dorset chiapas solidarity

October 25, 2015

“Throughout these 6.512 days we have been worn down with exhaustion,” say the victims of the Acteal Massacre to the IACHR.

Filed under: Acteal, Autonomy, Paramilitary — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:04 pm

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“Throughout these 6.512 days we have been worn down with exhaustion,” say the victims of the Acteal Massacre to the IACHR.

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“This massacre was planned by the Mexican State itself. We will not accept an amicable solution; we ask for the case to continue in process until the truth is found.” Acteal.

“We recognize that the state was unable to prevent these events or to respond appropriately after them.” Campa Cifrián.

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Chiapas, Mexico. October 20th. “We were given a blow, but today we are here to seek justice,” explained Juan Vásquez Luna, a member of the Civil Society Las Abejas of Acteal, at a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington DC, to demand justice for the massacre perpetrated against 18 adult women, 4 of them pregnant; 16 adolescents; 4 children and 7 men, on December 22, 1997, 6,512 days ago, in the community of Acteal, municipality of Chenalhó, Chiapas.

Vásquez Luna, a member of the board of Las Abejas, who lost nine of his relatives in the massacre, submitted to the Commission a study on the Massacre of Acteal, entitled: Psychosocial Study of the background, factors associated with the act and management of the emergency, psychosocial consequences and collective impact on the community of Acteal. “This psychosocial study will include a Forensic Expert Report,” he added.

“This massacre was planned by the Mexican State itself”, assured the indigenous of the Chiapas highlands through the voice of Vásquez Luna, for which reason they called on the Commission “to issue an in-depth report on the case of the Acteal Massacre, declaring the State responsible for the violations.” Las Abejas of Acteal were accompanied by the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba), as they have been since December 1997.

“The Mexican government continues to promote impunity through their corrupt system” stated the Las Abejas Civil Society, noting that “Far from punishing those responsible for the massacre, they have rewarded them with lands, houses and even monthly pensions”. “Those directly responsible for the Acteal Massacre have been released,” they said.

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The representative of the indigenous Tzotziles and of Frayba, warned that “there is no will for guarantees of non-repetition” and that “the return of soldiers to Acteal is a time bomb.” “There are military incursions into territories in resistance where people are building processes of autonomy,” added the Abejas of Acteal, and stated that “in the territory there are 72 military camps who are in a state of war.”

Meanwhile, Commissioner Ortiz questioned the representatives of the Mexican government “on what the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR) based the conclusion that the Acteal Massacre was not perpetrated by paramilitaries?” “If the state said that they did not preserve the scene of the Acteal Massacre, then what reliable conclusions could be drawn?” asked the human rights defender.

In his address to the hearing at the Commission, the envoy of the government of Mexico, Roberto Campa Cifrián, acknowledged that before the massacre in the community of Acteal, the State “was unable to prevent these events and respond appropriately after them.” And yet in spite of all this, “the Mexican State denies the internal armed conflict and low-intensity war that prevails in Chiapas,” said Frayba.

“Impunity is part of the counterinsurgency strategy, because it exhausts and divides the survivors, which has brought us great pain. The integral policy of attrition from the Mexican State is their weapon to kill our memory, thus leaving the crime unpunished,” the indigenous in resistance also expressed in a communiqué on October 2nd.

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Following the hearing at the IACHR in Washington, the civil organization Las Abejas of Acteal held a press conference in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. “The Impact of the Acteal Massacre is manifested in chronic stress, lack of justice and community exhaustion,” shared the Indians in Frayba’s facilities.

“It was mostly women who died at Acteal,” stressed Maria Vasquez, a survivor of the massacre. “The Mexican government wanted to exterminate us, but here we continue to denounce this state crime”, emphasized the Tzotzil indigenous woman.

“Two years and nine months after the submission of comments on the case of the Acteal Massacre (30th January 2013), the petitioners have not received the alleged remarks of the Mexican state,” explained Frayba. “As discussed earlier in this audience we have asked the Commissioners of the IACHR to urge the Mexican state to submit its observations and for the Commission to issue the in-depth report in to this case,” said the human rights body.

“The counterinsurgency stage, during the government of Ernesto Zedillo, was to undermine support from the civilian population for the guerrilla, in the highlands and northern areas, by means of police and paramilitary actions, under the command of the Mexican army and its Rainbow Task Force commanded by General Mario Renán Castillo,” recalled Frayba. “This strategy was unveiled by the document ‘Chiapas 94 Campaign Plan’,” they explained.

Frayba bulletin: http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/boletines/151019_boletin_25_cidh.pdf

Hearing before the Commission on the Acteal Massacre: http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/boletines/151020_cidh.pdf

We do not accept a friendly settlement with the Mexican state: Abejas of Acteal: http://acteal.blogspot.mx/2015/10/no-aceptamos-llegar-una-solucion.html?spref=fb

Photo: Susana Montes

http://www.pozol.org/?p=11420

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October 21, 2015

Capitalism, war and counterinsurgency in Chiapas III

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:52 pm

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Capitalism, war and counterinsurgency in Chiapas III

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By: Gaspar Morquecho

In the jungles and mountains of the Mexican southeast 46,000 indigenous families are resisting the most prolonged counterinsurgency war in the recent history of Mexico. They are grandparents, men and women, youths, girls and boys of four generations of those that a half century ago were abandoning the path and long walk of resistance per se to construct another, the Resistance for its own sake… The task was not simple… In the Chiapas of the Indians, war has been systematic, practically permanent.

The war strategy that comes from far away… a brief summary

We can place one part of the War against the People in Mexico a half-century ago. The workers and teachers experienced it in 1958. As students, we experienced brutal repression of the Student Movement in the Plaza of the Three Cultures in 1968. The CIA, the federal government and their armed forces were the intellectual and material actors of the massacre. In the 1970s, the federal government and the armed forces created the Halcones (Falcons) paramilitary group that was present near the Mexico City International Airport the day that a group of exiled Mexicans returned from Chile. They attacked us on two occasions: the first near the Casco de Santo Tomás, and the second in San Cosme, where they murdered dozens of students on June 10, 1971.

Those State crimes encouraged and gave way to a growing number of movements and armed groups in Mexico. In the mountains of Guerrero, Lucio Cabañas commanded the armed forces of the Party of the Poor. On August 6, 1969, on 5 de Mayo Street in Monterrey, N.L., a group of 7 persons founded the National Liberation Forces (FLN, their initials in Spanish), three more witnessed the act. The Cuban Revolution, the guerrillas and the figure of Che, the National Liberation Movements in Asia, Africa and in Latin America and the revolutionary wars in Central America were the referents that spirited the armed struggle in Mexico. The United States and the USSR were bottled up in World War III, the Chinese communists were confronted with the Russians, and the Yankees were headed to the defeat in Vietnam. To guard its backyard patio, the US imposed the dictatorships, gorilla governments in Latin America.

Within that context, the government of Luis Echeverría Álvarez (LEA) adopted the Counterinsurgent War Strategy in which were conjured up, alternatively, the Dirty War (military and paramilitary violence), the Democratic Opening and the programmes derived from the Social Policy. LEA’s international policy was characterized by the defence of the Sovereignty of Nations, Self-determination of the Peoples and political asylum to the persecuted from the military dictatorships. In that way, LEA projected a democratic, humanitarian and Third World image.

With the Dirty War, the federal government and its armed forces disarticulated and/or annihilated the main body of the armed movements, urban and rural, in Mexico. The result of the Dirty War was 10,000 disappeared persons. In Chiapas, the federal government militarized and populated the jungle and the border with Guatemala with Indians, and started the construction of the Border Highway. With those measures, LEA’s government constructed El Yunque for containing the Guatemalan guerrillas.

In the region of Los Altos (the Highlands), with the majority of the population being indigenous, the Social Policy was concretized in the Socioeconomic Development Programme of Los Altos of Chiapas (PRODESCH); a preventive programme for social containment. United Nations agencies such as FAO and UNICEF intervened in it, and the three levels of government. The PRODESCH was a product of the global policy designed by McNamara at the World Bank, whose objective was: “avoid the political costs of a rebellion.”

Within that context of war, the National Liberation Forces (FLN, their initials in Spanish) were discovered on February 13, 1974. The police were looking for guerrillas of the Liga Comunista 23 de Septiembre (September 23 Communist League) who had murdered the impresario Eugenio Garza Sada one year before. That operation led them to an FLN safe house in Monterrey. They arrested and tortured two of its members. On February 14, the Mexican Army attacked the headquarters in Nepantla. Five combatants died there and two were detained.

The soldiers found data in the Nepantla house about the foco established in Rancho El Chilar in the municipio of Ocosingo, Chiapas. Later, 3,000 federal Army members carried out Operation Diamante. Between February and March they extended a circle to locate, occupy and destroy the camp of the FLN’s first Emiliano Zapata guerrilla nucleus in Ocosingo, Chiapas. Seven combatants were murdered and disappeared: Elisa Irina Sáenz, Raúl Pérez Gasque, Carlos Vives, Juan Guichard Gutiérrez, Federico Carballo Subiaur, César Germán Yáñez and Fidelino Velázquez. After a very complicated decade, the FLN was in the position to found the second guerrilla nucleus in the Lacandón Jungle.

Meanwhile, the Programmes to Combat Poverty were grouped together with the violent repression against the indigenous and campesino movements in Chiapas in which the PRI governments, the federal Army, the police and the private armies of the ranchers known as Guardias Blancas (White Guards) systematically participated.

