is going to investigate every line [of action] for human rights violations. We make the distinction that it is not the CNDH’s place to investigate crimes, but human rights violations definitely. I will not fail to add to the legal file any circumstances that help to clarify this matter.”

Information Sought From SEDENA

González asserted: “We have requested information from the Secretariat of National Defense [SEDENA]. We are compiling the legal file to become familiar with everything that can be deduced from acts of commission or omission, and eventually we will make the appropriate declarations.”

He added that “we issued precautionary measures on behalf of the defenders and organizations representing the parents, because of public statements made that stigmatize them. Since I took office, we have already met with the parents.”

González noted that the responsibility of the investigating authorities is not limited to prosecuting and punishing, it is necessary “that this disappearance does not go unpunished, but that the truth also be known.”

González said that legitimate, social protest, conducted without either violence or weapons, “must be respected because it is an expression of free speech. The legitimate defence that the parents have been engaged in, demanding clarification and learning the whereabouts of their sons, is part of a legal and legitimate protest, and must be respected.”

Felipe de la Cruz, spokesperson for the parents, stated that they asked the CNDH head to investigate the troops of the 27th Infantry Battalion for the disappearance of the 43 students, “because we are confident that they participated, and there are testimonies that definitely, they did it, and they must be punished.”

Luis Raúl González Pérez, president of the National Human Rights Commission, met with parents of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students Photo:  Reuters

Luis Raúl González Pérez, president of the National Human Rights Commission, met with parents of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students Photo:  Reuters

 

Parents Ask Military to Leave Guerrero

The parents asked González to intercede with the federal government to request “the withdrawal of the Mexican Army from the state and the demilitarization of Guerrero.”

The spokesperson stressed that the ombudsman promised to ask the federal government to open a line of investigation into the Army troops and to “remove military checkpoints in Guerrero, because they are violating human rights.”

In a later statement, the CNDH reported that the parents and family members of the Ayotzinapa students who met yesterday with González Pérez “accepted the support and collaboration of the national agency in order to learn the truth of the September 26-27 events, to seek that justice be done for the murders and disappearances, to fight for the punishment of those responsible, to learn the whereabouts of the still missing normal school students and to prevent retaliation for the legitimate right to social protest.”

Translated by Jane Brundage

 

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/12/29/politica/009n1pol

 

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Further update in the Ayotzinapa case

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:25 pm

 

 

  Further update in the Ayotzinapa case

by SIPAZ

twitter_maldito_ayotzinapa

 

According to an investigation published by the Proceso magazine, federal forces participated in the attack on the disappeared students on 26 September 2014.  The work carried out with the support of the Program for Investigative Journalism at the University of California Berkeley, based on testimonies, videos, unedited reports, and judicial declarations, shows that the federal police (PF) actively and directly participated in the attack.  The article indicates the contradictions that exist between the account provided by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and the testimonies of those arrested, as well as those provided by students who survived the attack.  One of the key points in the investigation is that the Ayotzinapa students had been surveilled, such that the federal police knew of their arrival to Iguala.  It shows furthermore that the attack and forcible disappearance of the students was specifically directed at the ideological structure of the school they attended, given that of the 43 disappeared, one was a member of the Commitee for Student Struggle, the highest-ranking organ within the school’s administration, while 10 others were “budding political activists” associated with the Committee for Political and Ideological Orientation (COPI).

Beyond this, information has begun to appear in social networks that the majority of the disappeared students still live and are being held by the Army and federal police as part of a military intelligence operation.  The truth of these claims still has yet to be confirmed.  The communiqué was published presumably by soldiers of the Mexican Army who pertain to the 35th military zone (which includes Iguala); the sources in question no longer belong to the unit, as they were sent elsewhere or dismissed.  The objective of this operation, called “Az,” was to fracture “the transgressor groups of the school who disrupt order in Iguala by appropriating vehicles that are the property of the mayor, and bother people from various localities.”  According to the communiqué, “the transgressors were divided into 3 groups by military intelligence, with 21 sent to two military barracks for interrogation,” with the rest divided into two groups that were then sent to Cocula and Chilapa by municipal police and the “United Warriors” drug cartel.

