dorset chiapas solidarity

December 14, 2016

From Mexico City, Mexico: Pronouncement From John Gibler In Support Of The Sexta Bachajón

Filed under: Autonomy, Bachajon, Corporations, Displacement, Tourism, water — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:49 pm

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From Mexico City, Mexico: Pronouncement from John Gibler in support of the Sexta Bachajón 

Week of Worldwide Action in Solidarity with the Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, from 4th to 10th December 2016

 

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Capitalism and its bad governments, as is well-known, have an infamous ability to turn beauty into destruction and pain. Murder, displaced communities, fallen trees, and poisoned water and land, all for so called “luxury hotels”. Everything just to be able to sell tickets to a parade of tourists who will pay to take their picture in front of Agua Azul waterfalls, beneath the subjective gaze that seeks conquest, and further disconnection from natural life.

Also well-known is the strength of the people’s ability to live among beauty, plant their cornfield beside the waterfalls, enjoy and care for life, water, and land with the work and affection typical of farming life.

And there is the struggle. The women and men, compañeras and compañeros, from San Sebastián Bachajón, are there resisting invasion, struggling against displacement, while taking care of life.

I send you all my respect and hugs, compañeros and compañeras.

The struggle continues!

John Gibler

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July 6, 2016

Zibechi: Communities stand up for life

 

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Zibechi: Communities stand up for life

The National Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth and Territory

 

 

dsc0018_550The campfires in Cherán, Michoacán, Mexico.

 

By: Raúl Zibechi

Dozens of communities in resistance from 17 states of Mexico have started a long campaign that seeks to coordinate struggles, denounce extractivism and offer a space for mutual aid among those who are being attacked by capital and the State.

“The campaign seeks a dialogue and common actions that construct a fabric,” explains Gerardo Meza of the Acapatzingo Housing Community, in Mexico City. “Because the State takes advantage of the lack of information about what happens to the megaprojects it impels against the peoples. Therefore, we seek to construct non-organic organizational spaces for generating identity in the neighbourhoods and to weave a process of autonomy in Mexico City.”

Gerardo refers to the National Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth and Territory that started on April 10 and will culminate on November 20, two dates with deep rebel content in Mexico. The Francisco Villa Popular Organization of the Independent Left participated in it along with 180 organizations from 17 states, grouped into nine regions. A Committee for Mother Earth made up of 40 musicians, actors, religious men and women and professionals supports the campaign, which at each activity united hundreds and thousands of people: from the 1,500 that went to the launch in Mexico City on April 10, to the hundreds who mobilized in support of Xochicuautla, where the community resists the construction of a superhighway in the State of Mexico.

“The spearhead of the extractive model is mining,” Meza reasons, “levelling entire communities, taking territory away from them and destroying their identities.” The campaign places affected communities in a relationship with other affected communities in a direct, horizontal relationship, not mediated by representatives but rather of people to people. Of the campaign signers, 97 communities and barrios have conflicts with extractivist capital and the State, and resist often with very high human costs.

In the Mexican capital, for example, the barrios are being affected by urban infrastructure and communication projects, through the construction of metro lines, inter-urban trains and real estate speculation, one of the most destructive and least analysed facets of the extractive model. We’re able to talk about an “urban extractivism,” which is connected with the general model and in many cases acts to complement the mode of accumulation, since the enormous profits from mono-crops and mining are apt to be invested in urban speculation, which results in the gentrification of the cities and the expulsion of the poorest inhabitants.

From Norte to South: young and brave women

The Campaign reports that the most of the conflicts are produced by the construction of hydroelectric dams and other energy generation projects (34%), followed closely by mining projects (32%). Transportation projects like highways and trains (12%) and urbanization (11%) appear at more distance. The privatization of water embraces 15% of the conflicts, but many mining and energy projects also appropriate the commons, like water, therefore this must be one of the principal motives for the community resistances.

In the north, in the state of Sonora, the Comcáac Nation resists the destruction of 100 kilometres of Pacific littoral, where fisherpeople seek to save their sources of work from the La Peineta mining project. Gabriela Molina, of the Comcáac Territory Defenders organization, assures that half of his peoples’ territory has been conceded to a mining company that seeks to extract iron, copper and silver at sites that are sacred to his nation. “The nation is a place where deer and bighorn sheep reproduce, because of which we don’t want an extractive activity on our territory, which is also very close to the Canal del Infiernillo, where there are plants that we use for our artesanía, like jojoba and elephant tree (torote), and it is thus a site of material spiritual importance for the survival of our people.”