Here are some cases: 1974, 40 soldiers of the 46th battalion burned 29 huts in the Colonia San Francisco in Altamirano municipality. 1975, Tzotzil leaders of Venustiano Carranza were murdered by pistoleros of the ranchers Augusto Castellanos and Carmen Orantes; 1976, confrontation for several hours between the federal army and comuneros [1] of Venustiano Carranza. The result was 2 comuneros dead, 3 injured, 13 detained, 6 women raped and several dead soldiers; 1977, the federal Army extended a military circle in Simojovel, Huitiupán and Sabanilla, 16 ejidos were evicted and the schools were converted into barracks; 1978, in Ocosingo, the Army evicted the indigenous residents of Nuevo Momón, destroyed and burned 150 homes, resulting in 2 Tzeltals dead and 6 tortured; 1979, paid gunmen carried out attacks on campesinos of Venustiano Carranza and Villa de las Rosas and murdered 7 campesinos; 1980, encirclement, intimidation and military manoeuvres in charge of 9,000 soldiers in the Tojolabal municipio of Las Margaritas; 1981, 45,000 soldiers effectuated counter-guerrilla manoeuvres and simulations in the Chol region – Tila and Sabanilla -, in the Lacandón Jungle and on the border with Guatemala; 1982, finqueros and police attack the Tzeltals of Flor de Cacao village; 1983, the indigenous caciques of Chalchihuitán organized the massacre of 11 indigenous and the destruction and burning of homes in the village of Tzakiuc’um.

In that scenario of Social Policy and a war against the peoples, Bishop Samuel Ruiz and the pastoral agents had opted “for the poor among the poor.” Committed people accompanied their resistance and their walking in the Construction of the Kingdom of God. They did not walk blindly. The 1974 Indigenous Congress had profiled a programme of struggle that would be in effect for the next two decades. A programme that guided their accompaniment and the movement of the peoples: Land, health care, education and housing. In the midst of the war against the indigenous and non-indigenous peoples of Chiapas, the Diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas was found also among the communist, revolutionary, political military social activist organizations that forged the Kiptic ta Lecubtesel, the Independent Central of Workers and Campesinos (CIOAC), the Organización Campesina Emiliano Zapata (OCEZ), the ARIC Union of Unions, Solidaridad Campesina Magisterial (SOCAMA) and the Organización Indígena de Los Altos de Chiapas (ORIACH).

On November 17, 1983 the FLN finally established, after five attempts, the Second Emiliano Zapata Guerrilla Nucleus in the Lacandón Jungle. They came with two decades of experience and the teachings that the hard blow of February 1974 had taught them. The jungle, the mountains and the canyons gave them cover. Nevertheless, the social movements were the best cover in the decade for the silent accumulation of forces. With intelligence, they moved under and among the fallen leaves of the social movements, and “they put a trigger to hope.” They had in their favour the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution and the wave of revolutionary wars in Guatemala and El Salvador. The FLN would resolve the challenges that various changes in the juncture imposed within the international ambit and their national and local impact, the differences between the groupings that opted for the mass movement and that of arms and the changes of direction among the pastoral agents and their bishop.

At the beginning of the 1980s, the federal government intervened decidedly in the peace processes in Central America: Contadora Group (1983), in the Mexico Accord prior to the de-mobilization of the Guatemalan guerrilla in (1991); in 1992, the El Salvador Peace Accords were signed in the Chapultepec Castle. Those peace processes fell upon the orientation of the San Cristóbal Diocese and fundamentally estranged it from accompanying the rebels who were preparing for war in the jungle and the mountains of Chiapas. The signs of the times had changed. For sure, the withdrawal from the communities was no minor thing.

Programmes derived from the Social Policy continued systematically in the state. If with LEA (1970), the PRODESCH was the point of departure for the preventive programmes and for social containment in Chiapas, López Portillo created the General Coordination of the National Plan for Depressed Zones and Marginalized Groups (COPLAMAR) (1976). With Miguel de la Madrid the price of a package of basic products was subsidized (1982); and Carlos Salinas designed the National Solidarity Programme – PRONASOL (1988-1994).

On the way to the armed uprising

While the FLN’s guerrilla nucleus moved like the fish in the water, we have to take into account that the waters were not quiet; they were turbulent. Other cases: 1984, ranchers and state police attacked Indigenous in Simojovel. Eight people were injured. In 1985, 2,000 police, 35 ranchers and police evicted housed peons from the Medellín and La Soledad fincas who were demanding lost wages. In 1986, Judicial police and Enrique Zardain’s bosses burned and levelled for the second time 50 houses in Muc’ulum Bachajón in the municipality of Chilón. In 1987, caciques and police burned the town of La Independencia in the municipality of Ocosingo. In 1988, the police kidnapped four campesinos from the CIOAC in Las Margaritas. In 1989, the rancher Roberto Zenteno murdered PMS local deputy and former leader of the CIOAC Sebastián Pérez Núñez. In 1989, Arturo Albores, the founder of the OCEZ was murdered. In 1990, the San Cristóbal Diocese denounced that in the absence of Joel Padrón, the parish priest of Simojovel, several unknown persons set fire to the Parish House. In 1991, ten police detained Father Joel Padrón. He was accused of rebellion, robbery, dispossession, conspiracy, carrying illegal weapons, criminal association, an apology for crimes, threats and gang activity… The priest’s arrest was directed at the Bishop. Patrocinio did that. In 1992, Ocosingo cattle ranchers founded the Union for Citizen Defence in order to defend against the “destabilization” that the pastoral agents promoted. In 1993, the commanders of the XXXI Military Zone reported that an Air Force captain and an Army lieutenant were murdered and later burned on lands of San Isidro el Ocotal in the municipality of San Cristóbal de Las Casas. In May of that year, the federal Army discovered a guerrilla training camp and clashed with a group of combatants in the Sierra de Corralchén.

In 1993, the presence of the guerrilla in Chiapas was no longer hidden. The aggressiveness of PRONASOL in the state was notable. Patrocinio González Garrido had increased the budget for the indigenous municipios and hardened the escalation against the movements, social organizations and, above all, against the Diocese of Samuel Ruiz and the pastoral agents. Carlos Salinas dedicated a Day of Solidarity to Chiapas and inaugurated three hospitals; one of them in Guadalupe Tepeyac…

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Originally Published in Spanish by POZOL COLECTIVO

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Friday, October 16, 2015

http://www.pozol.org/?p=11389

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October 17, 2015

Capitalism, War and Counterinsurgency in Chiapas II

Filed under: Marcos, Zapatista — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:39 am

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Capitalism, War and Counterinsurgency in Chiapas II

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By: Gaspar Morquecho

Wars come from afar

Some 18 years ago, in June 1997 –when the Moño Colorado [1] was very popular and Zedillo was governing the country–, the Zapatista rebel chief presented us: “7 pieces to draw, colour, cut out and try to arm, together with others, the global puzzle;” in other words, the 7 easy pieces of the global puzzle. The pieces are: 1) the concentration of wealth and the distribution of poverty; 2) the globalization of exploitation; 3) migration, the nomadic nightmare; 4) financial globalization and the globalization of corruption and crime; 5) the legitimate violence of an illegitimate power (?); 6) mega-politics and the dwarves; and 7) the pockets of resistance.

The essay is not wasted. It’s certain that when the guerrilla chief proposes and polishes it, putting pencil to paper, it comes out one of his best. Without a doubt, 7 pieces will have a special place once his selected works are published.

Before moving on to the construction of each of the 7 Pieces, the rebel Subcomandante warned: “Modern globalization, neoliberalism as a world system, should be understood as a new war of conquest of territories. (…) The end of the ‘Cold War’ brought with it a new framework of international relations in which the new fight for those new markets and territories produced a new world war, the Fourth. That obliged, as in all wars, a redefinition of the National States. (…) The global order returned to the old epochs of the conquests of America, Africa and Oceania. One wonders at this modernity that advances backwards, (…). In the world of the Post Cold War, vast territories, riches and, above all, a skilled workforce, await a new master…”

To cement the concept of World War IV, the guerrilla, argued: “From the end of World War II to 1992, 149 wars have been unleashed in the world. The result of 23 million deaths leaves no room for doubt about the intensity of this World War III.” About this war “between Capitalism and Socialism,” the Zapatista emphasized its characteristics and for the winner: “World War III demonstrated the benefits of ‘total war’ (everywhere and in all forms) for the winner: capitalism.”

World War IV, the war for markets, arrived accompanied by an arsenal of “financial bombs” which, with their expansive waves, “reorganize and reorder that which attacks, and remakea it as a piece inside the puzzle of economic globalization.” World War IV constructs a “megalopolis” in extensive geographies of the Earthly Globe: The European Union, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Other “megalopolises” have emerged in North Africa, in South Africa, in the Near East, in the Black Sea, in the Asian Pacific; “financial bombs explode all over the planet and re-conquer territories.” In that process: “Neoliberalism operates as the DESTRUCTION/DEPOPULATION on the one hand, and the RECONSTRUCTION/RE-ORDERING on the other, of regions and of nations for the opening of new markets and modernizing the existing ones.”

If anyone learned the lesson of World War III, it was the leaders of China and Vietnam. They had been witnesses to the “political, economic and social breakup of Eastern Europe and the USSR.” The Asian Giant had inherited the social and productive organization of Mao’s China. That country with its enormous territory, resources and labour force, opened its borders to receive the massive arrival of capital. Its economy had extraordinary growth and in different geographies we can read: Made in China. That country was profiled to become the world’s largest economy. For its part, Vietnam, a small socialist country with an historic conflict with China and vulnerable in the region, opted for alliance with the United States and its leaders changed the model of which Uncle Ho dreamed.