Beyond this, on 14 December, confrontations in Chilpancingo, Guerrero, left 22 injured (14 of them teachers, parents, and students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, and 8 federal police).  The events took place when a group of students who were preparing a rock concert “A light in the darkness” were attacked with stones, beatings, and tear-gas by police.  “This is an act of police brutality that clearly seeks to silence the voices of the parents of the disappeared,” noted Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, lawyer for the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights. Omar García, director of the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, related that despite the fact that the police had been told that “we were students, and that we were preparing the concert, they told us: ‘It matters not; we are going to even beat your mothers.'”  The parents of the disappeared accused the federal government of having provoked the incident deliberately.  The National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) has launched an investigation into the events in question.

 

http://sipazen.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/guerrero-further-update-in-the-ayotzinapa-case/

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During the XVII anniversary of the Acteal massacre, Las Abejas denounce impunity and affirm, “They could not kill our roots”

Filed under: Acteal — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:55 pm

 

 

  During the XVII anniversary of the Acteal massacre, Las Abejas denounce impunity and affirm, “They could not kill our roots”

by SIPAZ

 

XVII Aniversario de la MAsacre de Acteal (@SIPAZ)

XVII Aniversario de la MAsacre de Acteal (@SIPAZ)

 

17 years after the Acteal massacre, the Las Abejas Civil Society organized a series of activities held in this same community.  On 21 December, a forum combined testimonies with prayers.  During this event participated Franciscan monks from the “72” migrant-home from Tenosique, Tabasco; the relatives of the disappeared students of the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero; the father of Alejandro Díaz Santis, prisoner in the San Cristóbal jail and a member in solidarity with the Voz del Amate; the catechist Margarita Martínez Álvarez from El Limar, Tila municipality, in the northern zone of Chiapas, a region that also suffered murders, forcible disappearances, and massive displacements between 1995 and 2000; as well as representatives of the displaced from Banavil, Tenejapa municipality.  It was stressed that all these processes should be united, not just based on shared pain, but also in terms of the search for justice and hope.

 

XVII Aniversario de la masacre de Acteal (@SIPAZ)

XVII Aniversario de la masacre de Acteal (@SIPAZ)

 

On 22 December, following a pilgrimage, a mass was celebrated with the presence of hundreds of persons.  The Las Abejas Civil Society denounced in a communique that “17 years, four presidents, and two political parties in power have passed since the bad government of Ernesto Zedillo to the [present] bad government of Enrique Peña Nieto.  Not one has had the dignity, humanity, or decency to apply justice and recognize the truth of the Acteal massacre.”  The bishop Felipe Arizmendi stressed for his part that “it is unconscionable that nearly all those imprisoned for this crime have been absolved, just because there were judicial deficiencies in their legal processing, not because they were innocent.”  It should be recalled that only two persons remain imprisoned for the crime of the Acteal massacre, and these two have had their sentences reduced from 36 to 18 years imprisonment.

 

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Felipe Arizmendi noted that, though “so many years [have passed] of demanding justice and being ignored, […] we will all continue to demand and ask for justice.  We cannot resign ourselves passively to silence.”  The Las Abejas Civil Society used a fragment of the Mayan book Popul Vuh to affirm the same: “They took our fruits, cut off our branches, and burned our trunk, but they could not kill our roots.”

 

http://sipazen.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/chiapas-during-the-xvii-anniversary-of-the-acteal-massacre-las-abejas-denounce-impunity-and-affirm-they-could-not-kill-our-roots/

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December 29, 2014

Urgent Appeal from the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement, Paramilitary, Repression — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:03 pm

 


URGENT APPEAL FROM THE EJIDO SAN SEBASTIÁN BACHAJÓN TO THE FREE, ALTERNATIVE, AUTONOMOUS MEDIA, OR WHATEVER THEY ARE CALLED

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San Sebastián Bachajón, Chilón municipality, Chiapas

Saturday December 27, 2014

To the free, alternative, autonomous media or whatever they are called:

We, the ejidatari@s from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, reclaimed our territory located on the boundary of the access to the Ecotourism Centre “Agua Azul Waterfalls” on Sunday the 21st of this month.