As happens all over the world, mining succeeded in dividing the Comcáac people with promises and a few resources. “Our group is made up of 22 women who organize against mining and we are dedicated to informing the peoples of the Sonora Sierra who are not familiar with what mining is,” Gabriela says. As Comcáac Nation, they are supported with the Traditional Guard, armed self-defence that was born in 1979 for the protection of autonomous territory. The guard is elected by the council of elders and the traditional governor and is composed as much by men as women.

“Until we added ourselves to the campaign our people were invisible,” Gabriela finished; she also denounces hydric extractivism that diverts water for business production and tourist projects in zones her people inhabit.

Since 2008, the town of San José del Progreso, in the state of Oaxaca, has opposed the arrival of a mining company in a campesino population that cultivates corn, beans and garbanzos. According to official data of the Secretariat of the Economy, since the approval of the 1992 Mining Law, Mexico delivered 31,000 concessions on almost 51 million hectares to more than 300 companies that manage around 800 projects. Rosalinda Dionisio, who is a member of the Coordinator of United Peoples of the Ocotlán Valley, suffered an attack when members of the organization were ambushed for opposing the mining Cuzcatlán, a subsidiary of the Canadian Fortuna Silver Mines, which exploits 700 hectares for extracting uranium, gold and silver.

The mine is located near the San José del Progreso municipality, one of the three poorest in the state. Although the better part of its six thousand inhabitants reject mining, the mayor supports it and heads a group that attacks members of the Coordinator. In February and March 2012, the activists were attacked, in one case by the municipal police and in another by unknown persons, with a result of two dead and various injured, among them Rosalinda. That was the reaction to the community protests, when tubes were installed to carry water to the mine, diverting it away from the campesinos’ crops.

A monster that is called the State

“With the campaign we seek to speak clearly with other communities, since we must redouble in the face of repression, and be able to inform other peoples about what is happening to us,” Rosalinda explains. “We have a monster State that has hit us very hard, with disappearances, with repression, and therefore we need a network to support each other, based on mutual aid, for confronting the monster that takes life away from us,” says this young and brave woman, survivor of the war against the peoples. She has still not completely recovered her mobility after various surgeries, but she shows an admirable combative spirit.

The resistance of the community of Cherán doesn’t need presentation, because since 2011 it has been an example for peoples who resist the extractive model and the armed groups (state or paramilitary) that promote and protect it. Severiana Fabián, a member of the High Council of the P’urhépecha indigenous community of Cherán, also forms part of the National Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth and Territory. Her community rose up to expel the criminal woodcutters supported by local caciques.

“We fight to defend a commons that is Mother Earth,” explains Severiana. The key to the success of this community is its organization, extensive and profound, which reaches all corners, is open and transparent, solid and convincing. “We are organized by uses and customs (traditional indigenous governing practices) and we have attained that Cherán is calm and secure by the force of our community organization,” says a woman who feels proud of the work accomplished in five years, which she considers an example for Mexicans.

The form of organization, from below to above, begins by the campfires. There are four barrios (neighbourhoods) and in each one there are between 50 and 60 campfires (fogatas), at the rate of one per block. There are 53 campfires in Severiana’s barrio, which speaks of a way of outdoor organization, in which families can participate, from the children to the elderly. Each barrio elects three individuals to the High Council, in which there are currently three women.

Cherán has a population of 20,000 inhabitants and in each one of the 240 campfires installed on each corner there are some one hundred people. “This organization is the key to everything,” exclaims Severiana. The campfires are meeting places among neighbours, spaces where the community is re-created, but they are also organs of power in which collective decisions are made and where the participation of women is decisive.

