dorset chiapas solidarity

August 9, 2016

Chamula Communities Up for a Fight

Filed under: Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:57 am

 

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[Communique] Chamula Communities Up for a Fight

 

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San Juan Chamula, Chiapas. 20th July 2016.

Given the events of today in the eviction of people from the San Cristobal de las Casas road, the people of Chamula completely distance ourselves from participating as was reported by Televisa and TV Azteca. We place responsibility on Narciso, leader of the organisation  ALMETRACH and the President of Chamula “Zetjol” . They are complicit in this brutal repression perpetuated against the Chiapas People’s Teachers Movement (or as it’s known in Spanish “Movimiento Magisterial y Popular de Chiapas”) and allies.

We call on the general public to not fall for the dirty tricks of these people who only do one thing which is the dirty work Governor Manuel Velasco.

As inhabitants of Chamula we support the teachers’ movement because we too are tired of bad government, corruption and injustice.

We place responsibility on the three levels of government who are causing so much damage to fellow citizens and we ask in the most respectful manner that the demands of the CNTE be met immediately. If we are not listened to, we will have to rise up in arms to reinforce our brothers and sisters’ struggle against the education reform, which threatens the whole nation. A lot of blood will run. There will be radical activities, we now understand Peña’s language.

After today’s events, we are organising our communities and we will not abandon our own people, our fellow citizens and teachers.

We call on all municipalities in Chiapas to support a coup d’etat if these people don’t agree. We will strengthen our fight, the municipality of Chamula will take up arms if necessary. If the government doesn’t want peace, then we will not give them peace. The municipalities of Chiapas have to be united today more than ever. United we are strong.

Chamula Communities Up for a Fight

Hasta la Victoria Siempre

United and Organised We Will Triumph

Out with the Paramilitaries

Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 09/08/2016

http://www.proyectoambulante.org/index.php/noticias/nacionales/item/6651-comunicado-comunidades-de-chamula-en-pie-de-lucha

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August 1, 2016

Words of the EZLN at CompARTE in Oventik

Filed under: Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:25 am

 

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Words of the EZLN at CompARTE in Oventik

 

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WORDS OF THE GENERAL COMMAND OF THE EZLN, IN THE VOICE OF SUBCOMANDANTE INSURGENTE MOISÉS, AT THE OPENING OF THE ZAPATISTAS’ PARTICIPATION IN CompARTE, CARACOL OF OVENTIK, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, MORNING OF JULY 29, 2016.

In the name of the compañeras and compañeros bases of support of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, I want to tell you how we feel about the things that they do to us as originary peoples of Mexico. I think it is the same all across the world.

We want to tell you, explain to you once again, how much suffering this rotten capitalist system has caused us.

Don’t feel bad, compañeras and compañeros from the national and international Sixth, brothers and sisters of the world, about everything that I am about to tell you because it isn’t about you. It’s about what the capitalist system does to us and the conditions that it forces on us, especially those of us who are ORIGINARY PEOPLES in this country called Mexico.

I am going to talk about how we Zapatista men and women feel about what they did to our indigenous brothers and sisters from the town of San Juan Chamula, on June 23 of this year.

What happened there pains us as Zapatistas.

I mean what really happened there, not what the paid media (those who sell out for a few pennies) say happened there.

We know perfectly that the paid media says that in Chamula the municipal president from the Verde Ecologista (PVEM, Green Ecological Party of Mexico) was killed. Because this is the party of the overseer Velasco,[i] the paid media are there crying and lamenting what happened, but they say nothing of the rest of the dead. They say nothing of those who later died in their homes or of those whose dead or dying bodies were taken away by their families. For the government and the press those deaths don’t matter. There were actually dozens of dead, not just five corrupt officials.

Everyone in Chamula and in all of the indigenous communities of the Altos of Chiapas knows what really happened. They know that it was the guards of the corrupt municipal president (of the Verde party) who initiated the shootout and who killed and injured many of the people who were in the plaza. It wasn’t until later that another armed group arrived to finish off these (Verde) officials. Yes, finish them off, because they had already been killed with clubs and machetes.

The government and its journalist employees want to present what happened as just a small problem. They talk about the municipal president as a “poor thing.” They claim that he was simply trying to respond to the people’s complaints but that those “savage” Chamulans, as the press calls them, had to go and kill him.

All of this is a lie. Every single thing that they have said in the paid media is a lie. It is a lie that was bought for a few pennies, and the paid media would rather interview “experts,” as they call them, than go and actually investigate what happened.

We are not going to report what happened in detail. We will leave this task to those who were the real victims that day and who have been the victims for a long time now. They will know perfectly well how and when to explain things.

But what we will tell you is that what followed pains us to no end: how the paid media began to report a bunch of nonsense and lies about indigenous peoples. Even those media who claim to be very progressive did the same thing. It pains us how they made a corrupt politician into a hero. It pains us that they lied to everyone, becoming accomplices to the crime. And it pains us how they knelt before Velasco so he could climb on their backs and present himself as some great saviour. It’s on them [the media] that they sell out for mere pennies.

It does not matter to us that the people of Chamula are not Zapatistas. They are our brothers. Those people who killed each other in the community of San Juan Chamula are indigenous peoples, originary peoples, part of our originary race. It brings us no satisfaction to see indigenous people killing one another, even if they support the political party system. It gives us no pleasure to see indigenous people presented as “savages” by those who are the true savages—the criminal government, their political party supporters, and their obedient paid press.

What matters to us is who planned this, who wanted things to happen this way.

We suffer an immense and seemingly incurable pain from all those things that those above have done to us.

We understand clearly that no one else can cure this pain. Only we can do so that, and to do so we will have to work and work very hard.

All of the bad things that happen in our communities, towns, barrios, and neighbourhoods HAPPEN BECAUSE OF THE POLITICAL PARTIES, RELIGIONS, AND DRUG TRAFFICKERS THAT MEDDLE THERE.

They use us indigenous people for anything and everything that those above want.

They want to turn us into servants of those above by having us work as mayors, councilmen, and state and federal representatives. Why do they want us to do this? So that we will learn to make money without working, so that we will learn to be corrupt while we disguise ourselves as servants of the people.

I don’t know what they see us as, because even garbage is good for fertilizer. In our case they don’t even see us as garbage. We are nothing but shit to those above.

They treat us like shits, and because they’ve already made use of that shit they have to throw it out, however they feel like.

I cannot even say that they treat us like animals or pets because they at least treat their pets like living things.

They look at us indigenous peoples of the world and say “backward,” “uncivilized,” “nuisances,” “primitives,” “revolting,” and countless other absurdities that they have said about us and done to us.

For centuries and centuries, we have resisted all of this.

We are flesh, blood, and bone, just like them.

But we indigenous men and women are not hurting ANYONE.

They have wanted to destroy and disappear us, but they will never succeed.

They have divided us with religion, miseducation in the schools, and the political party system. They have imposed on us another culture, a bad politics, and a harmful ideology.

Compañeras and compañeros from the national and international Sixth, brothers and sisters of the world:

We say to you clearly: we are not the shit of those above to be treated like this. We are humans of blood, bone, and flesh just like they are. We are not the same colour as they are, but we are living beings.

We do not want to be bad like they are, those who use other humans.

Yet today what they are trying to show is that it is we indigenous that are bad, that we kill one another as happened in San Juan Chamula.

The ones who wanted this to happen are the political parties above, from the ruling PRI and the PVEM and all of the political parties.

That is what happens with the other political parties too, including those who say they are on the left. They use us as their shock troops, but these parties are the ones who are backwards and evil, and yet we are always the ones who end up paying the price.

I am not saying that we originary peoples are all good; we have our own problems but we can resolve them ourselves. What happened in Chamula was the fault of the political parties and the leaders of those parties.

