dorset chiapas solidarity

July 21, 2015

Chiapas: Avalanche of electoral propaganda… and social denunciations

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:59 pm

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Chiapas: Avalanche of electoral propaganda… and social denunciations

From: SIPAZ REPORT VOL. XX Nº 2 – JUNE 2015

Pilgrimage / Via Crucis of the Believer People, Simojovel, March 2015 

Pilgrimage / Via Crucis of the Believer People, Simojovel, March 2015

In April, Governor Manuel Velasco announced the resignation of his General Secretary for Governance, Eduardo Ramírez, who was to be replaced by the PRI official Juan Carlos Gómez Aranda. The new General Secretary was a founding member of the Commission for Concordance and Pacification (COCOPA), which participated in dialogues with the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). No explanation was given as to these changes in the cabinet, though rumours point to differences between the PVEM and the PRI, in a government that has been formed by alliance between these two parties. It is said that the resignation of Ramírez Aguilar took place following a meeting between the governor and the federal Secretary for Governance (SEGOB), Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong. The upcoming election has been marked by wasteful spending and propaganda, pointing toward a very likely outcome of a PVEM victory.

At the same time, denunciations from social actors have multiplied, with little echo in the electoral campaigns which have failed to outline proposals in response to their demands. In February, a worrying question was the possibility of mining reactivation: in a letter directed to a Simojovel priest signed by a representative from the representative of the Mexican Geological Service and of the firm Geochemistry and Drilling Company SA de CV (GYMSA), the priest was asked to intercede with the representations of the indigenous communities “to provide access to their private and communal territories,” where, within three months, “geological mapping of the region is planned.” The process would involve 20 municipalities of the highlands and Northern Region of Chiapas.

In February the burial of Antonia López Méndez took place, a girl from Banavil, Tenejapa municipality. The family buried their child in the community, accompanied for security reasons by a caravan of civil and social organizations, representatives from the state and municipal governments, and State Security Police. The minor was one of the 13 persons (4 families) who were forcibly displaced in December 2011.

In observance of International Women’s Day, 8 March, close to 200 women and some men marched in San Cristóbal de Las Casas for equal rights and for a halt to violence against women. At the end of the action, collectives and communities reported on the creation of a Movement in Defence of the Land, the Territory, and in favour of the Participation and Recognition of Women in Decision-making Processes, “within the context of the plundering and destruction of natural resources, as well as the generalized violence exercised by the State through its neoliberal policies and gender violence.”

In March, the pilgrimage held by the Believing People ended in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. This action was born through a series of demands that include a halt to violence and domination by narco-interests that have asserted themselves in the past two years. The authorities have been absent while the death threats have worsened against the priest of Simojovel, Marcelo Peréz Peréz, and the rest of the parish staff.

Displaced persons in Poblado Primero de Agosto, municipality of Las Margaritas, May 2015 © SIPAZ

Displaced persons in Poblado Primero de Agosto, municipality of Las Margaritas, May 2015
© SIPAZ

Also in March, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Centre for Human Rights (CDHFBC) denounced new threats against the displaced residents of the Primero de Agosto community, Las Margaritas municipality. One month after their forcible displacement by members of the Independent Historical Campesino-Agricultural Worker Centre (CIOAC-H), the Tojolabal families still find themselves “vulnerable, threatened, and at risk of a new attack.” The CDHFBC affirmed that the “government of Manuel Velasco has not assumed its responsibility and commitment to the displaced families; on the contrary, it has provided governmental protection to the CIOAC-H members, as evidenced in the impunity which prevents all the penal denunciations concerning the aggressions in question [from advancing legally].” At the time of this report, the situation continues without resolution.

In May, after vaccines were given to 52 indigenous children from the Simojovel municipality, 29 of them had adverse reactions and had to be hospitalized. Two died, and six others were seriously injured. Civil society organizations have demanded that the State authorities investigate the incident in a profound and impartial way, and they called on the appropriate authorities to determine the chain of negligence among those responsible, as well as to provide the necessary support for families, in addition to access to justice. They expressed their “concern for the situation of new-borns in the State […]. Data from the National Council on the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL) indicate that, in 2012, 74.7% of the Chiapas population finds itself in poverty, with 24.9% reporting lack of access to health services.”

EZLN: between attacks and actions

Seminar "Critical Thought versus the Capitalist Hydra", May 2015  © SIPAZ

Seminar “Critical Thought versus the Capitalist Hydra”, May 2015 
© SIPAZ

In February and May, threats and harassment were reported against residents of El Rosario and Nuevo Paraíso, communities that belong to the La Garrucha caracol, official municipality of Ocosingo, by armed persons. In March, the harassment by the Mexican Army of the Zapatista Good Government Council (JBG) in La Realidad was denounced. In addition, the Enlace Zapatista webpage suffered a cyber-attack in April.

On Saturday 2 May in the Oventik caracol in the Chiapas highlands, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) rendered homage to the philosopher Luis Villoro Toranzo, who died in March 2014, and to José Luis Solís López, the teacher “Galeano,” who was murdered in May 2014 by members of CIOAC-H in La Realidad, municipality of Las Margaritas. The homage emphasized the continuing struggle of keeping alive the efforts of the murdered comrades. From 3 to 9 May, the Seminar on “Critical Thought against the Capitalist Hydra” took place in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. More than 1,500 people participated, hailing from Mexico and other countries. At the close of the event, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés concluded with the call to “leave with much to think about and imagine. Go and speak to the rest of your comrades wherever you live, because at other times and using different forms, we will have to find other ways of working together” 

SIPAZ REPORT – SIPAZ REPORT VOL. XX Nº 2 – JUNE 2015

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