As the synthesis of these years of struggle, Severiana assures that in Cherán “courage overcame fear.” Maybe it will be the legacy of this community that it can gather and expand the National Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth and Territory.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Rebelión

Saturday, June 25, 2016

 

http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=213817

Re-published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Minor edits for UK audience by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

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June 30, 2016

Indigenous Women Seek Legal Protection for Cultural Heritage

Filed under: Archaeology / Maya, Tourism, Women — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:22 am

 

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Indigenous Women Seek Legal Protection for Cultural Heritage

 

guatemala_indigenous_maya_women_court_textile_designs_culture.jpg_1718483346An Indigenous women holds up the case presented to the court for intellectual property rights over Mayan textiles. | Photo: Mujere Afedes

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Weavers of traditional ancestral designs argue the Guatemalan government has a responsibility to protect their Mayan culture from outside exploitation.

Indigenous women in Guatemala are fighting for collective intellectual property rights over their traditional Mayan textiles in the face of a lack of government will to protect the cultural heritage that represents thousands of years of Indigenous community resistance, Mayan organizations argued in court on Tuesday.

“What we want is a law to protect our textiles because it is something that is ours, we learned from our grandparents how to weave,” said Kaqchikel weaver Marta Puac, one of dozens of women from different communities who went to the Constitutional Court in Guatemala City on Tuesday in support of the initiative.

The case, led by a group of women from the community of San Juan Sacatepequez northwest of Guatemala City—with the support of an association of Mayan lawyers—calls on the court to push Congress to introduce new laws specifically aimed at protecting Mayan cultural patrimony and and intellectual property.

 

guatemala_indigenous_textile_design.jpg_888881121Photo: Abogados Mayas

 

Puac explained that the women fear that in the future their textiles could be subject to a patent from outside their community that would effectively rob Mayan people of their designs and culture. “We’re defending our identity,” she said.

In the hearing, representative Angelina Aspuac argued that the Guatemalan government uses Mayan culture as a selling point for tourism without taking steps to protect the communities’ collective rights over what she describes as a kind of living culture. She also argued that there is a question of labor rights at stake since it is Indigenous women who weave the iconic textiles while others reap the majority of the economic benefits.

Another Indigenous activist, Josefina Con Cuc, explained that the case seeks a “guarantee” that Mayan people can continue carrying forward the cultural heritage of their designs to future generations.

 

guatemala_women_textiles_indigenous_maya.jpg_887957600Photo: Mujeres Afedes

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“The art of weaving is a form of ancestral knowledge that woman have preserved for many years,” she said. “And it is part of the knowledge that continues to be threatened and for which we are resisting.”

According to the women behind the initiatives, the lack of state action to recognize collective rights to traditional textiles goes hand-in-hand with other threats to their cultural protection, including increasing industrial production, commercialization of culture and unfair market access for Indigenous women.

The women hope the case will also help them increase their incomes and see more equality in labor relations involving intermediaries, who may be less able to exploit their work with intellectual property rights in place.

Banners in support of the ongoing case in court Tuesday included signs reading “we are the daughters of grandmothers who will not die, they will live on through the universe of our textiles.”

 

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

This article is about Guatemala, however its content is equally relevant to the Maya of Chiapas and perhaps especially to the Zapatista communities.

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Indigenous-Women-Seek-Legal-Protection-for-Cultural-Heritage-20160629-0006.html

 

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June 18, 2016

Communique from San Sebastian Bachajon 14th June 2016

Filed under: Bachajon, Indigenous, La Sexta, Tourism — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:02 pm

 

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Communique from San Sebastian Bachajon 14th June 2016

 

 

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Bachajón Ejidatarios join with 15 other communities to arrest a criminal gang who killed a young man of 22, using their customary practices

 

FROM THE EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 14th JUNE 2016

 

To the EZLN

To the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandόn Jungle

To the CNI

To the free media

To the defenders of human rights

To national and international civil society

 

Compañeros and compañeras, we want to inform you of the situation we are living through in our territory, as this is a clear example of how we have been affected by similar situations in the past.

On the night of Sunday 12th June, on the section of the highway in the municipality of Tumbalá, in the northern zone of Chiapas, a group of around 10 people assaulted and killed a young campesino, 22 years of age, named Medardo Astudillo Arcos, from the community of Cuctiepa.