The media doesn’t mention this because they don’t get paid to tell the truth. On the contrary, they make more money by hiding information.

The journalists who work for the newspapers have to do what their bosses tell them if they want to get paid. They have already lost their dignity, and the same goes for the religious leaders who are well aware that they are deceiving us. They too have lost their dignity.

Who taught them to be corrupt, to steal and crook? Those above did.

The municipal president from San Juan Chamula who died was from the Verde party and he didn’t want to pay what he owed to the indigenous peoples, his own people. They had already said to him many times before to hand over the money already! But he didn’t open his ears and listen to them. Where did this municipal president learn to act this way? He learned it in the service of the bad government.

For decades and decades and hundreds of years they have deceived, mistreated, and used us, which is why no one pays attention to us indigenous peoples.

The teachings of above are bad, horrible. Those indigenous who have let themselves be used by those above and become mayors, councilmen, like the councilwoman from Las Margaritas (Florinda from the PAN) in La Realidad, and the ex-federal representative of the CIOAC (Antonio Hernández Cruz), both Tojolabales. They have learned to ignore the communities and not take them into account. They are the ones who planned the murder of our compañero Galeano, a teacher of the Zapatista Little School. We have not forgotten.

The bad things that they want to teach us could fill volumes. For example, I’m indigenous, a small landholder with ten hectares.  But I begin to call myself a rancher. Yet an ejido commoner who has the right to 20 hectares…they are not considered a rancher even though they have 20 hectares. But those 20 hectares aren’t worth anything; what’s considered worthwhile is to be a property owner.  So now those people that now consider themselves ranchers believe that they are no longer indigenous. And that’s not even counting those who have become mayors or councilmen, because they now consider themselves middle class. They even begin to say that they don’t know how to speak their indigenous language.

Why is it that we indigenous peoples have to pay with our lives just so that others can have money to eat?

All of the paid media compete over the price at which they will sell their photos of the dead in San Juan Chamula. But they don’t report who is responsible for the deaths, and all levels of government pay whatever is necessary so that the names of those actually responsible—they themselves—don’t come out in print.

The press only prints what the bad governments say. Why didn’t the reporters and photographers show the rest of the dead? Why didn’t they show those who were killed by the municipal president’s guards, his opponents? The media doesn’t care about that because it doesn’t make them any money, and because the people who died there were Indians, and it doesn’t even matter that those Indians belonged to political parties. They were all just Indians. Isn’t this racism? From the same people who supposedly speak out against racism.

Those who supposedly “work” for the paid media have already received their pay for selling and situating lies, despite the gravity of the situation, even for them. They do not print the truth because the truth doesn’t make them any money. Shame on them, they are the masterminds of falsehood.

They arrive late to the scene of the crime just so that they can take pictures of the dead, but not to investigate the causes of decades of injustice.

They do arrive on time when their paymasters, that is the bad government, want to show the press what supposedly happened. The bad government gives them an opportunity to snap a picture and tells them that everything is under control in that place where the good president and his guards were killed by “Indian savages.” They print everything that the bad government says on this topic.

Within minutes they release this misinformation only to delete it just as quickly. They want people to see it but then forget it quickly. They do this so that people don’t demand to know who is really responsible for what has happened to the indigenous peoples of this country. This is the function of the paid media.

Damn it! We all know that the rich aren’t rich because they work from dawn to dusk. They don’t have to sweat and stink of sweat. They don’t have to worry about being mutilated in accidents with machinery. Their bodies aren’t covered in sweat. They don’t end up deaf because they are subjected to unbearable noise for 8 to 12 hours a day. They don’t get sick from fatigue; they don’t get stressed because they don’t have money for medicine, for food, for their rent, or for the education of their children. They don’t lack anything, thanks to us, the workers in the country and the city.

Without exploiting us, they would not be rich.

This world they have forced on us has come apart.

What is our pay in this capitalist world? Poverty, exploitation, mistreatment, and injustice.

Today they treat us all the same whether we are workers from the country and the city.

Their foremen, the municipal presidents, mistreat us; their butlers, the governors, mistreat us; and their overseers, the federal government, mistreat us. All of them are acting on the orders of their boss: neoliberal capitalism.

We have suffered so much from all of the things that they have done to us, the indigenous peoples from across the whole country, and what they have done to the compañeras and compañeros of the National Indigenous Congress.

But if we defend ourselves, then ah yes, we are “backward-thinking” “savages.”

If we steal a little bag of potato chips, we go to jail. But if the government of Juan Sabines Gutiérrez steals 40 billion pesos, no one goes to jail. They walk away scot-free so that they can continue to steal.

What a bunch of shit! What horror! How racist! There isn’t a single mainstream newspaper in Mexico that would publish this.

There is only injustice for us, the exploited peoples. There was NEVER justice for our great-grandparents; there was no justice before 1968; there was no justice for the slaughter of ’68; there was no justice for the slaughter of women in the city of Juarez, or for the slaughter of the children in the ABC Daycare. There has been no justice for Acteal. There has been no justice for the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, nor has there been any justice for the many many other injustices.

People of Mexico: we must all organize ourselves and struggle as we indigenous peoples are organized with our new system of government.

But it isn’t up to us to say how you must organize. Yes, we want to share all of our experiences, but we don’t know what the particularities of life are like for the workers, for the teachers, or for other people. But we all know that we want Justice, Freedom, and Democracy, and in this goal is our commonality.

What this system imposes on us is an impossible situation. For example: if I am part of an originary people and a federal representative and my congressional seat is next to federal deputy Diego Fernandez de Ceballos, the large landowner and landlord, and I begin to discuss the agrarian law, proposing the equal division of the land, that no one should have more land than anyone else, how would it be possible for me to come to an agreement with him, me an indigenous person, and him, a large landowner?

 

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This system doesn’t work, it is rotten, it cannot be fixed. It will fall piece by piece and people will die as a result. We better figure out how to get out of there.

We had better organize ourselves to build a new house, that is, a new society.

No one is going to struggle for us. Just like for us Zapatistas, no one came here and struggled for us. In other words, we had to give our lives because we want more than just our lives.

So, teachers, organize and struggle until the end. Public health workers of Mexico, organize yourselves because the storm is already coming for you. The same goes for every sector of workers: the storm is coming for us.

People of Mexico and poor people of the world: organize yourselves.

Thank you.

From the mountains of Southeastern Mexico.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. Oventik, Chiapas, Mexico.

July 29, 2016

[i] Manuel Velasco Coello, governor of Chiapas.

 

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 01/08/2016

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/07/30/palabras-de-la-comandancia-general-del-ezln-en-voz-del-subcomandante-insurgente-moises-en-la-apertura-de-la-participacion-zapatista-en-el-comparte-en-el-caracol-de-oventik-chiapas-mexico-la-mana/

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Zapatistas Blast Mainstream Media for Massacre Coverage

Filed under: Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:47 am

 

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Zapatistas Blast Mainstream Media for Massacre Coverage

 

zapatista_with_flowers.jpg_1718483346Zapatistas rally in memory of Jose Luis “Galeano,” a Zapatista killed by paramilitaries in La Realidad community in May 2014. | Photo: teleSUR / Road to Resistance

 

The EZLN accused the mainstream media of interviewing experts instead of truly investigating what happened during the San Juan Chamula massacre.

The Zapatistas have slammed mainstream media over its coverage of the recent massacre in the Chiapas community of San Juan Chamula, accusing the “paid press” of focusing on the death of the town’s “corrupt” mayor while ignoring up to dozens of other victims of the bloody tragedy.