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Sup Marcos speaks during a storm in Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo during the March of the Colour of the Earth on February 28, 2001. Photo: La Jornada.

Sup Marcos speaks during a storm in Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo during the March of the Colour of the Earth on February 28, 2001. Photo: La Jornada.

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It could be important to emphasize that when the Zapatista guerrilla wrote 7 Pieces, “5 billion human beings inhabited Planet Earth. On it, only 500 million people live with comforts while 4.5 billion suffer poverty and try to survive.” In 2015, more than 7 billion people live on Planet Earth. Capital and poverty continue to be concentrated in opposite poles. World War IV continues its course. In order to reach the “re-conquest of territories (…) the financial centres bring forward a triple criminal and brutal strategy: they proliferate ‘regional wars’ and ‘internal conflicts,’ capital follows routes of atypical accumulation, and mobilizes large masses of workers.” (…) “World War IV, with its process of destruction/depopulation and reconstruction/reordering, provokes the displacement of millions of people.” In 1995 the number of displaced persons was more than 27 million; in 2005 the number reached 38 million. In 2015, the number of displaced persons or refugees in the world adds up to 60 million. Of course, 99 out of every 100 have access to a mobile telephone.

And why all of the above?

It turns out that 18 years after the 7 Pieces from the Zapatista rebel, the United States, the first economic and military power, stirred the waters of the world markets and in the first days of October headed the creation of the largest trade agreement on the planet: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Trade Ministers from 12 nations of the Pacific, Mexico among them, reached an agreement that “would reduce tariffs and establish common standards.” With the TPP they propose stimulating trade between the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

Capitalism reiterated its strength and capacity for strategic planning. Its engineers worked at least 5 years on the design and construction of the TPP. The countries involved took two years so that their respective Congresses may approve it or not. It is very likely that the impact of the recent financial bombs and the fall of oil prices that unhinged economies in the entire world in 2015, may have created the best of scenarios for the TPP to come to fruition.

Mexico and Chiapas in the World War IV theatre of operations

The FTA was signed with Carlos Salinas. With Salinas-Peña Nieto, Mexico participates in the TPP. Chronologically, in 2014 Salinas-Peña Nieto strengthened the Pacific Alliance in which it participates with Peru and Chile. In September 2015, Peña Nieto announced the creation of Special Economic Zones that he later located in the port of Lázaro Cárdenas on the border of Michoacán and Guerrero; in Oaxaca, one of the states where the Inter-Oceanic Industrial Corridor is constructed; and in Puerto Madero, Chiapas. On October 5, in Atlanta, it was all consummated. A dozen ministers from the Pacific nations reached the trade agreement.

The president of the United States, Barack Obama, reacted immediately and expressed: “We won’t let countries like China write the rules of the global economy.” A message to the rest of its allies: Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, in other words, to the BRICS trade block. In Mexico, Salinas-Peña Nieto celebrated the conclusion of the TPP negotiations, by classifying it as a “vanguard agreement” with which Mexico strengthens its trade integration with the world and reiterated the promise of the last three decades: “The Trans-Pacific Partnership will translate into greater opportunities for investment and well-paid employment for Mexicans.”

The other wars in Mexico and Chiapas

A little more than three decades have passed since the governments of Mexico have brought the national economy to navigate in the turbulent waters of World War IV. Independence and Sovereignty are what least remain. If the privatization process started with Miguel de la Madrid and Carlos Salinas, deregulation of the economy and the end of agrarian distribution with Zedillo, Fox and Calderón delivered part of the country to the mining companies. Obeying the Yankees, Calderón established the “drug war” that has left a result of more than 100,000 dead, more than 20,000 disappeared, thousands of orphans and very probably more than a million displaced. The war continues with Salinas-Peña Nieto; a war that covers at least 80% of the Mexican geography and that continues to fill thousands of Mexican families with grief or to leave them in mourning clothes.

In Chiapas, the counterinsurgency war against the Zapatista peoples and communities followed the violent peace of before 1994. The armed forces have occupied the territory. The federal government has responded to each one of their peaceful political and civilian initiatives with a provocation and maintains certain kinds of “internal conflicts:” agrarian policies in different regions of the state; with mining companies in the border zone; wind projects, environmental projects, because of discrimination and because of violations of human rights and of the rights of indigenous peoples.

In the course of the war, Salinas-Peña Nieto’s visits to Chiapas have been frequent: In February 2013, in Las Margaritas he launched the Crusade against Hunger. On February 13, 2014, he inaugurated the Palenque International Airport and re-launched the San Cristóbal-Palenque Superhighway project. The Zapatista Galeano was murdered in May. That crime postponed the EZLN’s programmed events. On July 8, in Catazajá, he broached the theme of immigration. With Pérez Molina, president of Guatemala, he put into effect the Secure Pass program. On August 8, in San Juan Chamula, he affirmed that with the structural reforms Mexico would have a better platform to grow economically. On December 2 in Cintalapa, he celebrated the start of his third year of government and promised 1.8 billion pesos more to Oaxaca, Chiapas and Guerrero.

On March 11, the Secretary of National Defence announced the construction of a new military barracks in Chicomuselo, Chiapas. On March 24, 2015, Salinas-Peña Nieto announced that they would begin actions in Chiapas for the development of Southern Mexico and put into effect a programme to impel employment. On August 11, International Indigenous Peoples Day, he announced that communities of Chiapas will enter into the Special Economic Zones Programme to create more jobs and generate productive investment in them. On August 29, the Chiapas government released two of the Tojolabal Indians implicated in the death of the Zapatista Galeano. On September 29, 2015, Salinas-Peña Nieto announced in Tapachula, Chiapas, the creation of Special Economic Zones in the indigenous communities of Chiapas with investment from private capital: “We must move from welfare, which has been insufficient and has only permitted us to mitigate poverty, to what we really seek, which is inclusive growth.” In that way, the capitalist plus is added to the expense for social control.

Without a doubt, the Salinas-Peña Nieto War is directed at the “recuperation of lost spaces.” The autonomy of the indigenous Zapatista peoples in Chiapas is another of their military-political objectives. It’s about crushing the “pockets of resistance.” Nevertheless, the plans for the War Front on the Southern Border are the greatest threat in the region.

[1]. El Moño Colorado translates into English as The Red Topknot – It’s the name of a song that was very popular in the early days of the EZLN and played over and over again at the 1st Gathering Against Neoliberalism and For Humanity in 1996.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Pozol Colectivo

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Thursday, October 8, 2015

En español: http://www.pozol.org/?p=11372

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October 10, 2015

Commemoration for those killed and disappeared during the conflict in the zone below Tila

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:24 am

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Commemoration for those killed and disappeared during the conflict in the zone below Tila

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12004063_1022189371166785_3652453593648309942_nOn 20th September, in the community of Masoja Shucja, Tila municipality, a commemoration was held to remember those killed and forcibly disappeared between the years 1994 and 1999 in the region below Tila. Around a hundred people participated in the event, designed to never “forget our fallen and disappeared comrades, and so we remember them. They will always be in our hearts,” as the People United for the Defence of Electrical Energy (PUDEE) expressed, being adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle from the Northern Jungle region, authored by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). Following a mass, relatives of the disappeared and murdered spoke and demanded “true justice, the presentation with life of the disappeared, and compensation of damages and the suffering caused during the conflict in the communities,” adding that “the situation of the communities in the zone below Tila, Chiapas, has not changed. We do not live in peace or tranquillity. The three levels of the bad government actually are the ones responsible for the low-intensity warfare we confront. We explain how our communities are now experiencing problems due to the divisions that surged during the recent elections, though there also exist families displaced by the armed conflict or counterinsurgency against the EZLN during the years 1996-1997.”

11990486_1020336584685397_1018167475091600526_nThey also indicated that the paramilitary group “Development, Peace, and Justice” is being reorganized at present, affirming that “in its actions to control the communities and municipalities they use political functionaries, specifically their portable high-frequency radios, and carry arms which are for the exclusive use of the Army in public areas to threaten and intimidate their opponents. They hire young drug-addicts, go out hooded to block roads and highways, impeding free transit, and they attack and rob violently.” Beyond this, they recalled the proximate anniversary of the forcible disappearance of the 43 teacher-students from Ayotzinapa, noting that “we will continue to express our support for them; they are not alone.”

It should be observed that the conflict in the zone below the Tila municipality began with the imposition of the Chiapas Campaign Plan 94, a counterinsurgent strategy taken by the Mexican government to prevent the expansion of the EZLN during the 1990s.

https://sipazen.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/chiapas-commemoration-for-those-killed-and-disappeared-during-the-conflict-in-the-zone-below-tila/

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May 14, 2015

Report: “La Realidad, context of war.”

Filed under: Frayba, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:33 pm

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“Peña Nieto and Velasco Coello, government officials involved in the policies of counterinsurgency in Chiapas” – Frayba.

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REPORT: “La Realidad, context of war.”
Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba).
May 2015.

The attack on and extrajudicial execution of the Zapatista teacher Galeano on 2nd May, 2014, marks a momentous event in the context of the Armed Internal Conflict in Chiapas, consisting of the inclusion in the Mexican government’s war against the EZLN of other actors who at its beginning promoted the campesino struggle for land rights.

