News from Chiapas
1. Follow-up to the seminar “Critical thought versus the capitalist hydra.” Videos, audios and English translations of the series of talks by the EZLN, explaining their thinking on the issues facing Mexico and the world, continue to be published. These include a translation of Sub Galeano’s words ‘The Method, the Bibliography, and a Drone Deep in the Mountains of the Mexican Southeast,’ in which he sums up: “We are faced with a reality that can be synthesized today in one word: Ayotzinapa. For us Zapatistas, Ayotzinapa is not the exception, but the rule. What we see there is a family portrait of the system at a global level.” The message is to organise. “The seminar is really a seedbed asking compas of the Sixth to continue the process in their own places, according to their own times and ways.”
2. Another pilgrimage. On 6th June, 2,500 members of the Pueblo Creyente from El Bosque go on a pilgrimage to call attention to the problems they are facing, such as violence, corruption, drug trafficking, prostitution, bars selling alcohol, and lack of basic services like healthcare and drinkable water.
3. Frayba provides evidence of arbitrary detentions and persecution of innocent people by the municipal police in Ocosingo, during the electoral protests on 7th June, when the police arbitrarily arrested 11 people, with an excessive use of force and violence. They have all now been released.
4. Alejandro Díaz Santiz, indigenous Tsotsil detained in prison No. 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas has his amparo for release denied; he has now spent 16 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Alejandro, who is in solidarity with the voice of el Amate and an adherent to the Sixth, calls for an investigation in to the unhealthy and polluted water in the prison which is causing health problems. In another letter he expresses solidarity with the Ayotzinapa familes.
5. The caravan of family and friends of the disappeared and murdered normal school students of Ayotzinapa visits the North of Chiapas to meet with the organized indigenous communities of the Indigenous National Congress (CNI), in order to share their struggles. The first meeting is held on 16th June in San Francisco Teopisca, municipality of Tenejapa, Chiapas, a meeting also attended by members of Las Abejas. On 17thJune the second meeting takes place in the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón at Cumbre Nachoj, the headquarters of the adherents to the Sixth from Bachajón. On 18th June the Ayotzinapa families march with human rights defenders and members of X’inich in Palenque to demand justice for the disappeared students and for the victims of the Viejo Velasco massacre.
6. Problems due to alcohol. Representatives of the Pueblo Creyente from the parish of San Pedro Apostol, municipality of Chenalhó, report that alcoholism is causing social conflicts and increased violence against women in the communities. They demand the closure of the bars and canteens and accuse the authorities of lacking the political will to solve this conflict. Among the problems they say are caused by excessive drinking are: death, suicide through drinking chemicals, road accidents, marriage or family breakdown, children without clothing, and the suffering of women whose husbands have abandoned their families.
7. The Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel call for solidarity and peace following new death threats and harassments being made by leaders of the PRI against Father Marcelo Perez and the catechists and members of the Parish Council and the Pueblo Creyente. These threats, which have increased since 16th June, are in response to the denouncement of corruption, and in particular to the recent arrest of three members of the PRI for the possession of arms and drugs. In response, nine parishes unite with Simojovel’s struggle.
8. 120 days of forced displacement. The 17 families forcibly displaced from Primero de Agosto in the municipality of Las Margaritas, by members of CIOAC-historical, continue to demand an immediate return to their community, justice, and reparation of damages.
9. A member of Las Abejas of Acteal is assassinated. On 23rd June, Manuel López Pérez is travelling with his eleven-year old son on a public transport vehicle from Pantelhó when it is ambushed by seven armed men dressed in military clothing. They shoot Manuel three times, twice in the head. Members of the board of Las Abejas say they are unable to attend his burial in San Joaquin for security reasons, due to the number of paramilitaries in the area. They later denounce death threats against other members of their organisation, Antonio Lopez Jimenez and his family, who are also displaced from San Joaquin for not participating in government projects.
10. A new paramilitary attack is denounced in the Caracol of La Garrucha. On 24th June the JBG Path of the Future denounces that 28 paramilitaries from the ejido Pojkol arrived that morning at the homes of the Zapatista support bases (BAZ) in the community of El Rosario, in the autonomous municipality of San Manuel. 8 of them were carrying 22 calibre firearms. They met up with the 21 paramilitaries from El Rosario itself, and a little later with an alleged engineer and the rancher from Ocosingo who held the lands before 1994. The rancher handed over documents, and the attackers started to measure the recuperated lands, planning a temple and houses. Then they started to go in to the homes of the BAZ. They destroyed one of the houses, robbing all the possessions including the roof, and taking them all back to Pojkol. The JBG say that these two individuals are the paramilitary advisers, and that the group is financed and trained by the state, municipal and federal governments. These are the same paramilitaries who have attacked El Rosario on two previous occasions. The denouncement includes a denunciation by Subcomandante Moises about repression against teachers and the murder of Antonio Vivar Díaz.
11. Margarita Gómez and David Hernández Torres, indigenous Tsotsil campesinos from Teopisca, Chiapas, are detained and tortured by members of the Specialised Police to make them confess to the murder of Juan Perez, brother of David Hernández. They are now imprisoned in the Centre for Social Reinsertion of the Sentenced No 5 in San Cristobal de las Casas, found guilty of murder. David and Margaret are concerned for the welfare of their seven children, all minors, while they are punished for a crime they did not commit. They cannot read or write or speak Spanish.
News from Mexico
With thanks to the Chiapas Support Committee
1. Mexico’s Mid-term Elections – On Sunday, June 7, Mexico held mid-term elections to renew delegates to the federal Congress. There were also elections for local officers in some states. The results show that the PRI will control a majority of the seats in Congress. The campaign was characterized by protests, violence, burning of party propaganda and election materials and militarization of the electoral process. Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas experienced both militant protests and militarization. Teachers led the local protests and maintained strikes and an encampment in Mexico City, and continue to militantly oppose the education “reform.”
In Tlapa, Guerrero, police killed Antonio Vivar Díaz, a student with a young wife and daughter, and a leader in the Guerrero Popular Movement (MPG). Tlapa was militarized and occupied by federal police during the election. In several states entrances and exits to Pemex facilities were blocked. At least 100 people were arrested and detained in Oaxaca alone, and 25 of them remain in prison. Hundreds of criminal actions are still being processed. In Guerrero, leaders of the teachers’ movement (Ceteg) and the MPG denounced intense repression by the Mexican Army, Navy and Federal Police.
2. Ayotzinapa – The Caravana 43 visits three countries in South America as part of a strategy to circulate struggle, disrupt misinformation, and create a context for a deeper discussion about how state violence and repression have become systematic in Mexico and in other parts of the world. Other relatives of the 43 disappeared students protest with students and social organizations in Guerrero, including teachers’ organizations. Felipe de la Cruz, spokesperson for the parents of the 43, reveals that he is receiving death threats and threats against his family on his mobile phone, intended to deter their fight to find their disappeared sons.
A Mexican judge seeking asylum in the United States reveals a new version of what happened in Iguala, Guerrero, on the night of 26th September when the 43 Ayotzinapa students were forcibly disappeared. This version suggests that federal and military officials were directly involved in the case. It undermines the official narrative of the Mexican government, that the students were detained and taken to the base of the Iguala Municipal Police before being delivered to the United Warriors cartel, by affirming that this is not true.
The families mark the 9-month anniversary of the disappearances on 26th July by holding a 43-hour vigil.
3. Mexico legalises gay marriage. After months of rulings saying that restricting marriage to heterosexual couples is discriminatory, the Mexican Supreme Court legalizes same-sex matrimonies nationwide.
4. The indigenous Ñhathö community from San Francisco Xochicuautla convokes a Peace Camp of Dignified Resistance for the Defence of the Otomi Forest against the megaproject of death, the Toluca Naucalpan highway.