Clashes erupted in San Juan Chamula July 23. Initial media coverage reported that Mayor Domingo Lopez Gonzalez, trade union leader Narciso Hernandez, and three others were murdered. But a report in the Mexican daily newspaper La Jornada, later indicated that at least 20 eople were fatally shot or hacked to death by machete in the violent outbreak.

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation, or EZLN, said in a statement by Subcomandante Moises on Friday that media narrowly focused on “weeping and mourning” Lopez Gonzalez’ murder because he is a member of the Chiapas Governor Manuel Velasco’s Ecological Green Party and that Velasco tried to downplay the incident as a “small problem.”

A photo appears here of Chamula’s main square after the massacre July 23, 2016.

“They don’t say anything about the other deaths, those who went to die in their own places or whose injured or already deceased bodies were taken away by their relatives,” said Moises, who was introduced as a new subcomandante by the iconic Subcomandante Marcos in 2013. “For the government and journalists these deaths don’t matter.”

“There were dozens of deaths, not just the five who were corrupt authorities,” continued Moises in reference to the news stories that only reported five fatalities in the bloody clashes, slamming the mainstream media narrative as a “lie paid for with a few cents.”

The statement claimed that residents of San Juan Chamula and the surrounding communities in the Los Altos region of Chiapas “know that it was the guard of the corrupt Green (Party) mayor who started the gunfire and killed and injured many of those who were in the square.”

The EZLN deferred to the victims and the families of those killed in the attack to share the precise details of what happened in the July 23 attack, but described an “immense pain” over the events. The movement accused the media of failing to go to the source to report the fact, saying “paid media prefer to interview ‘experts’ instead of investigating what really happened.”

Moises also stressed that the Zapatistas regard see tragedies such as the massacre as the result of meddling by political parties, drug gangs, and the Catholic church.

 

ezln_women_and_girls.jpg_940598297EZLN women and girls. I Photo: teleSUR / Road to Resistance

“Better for us to organize ourselves to build a new house, a new society,” said Moises in the statement presented at the opening of an artistic festival in the community of Oventic Friday. “No one is going to fight for us.”

“It doesn’t matter to us that they are not Zapatistas in the community of Chamula,” he added. “They are our brothers and sisters. They are Indigenous and part of our native peoples, our original race.”

The Zapatista leader, embodying the “many selves” of the movement through the rank of Subcomandante, also highlighted how Indigenous communities have resisted for centuries in the face of systemic abuse, mistreatment, and insults that continues today when politicians “use” Indigenous people and call them dehumanizing names.

“They have wanted to destroy us and make us disappear,” said Moises. “But they will never be able to.”

Ahead of the San Juan Chamula massacre, the Zapatistas had warned in an open letter to the government of Chiapas of the risks of “playing with fire” in the community, referring to a campaign of repression against the dissident teachers’ movement. On July 20, paramilitaries allegedly from San Juan Chamula helped carry out a violent eviction of a teachers blockade in San Cristobal de Las Cases on July 20.

“You are fomenting discontent and division within the people,” wrote the EZLN in an open letter to the state government the day after the crackdown on protests in San Cristobal. “With your nonsense you could provoke an internal conflict whose terror and destruction could not be contained.”

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 01/08/2016

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Zapatistas-Blast-Mainstream-Media-for-Botched-Massacre-Coverage-20160731-0007.html

 

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July 31, 2016

The art of organization to enable the art of solidarity.

Filed under: Indigenous, Zapatista — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:27 am

 

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The art of organization to enable the art of solidarity.

 

 

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Koman Ilel. San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas. July 30, 2016.

The art is installed in Oventic

If the multiple artistic demo7-333x500nstrations throughout the week at CIDECI surprise by their diversity and quantity, the Zapatista compas expected no less. Dozens of performances covering all the arts delight those present: theatre, music, dance, painting, poetry … Hundreds of Zapatistas from the original Tzotzil. Tzeltal and Zoque peoples of Los Altos de Chiapas shared their creations throughout the day, all closely linked to the history of Chiapas, the Zapatista struggle, the struggle of the organized Mexican people and values such as autonomy, freedom, justice and dignity.

On Friday July 29, the seventh day of the festival CompArte for Humanity, dozens of cars, taxis, vans and pick-ups left San Cristobal heading towards Oventic, where for the first time at the festival, the protagonists and creators of the artistic manifestations were the Zapatista compas. The day dawned sunny, and from 9 am caracol II Resistance and Rebellion for Humanity, Oventic, began to receive hundreds of Zapatistas and artists, participants and spectators who had enjoyed the festival throughout the week.

Musical performances went through various styles, including traditional, ranchera, corrido. hip hop or pop. They played instruments such as the harp, guitar and accordion among others. Dances, often set to live music, were a favourite art of the compañer@s. Many of the dances were traditional, but there were also some surprises, such as the Vals del Obrero, in which the compas danced ska and enthused the public. The plays were warmly applauded, because through these processes or moments in the history or the present of the people of Chiapas, the Zapatista struggle and the Mexican people were reproduced. Poetry also played a major role both in Spanish and Tzotzil. And finally, painting, which was publicly and always accompanied with a presentation that contextualized it.

 

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Subcomandante Moisés gives the welcome

The day began with the words of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, who welcomed everyone and dedicated a few words to expressing the feelings of the Zapatistas in the context of the festival. With his words, he made a strong criticism of paid journalists, whom he defines as “intellectuals of lies”, and who have focused in their journalistic work on the events in San Juan Chamula; he accused them of treating the case superficially, in the best interests of power and not contemplating the depth of the facts, conditioned by a history full of repression and injustice. He also spoke of the relations of economic power and the inequality latent in all contexts: “We mistreat workers in the country and the city equally.” He added: “Without their exploitation of us, they would not be rich.” Moisés set the present in the context of a lack of justice throughout history, especially for the Mexican people and their ancestors. A reality that in recent years has been reflected in events like the massacre of Acteal, the ABC nursery, Ayotzinapa and many others. The opening words ended with a call to struggle and to the organization of all the sectors, the teachers, the health sector and the Mexican people. “There are differences, but we all want health, justice and democracy, and that unites us”.

 

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The art of organization and solidarity

In the closing speech, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés invited all the attendees to go to the rest of caracoles to enjoy the “thousands of artists” who are still to be seen, as he exclaimed with his usual sense of humour. But his message focused on talking about the meaning of art for the Zapatistas, the art of solidarity and the art of organization to make solidarity possible. As an example he explained how Zapatista women and men had organized to feed the Chiapan teachers of the CNTE who are in resistance. In this collective work also the art of mathematics, of calculation is needed. He also spoke of the need for art to develop the imagination. “Poor women and men from the countryside and the city have the imagination to create a new society, but lack the ability to organize ourselves,” he said.

 

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Translated and posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 31/07/2016

 

http://komanilel.org/2016/07/30/el-arte-de-la-organizacion-para-hacer-posible-el-arte-la-solidaridad/

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July 30, 2016

With dance, theatre and poetry, the Zapatistas show their struggle and resistance in CompArte in Oventik

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:58 pm

 

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With dance, theatre and poetry, the Zapatistas show their struggle and resistance in CompArte in Oventik

 

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Oventik, Chiapas, Mexico. July 29, 2016. Around noon today the festival CompArte for Humanity began in Zapatista territory in the caracol of Oventik. To the sound of revolutionary ballads (corridos) such as “el Campesino”, “el 69”, “Comandante Insurgente Pedro” the musical group “Los Originales de San Andrés” welcomed national and international artists who responded to the call of the rebel group.

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Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés read the communiqué from the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee-General Command in which they called on those who work work in teaching and in health and the people of Mexico and the world, to organize and fight to the end.