In a communiqué of the 21st, it was explained that this action was born of an agreement between the ejidatari@s of the three annexes that make up the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón: Bachajón, Alan Sacjun and Ch’ich; because the federal and state government, through the CONANP, IPC and SSyPC appropriated that area without permission from the ejido. “We will not allow the Public Security, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas, nor those from above, to continue robbing our people of our territory, to impose their projects of death on the communities.”

Up until today we have spent 7 days watching for any attack, however it is feared that they have paid armed persons (as on other occasions) to come and evict us.

It is reported that the people who were called on by the government-supporting ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez and vigilance councillor Samuel Díaz Guzmán to displace us have said no. That they do not believe them, they feel they are only used by these two people.

On the 23rd of this month a group paid by the government-supporting commissioner blocked the Ocosingo – Palenque road above the community of Xanil as a means of pressure, since they sought the intervention of the bad government to go and evict the compañer@s of San Sebastián. The ejidatarios defending their lands have a well-founded fear that this may be part of the strategy of the federal and state governments to create conditions that would justify sending the security forces to dispossess the ejido of its territory again, under the pretext of avoiding a confrontation.

This is why we call on the compañer@s of the free media to see if they can do the work of accompanying the tollbooth giving access to the “Agua Azul Waterfalls” ecotourism centre as soon as possible from the 28th of this month to January 3, 2015, to cover any attempted attack and eviction.

Also as an organization we will cover the transport and food costs of any compañer@s who can accompany us.  

 

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“Forum for the Defense of the Land and against Displacement”

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement, Movement for Justice in el Barrio — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:29 pm

 

Invitation to the “Forum for the Defense of the Land and against Displacement” with San Sebastián Bachajón and Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York, Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle

bachaayotzi

 

To the national and international Sixth

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the peoples and communities in resistance

To the media

Compañeros and compañeras, our community struggle remains organized for the defense of our lands and against neoliberal displacement; the bad government wants to dispossess us of our lands purely to serve the capitalist interests of the rich and discriminates as always against the people from below who care for our mother earth.

Our struggles continue walking, organized by political and legal means to defend our human rights and reclaim our culture and traditions, to raise our voice and listen to each other and walk and organize ourselves with other struggles that are resisting and defending their territory.

We cannot agree with being dispossessed of our territories only to serve the capitalist interests of the rich who discriminate as always against the people from below who care for our mother earth.

Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York and the people of San Sebastián Bachajón, Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, have organized to share our resistances in a “Forum for the Defense of the Land and against Displacement” that will take place on Thursday, January 1, 2015 on the anniversary of the uprising of the EZLN, at 5pm at the cultural center “El Paliacate” located at calle 5 de mayo #20, San Cristóbal de las Casas in the other Chiapas.

“Land and Freedom!”

“Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!”

“Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!”

Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York and San Sebastián Bachajón

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December 28, 2014

Worldwide Festival of Resistances and Rebellions against Capitalism in the Federal District

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:26 pm

 


 
Worldwide Festival of Resistances and Rebellions against Capitalism in the Federal District

 

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Mexico, DF. 24th December. Today the Worldwide Festival of Resistances and Rebellions against Capitalism began in the Federal District. Despite the rain, the art, music, food and the word maintained the spirits and the interest of all those gathered together at the place for rodeos of the Charros [1] Reyes Association of Iztapalapa, of the Francisco Villa Popular Front Independent-UNOPII.

During the inauguration of the Festival, different compañeros welcomed all the attendees and shared their causes and support for the other struggles present. Nicolás Flores, from the community of Santa María de Ostula, in Aquila, Michoacán, shared that the community has been attacked by the State to dispossess them of their land, but their community police and the community fight to rescue it and protect it. That is why they are part of the CNI (Indigenous National Congress) and adherents to the EZLN’s Sixth. He said: “all of us  together are going to be effective,” and he added that in the case of the “Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa we have found a reflection of our pain, our rage and our rebellion… We are campesinos in struggle who are not going to stop fighting for our land… And therefore we are here.”

Patricia Moreno Salas of the Wixarica people also spoke about the long struggle of her people in defence of indigenous territory and she emphasized how the Cultural Festival shows us other forms of communication and resistance, “to be closer as brothers.”

