ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY FOR JUNE 2015
News from Chiapas
1. Follow-up to the seminar “Critical thought versus the capitalist hydra.” Videos, audios and English translations of the series of talks by the EZLN, explaining their thinking on the issues facing Mexico and the world, continue to be published. These include a translation of Sub Galeano’s words ‘The Method, the Bibliography, and a Drone Deep in the Mountains of the Mexican Southeast,’ in which he sums up: “We are faced with a reality that can be synthesized today in one word: Ayotzinapa. For us Zapatistas, Ayotzinapa is not the exception, but the rule. What we see there is a family portrait of the system at a global level.” The message is to organise. “The seminar is really a seedbed asking compas of the Sixth to continue the process in their own places, according to their own times and ways.”
2. Another pilgrimage. On 6th June, 2,500 members of the Pueblo Creyente from El Bosque go on a pilgrimage to call attention to the problems they are facing, such as violence, corruption, drug trafficking, prostitution, bars selling alcohol, and lack of basic services like healthcare and drinkable water.
3. Frayba provides evidence of arbitrary detentions and persecution of innocent people by the municipal police in Ocosingo, during the electoral protests on 7th June, when the police arbitrarily arrested 11 people, with an excessive use of force and violence. They have all now been released.
4. Alejandro Díaz Santiz, indigenous Tsotsil detained in prison No. 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas has his amparo for release denied; he has now spent 16 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Alejandro, who is in solidarity with the voice of el Amate and an adherent to the Sixth, calls for an investigation in to the unhealthy and polluted water in the prison which is causing health problems. In another letter he expresses solidarity with the Ayotzinapa familes.
5. The caravan of family and friends of the disappeared and murdered normal school students of Ayotzinapa visits the North of Chiapas to meet with the organized indigenous communities of the Indigenous National Congress (CNI), in order to share their struggles. The first meeting is held on 16th June in San Francisco Teopisca, municipality of Tenejapa, Chiapas, a meeting also attended by members of Las Abejas. On 17thJune the second meeting takes place in the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón at Cumbre Nachoj, the headquarters of the adherents to the Sixth from Bachajón. On 18th June the Ayotzinapa families march with human rights defenders and members of X’inich in Palenque to demand justice for the disappeared students and for the victims of the Viejo Velasco massacre.
6. Problems due to alcohol. Representatives of the Pueblo Creyente from the parish of San Pedro Apostol, municipality of Chenalhó, report that alcoholism is causing social conflicts and increased violence against women in the communities. They demand the closure of the bars and canteens and accuse the authorities of lacking the political will to solve this conflict. Among the problems they say are caused by excessive drinking are: death, suicide through drinking chemicals, road accidents, marriage or family breakdown, children without clothing, and the suffering of women whose husbands have abandoned their families.
7. The Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel call for solidarity and peace following new death threats and harassments being made by leaders of the PRI against Father Marcelo Perez and the catechists and members of the Parish Council and the Pueblo Creyente. These threats, which have increased since 16th June, are in response to the denouncement of corruption, and in particular to the recent arrest of three members of the PRI for the possession of arms and drugs. In response, nine parishes unite with Simojovel’s struggle.
8. 120 days of forced displacement. The 17 families forcibly displaced from Primero de Agosto in the municipality of Las Margaritas, by members of CIOAC-historical, continue to demand an immediate return to their community, justice, and reparation of damages.
9. A member of Las Abejas of Acteal is assassinated. On 23rd June, Manuel López Pérez is travelling with his eleven-year old son on a public transport vehicle from Pantelhó when it is ambushed by seven armed men dressed in military clothing. They shoot Manuel three times, twice in the head. Members of the board of Las Abejas say they are unable to attend his burial in San Joaquin for security reasons, due to the number of paramilitaries in the area. They later denounce death threats against other members of their organisation, Antonio Lopez Jimenez and his family, who are also displaced from San Joaquin for not participating in government projects.
