Zapatista News Summary for September 2016
A. Zapatistas and CNI
1. CNI and EZLN announce Fifth Indigenous National Congress: The CNI and EZLN announce in a communiqué that the Fifth Indigenous National Congress will be held at Cideci in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, from October 9-14, 2016. The announcement also includes the programme of events, and information about how to register. October marks the 20th anniversary of “uninterrupted work” by the CNI.
2. One House, Other Worlds: In a communiqué released in the middle of the month, Subcomandantes Moises and Galeano, on behalf of the Zapatistas “invite you to participate in the festivals ‘CompArteand ConCienciasfor Humanity’,” in order to build “a house so big that it holds not one but many worlds.”
3. Alternative grito given in Palenque: Before the mayor could give his grito (Cry of Independence,) in Palenque on September 16th, to celebrate Mexican Independence Day, hundreds of masked Zapatista supporters took over the zócalo, used a ladder to reach the balcony where the grito would have been given, and gave a cry against the state and capitalism instead. Meanwhile the governor of Chiapas Manuel Velasco Coello had to give his grito in Tapachula, because the zócalo in Tuxtla was full of striking teachers.
4. CNI and EZLN: War and Resistance Dispatch #44: The EZLN and CNI release a joint communiqué, before the second anniversary of the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa on September 26th, in support of the Ayotzinapa struggle for truth and justice. It is a very powerful document, scathingly critical of the Mexican government, which they say “rewards those responsible for lying and trying to distort the truth even more, and it pursues and incarcerates those who seek truth and justice.” In it, the two organisations also jointly state their support for the Indigenous struggle based at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access oil pipeline (No DAPL.)
B. Chiapas News:
1. San Sebastián Bachajón: The ejidatarios, adherents to the Sixth Declaration from San Sebastián Bachajón, issue a communiqué on 15th December, announcing that their dignified struggle continues, and sending their support to the teachers, to “our Chol compañeros and compañeras from the Ejido Tila,” and “to all the communities and people in Mexico and the world who are in resistance. They also demand the release of their prisoners. One of these, Esteban Gómez Jiménez, sends a letter calling for his freedom. He says he is innocent, his crimes were fabricated, and “they imprison me for organising and for defending Mother Earth.” On 21st September the ejidatarios report a phone call from him informing them that he has been attacked, beaten and harassed in prison. At the same time, Santiago Moreno Pérez, imprisoned in Playas de Catazajá, calls for solidarity and demands his freedom. He explains that he is sick and in pain.
On 26th September, the ejidatarios release a communiqué in support of Ayotzinapa. They say they are holding a peaceful action on the highway between Ocosingo and Palenque. Following this, they release a message denouncing police presence in their territory and the takeover of their headquarters on 23rd September. “This act further demonstrates the desire to drive us from this land and shows that the ejidal commissioner is a servant of the bad government, which works to destroy the autonomy of the community San Sebastián Bachajón.” On 30th September, the ejidatarios send another urgent message, warning that a communiqué issued by the officialist [government-supporting] commissioner of San Sebastian Bachajon, just published on the website of Chiapas Denuncia Pública [Frayba] does not represent the thinking and the struggle of the ejidatarios of La Sexta Bachajon. They have been misrepresented.
2. Ejido Tila: In the autonomous municipality of the Ejido Tila, gunmen attempt to assassinate Manuel Martínez Pérez, a local organizer from PUDEE (Peoples United for the Defence of Electrical Energy) from the community of Masoja Shucja, firing 11 rounds through the window of his home.In a statement released on September 7, the ejidatariosof Tila denounce that two siblings (a man aged 20, and a woman aged 19), whose grandparents are originally from Tila ejido, were attacked and killed with machetes and the young woman raped on August 27. They denounce drug dealing and alcohol, and say this is another attempt to destabilise their autonomy.
3. San Francisco, Teopisca: Organised families from the community of San Francisco, in the municipality of Teopisca, adherents to the Sixth Declaration, denouncea blockade of the exit road from their reclaimed land of San Francisco, put in place against their community by militants belonging to the Green Party, the ruling party in the Chiapas. They say their land has been invaded by shock groups.
4. Oxchuc rejects the restoration of the mayor: The 115 Tzeltal communities in the Oxchuc region who recently kicked out their elected officials, in particular the mayor, Maria Gloria, and decided to return to indigenous forms of governance, mobilise to oppose the reimposition of these officials following a federal court ruling.
5. Prisoners: On 24th September 24, as part of International Prisoners Day, Roberto Paciencia Cruz, who has still not been sentenced after three years of imprisonment, calls for support for all those unjustly imprisoned. Earlier he has denounced that he was denied visitors. Alejandro Diaz Santiz, the indigenous Tsotsil prisoner held for seventeen years, now in the CEFERESO No. 15, Villa de Comatitlan, also reiterates his demand for freedom and confirms his innocence.
6. Maximiliano is found alive: In a joint statement published on September 2, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Centre for Human Rights, Meso-American Voices and the La 72 Shelter for Migrants, report that the young man Maximiliano Gordillo Martinez, who has been missing since May 7 when he was stopped at a checkpoint of the National Migration Institute (INM) in Tabasco, has reappeared alive.
7. Teachers’ strike: This is now over in Chiapas, after the federal government promised to honour the 11 points it had offered verbally. The occupation encampments have been taken down and the teachers have returned to the classrooms. The teachers in Chiapas held out the longest, with great public support, and gained the most concessions. On September 19, teachers of Sections 7 and 40 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE) in Chiapas began the 2016-2017 school year after four months of work stoppage to demand the repeal of the education reform bill, passed in 2013. Section 22 in Oaxaca had done the same since September 7.
C. Other News.
1. For more news: on Ayotzinapa, the teachers’ strike, independence, political prisoners etc, please see: https://fallingintoincandescence.com/2016/10/01/insumision-it-was-the-state/
2. Wixarika: Over 1,000 Indigenous Wixarika people, also known as Huicholes, reclaim a section of their ancestral land from ranchers in the western state of Nayarit on 22nd September, enforcing a court decision upholding Wixarika rights to the land. This long story is mentioned by the EZLN and CNI. The enforcement targets a 184-hectare plot in the Nayarit community of Huajimic, a relatively small tract of the Wixarika’s total land claim of some 10,000 hectares of territory that the group argues is under “irregular possession.” Ranchers obtained titles to the land in the early 1990s, but courts have ruled in the Wixarika’s favour on 13 out of a total of 47 land claims, the remainder of which remain pending.
3. Atenco: International opposition to the new airport for Mexico City continues, with a day of action on 1st October. In Tocuila an 89-year-old and his 56-year-old son are attacked and beaten in their home by armed men due to their opposition to the construction of the new international airport and their refusal to sell their lands for that purpose.
Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity