BEHIND THE WARS IN MEXICO and CHIAPAS: A Report from the Chiapas Support Committee's Spring Delegation to Chiapas
FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2011 - 7:30 - 9:30 PM
Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists
1924 Cedar Street (Corner of Bonita)
Suggested Donation: $10.00
APRIL 2011 CHIAPAS/ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. Second Marcos Letter to Don Luis Villoro
- The CCRI-CG-EZLN released the second letter from Subcomandante Marcos to the Mexican philosopher Luis Villoro. The 2nd letter is titled: "On Critical Reflection, Individuals and Collectives." Marcos criticizes the lack of critical reflection by the thinkers of the political class and characterizes their ideas as "junk theory," sort of like "junk food." He says it doesn't nourish; it only entertains. We are not aware of a complete online English translation. For those of you who read Spanish see: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/04/13/index.php?section=politica&article=011n2pol
2. Worldwide Declaration To Support the 5 Bachajon Prisoners - International solidarity organizations and collectives participated in another "5 MORE Days of Worldwide Action for the Bachajon 5" from April 23 to April 28 by collecting signatures on a declaration demanding compliance with international law regarding respect for indigenous territory, release of the 5 prisoners and withdrawal of police and military from San Sebastian Bachajon. The Declaration was written by the Frayba Human Rights Center in Chiapas and distributed by the Movement for Justice in the Barrio in New York. The CSC participated in that worldwide mobilization and circulated the declaration. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO SIGNED THE DECLARATION!
3. Current Situation in Bachajon - On April 8, the companyeros of San Sebastian Bachajon mobilized to "take back" the ticket booth. The next morning a deployment of around 800 state and federal police threw stones at the approximately 600 Other Campaign members at the ticket booth, forcing them to flee for their lives. The police also shot into the air and were backed up by soldiers and a helicopter that flew overhead. Possession of the ticket booth was turned over to the state government, which in turn gave it to pro-government supporters to administer. Meanwhile, an appeal from the judge's decision to deny a protective order has been filed, but not forwarded by authorities in Chiapas to the appropriate legal body.
4. Denunciations from La Garrucha and La Realidad - The Good Government Junta in La Garrucha denounced that the ejido commission of Cintalapa Ejido in the Lacandón Jungle has threatened to evict Zapatista bases for refursing to deliver their electoral credential, refusing to pay property taxes and refusing to pay electricity taxes. The Junta in La Realidad denounced that a Zapatista support base was physically attacked, taken to jail and then imprisoned for crimes he did not commit. Patricio Dominguez Vazquez was taken to the state prison in Motozintla falsely charged with cutting down trees that those who attacked him actually cut down. His attackers are alleged to be some of the ejido authorities and police from Monte Rodondo, where Dominguez Vazquez is an ejido member.
5. Mexican Army Adds Two More Military Bases at Guatemala Border - The commander of the Mexican Army's 7th Military Region in the Chiapas capital of Tuxtla Gutierrez announced the creation of two new military bases on the southern border with Guatemala. One will be at Nuevo Chiapas, in Jiquipilas municipality and the other possibly at Chicomuselo in the municipality of the same name. Each base will have 600 troops reassigned from several parts of the region, although it is not known exactly where they will come from. This move responds to US pressure to stop the flow of drugs that are crossing the Chiapas border with Guatemala, something that has been going on quietly for a long time, but that US officials only became concerned about recently. The commander also said that there are currently 14,000 troops in Chiapas. (NGOs and Human rights organizations estimate at least 50,000 soldiers in Chiapas already, many of them special forces.)
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Javier Sicilia's Son Is Murdered - On March 28, Juan Francisco Sicilia Ortega, son of the poet and novelist Javier Sicilia, collaborator with La Jornada and also Proceso magazine, was found murdered in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, together with six other people. There was evidence of torture and a narco-message was found at the site, leaving many to conclude that drug traffickers may have been involved. The grief-stricken father began a series of protests against the Calderon War (the Drug War) that have attracted substantial support from his friends, the families and friends of other victims and those in civil society who oppose the war and the bloodshed. A demonstration Sicilia called in Cuernavaca drew 40,000 people on April 6. Most recently, Sicilia has called for a National March for Justice and Against Impunity, scheduled to leave from Cuernavaca on May 5 and to arrive in the Mexico City Zocalo on May 8. (See next item for EZLN's position.)
2. The EZLN's CCRI-CG Announces Participation by Zapatista Support Bases -
In a communiqué date April 28, the CCRI-CG (the commanders) announced that Zapatista support bases would participate in a silent march on May 7 in San Cristóbal de las Casas, as part of the National March for Justice and Against Impunity. The CCRI also asked that national adherents to the Other Campaign and international adherents to the Sixth Declaration also participate, each in their own geographies and calendars. This communiqué may be read in English at: http://radiozapatista.org/?p=2673&lang=en
3. Letter to Don Javier Sicilia from Subcomandante Marcos -
The Zapatistas released another letter on April 28, this one from Subcomandante Marcos to Javier Sicilia. In this letter Marcos
asks that Sicilia “make these words reach the families of the 49 children dead and the 70 injured in the tragedy of the ABC nursery school, of Hermosillo, Sonora; the dignified Mothers of Ciudad Juárez; the Le Barón and Reyes Salazar families, of Chihuahua; the families and friends of the victims of this haughty war; the defenders of human rights of nationals and migrants, and to all those calling for the National March for Justice and against Impunity.” The entire letter may be read in English at: http://www.narconews.com/Issue67/article4400.html
4. The War Against Organized Crime (The Drug War) - The war in Mexico continues to leave a deadly trail. The count soared to 1,427 bodies found in April, in part due to the discovery of numerous clandestine graves. More than 37,000 people have died in this war to date.
In the US
1. High-Level Mexico-US Meeting On Drug War - On April 29, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mexico's Foreign Relations Secretary Patricia Espinosa met in Washington DC with a significant number of high-level officials from both countries. Little was reported from the meeting other than the usual agreement of mutual respect and cooperation in the "drug war."
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).
We encourage folks to distribute this information widely, but please include our name and contact information in the distribution. Gracias/Thanks.
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