10. A new paramilitary attack is denounced in the Caracol of La Garrucha. On 24th June the JBG Path of the Future denounces that 28 paramilitaries from the ejido Pojkol arrived that morning at the homes of the Zapatista support bases (BAZ) in the community of El Rosario, in the autonomous municipality of San Manuel. 8 of them were carrying 22 calibre firearms. They met up with the 21 paramilitaries from El Rosario itself, and a little later with an alleged engineer and the rancher from Ocosingo who held the lands before 1994. The rancher handed over documents, and the attackers started to measure the recuperated lands, planning a temple and houses. Then they started to go in to the homes of the BAZ. They destroyed one of the houses, robbing all the possessions including the roof, and taking them all back to Pojkol. The JBG say that these two individuals are the paramilitary advisers, and that the group is financed and trained by the state, municipal and federal governments. These are the same paramilitaries who have attacked El Rosario on two previous occasions. The denouncement includes a denunciation by Subcomandante Moises about repression against teachers and the murder of Antonio Vivar Díaz.
11. Margarita Gómez and David Hernández Torres, indigenous Tsotsil campesinos from Teopisca, Chiapas, are detained and tortured by members of the Specialised Police to make them confess to the murder of Juan Perez, brother of David Hernández. They are now imprisoned in the Centre for Social Reinsertion of the Sentenced No 5 in San Cristobal de las Casas, found guilty of murder. David and Margaret are concerned for the welfare of their seven children, all minors, while they are punished for a crime they did not commit. They cannot read or write or speak Spanish.
News from Mexico
With thanks to the Chiapas Support Committee
1. Mexico’s Mid-term Elections – On Sunday, June 7, Mexico held mid-term elections to renew delegates to the federal Congress. There were also elections for local officers in some states. The results show that the PRI will control a majority of the seats in Congress. The campaign was characterized by protests, violence, burning of party propaganda and election materials and militarization of the electoral process. Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas experienced both militant protests and militarization. Teachers led the local protests and maintained strikes and an encampment in Mexico City, and continue to militantly oppose the education “reform.”
In Tlapa, Guerrero, police killed Antonio Vivar Díaz, a student with a young wife and daughter, and a leader in the Guerrero Popular Movement (MPG). Tlapa was militarized and occupied by federal police during the election. In several states entrances and exits to Pemex facilities were blocked. At least 100 people were arrested and detained in Oaxaca alone, and 25 of them remain in prison. Hundreds of criminal actions are still being processed. In Guerrero, leaders of the teachers’ movement (Ceteg) and the MPG denounced intense repression by the Mexican Army, Navy and Federal Police.
2. Ayotzinapa – The Caravana 43 visits three countries in South America as part of a strategy to circulate struggle, disrupt misinformation, and create a context for a deeper discussion about how state violence and repression have become systematic in Mexico and in other parts of the world. Other relatives of the 43 disappeared students protest with students and social organizations in Guerrero, including teachers’ organizations. Felipe de la Cruz, spokesperson for the parents of the 43, reveals that he is receiving death threats and threats against his family on his mobile phone, intended to deter their fight to find their disappeared sons.
A Mexican judge seeking asylum in the United States reveals a new version of what happened in Iguala, Guerrero, on the night of 26th September when the 43 Ayotzinapa students were forcibly disappeared. This version suggests that federal and military officials were directly involved in the case. It undermines the official narrative of the Mexican government, that the students were detained and taken to the base of the Iguala Municipal Police before being delivered to the United Warriors cartel, by affirming that this is not true.
The families mark the 9-month anniversary of the disappearances on 26th July by holding a 43-hour vigil.
3. Mexico legalises gay marriage. After months of rulings saying that restricting marriage to heterosexual couples is discriminatory, the Mexican Supreme Court legalizes same-sex matrimonies nationwide.
4. The indigenous Ñhathö community from San Francisco Xochicuautla convokes a Peace Camp of Dignified Resistance for the Defence of the Otomi Forest against the megaproject of death, the Toluca Naucalpan highway.