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Also, in respect of recent events in San Juan Chamula, the Zapatistas reported “what hurts us is what really happened and not what the paid media says, they do not say anything about the others who went to die in their home places, there were not only five dead “.

 

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Later, among the artistic activities, they began the dance, poetry and theatre where they showed those attending and indeed the whole world the struggle and resistance of the Zapatistas.

 

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 30/07/2016

http://www.pozol.org/?p= 13221

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July 29, 2016

“Whoever Wins Chamula Governs Chiapas”

Filed under: Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:23 pm

 

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“Whoever Wins Chamula Governs Chiapas”

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Municipal palace of Chamula, Chiapas

La Jornada: Hermann Bellinghausen

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas – After the violent tragedy in San Juan Chamula on the morning of July 23, several questions arise. What’s behind the criminal acts?

According to Arturo Lomelí González, a specialist on the political history of the area: “In reconstructing the political history of San Juan Chamula, we found there has always been an intense dispute over the municipal presidency. It is not the first time that bloody events have occurred in this town. Moreover, confrontations and clashes have been constant.”

Not only that. Today, he adds: “We know of several groups of armed, organized persons with different political and religious affiliations. To this can be added possible personal and community issues.”

Lomeli has observed the evolution of the Chamula people both in the municipality and in their numerous forced exiles to San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Las Margaritas due to conflicts that occurred more than 30 years ago during a period of great communal violence of religious and political nature. It was a commonplace to say that in Chamula, one could only be a member of the PRI and a “traditional” Catholic, opposed to the “liberationist” doctrine promoted by Bishop Samuel Ruiz García beginning in the 1970s.

“The distribution of religious and political cargos [positions of responsibility] has always been an authoritarian act which was accepted as a way of serving the people and God. But previously, the cargos represented an honour instead of an obligation,”  says the researcher.

Lomelí González continues: “As a practice, the PRI remains crucial. The regional importance of Chamula is that it is the largest and has the most political weight of any indigenous municipality. Repeatedly, it has been said that the party that wins Chamula wins the Highlands [region of Chiapas].”

The new multiparty system seemed to confirm that the PRI ingredient was indispensable. In reality, an agreement between the hegemonic groups was always necessary.

The current governor, Manuel Velasco Coello [2012-2018], in a campaign event in Chamula, declared that whoever won Chamula would win the governorship of Chiapas. There is no president or governor who hasn’t received his baton of office wearing the traditional Chuj [local Mayan subgroup] costume and sombrero.

Velasco Coello began his ongoing campaign to become governor as a member of the PVEM [Green Ecologist Party of Mexico] in 2000, with a presence in the media and through tours of the state. He has been a state and federal deputy and senator. He formed a team of young officials and recycled veteran politicians, especially at the municipal level. According to Lomelí, “already before the last campaign, the Chiapas geography ‘was painted green’, based on political organizations of PRI extraction”.

For the municipal elections of 2015, Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, first as Secretary of State Government and later as president of the PVEM, managed to convince local politicians to compete under the banner of PVEM.

It produced many triumphs, but exacerbated conflicts. The election results for mayor were challenged in the mayoralties of many Indian villages: Tila, Tumbalá, Yajalón, Chilon, Ocosingo, Altamirano. Chanal, Ixtapa, Zinacantán, San Cristóbal. In Oxchuc, the newly elected president was ousted. A state politician told Lomelí: “the pact with the PRI was terminated.”

In Chamula, the same formula was used. Despite the fact that Domingo López González got more than 20,000 votes, twice that of the PRI, he “was ‘invited’ to leave the PRI and compete on behalf of PVEM.”

The researcher says, “Disagreements started immediately, even before López González, who was killed last Saturday, took office. On August 13, 2015, five hundred members of PRI from Chamula demonstrated in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, destroying things in the government palace and battling police with sticks, stones, slingshots and rockets. They damaged the main door and windows. Twelve were arrested. It was the first time the Chamula PRI demonstrated in this way against the government, in the position of being the opposition.”

 

Translated by Reed Brundage

Posted 29/07/2016 by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2016/07/28/politica/010n1pol

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July 26, 2016

Questions About San Juan Chamula

Filed under: Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:34 pm

 

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Questions About San Juan Chamula

 

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La Jornada Editorial
24th July, 2016

If there is a place in the country where political engineering experiments are dangerous exercises, it’s in the municipality of Chamula, in the Highlands region of Chiapas. Because that, as a matter of fact, seems to be a component to consider in the events that took place yesterday in the municipal seat, where a confusing shooting ended with, as of last night, an undetermined number of victims, among them, the mayor and a local representative. In this context, what does political engineering mean? The expression refers to the deployment of a system whose purpose is to exploit (or possibly foster) the tensions and contradictions already present in a social group to gain political benefits foreign to the interests of that group.

It doesn’t take much to trigger an outbreak of violence in the Highlands region: the long series of clashes that have taken place there since the 1970s, where religious disputes, economic rivalries and bitter struggles for political power have woven a tight web, left that part of the country in a state of latent conflict and at risk of losing, at any time, its precarious social balance. As a result, the community life of the municipality’s indigenous population has been undergoing a gradual process of erosion that has damaged, in addition to mere coexistence, the dynamics of the habits and collective practices of that population. And as it usually happens, the winning fishermen in those troubled waters were the members of the political class that have been holding the main political posts in the region and state.

Yesterday’s events occurred after those on the 20th of this month when more than a hundred supposed residents of San Juan Chamula, carrying some improvised weapons and some not so improvised, atttacked a blockade that members of the National Coordinating Committee of Education Workers maintained on the highway between Tuxtla Gutierrez and San Cristobal de las Casas. In the attack, which left several injured-at least one teacher with a firearm, they had the coverage (or in other words, protection) of members of the state police. After the violent eruption, it was said that the protagonists were farmers, merchants and craftsmen whose livelihoods were affected by the blockade. However, the group of indigenous people who carried out the action showed that to be untrue, as they were armed and maintained a hostile attitude towards the teachers. Officially, it was said there were some detainees, but no authority has taken the time to speak more about the subject.

And then, almost without interruption, one of the usual community protests ends in a bloody shooting, in which, in addition to handguns, R-15 and AK-47 rifles were used. It is difficult to venture a hypothesis to acceptably explain the sudden upsurge of violence in Chamula, although it’s not insignificant that it occurs as the actions of the teacher’s conflict reach Chiapas.

In any case, if the two acts of violence are linked and are due to the unfortunate calculations of a sector interested in ending the CNTE protests, it is expected that sanity will prevail over impatience, irritation and the temptation to push solutions based on force for problems that require, above all, a willingness to negotiate. Finally, we should remember that, from another angle, the Zapatista National Liberation Army had warned a few days before about the risks involved in irresponsibly taking advantage of the struggle between the government and the CNTE to rekindle any hostilities against its members.

 

Translated by Ruby Izar-Shea

 

Posted on 26/07/2016 by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2016/07/24/edito

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“There has been a Massacre in San Juan Chamula” says witness

Filed under: Indigenous, Journalists — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:35 pm

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“There has been a Massacre in San Juan Chamula” says witness

 

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Photo caption: Removing the bodies from the plaza in San Juan Chamula

Protest, violence and death

  • Around 20 reported killed by gunfire and machete; shotguns were used
  • The mayor responded to the indigenous who were demanding support and then the shooting started
  • The police arrived three hours later; people had already taken the bodies from the square

 

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

San Juan Chamula, Chiapas [1]

“It was a massacre,” says a young witness to the shooting that occurred here yesterday at 8 o’clock in the morning in the central plaza of this traditional and famous Tzotzil locality.

An act of demand from various communities, something common here, turned into a lethal shootout that cost the life of Mayor Domingo López González and the council member Narciso Lunes Hernández, as well as an undetermined number of dead and wounded, although those residents present agree that around 20 could be dead, the majority from bullets, but also from machetes.