Compañero José Romero, of Monclova, also took the word, gave the welcome and shared the cases of Sonora, the strategies of community division that the government employs to facilitate the dispossession of lands. But the communities are not alone: “therefore we are joining in the struggle with you to continue forward.” To this sharing is added a message sent from the parents of the ABC Day Care Centre, in which they expressed their unbreakable hope of finding safe and sound the 42 Ayotzinapa students still disappeared. In their message from parents to parents suffering injustice they expressed: “We know the pain of the uncertainty, but above all, we know what it is to find their bodies without life… It is difficult to ask the government for justice when it is the one responsible. How do you confront impunity? How do you confront a State that creates a false reality and that systematically produces criminals? How do you maintain hope? The answer is the unity of what we have suffered, the persecuted, the marginalized, those affected by the corrupt system.” The message spoke about two Mexicos, one corrupt, where the people sell their vote, founded in impunity and corruption; “that Mexico does not deserve not one drop of blood.” But there is another Mexico that beats in our hearts and asserts that this struggle is for reconquering what by law corresponds to us, justice, because “today the pain is yours, but the rage is everyone’s.”

The turn came for the Ayotzinapa compañeros. Don Mario, father of Cesar Manuel González expressed: “I am a father from an injured family that wants to recover his son. We didn’t know about this kind of event, we see the injustices and the struggles of the communities for lands and lakes.” He reiterated the demand that the government deliver the students alive because all “the times they say they have killed them, the government has fallen into the lie. We want justice for all the people who are dead in the [clandestine] graves… for the deaths in Juárez… We didn’t know that this came from the State…. We were under the illusion that Peña would receive us, but he is a puppet that to speak he needs them to put it on paper. He is not aware of the fact that he must speak for himself.” He made an invitation to the dinner with Peña Nieto in Los Pinos at night.

Doña Hilda, the mother of Jorge Antonio Tizapa thanked everyone for the affection with which they are received in each activity, and reiterated the request to the government that it delivers the students alive.

The inauguration closed with Omar García, a student at the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa. He asserted: “On September 26, nobody was looked for, not the ABC Day Care Centre, nor the Juárez dead;” all these injustices make this a complex movement and “there isn’t even a political project. But we are convinced that the country has to change, because of the criminalization of social mobilization, because of the plunder, the impunity, the corruption… These are the problems that must unite all of us; it must be converted into a point of no return… September 26 is not October 2, now the information is about everyone; we all know that it is the government… The State has its hands very involved, because they are the only ones that don’t leave a trace when they disappear a campesino, teacher or student… They were the ones, we saw them, they were uniformed… We are going to undertake the search and we are going to construct a new country, with the municipal councils… We want to demonstrate that we are not going to remain with our arms crossed… We do not dialogue with our executioners… This justice doesn’t work for us. We believe that all of you know and understand our words [and]… we don’t want sticking plasters, we want real medicines for this totally sick country.” Lastly he called for joining together, “the students and parents are very small taking on a very big problem. Don’t leave us alone! We all have to take change into our hands.”

Thus began the Festival, and in the different tents and scenarios artistic presentations and workshops were carried out about the different ways of resisting the capitalist economic model. Urban vegetable gardens for food sovereignty, ecological sanitary towels and nappies for reducing consumption and waste, belt weaving, engraving, painting and processes of self-management, among others. Out of diversity, the festival shows the different ways of constructing and acting collectively in the face of a system that divides and destroys.

[1] Charros are horsemen and a lienza charro is the place where a type of rodeo or show is held that involves the horsemen roping horses with lassos.

 

Published in Spanish by Pozol Colectivo

http://www.pozol.org/?p=10160

Friday, December 26, 2014

Source: http://espoirchiapas.blogspot.mx/2014/12/festival-de-las-resistencias-y.html

AUDIOS: http://radiozapatista.org/?p=11559

 

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

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Children and adolescents in Mexico – an uncertain future

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:36 pm

 

Children and adolescents in Mexico – an uncertain future

“What does a government reap that sows students in the ground?”,
“A government that murders our children does not deserve our forgiveness much less our silence”

(Banners in the marches for Ayotzinapa)

100_3047BThe case of the missing students from Ayotzinapa uncovered a terrible reality that leads any mother and father to wonder: What future will my children have? As in many other areas concerning human rights in the country, legislative measures are being considered that do not guarantee real changes for the child and youth population. Since September, when President Enrique Peña Nieto sent bill to the Senate, children’s rights have been subject to public discussions. He asserted that with this legislative project, “Mexico will comply with its ethical obligation towards all children and adolescents”. Furthermore, it will comply with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Mexico signed and ratified in 1990. This legally binding document is the first international instrument to recognize the cultural, economic and social as well as civil and political human rights of all people under the age of 18. The Convention also includes children´s rights to a free compulsory primary education and specifies the right “to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development”.