Now the members of the Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos (CIOAC-H) are part of the theatre of war, creating an armed “self-defence” group, allowed, encouraged and strengthened by the structure of municipal government, with Manuel de Jesús Culebro Gordillo, mayor and leader of the CODECH, an organization which in March 2014, formally joined the ranks of the PVEM through the fundación Tierra Verde A.C (Green Earth Foundation), a political organization headed until recently by the Secretary of State of the Government of Chiapas Eduardo Ramirez Aguilar. All of these have become useful players in the counterinsurgency war.

The ambush of BAEZLN on 2nd May 2, 2014, in the territory of the JBG of La Realidad, had as a consequence the extrajudicial execution of the Zapatista teacher Galeano. With violence, they brutally destroyed the Autonomous Clinic and School, acts which tried to undermine Zapatista autonomy in its construction of another social and political system distinct from the decadent neoliberal system.

Having documented the situation, this Human Rights Centre considers that the Mexican government is responsible for the extrajudicial killing, assaults and harassment of BAEZLN, placing responsible directly on members of CIOAC-H led by Luis Hernández Cruz and José Antonio Vázquez Hernández, authorities of the ejido La Realidad, and members of the PAN and PVEM, in complicity with Gaudencio Jiménez Jiménez, Florinda Santiz, and Manuel de Jesús Culebro Gordillo, public officials of the municipal administration of Las Margaritas.

We also identify the following government officials as being involved in counterinsurgency policy: Enrique Peña Nieto, head of the federal government, commander of the Armed Forces which harass the EZLN and implementer of social projects which generate division, dependence and divide the communities and towns of Chiapas; Manuel Velasco Coello, Governor of Chiapas and political operator of federal programmes for the actions of counterinsurgency and protector and funder of organizations like CIOAC-H.

So therefore this Human Rights Centre considers that the government of Mexico is responsible:

By its intervention, with varying degrees of responsibility and participation, in the ongoing repressive actions expressed in state violence against BAEZLN.

By its direct and indirect participation, through action or through omission, in the committing of crimes against humanity, which are specified in the following human rights violations: extrajudicial execution; forced displacement; arbitrary imprisonment, torture, persecution of a group or community with its own identity based on political and ethnic motives, serious injury to the physical and psychological integrity of the people and organizations who fight for autonomy.

By failing in its duty to promote, respect, protect and guarantee human rights, and to prevent, investigate, punish and redress human rights violations, leading to a situation of structural impunity.

In Chiapas, the government of Mexico with its institutions violates the right to life, security and personal integrity, to Free Determination expressed in the Autonomy of the Peoples, based and grounded in the instruments of strict compliance by the Mexican State such as: the San Andres Accords, Convention no. 169 of the International Labour Organisation and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. So also with regard to the American Convention on Human Rights of 1969 and the Covenants: Civil and Political Rights; and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 and their respective additional protocols.

This counterinsurgency action is related to the interests of territorial control and violates the collective rights to land, territory, natural resources, self-government, autonomy and self-determination.

Full report: http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/informes/150513_inf_realidad.pdf

http://www.pozol.org/?p=10660

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August 20, 2014

Frayba: Counterinsurgency Continues to Operate in Chiapas

Filed under: Frayba, Human rights, Indigenous, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:30 pm

 

Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México

August 18, 2014

Pronouncement  

Counterinsurgency Continues to Operate in Chiapas

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The federal and state governments have demonstrated their disdain towards the original peoples of Mexico from one presidential term to the next. In this phase of neoliberal capitalism their policy of dispossession for implementing projects that carry with them the disappearance of forms of social, political and cultural organization of communities and peoples, resistances that are the breath of human diversity. One example of this are the peoples organized in the National Indigenous Congress. (1)

Since the conception of neoliberalism, poverty is greater and a juicy business for governments and national and international investors. Poverty as State policy represents the pretext for exploitation and looting of the peoples. By means of the North American Free trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Mesoamerica Project (formerly the Plan Puebla-Panamá) and also the military and territorial control strategy through the Security Agenda Plan contemplated in the North American Security and Prosperity Alliance (NASPA), the governments of the Alliance (United States, Canada and Mexico) close the pincers.

In recent months, the unresolved Internal Armed Conflict in Chiapas has been characterized by continuous aggression towards the Bases of Support of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (BAEZLN, their initials in Spanish) with the actions of some regional social organizations at the service of the State that, since various years ago, are disputing recuperated lands. Several of these social organizations have impelled their leaders to become public officials and servants, in many cases betraying the principles from which they emerged, subjecting their plans for struggle to the government budgets and interests. In Chiapas, the integral war of wear and tear persists towards the peoples who struggle and resist, using media tactics that include the use of concepts of human rights, inter-cultural activities, collective rights of indigenous peoples and emptying them of content.

There is continuity in the state government’s posture in a public discourse about the recognition and respect for the autonomous communities, the Good Government Juntas and the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), as a media action, in opposition to the absence of direct actions to change the situation of constant risk in which the Zapatista communities live, especially those displaced and threatened like San Marcos Aviles and Comandante Abel.

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre has made constant interventions before the gravity of attacks on BAEZLN and the response has been governmental parsimony and its inability to act. This attitude of indifference maintains and provokes conflicts that are called inter-community as a way of hiding the counterinsurgency. The objective is to generate fatigue among the population that resists, that struggles, that is transforming their reality from their culture and their rights.

The events that occurred in La Realidad on May 2 are evidence of the counterinsurgency in Chiapas: a strategy of provocation and repeated attack towards the EZLN and its Support Bases, with paramilitary actions like the murder of José Luis Solis López, Galeano, a teacher at the Zapatista Escuelita, with rage, by means of machetes, blows, firearms, including the coup de grace, and the destruction of the autonomous school and clinic.

The latest acts documented by this Center, about the attacks on the BAEZLN from the communities of Egipto and El Rosario (2) confirm the climate of constant aggression and provocation that operates behind each celebration of a space for dialogue and meeting, like the Sharing (Exchange) with the National Indigenous Congress on August 4-9 in La Realidad.

These acts represent a new attack on the project of Zapatista autonomy, with the pretension of eroding the construction of systemic change that they are impelling from below, walking projects of life from the community and the collectivity, from the concept of good living.

This Human Rights Centre keeps documentation of the attacks on the Zapatistas and the denunciation that corresponds to the human rights violations. We will continue accompanying the peoples that demand the rights that belong to them and that, due to hidden interests, seek to take them away. We repeat our call for national and international solidarity to show their support for the threatened BAEZLN. (3)
(1). Declaraciones del Congreso Nacional Indígena (CNI), available in Spanish here: http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2014/08/16/1a-declaracion-de-la-comparticion-cni-ezln-sobre-la-represion-a-nuestros-pueblos/
(2). Boletín de Prensa “Desplazamiento de Bases zapatistas ante riego de ataque”, available in Spanish here: http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/boletines/140803_boletin_22_desplazamiento_baez.pdf
(3). Frayba  Urgent Action “Amenazas de muerte, hostigamiento con arma de fuego, desplazamiento forzado y agresiones a Bases de Apoyo Zapatistas”, available in Spanish here: http://frayba.org.mx/archivo/acciones_urgentes/140613_au_3_bazeln.pdf

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Originally Published in Spanish by the

Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

Monday, August 18, 2014

 

http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/boletines/140818_pronunciamiento_contrainsurgencia.pdf

 

With many thanks to our companera for her translation

 

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August 19, 2014

Frayba denounces a counterinsurgency strategy against the EZLN in Chiapas

Filed under: Frayba, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:14 pm

Frayba denounces a counterinsurgency strategy against the EZLN in Chiapas

Isaín Mandujano
Proceso, August 18, 2014

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Zapatistas in Oventic. Photo by Germán Canseco

Zapatistas in Oventic. Photo by Germán Canseco

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Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas. – The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) denounced today that the support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) are subjected to a systematic aggression from regional social organizations in the service of the State, in a type of counterinsurgency strategy.

In a statement, the civilian agency said in this state “a comprehensive war of attrition persists against the peoples who struggle and resist, using media tactics which include the use of human rights concepts, [such as] multiculturalism, and the collective rights of indigenous peoples, emptying them of meaning.”

According to Frayba, “there is a continuity in the position of the state government in its public discourse about recognition and respect for the autonomous communities and the Good Government Juntas and the EZLN, as a media action, as opposed to the absence of direct action to change the situation of constant risk experienced by the residents of Zapatista communities, especially those who are displaced and threatened such as San Marcos Avilés and Comandante Abel.”

In the view of Frayba, the developments reported in La Realidad on May 2 are evidence of counterinsurgency in Chiapas:

“A strategy of provocation and repeated attack against the EZLN and their support bases, with paramilitary actions such as the vicious killing of José Luis Solís Lopez, Galeano, teacher at the Escuelita Zapatista, with machete blows, firearms, including the coup de grace, and the destruction of the autonomous school and clinic.”

The latest events documented by Frayba are the attacks on the communities of Egipto and El Rosario, which confirm the climate of constant aggression and provocation, and which were launched after each holding of space for dialogue and exchange, with the Indigenous National Congress, held from 4 to 9 August in La Realidad.

These actions represent a new onslaught on the Zapatista project of autonomy, with the aim of undermining the construction of a change of system which they are promoting from below, “walking projects of life from the community and the collective, from the conception of living well”.

