APRIL 2010 CHIAPAS/ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. Jotola Violence Results in 18 People Displaced - The beatings, kidnappings, death threats and robbery we reported last month caused the displacement of 18 people from Jotola ejido. The Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) issued a detailed report early in April describing the violence in Jotola. The report included a list of those displaced due to the unpunished violence. The report also asked for letters to Mexican authorities demanding protection of those Other Campaign members who remain in the community.
2. Commentary on Reforma Counterinsurgency Article - Last month we reported on an article published in the Mexican newspaper Reforma, allegedly unmasking Marcos and linking the EZLN to ETA. The article generated considerable political commentary, particularly in La Jornada. The commentary we found especially on point is by Gilberto Lopez y Rivas and refers to the attempt to link the EZLN to the Basque group ETA: "One obvious and evident purpose (of the attempt) is to identify the EZLN inside of organizations related to 'terrorism,' and consequently, to intensify the war of erosion against the Zapatista communities absorbed in the autonomous processes of ruling by obeying (mandar obedeciendo), and especially to justify military incursions against the Zapatista leadership politically."
3. 2 Dead in Attack on Oaxaca Caravan to San Juan Copala - The autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, is a member of the EZLN's Other Campaign. It also belongs to the APPO in Oaxaca. It is under attack by neighboring PRI members, allegedly paramilitary, belonging to a rival Triqui organization known as Ubisort. The PRI members recently cut off the water, access road and electricity to San Juan Copala, so a caravan of 27 folks from APPO groups, journalists and international human rights workers headed there to bring food, medicine, clothing and blankets. The caravan was ambushed, allegedly by the PRI members dressed as civilians, masked, and armed with AK-47s. A young Finnish man from an organization in Finland adhered to the Other Campaign was killed, as well as a Mexican woman from one of the Oaxaca organizations. Five people who were at first unaccounted for and considered disappeared were found alive. The federal attorney general's office has taken jurisdiction over the investigation.
There will be a demonstration in front of the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco on Thursday, May 6, between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM
4. 2 Indigenous Women Freed by Mexico's Supreme Court - Alberta Alcantara Juan and Teresa Gonzalez Cornelio were freed on April 28, after serving more than 3 and a half years in prison. The Mexican Supreme Court overturned their convictions for the crime of kidnapping 6 federal agents. Mexico's Supreme Court found them innocent of the crime and said that an "unfortunate injustice" had occurred. The Court reviewed the evidence used against them, mostly testimony of the 6 federal agents and found it lacking credibility. The women's case received much national and international attention. The charges stem from a raid on a traditional market (tianguis) in Queretaro state. Federal agents were raiding the market, apparently looking for pirate CDs, and damaged some of the women's merchandise in the process. The women protested and demanded payment for the damaged merchandise. The charges against them were allegedly filed in retaliation for their protest and demand. They had been sentenced to 21 years in prison by a local judge.
In Other Parts of Mexico...
Mexican President Felipe Calderón's war on drugs, the resulting violence, and the murder of innocent civilians by the Mexican Army continue grabbing the daily headlines. New figures show that 22,743 people have died as a result of the war on drugs and the number goes up every day.
1. Soldiers Shoot Unarmed Civilians; 2 Children Dead - 2 Nuevo Laredo families were on their way to the beach in Matamoros. There were 7 children in the two families. They approached an Army check point, slowed down, rolled down their windows so that the soldiers could see who was inside their SUV, and were waved on without a search. Moments later, soldiers opened fire on their vehicle and even threw fragmentation grenades at them. Two little boys, ages 9 and 5, were killed by the gunfire. Despite the parents shouting at the soldiers to stop shooting because there were 7 children in the vehicle, the shooting continued. Two adults were wounded by the bullets and were hospitalized. The parents of the murdered boys filed a complaint with the human rights commission in Nuevo Laredo. This incident followed the March killing of 2 postgraduate students at Monterrey Tech as they were leaving the school's library, the murder of 3 people connected to the US Consulate in Ciudad Juárez, attacks on Army bases near the border, and the killing of 10 youths, ranging in age from 8 to 21, by soldiers at a checkpoint in Durango.
2. Bomb Explodes at US Consulate in Nuevo Laredo - A home-made bomb exploded around 11 PM on April 9 at the United States Consulate in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. No one was injured. Investigators determined that the bomb was apparently launched from the wall that surrounds the consulate, which was closed after the incident. The Mexican Army had troops surrounding the building the next morning.
3. Governor Richardson Sends National Guard to Border - New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson ordered the New Mexico National Guard to protect New Mexico's border with Mexico following the shooting death of a well-known Arizona rancher, allegedly by someone from Mexico. The ranch is on the border of New Mexico and the rancher belonged to a New Mexico ranchers association. While all the facts and circumstances of this case are not yet known (drugs were found on the ranch during the investigation), it is being alleged that the killer fled across the Mexican border after shooting the rancher. Governor Richardson was also among those calling for President Obama to send National Guard troops to patrol the border following the murder of a US Consulate employee and her husband last month. The call for more militarization of the border has been steadily increasing. Although Obama has not sent troops, additional agents from several US agencies are now working on the border.
4. Arizona Governor Signs Law Criminalizing Undocumented Immigrants - Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed a law passed by the Arizona state legislature (SB 1070), which criminalizes undocumented persons in the state and gives local police the authority to demand documents from and arrest any individual suspected of being in the US illegally. Opponents accuse the bill of legalizing racial profiling and will challenge it in court.
5. The Clintons in Mexico - After the shooting of a US Consulate official and her husband last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Defense Bill Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen visited Mexico briefly to deliver a message. The exact message delivered was not revealed publicly. However, when Clinton's husband, former US president Bill Clinton, visited Mexico in April, he may have given us a clue. La Jornada reported that Bill Clinton said the US continues to pressure Mexico to implement a "Plan Colombia" in Mexico to fight the drug traffickers.
Compiled monthly by the Chiapas Support Committee.
The primary sources for our information are: La Jornada, Enlace Zapatista and the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba).
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News Summaries from previous months are now posted on our web page.
Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas
P.O. Box 3421, Oakland, CA 94609
Tel: (510) 654-9587