 

The president´s bill was criticized, because it treated the children and adolescents as objects in need of protection instead of subjects having rights. Consequently, the House of Representatives changed 106 of the 141 original articles, before approving it on September 29. This new law offers the opportunity to review the situation and the rights of the children and adolescents in Mexico, including the rights they already have and those they lack.

Child Labor

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“We want a law with equality of opportunity “ Protest against the new general law on children rights , San Cristobal de Las Casas, September 24, 2014 © SIPAZ

An aspect of many children’s lives, which is frequently subject to debate and is also addressed in the new law, is their labor. Presenting his bill, the president explained that it is necessary“that our children be able to dedicate themselves to age-appropriate activities, such as learning, sports, games and leisure, in short, anything contributing to their education and integral personal development. Therefore, it is important that children and adolescents under the age of 15 do not work.”He added that when minors find themselves obliged to work they face worse opportunities for their future and threats to their personal security and ultimately their health. For these reasons, Peña Nieto presented a proposal to reform constitutional article 123 to the congress, which would raise the minimum age of employment from 14 to 15. This reform was implemented in July of this year.

In order to be able to evaluate the impact of this amendment, we need to analyze the current situation of child labor in Mexico. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), “in Mexico, according to the latest statistics published by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) and the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social; STPS), there are 3,035,466 children and adolescents between 5 and 17 years working in Mexico, which corresponds to a percentage of 10.5% of the population at this age […]. Of this total, 39% don´t attend school and 34.46% work more than 35 hours per week. Another 1,162,643 children and adolescents dedicate themselves fully to domestic work without attending school”. According to the Child Labor Unit of INEGI-STPS 2011, about 883,000 of the total of 3 million working children are younger than 14, which means that the proportion of child workers below the minimum age is very significant.

“We want a law with equality of opportunity “ Protest against the new general law on children rights , San Cristobal de Las Casas, September 24, 2014  © SIPAZ

“We want a law with equality of opportunity “ Protest against the new general law on children rights , San Cristobal de Las Casas, September 24, 2014
© SIPAZ

Regarding child labor the children themselves are rarely asked for their opinions, a fact that deprives them of their right of free expression and to make their own decisions. Therefore, the Organization for the Rights of Indigenous Children and Youth in Chiapas, Melel Xojobal, conducted a survey on child labor in San Cristóbal de Las Casas from 2000 to 2010 taking into account the children´s voices. They interviewed the children, their families and other social agents, such as vendors, NGO or religious organization employees, teachers and other citizens who have some kind of relation with the children. The survey shows that 66% of the children and 60% of their relatives, but only 19% of the other social agents are in favor of child labor. Furthermore, 71% of the children declare that it was their own decision to start working whereas in 29% of the cases it was the parents´ decision. This decision, however autonomous it may seem, must be considered in the context of the families´ often difficult economic situation, taking into account for example that 53% of the children use their income to cover their families´ basic needs, such as food, clothing and similar expenses.

Another critical point lies within the working conditions many children have to put up with (frequently on the streets without adult supervision). In 65% of cases the children say they are exposed to risks and 33% of those have already experienced a dangerous situation. “As a consequence […] the children´s working opportunities represent precarious conditions, such as inappropriate environments (night clubs, bars, places where illegal substances are consumed), excessively long working hours for their age, lack of rest or leisure time, financial exploitation or physical as well as psychological mistreatment by adults […]. The children are working without any social or legal protection”, concludes Melel Xojobal from its survey.