The Ch’ol and Tseltal communities of the region, knowing that there will be no justice from the state due to the complicity of the police forces with the bad government and organised crime, decided to organize ourselves autonomously and mobilised around 800 men to track and capture the criminal gang, who, thanks to witnesses who were in the area, were identified as Miguel Pérez Cruz, Antonio Pérez Cruz, and Medardo Pérez Cruz, among others, and there were confessions that the group organizer was Mariano Silvano Gómez.

The operation was carried out by fifteen communities from different municipalities, among them the municipality of Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandόn Jungle; we saw it necessary to unite against organised crime, to prevent the bad government from utilizing these types of situations, with the help of the mass media, and presenting them to civil society as the result of a prevailing insecurity and division among indigenous peoples, advocating police and military intervention in territories that are the focus of government interests.

Furthermore, we denounce that because of these interests, the bad government, in complicity with police forces in the region, has utilized similar conflicts to incriminate members of the indigenous organization of Bachajón, unjustly detaining them, as is the case of Emilio Jiménez Gómez and Esteban Gómez Jiménez.

The organized intervention of the Ch’ol and Tseltal communities to detain the criminals, using our customs and traditional practices and the ways and modes of community policing, is an example of autonomous justice which not only meets the security needs of the region, but also those of tourism, which daily travels these roads heading to destinations like Agua Azul, Palenque or the Yucatan peninsula.

Compañeros and Compañeras we will keep you informed about the situation.

 

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Never again a Mexico without us

Land and freedom

Long live Zapata!

¡Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territory!

State police out of indigenous territory!

Immediate return of the disappeared and murdered compañeros from the Normal School Raúl Isidro Burgos of Ayotzinapa!

Long live the dignified struggle of the Chol compañeros and compañeras from the ejido Tila!

Long live the dignified struggle of the compañeros and compañeras from San Francisco Xochicuautla!

Long live the communities who struggle for their autonomy and freedom!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

 

 EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE

 

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December 21, 2015

Bail of 136.122 pesos is imposed on Zapatista political prisoner from Toniná

Filed under: Archaeology / Maya, Political prisoners, Tourism, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:05 pm

 

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Bail of 136.122 pesos is imposed on Zapatista political prisoner from Toniná

 

 

Tonina-zapatista-300x400

 

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, December 18, 2015.- 136,122 pesos was the fine paid by the families of Zapatista support base José Alfonso Cruz Espinosa, owner of the land in San Antonio Toniná where the Toniná Archaeological Zone is located, to get him out on bail after 10 days of arbitrary imprisonment in the prison of El Encino. On the 1st January, 1994, this property was within the territory recuperated by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation after the insurrection. Since then the counter-offensive by the Mexican government began, and they set up a military camp in the area; after its installation the archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History came -shouting through their actions “Death to the living Indians and life to the dead ones”, in this way revindicating that first national cultural policy promoted by the government of Porfirio Diaz.

The most recent counterinsurgency offensive against the Zapatistas began in Tonina on 13th April, 2008; the archaeologist Juan Yadeum Angulo, an official from the archaeological site, who in fact behaved as if he was the feudal lord and master, in complicity with the director of the Museum Julisa Camacho Ramirez Camacho, began the pressure to demand that the Zapatista José Alfonso Cruz Espinosa sell his property in San Antonio Toniná. Since then, the judicial proceedings against him have not stopped.

On 20th December, 2012, at the start of his tenure as governor of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco Coello announced the cancellation of the arrest warrant against the Zapatista support base Alfonso Cruz Espinosa, in a public communication which stated “With these actions, the State Government reiterates its commitment to respect and make a decisive contribution towards detente, in order to promote a climate of tolerance and peace.” We see that these statements from the governor are all talk, since not only was the arrest warrant not cancelled, but it was executed on 10th November 2015, violating his rights to due process rights by keeping him incommunicado and without the right to a legal defence.

We also observe how the archaeological investigations are used as part of the counterinsurgency process against the Zapatista communities in Chiapas.

http://www.centrodemedioslibres.org/2015/12/20/136122-pesos-imponen-de-fianza-a-preso-politico-zapatista-de-tonina/

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March 15, 2015

“The Dignified Resistance of San Sebastián Bachajón Continues”

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement, Indigenous, Movement for Justice in el Barrio, Tourism — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:41 pm

 

The Dignified Resistance of San Sebastián Bachajón Continues

 

 

New video about the struggle of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón in Chiapas for their land and territory and in defence of our mother earth.