On 20 June 2015, Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres would have had her thirty-eighth birthday. That same day in 1996, she was “headed to the Masojá Shucjá community, Tila municipality, Chiapas, to visit her ill father. On her route, in the Miguel Alemán community, she was intercepted by members of the ‘Development, Peace, and Justice’ paramilitary group, who kidnapped her, tortured her sexually and otherwise for three days, and then forcibly disappeared her. Nearly two decades after, her whereabouts are entirely unknown,” indicates the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Centre for Human Rights (CDHFBLC). Beyond this, a public bulletin reported that the relatives of Minerva and other forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed persons are receiving notes “to confront their aggressors, the paramilitary leaders of Development, Peace, and Justice: Diego Vázquez Pérez, Sabelino Torres Martínez, Marcos Albino, and Samuel Sánchez, who are ordered to appear before a judge or face a fine of $2,048 [Mexican pesos] if they fail to comply.”
This aforementioned group was trained and protected by the State Police and the Mexican Army in the 1990s as a counter-insurgency weapon, as demonstrated in the Chiapas Campaign Plan 94. The CDHFBLC documented that Development, Peace, and Justice carried out 85 executions, 37 forcible disappearances, and forcibly displaced more than 4,500 people.
Alejandro Díaz Santiz, currently held in Prison No. 5 of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, who is organized in solidarity with the Voz del Amate and adheres to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, has called on the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and the State Commission on Human Rights (CEDH) to intervene within the prevailing situation of lack of healthy water being consumed in the institution. He denounced that the water comes from a deteriorated cistern that contains fissures, such that sewage from the prison enters. He postulated this as being the reason for diarrheal and dermatological diseases.
“The promise made by director Pascual Martínez Cervantes is that he will resolve this problem; however, this problem has existed for a long time, and we have seen an increasing trend of more ill prisoners,” he explained to Chiapas Paralelo. He added that within the prison purified water is sold, but the prisoners lack the means with which to buy it.
On 16 June, a caravan of relatives and comrades of the disappeared and murdered students from Ayotzinapa arrived in Chiapas to meet with indigenous communities organized within the Indigenous National Congress (CNI) who adhere to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle. Doña Bertha Nava and Don Tomás Ramírez, the parents of Julio César Ramírez Nava, who was murdered on 26 September 2014 in Iguala, Guerrero, Doña Cristina Bautista Salvador, mother of Benjamín Ascencio Bautista (disappeared), and Omar García, a student, comprised the caravan. The caravan began its first day in the community of San Francisco, Teopisca municipality, with the participation of the Dignified Seed, a collective from the Chiapas highlands, the Network in Defence of Indigenous Peoples of the Highlands of Chiapas, and the Las Abejas Civil Society. Omar García noted that “Ayotzinapa has united many of us, and if we are not all against the system, still we work together, because we do not count ourselves by number, but rather by strength of relationships that are woven in this struggle.” Regarding the pain of Acteal, he said, “what you have suffered we also have suffered. Now we must confront that pain together with you.”
On 17 June, the caravan continued on to San Sebastián Bachajón, Chilón municipality, with the presence and participation of members organized in the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido who represent communities that make up the People United in Defence of Electricity (PUDEE) and the Tila ejido. In Cumbre Nachoj, the headquarters of the ejido where the meeting took place, Doña Berta expressed that “in Tixtla Guerrero, we thought it was just us, but all of us have been beaten down by the government in one way or another.” The conclusion of the caravan took place in Palenque with the XINICH organization that is comprised of indigenous communities of the northern Lacandona jungle, ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, the Autonomous Council of the Coastal Zone, human-rights defenders, and the civil society in solidarity, demanding justice for Ayotzinapa and also for the case of the massacre in the Viejo Velasco community in the Ocosingo municipality, which took place in 2006, that continues in impunity.
Zapatista Army for National Liberation
June 25, 2015
To the National and International Sixth:
As we already know, the bad government mixes fraud with violence. It doesn’t matter which political party they’re from, those who rule always seek to stay above on the backs of those below. The Ruler himself feigns deafness; these denunciations don’t matter to him because he pays the press well to say nice things him.