Considering these facts that already constitute the reality of many child workers under 14, one might doubt the positive impacts of an amendment that only raises the minimum age for work contracts. There is a high probability that this law will push more working children into illegality and increase the informal sector. Therefore, Melel Xojobal proposes giving the children more rights, instead of prohibiting something they can hardly avoid: “Denying the children the right to work and accordingly proper protection laws, will only obscure the actual situation and create more opportunities for exploitation. For, if their rights are not recognized there cannot be effective instruments to protect them. […] It is necessary to understand work as a dignified, socializing activity that encourages self esteem and responsibility, in order to be able to distinguish it from forms of exploitation (which should be eliminated).”

The Right to Education

“We want a law with equality of opportunity “ Protest against the new general law on children rights , San Cristobal de Las Casas, September 24, 2014  © SIPAZ

“We want a law with equality of opportunity “ Protest against the new general law on children rights , San Cristobal de Las Casas, September 24, 2014
© SIPAZ

A topic linked to child labor is the right to education included in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. According to Melel Xojobal´s survey, 71% of the children working in San Cristóbal de Las Casas attend school, 20% dropped out for economic reasons and 9% have never attended. On a national level, Unicef presented figures in 2005 showing that 1.2 million children between 5 and 14 did not attend school; one out of ten had dropped out of primary education and two out of ten did not finish middle school, although the Mexican Constitution states the right of all children to pre-, primary and middle school education. Nevertheless, these facts are not only due to child labor. “Unicef found three basic educational issues: lack of accessibility, especially in rural areas; poor educational quality at many public schools, where 92% of the pupils in the country are taught; and the discrimination which many indigenous, disabled or female pupils suffer.”

The intercultural problem is also recognized in the documents of Melel Xojobal and the ILO. Melel Xojobal confirms that “the current type of formal education does not succeed in generating the indigenous working children´s interest and enthusiasm. According to them, the content and methods of public education do not take into account the indigenous peoples´ culture, context, knowledge or languages.” The ILO proposes the implementation of an intercultural focus within the national education system, which would imply that “teachers are trained especially to derive pedagogical benefit from cultural diversity in order to create respect for the other and to create an environment where the children and adolescents with different cultures and beliefs can enrich each other mutually by sharing the same educational space”.

Regarding the school system, it is worth mentioning that in Chiapas there is an alternative represented by the Autonomous Rebel Educational System of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), created primarily to better attend to the needs of indigenous children and adolescents. In hundreds of primary schools and one secondary school in each of the five “caracoles” (autonomous administrative centers), respectively, indigenous children and adolescents are taught according to their culture, language and the reality they live in their communities. Since these do not belong to the public school system, their pupils are not being considered as such in the official statistics.

The Right to Health

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Draft of the general law only states but does not guarantee children rights © SIPAZ

Another problem that impedes some adolescents in the exercise of their right to education is teenage pregnancy. According to INEGI the percentage of teenage mothers rose from 18% in 1990 to 19.4% of all births in 2012. Some academics and politicians link this development to the political decisions made during this period. During the PAN (National Action Party) government from 2000 to 2012, sex education programs and access to contraceptives for those under age 19 were restricted or rather replaced by campaigns in favor of abstinence. Today, Lorena Cruz Sánchez, president of the National Institute for Women, calls teenage pregnancies in Mexico a “public health problem”.The new law obligates the state to enable pregnant adolescents to finish their school education. Nevertheless, in the new law the right to sex education remains restricted, since parents and guardians can still block it.

A significant part of the population´s health problems continues to derive from widespread poverty. Although Mexico is considered to be a medium-high income country, the distribution of wealth . The Unicef report “Achieving the MDGs [Millennium Development Goals] with Equity” states that “between 2010 and 2012 the number of people living in poverty rose from 52.8 to 53.3 million. The percentage of people living in poverty sent from 46.1% in 2010 to 45.5% in 2012. […] While in 2012, 53.8% of the under-18 population suffered from poverty, 45.5% of the total and 41.3% of the adult population were in poverty, which shows that poverty is a more significant problem in households with children.” This situation intensifies even more in rural areas, where 66.9% of the minors under 18 lived in poverty in 2012. Such living conditions can have a serious impact on the children´s integral development and health. According to Unicef “the chronic malnutrition or developmental delays of children under the age of 5 have diminished to half the rate of 1988, amounting at 13.6% and a total of 1.5 million affected children. Nevertheless, the national average holds significant regional disparities, ranging from 19.2% in the south to 8.9% in the north of the country. The highest rate of chronic malnutrition can be found in the southern rural areas where almost 3 out of 10 children under age 5 are affected.” At least, there are reported advances in the fight against infant mortality: “between 1990 and 2012 the mortality rate of children under the age of 5 […] has diminished by 61%, from 41 to 16.1 of each 1,000 live births”.