The video was made by Springfield No One Leaves and the Committee of the True Word of Alisal. It is in Spanish with English subtitles. In the video, the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón  make an urgent call for solidarity.

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February 20, 2015

Communiqué from San Sebastián Bachajón February 14 2015

Filed under: Autonomy, Bachajon, Corporations, Displacement, Indigenous, La Sexta, Political prisoners, Repression, Tourism — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:20 pm

 

Communiqué from San Sebastián Bachajón February 14 2015

San Sebastián Bachajón denounces the creation of false crimes of highway assault and organized crime to undermine their struggle

20150207_175039_Mx_Chiapas_Bachajon_w1024_par_ValK 

FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 14 FEBRUARY 2015

To the General Command of the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee of the Zapatista National Liberation Army

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Indigenous National Congress

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

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

Compañeros and compañeras, we inform you that the bad government is using a strategy of supposed tourist businesses to create an environment of persecution against indigenous communities, but especially of our organization, through false accusations of assault on the highway and organized crime, in order to undermine our struggle by presenting us as thieves or criminals, for this reason they are increasingly sending police to our region of San Sebastian, which is near the Agua Azul turning on the road from Ocosingo to Palenque, because they can find no way to stop us defending our territory and as they see that more and more of the brother and sister ejidatarios are opening their eyes to the bad policy of the government and therefore leaving increasingly more isolated the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gomez and the vigilance councillor Samuel Diaz Guzman, who have no one to embrace them but their patrons the bad governments.

This trick of the bad government to accuse us of false crimes of assault and organized crime is the same as in 2009 and 2011, when they imprisoned the political prisoner compañeros for defending the land, but we are not afraid of the government’s threats, we demand that the three levels of bad government respect the people and organized communities, because we will not rest in the defence of the land and our rights as a people.

We demand the withdrawal of the public forces from our lands which have been dispossessed since February 2011 and of the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas.

 

We demand freedom for our political prisoners Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández and for the unjustly imprisoned compañeros Santiago Moreno Pérez, Emilio Jiménez Gómez and Esteban Gómez Jiménez.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings.

Never again a Mexico without us

 

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the disappeared compañeros from Ayotzinapa!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

 

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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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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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December 24, 2014

The make-up of dispossession in San Sebastián Bachajón

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement, Ethics, Human rights, Indigenous, Tourism — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:08 pm

 

 

The make-up of dispossession in San Sebastián Bachajón

 

On December 21, 2014, dawn came to San Sebastián Bachajón with the news of their having reclaimed their territory located on the boundaries between the areas of Agua Azul and Tumbalá. These lands had been taken from them by the bad government of Juan Sabines Guerrero and Noe Castañón León, in collusion with the then ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Francisco Jiménez Guzmán.

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Why dispossession? The track giving access to the “Agua Azul Waterfalls” ecotourism centre crosses the lands of San Sebastián Bachajón. Since September 2009, the ejidatarios had administered the access continuously. Until February 2, 2011 when military and police forces came to violently evict them from their land, leaving a total of 117 detainees. The eviction order came through the then governor of Chiapas, Juan Sabines Guerrero (now a fugitive for stealing money and increasing the state’s debt to nearly 40 billion pesos, he fled to Punta Diamante, Acapulco, Guerrero,) and the then Secretary General of Government Noé Castañón León.

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After the eviction, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) installed a tollbooth on the boundary line between Bachajón and Tumbalá, leaving the entire construction in Bachajón, 10 centimetres from Tumbalá. Meanwhile, the Institute of Civil Protection (INP) and the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection (SSyPC) installed a permanent [troop] detachment. A Civil Protection building was built using construction materials the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón kept there.  Where the House of Multiple Uses of the ejidatarios used to be is now the parking area for this building.

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There was also built, or rather converted, a “Medical Consulting Room,” from a construction that had been begun by the ejidatarios, next to a house with meeting rooms and bathrooms. The meeting house was destroyed; the bathrooms remain, while the supposed medical consulting rooms are not in use, as they have no staff or medical equipment. There is only the facade.