It is difficult to know the precise number, but the testimonies agree that the first shots came from the city hall.

“People met in the communities from 6 in the morning, to come to demand the programmes that the municipio promised. Everyone came, men and women. No one knew what was going to happen,” adds the witness. “At 8 in the morning President Domingo (of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico) came out on the balcony of the city hall.”

“After listening to the dissidents he asserted forcefully that he would deliver those resources later, and he asked the people to withdraw. Then he entered the building. The people did not disperse, and then rockets and ‘bombs’ (of gunpowder) came out from inside the building, and the first gunshots.” Various subjects, some masked, who arrived with the PRIístas, had taken up positions below the municipal palace. They were carrying rifles and started to shoot at the building. This group has previously appeared with their faces covered in their protests in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

It was then that the mayor attempted to leave through the back, but the masked men went after him and they immediately shot him. “They came for that, they were prepared.

“He also had to have others in the streets above, because some came out running and others went behind shooting,” adds the young man, who requests anonymity, but speaks with total fluency and in good Castilla. Three other men surround us and just listen. The first shots came out of the municipal presidency, according to this version, confirmed later by two other indigenous men present in the plaza, who surrounded a man standing on his feet with a bullet wound, who with a hand on his abdomen observed the police arriving in the plaza after 11 o’clock in the morning, almost three and a half hours after the events.

“How long did the shots last? No more than 10 minutes. All the people started to run to the edge of the plaza. Women? Many came, but they stayed at the edge. Yes, some of them were wounded; I don’t know if there were any dead,” the witness explains to La Jornada. Apparently there were other shots afterwards.

The municipal building, painted completely green, is barely separated by a narrow passage from the municipal building of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, its initials in Spanish). “With red hearts,” proclaims a big sign on its facade. On the side, the presidency shows numerous bullet impacts and broken windows. High-powered weapons were used, according to what a ministerial agent said later, when the police finally arrived. They found cartridges from a 45-caliber pistol, an AK-47 and an R-15. A hole in a curtain is identified which a police agent of mature age considered to be a shot from inside.

 

chamulaThe photo shows the 2 municipal buildings, (one green, one red), as well as the plaza, now taken over by police.

 

A town in shock

The body of an older man lies over an abundant puddle of blood on the line of the small area of a soccer field traced at the western side of the plaza. His loneliness is absolute; no one is nearby. An elderly woman remains seated on the stairs at the side of the plaza, as if she is unrelated to everything, silent. Another body remains in sight on the street that goes to the market. According to the testimonies, the mayor and his councilman would have fallen (dead) behind the municipal presidency when they were attempting to flee. The number of  individuals who died in the plaza is unknown, because their family members or companions removed them before 10 o’clock in the morning. According to two Chamulans from the municipal capital, two Nissan “Estaquitas” (trucks) entered the plaza after the confrontation, some indigenous men picked up the dead and injured, and then they went away.

After the shootout, the masked men who killed Domingo López and his collaborator carried the bodies to the front of the city hall, and with gestures and shouts pointed to them and called to the people that were approaching. At least one was re-killed there. “He was already dead, you can come now,” they said. “But the people had not come to fight. They were not informed,” the witness says. By then, the hundreds of indigenous who were protesting had fled and only residents of the municipal capital remained, unrelated to the tragedy, but too deeply affected to be classified as voyeurs. The town is in a state of shock, the streets deserted, except for small groups of men.

Delete that photo

“Delete that photo,” a state police agent with a helmet demands, pointing his tear gas rifle at this reporter when he sees him taking a picture of the man stretched out on the ground. A dozen police vehicles have just entered the plaza and the police jump out onto the ground clutching their weapons, extremely nervous. “Delete it,” he insists. Upon being questioned as to why, another agent farther away aims his rifle for a few seconds, and the first agent, maybe reconsidering, points to the scanty number of indigenous who observe from the periphery of the extensive central plaza: “If you don’t, the people will hit you.” “Then why do you aim at me?”

In fact, the only time that some indigenous attempted to question the reporters was when a state functionary headed to a group of his acquaintances and indicated: “remove the journalists;” the indigenous were limited to preventing us from approaching the presidency, the PRI and the market.

Vehicles from the municipal police of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, the state police and investigative agents arrived sounding their sirens towards 11:30 in the morning and they cordoned off the front part of the plaza with anti-riot equipment and regulation weapons. The extreme nervousness of the agents and functionaries is the most alarming of all. They immediately proceed to collect cartridges and other evidence, and only later do they use latex gloves and bags. Rather than investigating, they are cleaning up the plaza.

From early on, the social networks were flooded with a lot of photographs of the dead functionaries. One of every two Chamulans must have a cell phone. “A lot of photographers were there,” relates the witness quoted above.

Nevertheless, the first press images are from the air and from when the patrols were already at the place. All the images that circulated in the networks and some media were from local residents and are late scenes.

Towards noon, a pick-up truck goes into the plaza. Two women are in the box. One, an older woman, cries inconsolably. Two men get out of the cabin, pick up the body and hastily throw it into the vehicle’s box, face down. So that the doors can close, they bend the knees up, only his feet and the soles of his huaraches are seen once they close the back door of the box. The second woman gets in to the cabin and the pick-up departs. Various police surround the scene without daring to intervene. The woman looks briefly at the feet of the body, turns the face and cries desperately. Nearby, a white truck picks up another body.

Soon, only police agents and patrol cars were in the proximity of the buildings of the PRI and of the municipal council. Not one business is open in the entire town. The people are sheltered in their homes. Some families remain on the flat roofs of the houses near the plaza.

At the border between San Cristóbal and Chamula, in the middle of the road a little sign warned in the morning: “Don’t go to Chamula. There’s a problem.” To say the least!

——————————————

Translator’s Note:

[1] San Juan Chamula is close to the tourist mecca of San Cristóbal. Chamula is the home of “traditional” religious practices, or at least that’s what they tell the tourists. Day trips for tourists to Chamula are very popular and the municipio (municipality, or county) makes a lot of money from these tourists trips. Chamula is also home to some of the thugs who attacked, evicted and destroyed the encampment and occupation of the “people’s movement” in San Cristóbal. In its Open Letter to the Governor of Chiapas, the EZLN warned the Governor of the danger of stirring up the rivalries in Chamula.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, July 24, 2016

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2016/07/24/politica/002n1pol

Re-published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Minor edits for UK audience by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

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Violent Eviction of the Roadblock of Teachers from San Cristobal

Filed under: Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:12 am

 

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Violent Eviction of the Roadblock of Teachers from San Cristobal

 

profes1Eviction of the teachers’ sit-in (Photo@ChiapasDenuncia Pública)

 

On the morning of July 20, the sit-in protest in rejection of education reform that the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) has maintained on the toll road to Tuxtla Gutierrez, was destroyed “by a group of 150 armed people.” The representative of Section Seven, Adalberto Rabanales, said the attackers belong to “two attack groups: ALMETRACH (Association of Tenants of Traditional Markets of Chiapas) which works with the Municipal President of San Cristobal de las Casas, Marco Cancino- and a group led by the mayor of San Juan Chamula, Domingo López González, a member of the Green Ecologist Party.” These groups “of attack and the Municipal Police arrived to cause damage, employed the use of firearms and tear gas, respectively.” That same day, according to Radio Regeneracion, four people were reported injured: Rumualdo Guadalupe, primary school teacher who had his body pierced from behind by a firearm projectile, Guadalupe Estrada, wounded by a bullet to the shoulder, one person by a blow with a firearm and another who was run over. The final toll has not been released. There were also attacks on the press. Dolores Rodriguez of Chiapas Network News, was assaulted and injured.