Nevertheless, Frayba warned that it will continue to document attacks on the Zapatistas and correspondingly to denounce human rights violations; in addition, it will accompany the “people who demand the rights that belong to them, which for obscure interests they try to take from them.”

http://www.proceso.com.mx/?p=379840

 

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May 28, 2014

The “Gaps”, the Galeanos, and the Dignified Rage

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:26 pm

 


The “Gaps”, the Galeanos, and the Dignified Rage

Carlos Fazio

La Jornada, 26th May, 2014

929. la realidadSince the indigenous peasant uprising of the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) in 1994, the Mexican Ministry of National Defence (Sedena) and its main ideologue, partner, and sponsor – the Department of Defence of the USA – have been modifying and adapting their conceptions of “internal enemies” and their methods of warfare. And twenty years on from the counterinsurgency policies of Sedena’s Chiapas Campaign Plan of 94, we are seeing a number of new examples of their ‘irregular’ and ‘asymmetrical’ warfare.

With specific regional adaptations (from the Juárez Valley to Tamaulipas, and Michoacán to Chiapas), unconventional warfare in Mexico today is waged as part of a “full spectrum” occupation strategy – in which military, economic, media, and cultural policies have common objectives. In this context, and considering its own particular characteristics, Chiapas is at the centre of the Pentagon’s map. The state’s geography forms part of a “gap”, in which the danger zones for the dominant force of the global capitalist system can be found. As a result, the USA must have aggressive policies of prevention, deterrence, control, and imposition of norms which work in step with corporate interests (whose headquarters can be found in the United States). At the same time, it is necessary for them to persecute, break up, and eliminate all dissidents and rebels who are considered ‘enemies’.

Capitalism cannot be understood or explained without the concept of war. War is the only way to reproduce the current system of domination, and is indispensable for the current phase of neo-colonial re-conquest of social spaces and territories. But it is also a business – a way of ensuring new merchandise is produced and a way of opening up new markets in order to gain a profit. And the “Chiapas Gap” is found in an area of incredible biodiversity (including the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve), where strategic minerals, oil, and water can also be found. For this reason, appropriation of this territory could be very profitable for large corporations.

Moreover, the areas of Zapatista autonomy in Chiapas exhibit creative and peaceful civilian resistance to the neoliberal economic project – or the ‘imperialism of dispossession’. Here, new forms of emancipation and collective construction of freedom are being created by a number of anti-systemic social movements which represent critical, ethical, anti-capitalist, and anti-hegemonic thought. These are forces that act on the margin of the rules imposed by the plutocratic Mexican establishment – and the acts and customs of the administrators on duty and of the parliamentary political class, both of which can be identified by corruption and impunity. At the same time, they challenge the State in cultural spheres, advocating historical memory, different world views, and the possibility of utopias. They are a new historical subject that no longer believes in bandages or reforms within the current system. They also find the old and new forms of assimilation and co-optation alien, demonstrating instead another way of doing politics and of building an alternative power structure from below. They seek real people power, driven by pluralism, self-management, and truly participative democracy – with their Committees of Good Government, autonomous municipalities, and community authorities.

43. la realidadBecause of the reasons stated above, the EZLN, its support bases, and its current allies represent a real danger: a strategic challenge for Washington and corporations related to oil, mining, biotechnology, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, hotels, soft drinks, false ecotourism, and the military industry. As a consequence, asymmetrical warfare is the articulating axis of a strategy of territorial clearance and control that seeks to displace populations in order to facilitate the appropriation and commercialisation of the land and its natural resources by large multinational corporations. Whoever finds themselves in these spaces and territories (where water, trees, ancestral knowledge, genetic codes, and other “goods” can be found) becomes, whether they want to or not, an enemy of capitalism. For that reason, a conservative offensive seeks – through the use of a comprehensive, hidden, irregular, prolonged, and erosive war – to discipline, crush, and/or eliminate all resistance from rebellious indigenous peasants. The aim of this war is to carry out a ‘restructuring’ of territory in accordance with the interests and requirements of the monopolist class.

This is a war of privatisation, territorial clearance, and social dispossession, which militarises and paramilitarises communities in an attempt to win a prolonged and unresolved armed conflict – and includes the containment of social movements and the criminalisation of protests with more ‘exceptional measures’. For example, a ‘bullet law’, or code for the “legitimate use of force”, was passed by the Chiapan Congress, with the aim of facilitating the free accumulation of resources by transnational corporations.

In December 2007, when faced with an offensive prepared by President Calderón, Subcomandante Marcos warned about the reactivation of military and paramilitary aggression in the areas under Zapatista influence. He said: “Those of us who have waged war know how to recognise when it is approaching and the ways in which it is prepared. The signs of war on the horizon are clear. War, like fear, can be smelt, and we are now beginning to detect its foul smell in our territories”.

And he was not wrong. The most recent episode was the premeditated murder of the indigenous Zapatista teacher José Luis Solís López (comrade Galeano) at the hands of the paramilitary group Los Luises on May 2nd. The provocation and trap in La Realidad – a place emblematic of peaceful Zapatista resistance – was carried out by the Historical and Independent Union of Agricultural Workers and Peasants (CIOAC-H in Spanish), which acted as an instrument of the government’s counterinsurgency strategy. In summary, such paramilitary activity responds to the State’s logic, in the form of an asymmetrical war as proposed by Sedena.

 

Translated by Oso Sabio from an article originally written in Spanish by Carlos Fazio at http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/05/26/index.php?section=politica&article=017a1pol

 

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May 25, 2014

The current stage of the counterinsurgency began in Las Margaritas with the Crusade against Hunger

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:50 am

 

The current stage of the counterinsurgency began in Las Margaritas with the Crusade against Hunger

 ** A “symbolic” site, said Rosario Robles; Zapatistas, in the government’s sights

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, May 23, 2014

1010719_561884187259257_3754768698187372370_nThe current stage of the counterinsurgency against the Zapatistas was formally initiated on January 21, 2013, when President Enrique Peña Nieto put the National Crusade Against Hunger, his signature social programme, into effect. Where? In Las Margaritas, Chiapas, the Tojolabal entrance to the Lacandón Jungle, in a region directly related with the San Pedro de Michoacán rebel autonomous municipality. What a coincidence! Once again it was the preferred scenario of the indigenist policy (one way to call it) of the PAN governments, with Luis H. Álvarez in charge. Always under military occupation, it is a favoured scenario for the low-intensity war.

The initiative could be presented in many other significant places in the country, less remote and hungrier. The crusade, a national project in the charge of the Secretariat of Social Development, is directed at the “hungriest” of the poor. But the government of the returned PRI and its local PVEM associate came to launch it as close as possible to La Realidad. It was not fortuitous. It implied bringing to Las Margaritas the powers of the Union –deputies, senators, magistrates, the presidential cabinet, prosecutors, generals and admirals–, 30 governors with their retinues, foreign diplomats, national and international media. The ostentatious logistics would have been impossible without a military base at hand: Copalar, in Comitán, one of the principal headquarters of the Federal Army in Chiapas.

Although a recent Zapatista mobilization was in the air, and there were some 15,000 indigenous related to the government at the event, hardly anything was said expressly about indigenous, and nothing about the Zapatista “Did you hear?” The only point: to which poor it was first going to apply the World Bank’s new recipe. But it was obvious that just on December 21, 2012, in five Chiapas cities, including Las Margaritas, 40,000 support bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, its initials in Spanish) had marched in silence, surprisingly and eloquently. In response, the government of Peña Nieto released that inauguration of the hunger games. On that occasion, the Secretary of Social Development, Rosario Robles, announced that the National Crusade Nacional against Hunger would start in 400 municipios. She assured that it would have “anti-demagogic directions” and an “army of promoters.” And she said that the municipio of Las Margaritas was “symbolic,” although she did not explain what it symbolized.

Routinely ignored in the federal government discourse, the Zapatista peoples had mobilized the day “of the end of the Maya World” more indigenous youth than ever, peaceful and overwhelmingly orderly under the cold rain. Galeano was among them, he who months later would participate as a votán or guide for the students at the Zapatista Escuelita, and who a year and a half after the official mega-event in Las Margaritas would be murdered in La Realidad by members of the CIOAC-Historic, possibly present in the Peña Nieto event, which launched two ambushes against the Zapatista bases this May 2. Galeano, a neighbour of the community, fell in the second. Another 15 compañeros were injured, some with a bullet.

1511253_281505541996726_1485316256_nPAN members participated in the aggression, as well as Greens, affiliated with the governor’s party and that of the current mayor of Las Margaritas. They all have in common having been close, at least since 2004, to the federal commissioner for Chiapas, Luis H. Álvarez, who would later preside over the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples and would give them special treatment, as he reveals in his memoirs, entitled Indigenous Heart (Corazón indígena, FCE, 2012).

In counterpoint, and without abandoning his role of the organic intellectual of anti-Zapatista revisionism, last January the researcher Marco Estrada Saavedra considered the EZLN “defeated,” notwithstanding that “the Mexican government has avoided –in a certain sense it could be asserted even fortunately– every political and military campaign that might reactivate the armed conflict.” (In a certain sense fortunately?) He exaggerates the alleged economic dependency (one of his preferred theses) of the Zapatistas on international solidarity aid (Nexos, January 2014). Based on this myth, inexplicably popular in the academic huddles of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, the sociologist from The College of Mexico had interpreted one year ago the march of 40,000 Zapatistas as a sort of desperate attempt of the EZLN to call the attention of the NGOs.

