Pronouncement for our compañero Santiago Moreno Pérez (San Sebastián Bachajón)
To the Adherents of the Sexta Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón
To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
To the Councils of Good Government
To the National Indigenous Congress (CNI)
To the Sexta
To the Freed, Alternative and Autonomous Media
To the women and men who struggle from below and to the left
From the Working Group “No Estamos Todxs” (We’re Not All Here) we raise our voice in support of our compañero in the struggle, Santiago Moreno Perez, a Tzeltal indigenous man, 55 years old, imprisoned in Prison 17 Playas de Catazajá. He is originally from the community La Pimienta, in the municipality of Chilón. He is a member of the San Sebastián Bachajó ejido organization, adherent to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle. He has been held against his will behind prison walls for more than 8 years by the corrupt and rotten Mexican justice system.
Detained since February 2009, the compañero Santiago held the role within the organization of advisor for autonomous security and he had been part of the struggle for more than 10 years, resisting in defence of Mother Earth and the ejido territory from the mega-projects the bad government want to impose on the region. On the night of the events, Santiago along with his son Sebastián, were singled out and accused by a group of PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, Institutional Revolutionary Party) supporters as the ones responsible for the death of a person from La Pimienta community. The PRI supporters got together to lynch Santiago, but the group decided that instead of killing him, they took him to jail and stripped him of all his possessions.
The last months have been especially hard for our compañero Santiago. Last December, we received with sadness the news about the death of his wife. This was already a difficult situation for our compañero who is held prisoner. He could not say good bye to her, or embrace his family during this difficult moments, all of this heaped onto the grief that is part of saying good bye to a loved one. We also share concern about the situation of compulsory orphanhood that the prison system imposes on imprisoned people’s children. They take them away in a totally unjust and arbitrary manner, and they also have pending arrest warrants for the same offense that condemned their father to prison.
We know that prison not only punishes those behind the bars. Punishment also extends to the families, friends and the men and women compas of the organisation. For this reason, Santiago requested to be moved to the prison in Ocosingo so that his wife could visit him without such high travel expenses, a transfer which was approved but never made by the penitentiary institution. In this context the last conversation took place between them.
On the other hand, imprisonment, along with the personal and family situation, is having impact on the physical and psychological health of our compañero Santiago. Medical attention and access to health care and emotional support is denied to those behind prison walls. Even so and in spite of these obstacles and this control, we are accompanying and supporting Santiago in through all this.
The judicial process of our compañero Santiago is full of irregularities.
Ever since the pronouncement of his sentence and its appeal in 2009, the judge of First Trial Court of the Criminal Branch of the Judicial District of Catazajá has ruled for formal prison sentences. For each decision against the freedom of our compañero, a corresponding injunction demanding a resumption of the trial with guarantees was also accepted.
One of the most serious irregularities and crimes against Santiago occurs at the beginning of the legal process when Santiago was granted a translator who has family ties to the complainants, the same ones who identify Santiago as the perpetrator of the crime. The Chiapas prisons are full of poor, indigenous people who do not speak Spanish, nor do they have any money to hire a trustworthy lawyer; they do not have access to due process and are forced through torture and deceit to sign self-incriminating statements. Santiago’s case is one more of those, with the aggravating fact that he is locked up clearly owing to political motivations.
This March 3, 2017, at 10 am in the Court of Playas de Catazajá is set to hear the report which will determine how the questioning into the wrongdoing of having Melchorio Perez Gomez as translator for compañero Santiago Moreno Pérez proceeds.
For this reason we are sending this call out to for all of us, in our trenches, to be on the ready to support and back-up our compañero Santiago Moreno Pérez, unjustly imprisoned in Prison 17 Playas de Catazajá, all for defending a dignified life in rebellion, for the autonomy of his people and for resisting and fighting for a future for everyone.
Repression, death, punishment and the walls of the enclosure, once again, serve as tools to breakdown the social fabric of people who refuse to hand over their land, and with it their way of life, to an elite tourist project intended for the enjoyment of a few.
We won’t be fooled, and we are not fooling you. Our compañero’s crime was, and is, to defend life from those who snatch it to build trains, luxury hotels and golf courses on land which is our source of life, the source of our food, and the origins of our people. Three other compañeros from Bajachón (Santiago Moreno Pérez, Emilio Jimenez Gómez and Esteban Gómez Jimenez) are also imprisoned for this crime, and two other compañeros (Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano) have been murdered.
Along with him, along with them, and along with many others, we share the dignified rage that surrounds us all, the same struggle, the commitment that unites us as compañeros; the injustice we face, the repudiation of the penitentiary institution as a form of Control, racial segregation, coercion, atomization, destruction of social fabric, families and death.
Compañero Santiago Moreno Pérez is not alone, we carry on here, together with him
Our compañeros from Bachajón held prisoner are not alone, we carry on here, together with them
Down with all the walls of all the prisons
1 Marzo 2017, San Cristobal de las Casas
Grupo de Trabajo No Estamos Todxs