After the eviction, the teachers regrouped in the central park of San Cristobal de Las Casas and made a call to the general public for the reconstruction of the sit-in. Teachers began a demonstration to the blockade to reinstall it. “The show of solidarity was immediate and there where the camp was destroyed, the hands of teachers together with the people returned to lay the foundations of the camp.”

Regarding the dialogue with the Federal Government, a representative of the Chiapas teachers stated that, “it is not possible that being at a negotiating table, for some days they have been trying to break the dialogue. The government wants to impose education reform. We will not remain silent.” Meanwhile the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Centre for Human Rights (Frayba) spoke out against these events and declared that this attitude “does not help the process of ongoing dialogue with the Federal Government.”

 

Posted on 26/07/16 by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

 

https://sipazen.wordpress.com/2016/07/25/chiapas-violent-eviction-of-the-sit-in-of-teachers-from-san-cristobal/

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July 25, 2016

Velasco’s Disregard for the Lives of Indigenous People

Filed under: Indigenous — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:11 pm

 

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Velasco’s Disregard for the Lives of Indigenous People

 

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Chiapas, Mexico. July 23, 2016

With the violent death of five people after a dispute between members of the Green and PRI political parties, affiliated with the government, in the county seat of San Juan Chamula, once again the state administration of Velasco Coello has demonstrated its disregard for the lives of members of the indigenous communities in Chiapas, whether or not they are their allies. Since the government assumed power, the administration has continually stimulated and incentivised conflicts for the political benefit of itself and its “green Ecology” party.

In the municipality of Chenalhó they also have had deaths in consequence of the party political disputes between the Greens and PRIistas. Last May, a child died from injuries received as the result of a fight between sympathizers and groups opposed to the ex-mayor Rosa Pérez.

And, as a result of the climate of fear present in the region, on June 23, 2015, a member of the civil society organization Las Abejas de Acteal was assassinated. The organization said that Manuel went to the municipal head of Pantelhó. Upon returning and accompanied by his 11 year old son Juan López Guzmán, in the height of the Sibaluk´um bridge about a kilometre from the municipal head of Pantelhó, seven people dressed in military clothing with firearms ambushed the public transport vehicle in which he was travelling, killing him with three shots.

The events in San Juan Chamula also bring to mind the death of Zapatista teacher Galeano, on May 2nd, 2014, after a series of manipulations by the governments of Velasco and Peña Nieto to create tension between other indigenous communities and the Zapatistas.

Another issue is the displaced indigenous families in the region, like the cases of the community Primero de Agosto in Las Margaritas, and Banavil in the municipality of Tenejapa, and the colonia Puebla, in Chenalhó; the government does not see or hear their demands for justice and return to their communities.

Photo: Isain Mandujano.

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

From a translation by Palabras Rebeldes

http://www.pozol.org/?p=13137

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Manuel Velasco killed the mayor of Chamula

Filed under: Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:07 pm

 

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Manuel Velasco killed the mayor of Chamula

 

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By Chiapas Uncensored, 25th July 2016

The social extravagance, the lack of support and the zero fulfilment of campaign promises were the main reasons why the indigenous of San Juan Chamula staged a confrontation with gunshots, sticks and stones, which killed the mayor Domingo López González, his assistant Narciso Lunes and the justice of peace and reconciliation, Sebastian López. The true guilty party has not been nor will be arrested; it is Manuel Velasco Coello.

Although the Attorney General of the State (PGJE), is working to arrest the perpetrators of the killings in Chamula, the one truly responsible continues to enjoy his life of luxury and excesses, the governor will not go to San Juan Chamula, and this has provoked the anger and resentment of the people.

Here a photo is inserted of the Mayor after he was killed in the central square of Chamula

While nothing justifies depriving another human being of life, Manuel Velasco set off a time bomb, he was warned that trouble would break out unless measures were taken in the matter; this was not done, and the bomb exploded; the result as we all know, is several people dead and wounded.

Currently the majority of the inhabitants of Chamula live in inhuman and precarious conditions. They live in one room made of wood and cardboard, sheets of plastic and rags, with an earth floor and a roof of old plastic and tin, which along with the low temperatures (1°C), makes them ill. This along with the lack of adequate food makes them more vulnerable to disease, they have no means of livelihood, much less education and health.

When Velasco Coello was campaigning for governor, he said he would take up this matter, he would support them and they would have better living conditions; this did not happen.

In a few months Velasco will leave the governorship, and the state remains the same or in worse conditions. This means it is up to us to decide who will lead the direction of our state to where we want it to go.

 

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 25/07/2016

 

https://www.facebook.com/notes/chiapas-sin-censura/manuel-velasco-mat%C3%B3-al-alcalde-de-chamula/1043063372444127

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July 24, 2016

EZLN: Open letter on the aggressions against the people’s movement in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:46 pm

 

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EZLN: Open letter on the aggressions against the people’s movement in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

 

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ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

July 21, 2016

To the current governor and the other overseers of the south-eastern Mexican state of Chiapas:

Ladies (ha) and Gentlemen (double ha):

We do not send greetings.

Before it occurs to you to try (as the PGR [i] is already attempting in Nochixtlán) to blame the cowardly aggression against the people’s resistance encampment in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas on ISIS, we would like to provide you, at no charge, the information we have collected on the subject.

The following is the testimony of an indigenous partidista [ii] (PRI) brother from San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, Mexico:

“At 9am (on July 20, 2016) the Verde party followers were called to the governor’s palace. They went and were told to do again what they had done the other day.”

(NOTE: he is referring to the incident in which a group of indigenous people affiliated with the Partido Verde Ecologista (Green Ecology Party) put on ski masks and went to create chaos at the [teachers’] blockade between San Cristóbal and Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital of Chiapas. When they were detained by the CNTE’s [teachers’ union] security, they first said they were Zapatistas (they weren’t, aren’t, and never will be), and later admitted they were partidistas.

 

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But this time they were supposed to dialogue so that the people at the blockade would let the trucks from Chamula that do business in Tuxtla go through. The municipal president (who belongs to the Verde Ecologista Party) sent police patrols and local ambulances. The municipal president of San Cristóbal sent some more police. The governing officials in Tuxtla sent a bunch more. See, they [the people from Chamula] had made a deal with the police—they already had a plan. So they went in there like they were going to dialogue but one group went into the blockade’s encampment and started destroying things, stealing or burning everything they found. Then they started shooting—the Verdes are indeed armed—but shooting like a bunch of drunks and druggies. The police were acting like their security detail, their backup. We don’t agree with what the Verdes did. Now the tourists are scared to come to the municipal centre (of San Juan Chamula) and this screws everybody over because it really hurts our businesses. It’s not the blockade but rather the fucking Verdes that are fucking us over. Now we’re going to go protest in Tuxtla and demand they remove that asshole of a president. And if they won’t listen to us, well then we’ll see what we have to do.”

With regard to that clumsy attempt to dress paramilitaries in ski masks and say they were Zapatistas, it was a total failure (in addition to being a tired old trick that has been tried before by Croquetas Albores).[iii] Questioned on whether they thought it had been Zapatistas who destroyed the blockade and committed these outrageous acts, here are the comments of two townspeople, without any known political affiliation:

A street vendor, approximately 60 years old:

“No! The people who destroyed all that stuff yesterday are people paid by the government, we all know that. They aren’t the ones that support the teachers. The teachers’ struggle is valid; the other option would be that we’d have to pay for education ourselves. And where do they get money to pay the teachers anyway? From the people. What we need is for the majority of other states to join the struggle, there are four that are already in but we don’t know how long the others will take.”