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It was not only displacement and dispossession. They also stole their construction materials and destroyed their property.

Plunder masked with legality is what is found on the way to the Agua Azul waterfalls.

The true face appeared again in the early hours of December 21, covered with bandanas and balaclavas, with painted blankets which make clear who they are. This true face speaks in Tseltal and greets the people passing on this road to get to the waterfalls of Agua Azul. They charge 29 pesos less than the CONANP tollbooth for the use of this route, that is to say 10 pesos. Children do not pay.

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How much do they earn, the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez and the vigilance councillor Samuel Díaz Guzmán, who have asked the governor of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco Coello, to intervene through the public forces to evict those who have regained their territory?

But the ejidatarios are clear. The dialogue has to happen, and it will only be between the true and rightful owners of the land. Not for negotiation, the land is not negotiable. But so that everyone can live in equality. So there will not be some who are above and some who are below, like there is now.

That’s why they are there, defending what is theirs, the girls, boys, women, men, grandfathers and grandmothers, the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). But there are also ejidatarios who are non-adherents but feel strengthened by their compañeros ejidatarios to be able to raise their voices and say “ENOUGH, we never agreed with Pancho (former ejidal commissioner), nor now with Alejandro. This is our land and we will defend it.”

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However the bad people always are always on the lookout in the face of those who want to build. A day after they recovered their land, there is information that the ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, and the vigilance councillor, Samuel Díaz Guzmán, have been requesting the entry of police forces, and at this moment armed groups are being organized headed by Juan Alvaro Moreno from the village of Xanil, Manuel Jiménez Moreno from the village of Pamalá and Carmen Aguilar Gómez from the village of Chewal Nazaret; to come in a violent way to displace and evict the families who are caring for the land they have regained peacefully, without harming anyone or anything. There is a serious risk that children, the elderly and young people who are on the reclaimed land will suffer attacks on their lives and personal integrity.

The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) have already been informed of this risk, they already know the case for dispossession made against the ejido. Maximum dissemination of information is requested to avoid unfortunate events occurring against the people who are there. It also needs to be clarified that there has been no intention of confrontation or provocation at any time by the ejidatarios who have reclaimed their territory.

They just ask for dialogue. If there has to be violence in the displacement, it will be aggression and attacks from those who do the dispossessing.

http://komanilel.org/2014/12/22/el-maquillaje-del-despojo-en-san-sebastian-bachajon/

 

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

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December 21, 2014

FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, 21st DECEMBER, 2014

 

On 21st December, 2014, at about 7 am, 300 ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón recovered the lands that were dispossessed from them in 2011, and the toll booth on the way to the waterfalls of Agua Azul.

 

FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 21st DECEMBER, 2014

 

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To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista National Liberation Army

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the World Festival of Resistance

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

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world 

Compañeros and compañeras, our people continue to struggle against the dispossession and repression of the bad government which wants by every means to take our land, our natural  resources and our dignity as a people; but as in all this time our people have organized to defend and make our struggle grow, the bad government cannot stop this struggle; that is why they attacked us a lot and killed Juan Vázquez Guzmán on 24th April, 2013 and the compa Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano on 21st March, 2014; this is also why we have three compañeros imprisoned in Yajalón, Chiapas, Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández, who were tortured by the Municipal Police from Chilón and the Indigenous Public Ministry of Ocosingo, the lawyer Rodolfo Gómez Gutiérrez who put a gun to the head of our compañero Mario Aguilar Silvano and also put a bag over his head.

For all these injustices of the bad government that prefers to see us dead or in prison, living in poverty and marginalization because it takes away our land to give to big corporations and corrupt politicians so they can become richer while our communities are dying of hunger, without hospitals or schools, they only come here during electoral campaigns and leave their crumbs to entertain people and take advantage of their need, we completely reject this bad policy that only uses and exploits the people; for this reason as an organisation our communities in assembly decided to recover today the lands from which the bad government dispossessed us on 2nd February, 2011, with the complicity of the ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón at that time, Francisco Guzmán Jiménez, aka goyito, and now by his faithful disciple Alejandro Moreno Gomez and his vigilance councillor Samuel Diaz who serve the interests of the bad government, not of their people.