Before, it was Juan Sabines Guerrero, the one everyone insisted was very much a leftist politician. The progressive politicians came to receive awards from him, and even “the legitimate one”[i] came to shout enthusiastically, “long live Juan Sabines!” It is the very same Juan Sabines Guerrero who set it up so that his successor in government would be that ‘famous blonde’ Manuel Velasco Coello, because they are both from the families who, along with a few others, divvy up the political posts in Chiapas among themselves. Juan Sabines stole, committed fraud, and spread violence.
Now Velasco does the same. If just a few days ago they carried out an enormous fraud in the elections, violating their own laws above, now they are preparing for the upcoming local elections with the blood of those below.
Mere lies are not enough for the governments above; they also want to repress, incarcerate, and kill.
Now they are repressing the democratic teachers movement for merely insisting that this cursed educational reform is a lie, that it’s a reform by the boss against the workers. It isn’t to improve education, it’s to worsen it. And the reformers don’t know anything about the schools, they don’t even know how to teach. Because the government doesn’t like the truth to come out, it lies. But since now nobody believes the government, it resorts to repression.
How shameless they must be to make the head of state education an alcoholic murderer that says one thing one day and the opposite the next. How is somebody who can’t even speak properly going to create educational reform? The person I speak of is named Emilio Chuayffet, and he is one of the murderers of Acteal, the one who would get drunk and say idiotic things. He’s doing the same now.
This isn’t only happening in Chiapas, but also in Oaxaca, Guerrero, and other states, where the bad governments want to cover up the truth with beatings, gas, bullets, and threats.
It’s clear that they aren’t satisfied unless their “democratic” elections result in people being beaten, imprisoned, and murdered. And then all the parties fight over the scraps; they don’t even remember who was killed—his name was Antonio Vivar Díaz and he was a teacher—nor who was beaten and imprisoned.
The governments above are built on deceit and repression.
But the blood of the teachers isn’t enough for Manuel Velasco in Chiapas. He also wants to drink the indigenous blood of the communities.
Despite the fact that human rights organizations have denounced it, Velasco continues to encourage his paramilitaries to attack Zapatista bases of support.
That’s what is happening in the municipality of Ocosingo, Chiapas, where the three [levels of] government agree among themselves to incite provocations: Enrique Peña Nieto, Manuel Velasco and Octavio Albores. These governments are behind the paramilitaries from Pojkol.
Even though the community they are from has disowned them, they continue to attack. The indigenous people there who are party members say that they don’t control these paramilitaries, that the paramilitaries get their orders form the municipal president of Ocosingo and the state government in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. That that’s where they get their weapons, equipment, vehicles, and orders to attack the bases of support.
This just happened a few hours ago:
Caracol Resistance Towards a New Dawn
Junta de Buen Gobierno[ii] Path to the Future
La Garrucha, Chiapas, Mexico
June 24, 2015
To the general public:
To the autonomous alternative, or whatever-you-call-them media:
To the honest human rights organizations:
Sisters and brothers of Mexico and the world:
We once again denounce attacks against us by the paramilitaries from the ejido Pojkol, barrio Chiquinibal, municipality of Chilón, and 21 persons from the same paramilitary group from Rosario, official municipality of Ocosingo, Chiapas.
Today, Wednesday, June 25, 2015, at 8:05 am, 28 paramilitaries from the Pojkol ejido of the barrio Chiquinbal came to the town of Rosario in the Autonomous Municipality of San Manuel, where our EZLN bases of support live. They came on 8 motorcycles and with a Nissan without license plates. Of the 28 paramilitaries, 8 carried 22-caliber weapons.
In Rosario there are 21 paramilitaries who are trying to invade our recuperated lands, and they are supported by this group of 28 paramilitaries from the Pojkol ejido of the barrio Chikinibal.