A Chamula indigenous person, a street vendor:

Naaahhh, those weren’t Zapatistas. Zapatistas don’t act like that. Plus the Zapatistas support the teachers and those people yesterday were trying to pass themselves off as Zapatistas by putting on ski masks, but they aren’t; they don’t act like Zapatistas at all.”

“So who were those people yesterday?”

“Those are other people, they get paid for that.”

“What do you think of the teachers’ struggle?”

“That we should all support them.”

_*_

We are sure that you don’t know this (either that or the stupidities that you commit are because you are in fact stupid), but the so-called “teachers’ conflict” arose because of the stupid arrogance of that mediocre police wannabe who still works out of the Department of Public Education (SEP by its Spanish acronym. Oh you’re welcome, no thanks needed). After the teachers’ mobilizations and the government’s response in the form of threats, firings, beatings, imprisonment, and death, the teachers in resistance managed to get the federal government to sit down to dialogue. This is in fact a federal issue. It is up to the federal government and the teachers in resistance to dialogue and come to an agreement or not.

You sympathize with the hard-headedness of that mediocre policeman. We Zapatistas sympathize with the teachers’ demands and we respect them. This applies not only to the CNTE, but to the entire people’s movement that has arisen around their demands. As Zapatistas, we have made our sympathy public by supporting them in word and deed, with the small amount of food that we could put together from our own tables.

Do you think this movement, now taken up by so many people, is going to be defeated by evicting a few encampments, even when you disguise it as “citizen rage?” You’ve already seen that doesn’t work. Just like what happened with our brothers, the originary peoples in Oaxaca—if you destroy their camps they’ll build them back up. Time and time again. The thing is that here below there is no fatigue. Your bosses calculated that the teachers’ resistance movement would deflate over summer vacation. Now you’ve seen that you were wrong (hmmm, that’s more than three failures in one evaluation. If we applied the “education reform” in this case you would already have been fired and would be looking for work in the Iberdrola alongside the psychopath.) [iv]

The movement has been able to generate and concretize the sympathies of the people, while you all only generate dislike and repudiation.

As we were already saying as of two months ago, the movement already encompasses various social sectors and, of course, their specific demands. For example, you’re not around to hear it but people are demanding Cancino be removed from office (the supposed municipal president of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, a city in Chiapas, Mexico, in case you didn’t know) and Narciso be put in jail (the paramilitary boss of the ALMETRACH.) [v] This and the other things they are demanding can be summarized in one word: good government. How long will it take you to realize that you are just in the way, parasites that infect the entire society, above and below?

The thing is that you all are so sure of yourselves that you send your attack dogs to steal the few belongings of these people who are PEACEFULLY protesting. Well, we Zapatistas will again begin to collect the food and basic necessities you stole from them and supply them once again. And we will do so over and over again.

Instead of making ridiculous declarations (like denying having a role in that cowardly attack on the people’s encampment in San Cristóbal), you could contribute to the easing of tensions necessary for this dialogue and negotiation to take place as determined by both parties (which are, we might remind you, the Federal Government and the National Coordination of Education Workers). It would be a good idea to tie up your attack dogs (Marco Antonio, Domingo, and Narciso). Just whistle and shake a wad of bills at them and you’ll see how they come running.

 

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And some unsolicited advice: don’t play with fire in Chamula. The unrest and division you are inciting in that town with your stupidities could provoke an internal conflict of such terror and destruction that you wouldn’t be able to quash it with social network bots or paid “news” articles or the little money that Manuel Joffrey Velasco Baratheon-Lannister has left in the state treasury.

So be calm. Be patient and show some respect. We hope the federal government will dialogue and negotiate with seriousness and commitment, not only because the teachers’ demands are just, but because this might be one of the last times there is someone with whom to dialogue and negotiate. The process of decomposition you have encouraged is so advanced that soon you won’t even know who to slander. Plus there won’t be anyone on the other side of the table. Understood?

So, do your thing. That is, go back to Photoshop, to the celebrity news, the flashy parties, the spectacle, the gossip magazines, to the frivolity of those who lack intelligence. Govern? Oh come now, not even the paid media believe you do that.

It’s better that you step aside and learn, because this is Chiapas, and the Chiapas population is a lot to take for such a lame government.

_*_

To whom it may concern:

As Zapatistas it is our conviction—and we act in accordance—that the movement’s decisions, strategies, and tactics should be respected. This applies to the entire political spectrum. It is not acting in good faith to hitch oneself onto a movement and try to steer it in a direction outside of its internal logic. And that goes for attempts to slow it down or speed it up. If you can’t accept that, then at least say clearly that you want to use this movement for your own ends. If you say so directly, perhaps the movement will follow you, perhaps not. But it is healthier to tell the movement what you are seeking. How do you expect to lead if you don’t respect the people?

We Zapatistas are not going to tell our current teachers (those from the CNTE and also from the towns, barrios, and neighbourhoods that support them) what to do and what not to do. This should be crystal clear to all noble people in struggle: ANY ACTION TAKEN BY THE ZAPATISTAS IN RELATION TO THE CURRENT POPULAR MOVEMENT (or those that later emerge) WILL BE PUBLICLY MADE KNOWN AHEAD OF TIME, always respecting the movement’s times and ways. The National Coordination of Education Workers as well as the originary peoples’ movements, neighbourhoods, and barrios that support the teachers should understand that whatever decisions they make—whether about their path, their destiny, their steps, or their company—they will have our respect and our salute.

This thing of dressing up like Zapatistas and yelling slogans that involve others is fine as a bit of entertainment and a line on your resumé, but it is nevertheless false and dishonest. We did not rise up to hand out stolen junk food, but rather for democracy, freedom, and justice for all. If you think breaking windows and stealing food that isn’t even nourishing is more revolutionary and of more help to the movement, well, let the movement decide. But clarify that you are not Zapatistas. We don’t care when people tell us we don’t understand the “conjuncture,” or that we don’t have a vision of how to use electoral advantage, or that we are petit-bourgeoisie. We only care that that teacher [maestro, maestro] that señora, that señor, that young person [joven, jóvena] feel that here, in the mountains of south-eastern Mexico, there are those who love them, respect them, and admire them. This is what we care about, even though such sentiments do not come into play in grand electoral strategies.

The teachers in resistance and, now more and more often, the people’s movement that gathers around them face very difficult adverse conditions. It isn’t fair that, in the midst of all of that, they have to deal not only with clubs, batons, shields, bullets, and paramilitaries, but also with “advice,” “orientation,” and “with-all-due-respect”-type orders telling them what to do or what not to do, or whether to advance or retreat—that is, what to think and what to decide.

 

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We Zapatistas don’t send junk food to those who struggle, but rather non-GMO corn tostadas which are not stolen but rather homemade through the work of thousands of men and women who know that to be Zapatista does not mean to hide one’s face but rather to show one’s heart. Because reheated Zapatista tostadas relieve hunger and inspire hope. And you can’t buy that in convenience stores or supermarkets.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Mexico, July 21, 2016

[i] Procuraduría General de la República, Mexico’s Attorney General

[ii] Refers to someone affiliated with one of the registered political parties.

[iii] “Croquetas,” or doggy biscuit, was the nickname assigned by the EZLN to Roberto Albores Guillén, governor of Chiapas from 1998-2000.

[iv] This likely refers to ex-president Felipe Calderón who recently took a job with a subsidiary of Iberdrola.

[v] La Asociación de Locatarios del Mercado Tradicional, Traditional Market Tenants’ Association.