Just like they don’t see the permanent war, neither do the academics in this field see the daily work of thousands of producers of coffee, honey, corn, who harvest vegetable gardens and breed animals in traditional communities and in those created on recuperated lands. They don’t see that the peoples in resistance practice commerce, offer public services and govern without corruption or pay. The studious ignore the artifice of the dangerous hunger games: the dependency (that indeed) on Opportunities, the “productive projects,” the new crusade, the forced titling of land parcels, bloodcurdling electoral processes, the assignation of resources with divisive ends; the war by other means.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, May 24, 2014

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/05/24/politica/016n1pol

 

Translated by the Chiapas Support Committee for the International Zapatista Translation Service

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May 8, 2014

The War against the Zapatistas and the Role of the Media

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:23 pm

 

The War against the Zapatistas and the Role of the Media

Published 4th May, 2014

paramilitareschiapasWar [as waged by the State] claims neither to kill, threaten, nor destroy; it is the people who clash and fight among themselves. As violence grows in given regions, War argues that it is the fault of the communities who live there, justifying its intervention as a pacifying and mediating force between the conflicting groups. It is an objective and an external force which presents itself as the only way in which inter-community conflicts can be resolved… But even during the deployment and development of its economic force, War needs privacy. It wants to create all by itself the accounts of what happens, insisting that the version of reality it thinks up is the only true account. No-one else should feel the need to look any closer”.

 

–      Carlos Montemayor in “La Guerrilla Recurrente”

 

The words above were written by an expert on the history of guerrilla movements in Mexico and the government counterinsurgencies that have fought against and almost destroyed them. Montemayor writes that War speaks, that it is an entity that gives declarations to the press, paying the media to include statements and to pass them off as news – as if they had been signed and investigated by reporters. In this way, the image of the State is managed.

War does the dirty work of the State in the preservation of “peace and order” for the few Mexican families who have everything. However, it also disguises itself as the fight against hunger and poverty (encouraging forced birth control in indigenous communities, like the former president of the PRD). It creates a façade of academic reason or objective and unbiased journalism, even in cases where the real aim is obvious – like the desire of Aguilar Camín, Nexos, and the CIDE (and the SCJN) to defend the paramilitary groups in Chiapas. It claims to give information related to official sources and tries (unfortunately without success) to give the versions of each party involved. In war, however, the official truth is the one constructed by the State – the party responsible for that war.

War “requires privacy”, just as happened during the US invasion of Iraq. Here, the only source of information for international news organisations stationed in the Washington-dominated zone was the official line of the US army. In Mexico, the counterinsurgency campaign (or so-called “dirty war” which began in the 1970s) has had almost the complete privacy it has required. How many people, for example, are aware of how indigenous communities in Guerrero were massacred (in similar ways to those who ‘disappeared’ under the Southern Cone dictatorships) in order to exterminate followers of Genaro Vázquez and Lucio Cabañas? And how many people have an idea of the amount of blood spilt in order to seal the fate of dozens of armed groups throughout the country in the 70s and 80s?

The aim of War is to be perceived as a neutral, objective factor that, from the realms of power and with the law in its hands, brings order (or the ‘rule of law’) to places where it was broken by “allegedly armed civilian groups” (as Zedillo called them) or “self-defence groups” (as counterinsurgent intellectuals call paramilitaries in Chiapas).

The notes published by La Jornada about the violent incursion of the CIOAC-H in the Zapatista territory of La Realidad show all the symptoms of the War that wants to avoid calling itself such (i.e. the ‘dirty war’ of counterinsurgency). The State once again presents itself as a neutral factor in an inter-community conflict, using the “objective and professional” veil of journalists like Elio Enríquez to present information handed over by the Chiapan government and the aggressors of the CIOAC as truth. Through the written expression of Enríquez on behalf of the counterinsurgency, he became a tool in the state’s covert War.

The official narrative presented is one of an inter-community conflict – a “confrontation between the support bases of the Zapatistas (EZLN) and the Historical and Independent Union of Agricultural Workers and Peasants (CIOAC-H)” which “left one Zapatista dead and 13 CIOAC-H members injured”. The CIOAC-H version of events affirms that it killed an indigenous Zapatista supporter whilst repelling an aggression. However, neither La Jornada nor Proceso investigated the official version of Velasco’s government in greater depth. Nor did they give any context which would help to understand such a violent act.

Amidst the silence of the Zapatistas, the official voice filled the vacuum: the voice of the government, the CIOAC-H (as opposed to the original CIOAC which was formed during the government’s counterinsurgency against the Zapatistas), and the mainstream media. And this voice was signed by journalists as if it was objective and neutral, even though it was merely the official version of the government. Simply speaking, the notes made La Jornada a tool of the government’s agenda.

The relationship between La Jornada and the governments of Chiapas, at least since the government of Sabines (an AMLO follower) and that of the ‘ecologist’ Velasco, is one of loyalty. It always presents the government’s version of events in the hope of balancing out the Bellinghausen notes which could easily be seen as Zapatista communiques. In the absence of a Zapatista communique in this instance, however, the official version, signed off by Elio Enríquez, became the paper’s only voice. The counterinsurgent government of Sabines may have rewarded and financed films by writers and film-makers like Poniatowska and Mandoki, but the change from the PRD to the Verde Ecologista party doesn’t change the friendly relationship between La Jornada and the Chiapan government.

The words on social networks have been those of La Jornada and Proceso, although perhaps mixed with the commentaries of those reposting the articles of these papers. The free press, meanwhile, has been able to give the Zapatista account of events and explain why they have suffered one death (and several injuries) and how the “confrontation” arose.

1902893_209061985969979_791212163_nWhile there have unfortunately been no comments from figures like Montemayor or other journalists who could place the events into a political, social, and military context, the comments from the Centro de Medios Libres (CML) on Facebook, for example, can help to clarify the situation. The only negative point is that the comments only appeared on Facebook, and not on the CML’s page of alternative information. As a result, they could not immediately reach a greater audience or be shared on social networks, by email, or on other alternative websites which replicate alternative sources in order to break down media barriers.

It is worth citing the brief but clarifying comments of the CML in order to combat the decontextualized notes in La Jornada and Proceso and allow us to look at events with a less misinformed perspective:

  • “The Caracol of La Realidad is the centre of the “Hacia la Esperanza” Committee of Good Government – one of the five zones in which the autonomous Zapatista territory (around the size of El Salvador) is divided.”
  • “La Realidad is in the official municipality of Las Margaritas which, since 2012, has been governed by Manuel Culebro Gordillo – president of the Coordinating Committee of the Democratic Organisations of the State of Chiapas. Culebro was elected as a member of the Verde Ecologista, the same party which brought Manuel Velasco to power as the state’s governor.”
  • “One of the main problems in understanding the context of the CIOAC aggression against the Zapatistas… [is that] there are numerous organisations which refer to themselves as CIOAC. [This is] the result of decades of government counterinsurgency which has fragmented organisations that were once large, grassroots, left-wing movements but are today groups of power that mostly rent themselves out to the highest bidder. In Chiapas, they have become shock troops used against the autonomous Zapatista process in exchange for the crumbs handed down in different government programmes.”
  • “The CIOAC-H that led an armed attack against Zapatistas in La Realidad yesterday had previously distanced itself (in a letter to the CLOC-Vía Campesina dated February 15th) from the attack carried out by the CIOAC-Democrática (linked to the Verde Ecologista party) against Zapatista bases of support in the ‘10 de abril’ community. A day before, [however,] it declared that it had “begun to form self-defence groups”.”
  • “On the Enlace Zapatista website, you can find several denunciations against harassment, aggression, and dispossession against Zapatista communities that the CIOAC-H has been involved in for years.”
  • “The CIOAC-H is currently affiliated to the PRD, and its members participate in Chiapan elections as members of this party.”

The most important CML comments, in the light of the previous information, are as follows:

  • Direct aggression against Zapatistas in La Realidad was not a “confrontation”.”
  • “Although the notes of the mainstream media speak of a ‘confrontation’, the injured people are Zapatistas. Reports suggest that the CIOAC-H aggression was undertaken with firearms, but in the Zapatista Caracoles there have been no armed forces since the creation of these autonomous zonesThe Caracoles are defended with reason and the search for and construction of justice. For that reason, all of those injured by firearms were Zapatistas.
  • “The Zapatista Caracoles are the headquarters of the Committees of Good Government and the third level of self-governance in Zapatista civilian communities. They have never had armed forces to defend such self-government.”
  • How could there be an armed confrontation if one of the parties did not have firearms? It was not a confrontation, but a direct armed aggression against the Zapatista bases of support in the Caracol of La Realidad.”

It is very important to understand that the CIOAC-H is not just a regular peasant or indigenous group, but one of many groups (affiliated to the PRD and other parties) which have received gifts from the government in exchange for participating in the hostile paramilitary siege against the Zapatista Caracoles that PAN, PRI, PRD, and Verde Ecologista governments have initiated and constantly encourage. None of this appears in the official press (hence why it is called ‘official’) and, unfortunately, the free press has only just begun to release this information of the social networks.

Let us ask ourselves why the official voice – that of the War that claims not to be war but a mediating force in conflicts between communities and organisations – is so interested in making it seem like Zapatistas are involved in “confrontations” with other indigenous groups. It is the narrative that the Mexican State uses to “justify its intervention as a pacifying force between the different parties”. In other words, it is preparing the way for an escalation in the counterinsurgency conflict in which the word ‘paramilitary’ will lose its prefix.