We hold the three levels of bad government, represented by the paramilitary leaders Enrique Peña Nieto, Manuel Velasco Coello and Leonardo Guirao Aguilar, responsible for any aggression against our compañeros and compañeras who will be safeguarding the recuperated lands which legally and legitimately belong to the Tzeltal people of San Sebastián Bachajón and not to the bad government, for this reason we demand that they refrain from approaching with their police or paramilitary forces.

We demand the release of our prisoners in Yajalón JUAN ANTONIO GOMEZ SILVANO,  MARIO AGUILAR SILVANO and  ROBERTO GOMEZ HERNANDEZ; our prisoners in Playas de Catazajá SANTIAGO MORENO PEREZ and EMILIO JIMENEZ GOMEZ; and our prisoner in El Amate ESTEBAN GOMEZ JIMENEZ.

We ask all the compañeros and compañeras, organizations, peoples and communities of Mexico and the world to remain alert and in solidarity with our struggle because together we can overcome the dispossession and repression of the bad government.

We express our total rejection of mega projects dispossessing the peoples of Chiapas and the whole country, and so we express our total solidarity with our compañeros and compañeras of the ejido Tila, Los Llanos, Candelaria, San Francisco Xochicuautla, the Yaqui Tribe, compañeros and compañeras from Puebla, Morelos, Tlaxcala, Oaxaca and all the peoples who are resisting the prison, death and repression of the bad government we tell them to keep on fighting because they are not alone.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings.

Never again a Mexico without us

Attentively

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the 43 missing of Ayotzinapa!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

 

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

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November 4, 2014

There are dark hands and tourism interests behind the arrest of the ejidatarios from Bachajón

Filed under: Bachajon, La Sexta, Political prisoners, Tourism — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:34 pm

 

There are dark hands and tourism interests behind the arrest of the ejidatarios from Bachajón

Desinformémonos

It is not the first time that the municipal police of Chilón, under orders from the Mayor, have criminalized and harassed the defenders of territory, says their lawyer a few hours after the ruling on the legal status of the Tseltales.

 

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UPDATE: JUDGE ISSUES FORMAL ORDER OF IMPRISONMENT AGAINST THREE EJIDATARIOS AND RECLASSIFIES THE CRIME OF WOUNDING TO A MORE SERIOUS ONE: ATTEMPTED MURDER. 

The lawyer defending the Tzeltales, Ricardo Lagunes Gasca, described the incident as “shameful actions of the judge, completely subjected to the interests of the executive,” since it relied on the “illegal” evidence of the prosecution.

Mexico, DF. Behind the arrest of three ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón –accused of ​​wounding a municipal policeman from Chilón, Chiapas, is not only the hand of the municipal president, Rafael Guirao Aguilar, but also the interests of the state and federal governments in handing over the community land to private tourism companies,  the defender Ricardo Lagunes Gasca believes, within a few hours of reaching the constitutional deadline for the trial judge to rule on the possible release of the detainees.

Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández were arrested on September 16, as they walked towards their community, by the municipal police of Chilón. According to the public denunciation by the ejidatarios of Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the Zapatistas, the Tseltales were tortured by Rodolfo Gómez Gutiérrez, officer from the Public Ministry assigned to the Special Prosecutor for Indigenous Justice based in Ocosingo, so they would sign an incriminating confession. The defence lawyer for the Tseltales indicates that the police accuser was injured, but that this was during the patriotic celebrations in the county seat.

Inhabitants of Bachajón noted that the detention may be in revenge for the imprisonment of Sebastián Méndez Hernández, an officer of the aforementioned police, who is accused of killing Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano (a regional coordinator of the Sixth in Bachajón) on 21 March 2014. The murdered man came from Virgen de Dolores, a community founded in 2010 by the ejidatarios on recuperated land. The murder suspect was handed over to the authorities by a group of ejidatarios from Bachajón, and a friend and neighbour of his was recognized by detainees as part of the group that attacked them.

The detainees spent nine hours in the hands of police, who had to deliver them to the nearest public ministry, located a maximum of an hour away. On September 19th, the joint mixed trial judge of Ocosingo, Omar Heleria Reyes, requested bail of 300,000 pesos for each detainee to obtain release, which, according to their lawyer, is unconstitutional because it is disproportionate to the economic situation of indigenous prisoners and allowed no possibility of access to the benefit (bail).