 

P0sted on 24/07/16 by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/07/21/carta-abierta-sobre-la-agresion-al-movimiento-popular-en-san-cristobal-de-las-casas-chiapas/

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Chiapas Mayor and a City Hall Worker Killed, 3 Others Dead in Chamula

Filed under: Indigenous — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:17 am

 

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Chiapas Mayor and a City Hall Worker Killed, 3 Others Dead in Chamula

 

mexico_chiapas_mayor.jpg_1718483346The site of the shootings. | Photo: EFE

 

The Indigenous town of San Juan Chamula broke out in protest on Saturday over the intentional withholding of funds for public works.

The mayor of San Juan Chamula and a city hall worker were killed, along with three others, in clashes on Saturday at a protest about irregularities in funds in Chiapas, a southern state of Mexico.

A group of residents converged in the central square to speak to municipal authorities on Saturday morning, according to the Chiapas attorney general. Twelve people were also injured.

“Protesters shared various complaints, when some individuals fired their arms, wounding the mayor,” said the statement.

The city hall worker, Narciso Hernandez, had taken office in 2015, according to local media. One other municipal employee, a chauffeur and a neighbour were also killed.

The mayor, Domingo Lopez Gonzalez, had come under pressure for refusing to pay for public infrastructure and artisan crafts with municipal funds, according to testimony. He had reportedly only given half to the community.

Public funds in the Indigenous town usually go through municipal authorities, in cash, rather than directly to their appropriate departments.

The Special Prosecutor for Indigenous Justice initiated an investigation to determine whether there were other victims, as well as to find and detain those responsible.

Lopez Gonzalez used to campaign with the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, but was elected as a candidate with the PRI-aligned Ecologist Green Party. Chamula had been PRI-controlled for 80 years until Lopez Gonzalez assumed office in October.

Chiapas was the site of another deadly encounter on Wednesday, when masked members of the Green Ecology Party fired at striking CNTE teachers and killed at least one protester at the San Cristobal-Tuxtla Gutierrez highway, which is near Chamula.

 

Posted on 24/07/16 by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Chiapas-Mayor-and-Union-Organizer-Killed-3-Others-Dead-20160723-0024.html

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July 22, 2016

Chiapas: Vigilante Group Violently Removes Dissident Teacher Blockade of Highway

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:15 pm

 

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 Chiapas: Vigilante Group Violently Removes Dissident Teacher Blockade of Highway

 

005n1pol-1
About 200 masked men attacked teachers and parents with stones, sticks and pistols, removing their blockade on the toll road between San Cristobal de Las Casas
and Tuxtla Gutierrez Photos: Colectivo Tragameluz and Elio Henriquez
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas

 

La Jornada: Elio Henríquez and Hermann Bellinghausen

On Wednesday afternoon, about 200 people carrying sticks, machetes and guns attacked the blockade being maintained by teachers, students, parents, representatives of more than fifty neighbourhoods of the city of San Cristóbal and members of various organizations on the toll road between San Cristóbal and Tuxtla Gutierrez. They have maintained the blockade since June 27 to demand the repeal of the education reform.

Accompanied by municipal and state police, the attackers attacked the blockade’s tarpaulins and tents, kicking them and destroying them with machetes, and setting them on fire, while the police surrounded them to allow them to carry out their action.

During the attack, a bullet wounded the elementary school teacher, Romualdo Guadalupe Urbina, who received a 22 calibre bullet wound in the collarbone. Another participant of the blockade was run over and suffered a fractured tibia and fibula. Both were admitted to the clinic of Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers, while residents of the neighbourhood where the clinic is located blockaded the Santa Martha bridge and the clinic access roads “to protect the wounded”.

The attack was perpetrated by several dozen people who are officials of San Juan Chamula and involved over a hundred indigenous men from San Cristobal. The teachers identified them as part of the Association of Tenants of Traditional Markets of Chiapas (Almetrach), headed by Narciso Ruiz Sántiz, who, in previous days had threatened to attack the blockade. These groups are identified with the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico (PVEM), which governs both municipalities [and the state government].

The teachers of Section 7 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE), who belong to the National Coordinating Committee of Education Workers (CNTE), and parents supporting them did not respond to aggression and were forced to retreat and regroup in the central park of the San Cristóbal.

The violent eviction began at 12:30pm. Carrying a few small banners and brandishing sticks, machetes and stones, the attackers arrived assuring it was “in peace”, but immediately they began to lash out against the installations of the blockade and remove logs, tyres, rocks and other obstacles.

Behind them came a heavy truck and several pickup trucks sounding their sirens and carrying state and municipal police. The police did not directly involve themselves in the eviction; they only protected the indigenous men who destroyed and burned the tarps and tents.

Some attackers assaulted Dolores Rodriguez, a reporter for Noticiero Networks, for taking photographs. One of the assailants pointed a gun at her head. Others shot firecracker rockets [used to announce neighbourhood fiestas] in horizontal paths into the woods.

Shortly after, the police left and the place was under the control of the attackers. Adalberto Hernandez Rabanales, leader of Section 7 in the Highlands Region [of Chiapas], described them as a “shock group” and blamed the government at all three levels [municipal, state and federal].

When the local police withdrew, the teachers and members of civic organizations regrouped a hundred meters away, near the Hospital of Cultures. When they returned to try to rescue vehicles, the masked men fired at them. It was then that Urbina Estrada was wounded.

Later, six Federal Police (PF) patrol cars arrived. The burning and destruction of the encampment continued under the surveillance of the police. The action ended at 3pm, when the masked indigenous men left the place. The group from San Juan Chamula boarded a bus belonging to the Christopher Columbus bus line and the largest group marched in formation back to San Cristobal. The place remained under the charge of the three Federal Police patrol units until 4pm, when dozens of residents from the south side of San Cristobal returned with sticks and stones which they threw at the patrol cars.

The police then left in their vehicles and stopped a kilometre away. Within minutes, the blockade was restored. During the evening, more people kept arriving, and they extended the obstruction of the roads with bonfires, logs and pieces of iron. Again, there were several hundred parents, teachers and residents of different neighbourhoods, all in an atmosphere of excited tension.

During the afternoon, in Central Park, Hernandez Rabanales said that earlier “there were rumours that people from Chamula would evict us, but supporters from social organizations told us that they had communication with government agencies who told them that the indigenous would only pass through on their way to an activity in Tuxtla Gutierrez.”

In an interview with La Jornada, the teacher leader added: “It seems that the idea was to provoke a breakdown in the negotiations [with the federal government in Mexico City], because yesterday the unified negotiating committee said there was no point in talking because the government was only trying to impose [its position].”

In the afternoon, the teachers marched in the streets of the centre [of San Cristóbal], while in the park a group of hooded youths set fire to the wooden doors of the old city hall (which is being turned into a museum) and entered the building, breaking all the windows. Smoke came out of some windows.

Meanwhile, unidentified indigenous masked men, unrelated to the organizations that support the teachers, ransacked an Oxxo [convenience store] located half a block from the former city hall. They handed out cigarettes, drinks and other products to children and youths, creating a commotion.

According to the state government, the police rushed to the eviction as a deterrent to avoid a confrontation between residents of San Juan Chamula and CNTE demonstrators. In a statement, it claimed that “in response to an alert issued by the State Centre for Control, Command, Communication, Computation and Intelligence (C4I), which reported the presence of people from Chamula on the highway near the CNTE blockade, 200 agents were sent to protect the integrity of citizens, avoiding any reason for confrontation.”

In fact, police and attackers arrived together. According to the government version, the indigenous men came “to dialogue peacefully and request the free movement of citizens, merchants and transportation workers, such that the protesters chose to leave the area voluntarily and the road was freed.”

The mayor of Chamula, Marco Antonio Gonzalez Cancino, disavowed any responsibility in the eviction.
Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity 22/07/2016

 

Translated by Reed Brundage

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2016/07/21/politica/005n1pol

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