Translated by Oso Sabio from a text originally produced in Spanish at http://zapateando.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/la-guerra-contra-los-zapatistas-y-el-papel-de-los-medios-de-informacion-y-o-comunicacion/

 

 

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January 13, 2014

The Permanent People’s Tribunal and the Counterinsurgency War in Chiapas

Filed under: Displacement, Human rights, Indigenous — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:28 pm

 

The Permanent People’s Tribunal and the Counterinsurgency War in Chiapas

 

Written by Orsetta Bellani, Translation by Nancy Piñeiro

Minerva Guadalupe Pérez López was 19 when, on June 20, 1996, she was arrested in the Miguel Alemán community (Chiapas) while on her way to visit her sick father. According to the testimonies, she was locked in a house where she was repeatedly beaten and raped during three days, by more than thirty men, who then took her to the countryside to dismember her.

Minerva is still missing, like 36 other people from the communities surrounding the villages of Tila, Sabanilla, Tumbalá, Yajalón and Salto de Agua –all victims of the paramilitary group Desarrollo, Paz y Justicia (Development, Peace and Justice) between 1995 and 1999. “This and other groups affiliated to the PRI (the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party) operated in the northern region of Chiapas. During this period of time, paramilitary violence resulted in 81 extrajudicial executions and more than 3,500 displaced, and only some of them could return to their lands,” said Pedro Faro from the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (Frayba) in Chiapas.

Being close to Miguel Alemán, operational base of the paramilitaries of Desarrollo, Paz y Justicia, the small Chol Maya community of Susuclumil (Municipality of Tila) had been chosen to host the pre-hearing of the Permanent People’s Tribunal (TPP, as per its Spanish acronym), in a chapter that is focused on the counterinsurgency war unleashed in Chiapas after the 1994 Zapatista uprising. “The TPP is an institution with no jurisdiction, but it wants to be the voice of those who have suffered injustices by the government or armed groups. We will take these cases to the highest levels of international justice,” said Guillermo Villaseñor, one of the jury members.

The pre-hearing took place on December 6 and 7, 2013. It concluded by finding the State of Mexico guilty of providing “protection, security and financial support to the paramilitary forces.” Moreover, according to the judges of the TPP, the State has not guaranteed access to justice for the victims and “there exist elements to hold the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) responsible for collaborating with the law enforcement structures to conceal violations to human rights.”

The judges’ conclusions stemmed from the testimonies given by the victims’ relatives, who preferred to remain anonymous for security reasons. It can be known from the testimonies that the paramilitaries never attacked guerrilla members but chose instead the unarmed population: EZLN support bases; affiliates of the PRD (Democratic Revolution Party, a social democratic political grouping); and members of popular organizations that did not support the Government. The people involved thus tell about killings, dismemberments, rapes, torture and house burning, which they experienced in first person. After twenty years and sleepless nights the memory is still alive, the pain is not gone.

Before the TPP jury a women recounted how, as an adolescent, she saw his father being dismembered. Some recalled the moment when they found a loved one murdered in ambush, and others, the hard days endured out in the open in the mountains, while the displaced escaped from the violence in their communities to find refuge in other villages of the region, many times leaving behind their parcels of land and their houses which had been burnt by the paramilitaries with all belongings inside. A man said that in 1995, in the Limar community, he remained fifteen days with other people inside a house surrounded by illegal armed groups, until finally some could run away to the city of Palenque, and others, to Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital of Chiapas.

Many people affected by paramilitary violence have turned to the tribunals of Tuxtla Gutiérrez to seek justice. In fact, the names of those who killed and those who ordered to kill are known. Also known are their faces, which the victims’ relatives still see in the streets or the palaces of power, where they have become mayors or congressmen, having formerly integrated the ranks ofDesarrollo, Paz y Justicia.

As a matter of fact, crimes committed by the paramilitaries remain unpunished. That is the case of the massacre of Viejo Velasco community, where on November 13, 2006, about 40 members of the Organization for the Defense of Indigenous and Farmers (OPDDIC, as per its Spanish acronym), joined by 300 local Police officers, murdered 5 people, disappeared 2, and displaced 36, who could never return to their lands.

Another example of impunity is the case of the Acteal community, in Los Altos de Chiapas (Chiapas highlands), where on December 22, 1997 some members of the paramilitary group Máscara Roja (Red Mask) – affiliated to the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) – killed 45 people of the association Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal during a prayer service. Of 87 imprisoned paramilitaries, 51 were released. “They were released on bail and received money, housing and lands,” Rosendo Gómez Hernández, president of the board of the Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal, denounced before the TPP. The association also denounced that community leaders were manipulated by the authorities through the giving out of money or presents, which Rosendo defines as “bullets of sugar.”

Moreover, according to the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, the implementation of government welfare projects is another stage – started after 1999 – of the counterinsurgency war that the Mexican authorities are waging against the organized Chiapas communities, with the aim of dividing them and buying off their leaders. However, even with varied intensity, paramilitary violence has not ended: the counterinsurgency manuals of the 90s –“Chiapas 94 Campaign Plan” and “Chiapas 2000” – are still applied both in the Lacandona jungle and the Altos de Chiapas.

 

Visiti Orsetta Bellani’s blog at http://www.sobreamericalatina.com.

 

http://upsidedownworld.org/main/mexico-archives-79/4639-the-permanent-peoples-tribunal-and-the-counterinsurgency-war-in-chiapas

 

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December 22, 2013

The great theatre of impunity in Chiapas

Filed under: Displacement, Frayba, Human rights, Indigenous, Paramilitary, Repression, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:51 pm

The great theatre of impunity in Chiapas

New evidence of genocide and covert war

By Pedro Faro

 

Displaced people from Ejido Puebla in Acteal, Chiapas, 2013.

 

Photo: Emily Pederson

 

 

Documentation produced by the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) during the period from 1991-2000 makes clear that the federal and state governments  implemented a counterinsurgency strategy in Chiapas, which was imminently a military one. It was modified according to the situation, becoming an integral war of attrition, strengthened by social programmes designed to discourage and co-opt the process of social demands and to eliminate the groups, communities and peoples, mostly indigenous, who were impeding the implementation of the neoliberal economic project.

In 1995, a year after the Indian uprising of 1994, President Ernesto Zedillo inaugurated a new stage in the conflict. While the basis for negotiations between the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the federal government was being established, and the Law for Dialogue, Conciliation and Dignified Peace in Chiapas was being approved, the Mexican Army was beginning a counter-offensive, backed by President of the Republic.

This strategy was to undermine the support of the civil population for the EZLN, so as to weaken it in order to finally capture its command. This strategy had two components: military occupation of the conflict zone, breaking the grey zone that had been established with the arbitration of the International Red Cross in the Canyons of Ocosingo, and to attack the civilian population inclined to support the Zapatistas, with police and paramilitary actions under the command of the Mexican army and the Rainbow Task Force, commanded by General Mario Renán Castillo. This plan was unveiled in ” Plan of Campaign Chiapas 94,” and is corroborated by a detailed comparison of what happened in the area known as the conflict zone.

In this plan, the Highland zone (Tzotzil) and the Northern Jungle region (Tzeltal and Chol) were defined in the theatre of operations of the Mexican Army as the expansion zone. The military campaign favoured paramilitary action with the aim of preventing an expansion of the influence of the EZLN, committing systematic attacks against the civilian population, considered by the federal army as the “mass secretariat of the guerrilla” and estimated at 200,000 people.

Paramilitary groups, formed mostly by indigenous peasants who belonged to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), committed extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, threats, robbery, burning of homes and forced displacement. They met beforehand to plan the actions to be executed, selecting their victims (those who, as we have said, were linked in some way with the EZLN); they had the support of the authorities, municipal, state and federal, they used firearms for the exclusive use of the Army, and uniforms of the type worn by the Public Security Police; they were acting together and in collusion with groups from this police unit, the Army kept a link with them, because they were trained by the military, and enjoyed impunity, sheltered by the state.

This irregular warfare was first incubated in the north of Chiapas, particularly in the municipalities of Yajalón, Tumbalá, Tila, Sabanilla and Salto de Agua, and reproduced later in the Highlands. In the Northern zone, the group Desarrollo, Paz y Justicia (Development,  Peace and Justice) arose, and between 1995 and 1999 acted severely against communities who refused to join them and who opposed the PRI and the government, particularly those belonging to the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), who were linked with the insurgents. In this region, Paz y Justicia displaced more than 3,500 people and committed ​​at least 85 killings and 37 forced disappearances.

Entry to the camp of Las Abejas in Acteal, Chiapas, 2013.

 

Photo: Emily Pederson

 

 

The pattern of action of Paz y Justicia was reproduced in the first paramilitary groups created in the Highlands, particularly in Chenalhó between 1996 and 1997 and in the municipality of El Bosque, where a group was established in the community of Los Plátanos. In this region extrajudicial executions became widespread, resulting in the forced displacement of 6,332 people, and the Acteal massacre taking place in December 1997.

The strategy of counterinsurgency in Chiapas deepened into military and paramilitary action with the aim of annihilating the social dissent expressed through the sympathy of organizations or individuals with the EZLN. The military deployment was and is an expression of the strength of the state, and the battlefield has been, since 1994, the territory of the indigenous peoples, arguing that the military presence is for the safety of the population in the region of the Highlands and North. Its [real] aim is to confront and discredit the presence of the EZLN.