The Right to a Life Free of Violence

“We want a law with equality of opportunity “ Protest against the new general law on children rights , San Cristobal de Las Casas, September 24, 2014  © SIPAZ

“We want a law with equality of opportunity “ Protest against the new general law on children rights , San Cristobal de Las Casas, September 24, 2014
© SIPAZ

A last point to make concerning children´s rights is the violence many of them are confronted with. According to the Unicef report the children´s and adolescents’ rate or mortality by homicide has risen between 2000 and 2011, from 2.3 to 3.9 minors per 100,000 inhabitants. These figures are “linked to the context of increasing violence deriving from the fight against as well as within organized crime for many years. […] One of the roots of violence against children and adolescents is the general social perception that they are basically the adults’ possession. As a consequence, this form of violence is not only often accepted by the society but even constitutes a ´natural´ and hence ´invisible´ phenomenon.”

One of the forms of violence that especially children and adolescents suffer from is bullying in school. According to a study conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Mexico takes the first place in the international ranking of school bullying cases in primary education. Bullying can appear in form of verbal, psychological or physical violence and is increasingly linked to social networks. Psychologists explain that the victims suffer from low self esteem or insomnia, achieve lower grades or drop out of school completely. Further symptoms can be that the children and adolescents stop eating, lose weight, are extremely anxious and irritable, injure themselves critically, experience grave emotional conflicts and depressions that in the worst case can even lead to suicide. Accordingly, the suicide rate of children and adolescents has risen alarmingly in the last years. The new law targets this problem by introducing penalties of up to 100,000 pesos (about 7,000 USD), or double in case of repetition, for officials or employees of educational, sports or cultural institutions where cases of bullying are not punished, or are tolerated or encouraged.

Through the new legislation the Mexican State recognizes the particularly vulnerable situation of children and adolescents in the country. In addressing this issue there are two main obstacles. Firstly, a major part of the violence against children derives from structural problems (economic, political and social context)that are omnipresent and accepted by society. Secondly, this violence is often concealed due to fear of reprisals by the aggressors, who can be close persons such as family members or teachers. In conclusion, effective measures that are taken in order to guarantee the children and adolescents’ integral development and also recognize their rights should go further than making legislative amendments. A profound and multidimensional, cultural change is necessary.

… … …

CINTIA (14 YEARS):

CintiaCintia has two siblings and attends the 9th grade. Since she was small she has worked together with her mother at the market selling CD´s. She works on weekends and some afternoons during the week. This way, they earn about 200 to 300 Pesos (14-21 USD) a day, which they partly spend on food and partly save. “As my mom always says: Money doesn’t fall from the sky but you have to earn by in the sweat of your brow.” She participates in workshops conducted by Melel Xojobal, where she learns for example how to make candles. She is also an active member of the NATs (Association of working children). When she grows up she wants to work in a hospital. She criticizes the existing medical services and wants to help people with scarce resources without charging them money. “It´s a profession in which you can give much”, she says.

DAIRA (9 YEARS):

DairaAt home Daira babysits her two siblings. In the evenings she attends school and in the mornings she works selling textiles at the market. In her opinion, she learns more at work than she does at school, because “there they don´t teach well”. She would like to obtain a better education but there is not enough money to attend a better school. When she grows up she wants to be a nurse: “Working as a nurse means to me helping other poor people.”