At 10:05 am, a white RAM truck without license plates arrived with two people inside: and engineer and a rancher, Guadalupe Flores, who lives in Ocosingo, Chiapas, and was the owner of these lands before 1994. The 28 paramilitaries from Pojkcol and the 21 paramilitaries from Rosario met with the engineer and the rancher. After they finished their meeting they began to measure the land, supposedly to construct a temple, and they also measured sites for house construction. Then the rancher gave the paramilitary group some documents, apparently the blueprint plans for the recuperated lands.
At 1:26 pm, they fired their guns 10 times behind the house of one of the compañeros who is a base of support, intimidating the entire community.
At 1:27 pm, 8 paramilitaries from Pojkol entered the house of a base of support, but didn’t find anyone because the owner of that house had already left in order to avoid conflict. After 23 minutes, they went to another compañero’s house; at 1:50 pm they destroyed the house of a compañero base of support, stealing all of his possessions, including the roof of the house, which consists of 12 sheets of 3.5 wide tin, two chickens, 4 picks, 20 eggs, 2 axes, 2 solar energy cells, $2000 pesos in cash, 2 hoes, one tape recorder, one 100 meter hose, and 150 kilos of beans. They put all of the compañero base of support’s things into the truck that belonged to the supposed engineer, and the truck and the 28 people from Pojkol headed off toward Pojkol with all of the stolen goods.
As authorities of the Junta de Buen Gobierno, we are clear that these acts demonstrate that this person pretending to be an engineer along with the ex-owner of the ranch are the advisors of these paramilitary groups.
We also see clearly that the bad government is acting in many forms and ways to attack us. These same paramilitaries are the ones who killed one of our bulls, destroyed houses, destroyed our collective store, stole our belongings, and used herbicide to fumigate our pasture where we keep our collectively owned livestock of the San Manuel municipality. They shot off their weapons there, drawing letters in the dirt saying “pojkol territory,” and leaving burnt bullet casings around; this was in August of 2014.
These are the same paramilitaries who came on May 10, 2015, when one of them, named Andrés, shot at a little girl base of support.
This is our third denunciation; the first and second detail the previous acts.
These groups of people are trained and financed by the federal, state, and municipal governments. They have tried to provoke us multiple times with their counterinsurgency strategy, because the bad governments think that we are going to fall into their traps and stain ourselves with the blood of our indigenous brothers who are messed up in the head because they are paid for this activity and their conscience has been sullied by the bad capitalist system.
We want to say clearly that we will not stand here with our arms crossed as our bases of support are harassed in whatever way and with whichever means the bad government chooses to use against us. We have said clearly that we will defend our lands at whatever cost; we were born from this land and we will return to her.
Brothers and sisters, we will continue to denounce what is happening and we hope that you will be alert to what might happen to our compañeros and compañeras bases of support.
We hold the federal, state, and municipal governments directly responsible for whatever might happen, as they hold direct responsibility for these actions, and this is not the first time we have denounced what these groups of people are doing.
Authorities of the current Junta de Buen Gobierno
Jacinto Gómez Pérez Colosio Pérez Lorenzo
Nely Núñez Sánchez Alex López Álvarez
So there you have it, compañeros and compañeras of the Sixth.
As we see it, it isn’t that the bad government simply isn’t paying attention because it is busy with its propaganda and lies, but rather that it is precisely the bad government who is giving the orders. What else could explain the fact that the names of these criminals are already known and yet they walk around with their weapons in front of the government authorities and nobody says anything? Because these people are the government’s employees. The paramilitaries state it clearly, that nobody can do anything to them because Velasco’s government protects and pays them.
That’s what we have to tell you for now, compañer@s. It’s all the same: from above there are only lies, beatings, contempt, and exploitation.
From below must come organization. For life, not the bloodbath that the system’s foremen, supervisors, and overseers want on the orders of their master, neoliberal capitalism.
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés
[i] Refers to Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, former PRD presidential candidate self-designated “the legitimate president” after the 2006 elections, which were widely denounced as fraudulent.
[ii] Good Government Council