19 years after the uprising in the mountains of Chiapas, everything has been fully complied with, as set down in the manuals to combat the insurgency, as has been denounced by the peoples and communities of the so-called grey zone. The counterinsurgency manuals developed by Sedena, “Plan of Campaign Chiapas 94” and “Chiapas 2000″ still apply in the conflict zone, where it is planned to continue it under the logic of counterinsurgency. In this document it states “secretly organize certain sectors of the civilian population, among others farmers, small business owners and individuals characterized by a high sense of patriotism, who will be employed under orders to support our operations.”

The operations planned in the manuals continue to be the government’s strategy to control and inhibit resistance movements. Social programmes are implemented to foster community division, immobilising the peoples through military occupation and government actions in complicity with paramilitary-styled social organizations in the region; groups linked to the government of the day, in turn, to do the work of community confrontation, with the aim of striking the communities in resistance and the peoples who struggle and exercise their autonomy.

In recent studies declassified records have been published which corroborate what is maintained in the testimonies of victims and survivors, as well as by human rights organizations who have denounced the actions of counterinsurgency, in relation to the creation of paramilitary groups in Chiapas. On August 20, 2009, Kate Doyle, director of the Mexico Project at the National Security Archive, a nongovernmental organization based at George Washington University, released declassified documents from the US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA, its initials in English), in which the role of the Mexican Army in supporting paramilitary groups in Chiapas is described. The secret cables confirm reports of military support for indigenous armed groups who carried out attacks against communities sympathetic to the EZLN in the conflict zones.

The declassified documents, which were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act in the United States, indicate that in a telegram sent to the headquarters of the day in Washington on May 4, 1999, the Office of the US Defence Attaché in Mexico notes the “direct support of the Mexican Army for armed groups in the mountainous areas of Chiapas, where the killings took place.”

The document describes an underground network of “human intelligence teams” (HUMINT), created in mid-1994 with the approval of then-President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who worked within indigenous communities to gather intelligence information from Zapatista “sympathizers”. In order to promote the anti-Zapatista armed groups, the teams provided “training and protection against arrest by the agencies of law enforcement and military units patrolling the region.”

It states in the declassified documents that the “human intelligence teams” were composed primarily of young officers with the rank of first and second captain and by some selected sergeants who spoke the “dialects” of the region. The HUMINT teams were composed of three to four people, who were assigned to cover selected communities for a period of three to four months. Then the officers from the teams were rotated to a different community in Chiapas. Concern for the security of the teams was the most important reason for the rotation.

The social counterinsurgency

Another effective form of the counterinsurgency strategy of the federal and state governments is based on the use of public funds for the co-optation and generation of dependency on social programmes, productive projects, health and education, intensively implemented in the area of Zapatista territorial control.

The war in Chiapas has had four stages. The first, in January 1994: twelve days of direct confrontation by the EZLN against the armed forces of Mexico. The second stage took place between 1995 and 1999, and is characterized by the creation and implementation of paramilitary groups in the Northern, Jungle and Highland regions, under the cover of the federal, state and municipal governments, with assistance from the three branches (Executive, Legislative and Judicial). This brought great costs to the civilian population, with violations of human rights, and crimes against humanity were committed: displacement of more than 12 thousand people, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, rape, physical assault, harassment and others. The Armed Forces were deployed in the territory of Chiapas and installed the theatre of war operations with the tactics of the Hammer and the Anvil applied in the Jungle, the area under the greater territorial control of the EZLN, and the tactics of the Pressure of the Scissors for the Highlands, under the same motto: to stop any possible expansion of the Zapatistas.

The third stage is characterized as an integral war of attrition, through the disguised rhetoric of “respect” for the government. It consists of confronting communities through state social programmes. Its implementation becomes counterinsurgency strategy through the co-optation of social leaders and the manipulation of the organizations of which they are part, reducing them to government project managers for the communities, by party interests and political patronage.

In the last stage we locate the War of the Fourth Generation, or what the Zapatistas have called “the Fourth World War”, a psychosocial war where all the state media are used to hide the real problems of the country. It is in one sense a veiled war, and in the other an open one, against the “enemy within”. A common intergovernmental front forms to allegedly fight criminal groups (such as drug trafficking, permitted and encouraged by Mexican officials since the eighties and which has become rooted in the structures of the state).

The strategy is to combine all the apparent and real problems with the expressions of social discontent and resistance, in order to destroy them and to have a people subjected to the interests of the elite of the de facto political and economic powers. Its aim is to create conditions for the implementation of a police-military state. It is intended to contain the excluded and to keep them at bay in a national and global context which proposes a war against humanity, against the civilian population, from the centre and the periphery of the system.

The government has constituted itself as the “great defender of human rights”, used as a mark of quality, and as a logo to sell to the general public, and mainly to the national states. It takes advantage of intergovernmental bodies such as the UN and the OAS, to become allies with the aim of generating projects for “development”, which in Chiapas become counterinsurgency programmes, as has been done with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the north, as denounced by the Zapatista Good Government Junta from La Garrucha.

The discourse of human rights is now a platform for the federal and state governments. That of Chiapas, so as to proclaim it as a vanguard, recruits former human rights advocates who serve as political operatives or “firefighters”. Its meaning is not the pursuit of justice and its components truth, reparation, non-repetition and punishment, but rather these are consigned into oblivion. There follows the logic of “managing” the problems in the style of the governments of caciques which have never left.

The social conflicts in the communities and villages are, in the majority, violations of basic rights committed by governments in an effort to implement their projects, which at the same time are part of the incentive to transnational, national and local investments, following interests which are committed to the advancement of neoliberal policy. These policies leave in complete impunity crimes against humanity which have already been committed, trying to distort the acts of horror derived from the repressive action of its counterinsurgency strategy in Chiapas.

Pedro Faro is a member of the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre, in San Cristóbal de las Casas.

Originally published in Spanish by Ojarasca

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/12/14/oja-teatro.html

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December 10, 2013

The TPP Documents the Low-Intensity War in Chiapas

Filed under: Acteal, Displacement, Paramilitary — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:34 pm

 

The TPP Documents the Low-Intensity War in Chiapas

 ** It was presented in the lowlands of Tila

FotoMargarita Martínez Álvarez, a catechist from El Limar community, participates in the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, which met this Saturday in community of Susuclumil, in the Chiapas municipality of Tila, where the paramilitary group Desarrollo, Paz y Justicia allegedly perpetrated crimes against indigenous Chols. Photo: Moysés Zúñiga Santiago

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

Susuclumil, Chiapas, December 8, 2013

The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal of the (TPP, its initials in Spanish) went to the Tila lowlands, in the state’s Northern Zone, to listen to and collect testimony and denunciations from the indigenous victims of the low-intensity war. The escalating covert war, which the federal government organized since 1995, was run for years by the paramilitary group Development Peace and Justice (Desarrollo, Paz y Justicia), with the support of all the government, military and police apparatus, and a deafening media silence. Its effects were far-reaching and continue to this day.

It is known that PRI neighbours from Paz y Justicia ambushed Emiliano Martínez Pérez in his milpa in Masojá Grande on September 10, 1996. His widow Faustina Torres, who affirms that she continues in resistance, educated five children by herself, and 17 years later she not only sees Emiliano’s murder unpunished, but also that the piece of land appropriated by the killers has never been returned. Being a woman, the ejido authorities don’t take her into consideration. Overall, it is a perfect crime, even more so if the intention was to disrupt the environment of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) in spite of the existence of a Law of Peace for Dialogue and Reconciliation which the government has systematically violated in the Chol Zone ever since the day it was signed.

The escalation of the counterinsurgency war in Tila, Sabanilla, Tumbalá, Yajalón and Salto de Agua was a suspicious counterpoint to the peace dialogues in San Andrés during 1995 and 1996. The massacres and pillaging at gunpoint belied any real negotiating intention of the Ernesto Zedillo government. The failure to fulfil the accords would confirm it.

During the moving meeting in the town of Susuclumil, survivors from the Northern Zone presented dozens of individual cases, Las Abejas documented the escalation in Chenalhó in 1997, up to the Acteal Massacre, and witnesses talked about the Viejo Velasco Suárez Massacre in 2006 in the Lacandón. Pedro Faro, from Frayba, gave the TPP judges a comprehensive report on the low-intensity war in Chiapas: “19 years after the Uprising of the EZLN, everything seems to be completed as laid down in the manuals to combat the insurgency. The manuals developed by the Sedena, ‘Chiapas 94 Campaign Plan’ and ‘Chiapas 2000’, continue to be applied.”

Faro stated that declassified archives in Washington “corroborate the assertions of victims and survivors about the creation of paramilitary groups.” In 2009, the investigator Kate Doyle made public documents from the United States Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) “in which the role of the Mexican Army in support of the paramilitary groups in Chiapas is described”. Secret cables “confirm reports about military support to the armed indigenous groups who carried out attacks against communities sympathetic to the EZLN.”

In a telegram sent to the DIA on May 4, 1999, “the Office of the US Defence Attaché in Mexico points to the Mexican Army’s direct support to armed groups in the mountainous areas of Chiapas, where the massacres took place.” The declassified documents describe “a clandestine network of ‘human intelligence teams (Humint),’ created in the middle of 1994 with the approval of President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, that were working inside indigenous communities to promote armed anti-Zapatista groups.” The captains and sergeants were the ones who trained them and protected them from police arrest or from the “military units that patrol the region.”

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, December 9, 2013

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/12/09/politica/020n1pol

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the International Zapatista Translation Service

 

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