SIPAZ REPORT VOL. XIX Nº 4 – NOVEMBER 2014
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Chiapas: Impunity, Land and territory in the heart of social struggles

Filed under: Acteal, Frayba, Human rights, Indigenous, Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:00 pm

 

Chiapas: Impunity, Land and territory in the heart of social struggles

Sipaz: Latest news from Chiapas

 

Press conference of Las Abejas of Acteal, San Cristobal de Las Casas, October 22, 2014 © SIPAZ

Press conference of Las Abejas of Acteal, San Cristobal de Las Casas, October 22, 2014
© SIPAZ

 

In October, about 10,000 Catholics made a pilgrimage in the municipal center of Simojovel to demand the closure of centers of prostitution, an end to the sale of alcohol, drugs and weapons in this municipality, and to report threats. The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (CDHFBC) noted “the failure and inefficiency of the state government to investigate the various death threats received by members of the Parish Council and Father Marcelo Pérez Pérez, (…) the failure to propose effective mechanisms to meet the various other demands which have been raised.”Later, members of the Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel denounced new and repeated threats of kidnapping and death by the authorities and groups which deal and traffic in the municipal center.

Another source of mobilization and acts of harassment has been opposition to the construction of the mega-highway between San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Palenque. In August, an assembly was held in the ejido San Jerónimo Bachajón, Chilón municipality, in which the ejidatarios expressed their opposition to the project. They said that they had not been consulted about the construction and they will not sell their land. They denounced that their ejidal commissioner has been harassed to sign the authorization. In September, ejidatarios from Candelaria, in the municipality of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, also made public their opposition to the mega-highway. They denounced pressure and threats from government officials. In October and November days of mobilization were held where hundreds of people participated.

The theme of the defense of land and territory remains the driving force behind struggles in and outside the state. In September, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the EZLN issued a pronouncement for the freedom of Mario Luna, spokesman for the Yaqui tribe in the state of Sonora, who was arrested “falsely accusing him of crimes that they themselves planted. With this action they intend to imprison the very struggle of the Yaqui Tribe to defend its waters, which (…) were recognized as theirs in 1940 by Lázaro Cárdenas.”

EZLN march in solidarity with the movement for “Ayotzinapa” San Cristobal de Las Casas, October 22, 2014 © SIPAZ

EZLN march in solidarity with the movement for “Ayotzinapa” San Cristobal de Las Casas, October 22, 2014 © SIPAZ

 

They denounced that “It is a joke to say that the Independence Aqueduct is so that the poor have water and progress, as those above say.” They stated that the mega-projects of development are a danger to the lives of indigenous peoples as “they are trying to kill us with wind turbines, with highways, with mines, with dams, with airports, and with narcotrafficking.” In October, the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center denounced acts of harassment against the ejidatarios of Tila during and after the march, in which 1,500 ejidatarios took part, in the centre of the municipality commemorating the creation of the ejido 80 years ago. In November, in the town of Chicomuselo, various activities were carried out to protest against mining and to organize in defense of life. At the end of the march, they declared Chicomuselo to be a “municipality free of mining.” In this context, the Third Forum for the Defense and care of Mother Earth, in which about 3,500 people participated, was also carried out.

A further reason for alert: Chiapas has been placed among the top ten states with the highest number of femicides. In 2010, 22 were recorded; in 2012, 97; in 2013, 83 were registered and from January to date 41 cases have been documented, according to the San Cristóbal Women’s Group. The “popular campaign against violence towards women and femicide in Chiapas” reported that “(t)he government of Chiapas does not comply with the law in the convictions of cases of femicide, the punitive measures applied to femicides being excessively light.”

Also on the subject of impunity, the United States Supreme Court rejected the appeal filed by 10 people who charged the former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León (1994-2000) for the Acteal massacre (1997). In November, three people indicted for the same massacre were released. Currently, only two people remain imprisoned for these acts. In October, an event was held in Masojá Shucjá, Tila, to remember the victims executed, disappeared and displaced in this region between 1995 and 1999. The CDHFBC said: “in the lower area of Tila, [the paramilitary group] Paz y Justicia committed at least 37 forced disappearances, 85 executions and more than 4,500 people were obliged to become forcibly displaced to save their lives, also suffering harassment, intimidation, destruction of property, torture, sexual torture, and arbitrary detentions among other human rights violations. (…) Tragically, these serious human rights violations have remained unpunished”. In November, a pilgrimage was undertaken to remember the victims of the Viejo Velasco massacre (4 dead, 4 missing), in the municipality of Ocosingo and to demand justice against impunity. Meanwhile, seven organizations for the defense and promotion of human rights in Chiapas began a campaign called “Faces of Dispossession,” which seeks to “make visible the ways in which indigenous peoples are violently evicted from their territories.”

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