Lagunes Gasca points out that it is not the first time that the municipal police from Chilón have acted with such “impunity” with the intention of retaliating against people from Bachajón. He recalled that officers from the same force arrested the murdered Juan Vázquez Guzmán in 2011; he was released the same day for lack of evidence against him. He added that the municipal president of Chilón, a member of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM) is indicated as a supplier of arms to the paramilitary group Los Chinchulines and is very close to the Governor Manuel Velasco Coello.

“Compañero Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano,” said the ejidatarios in a communiqué on March 23, “is part of the foundation and construction of autonomy in the Virgen de Dolores community, his participation and his work for the organization and the community will never be forgotten because we carry it in our hearts… Since we founded the communities of Nah Choj and Virgen de Dolores in 2010, our organization has been harassed at various times by the army and state preventive police, threatening us with eviction.”

The ejidatarios the bad government of wanting to ” finish us off completely by assassinating our compañeros, using their paramilitary gunmen, who with complete impunity, whether by night or in the full light of day, are capable of vilely murdering our compañeros who are working and struggling to construct a world in which other worlds fit.”

Founded in 1980 by the original Tseltal inhabitants, the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón is in the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, in southeastern Mexico. The ejido, one of the largest in Mexico, has 70 hectares in an area of ​​outstanding natural beauty and biodiversity, where the waterfalls of Agua Azul are situated. The state and federal governments plan to build a large tourist complex, which is why the ejidatarios adherent to the Sixth started their resistance.

On March 19, 2007, many of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón declared themselves adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, an initiative promoted by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). They decided to exercise their right to self-determination over their lands and resources as original peoples, and built a toll booth on their territory, where tourists pay for their visit to the waterfalls of Agua Azul. The booth became a focal point for conflict.

On several occasions, the ejidatarios denounced the eviction of the booth and the attempted imposition of political parties allied to the authorities. In this context, Juan Vázquez Guzmán – spokesperson for the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón -was murdered with six shots at the door of his home on April 24, 2013, in what was widely interpreted as a political assassination. The material and intellectual murderers remain unpunished.

 

 

bachajuanes

http://desinformemonos.org/2014/09/manos-oscuras-e-intereses-turisticos-detras-de-la-detencion-de-ejidatarios-de-bachajon/

 

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October 17, 2014

Ejido San Sebastian Bachajón attends the 80th anniversary of the ejido Tila.

Filed under: Bachajon, Human rights, Indigenous, Political prisoners, Repression, Tourism — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:59 pm

 

 

Ejido San Sebastian Bachajón attends the 80th anniversary of the ejido Tila.

 

Ejido San Sebastian Bachajón attends the 80th anniversary of the ejido Tila. “It is the organised people who command, enough of discrimination and dispossession. No to the San Cristóbal - Palenque highway, and other megaprojects”, they say. “Freedom for political prisoners!” they demand.

Ejido San Sebastian Bachajón attends the 80th anniversary of the ejido Tila. “It is the organised people who command, enough of discrimination and dispossession. No to the San Cristóbal – Palenque highway, and other megaprojects”, they say. “Freedom for political prisoners!” they demand.

 

 

Justice for Bachajón! Today, 16th October, it is a month since detention and torture of the three indigenous Tzeltales from the community of Virgin de Dolores in the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.  After 30 days of unjust detention, the conditions under which they are detained in prison in Yajalón are deplorable, because, as members of the collective #‎MasDe131 and the Network against Repression who visited them make clear, they are in need of medical attention, because the wounds resulting from the blows to which they were subjected have yet to heal.

Justice for Bachajón! Today, 16th October, it is a month since detention and torture of the three indigenous Tzeltales from the community of Virgin de Dolores in the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.
After 30 days of unjust detention, the conditions under which they are detained in prison in Yajalón are deplorable, because, as members of the collective #‎MasDe131 and the Network against Repression who visited them make clear, they are in need of medical attention, because the wounds resulting from the blows to which they were subjected have yet to heal.

 

 

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