DECEMBER 2010 CHIAPAS/ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. 17th Anniversary of the 1994 Zapatista Uprising! - On January 1, the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) celebrated the 17th anniversary of its 1994 Uprising. As was the case with celebrations for other recent anniversaries, the Zapatistas celebrated together without news reports or the general public.
2. Las Abejas Remembers the Acteal Massacre - The civil society organization Las Abejas (The Bees), adherent to the Zapatista Other Campaign, gathered in Acteal, Chiapas, to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the Acteal Massacre of 45 indigenous people on December 22, 1997. They named the three-day gathering Weaving Resistance in Front of Counterinsurgency and Dependence. Las Abejas issued a statement regarding its position on several issues relevant to them, including autonomy. In attendance at the gathering were representatives from autonomous communities in other parts of Chiapas, as well as from from Oaxaca and San Salvador Atenco.
3. Frayba: More Human Rights Defenders Harassed - The Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) denounced that three activists who collaborate with them have been threatened or harassed in various ways. One of them is a doctor who works with health promoters in Mitziton. Another is a former political prisoner who now works with prisoners and the third is an activist in the northern zone. The threats range from being continuously followed to finding your house broken into and ransacked. The activist in Tumbala Municipality received threats from local police.
4. Mitziton Denounces New Attacks by the Army of God - The Other Campaign members in the Mitziton ejido denounced that on December 23 members of the Army of God attacked them, kidnapped, tortured and badly beat up one ejido member, beat up several others and then began randomly shooting guns all night long. They also denounced that state government officials signed an an agreement on July 5, 2010 to relocate the Army of God members, but have failed to do so.
5. Wikileaks on the Chiapas/Guatemala Border - El País (Madrid, Spain) newspaper published an article (in Spanish) about the Chiapas border with Guatemala after receiving a document from Wikileaks revealing great concern by US diplomats about drug trafficking across that "porous" border and the lack of security forces to deter drug trafficking, human trafficking and arms smuggling. Not long after the diplomatic cables were leaked, the Guatemalan government declared a "state of siege" in one of its departments (states) located on the border. The El País article can be found at:
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Juarez Activist Murdered in Front of the State Government Palace - On December 16, Marisela Escobedo Ortiz was shot dead by a gunman as she was protesting in front of the government palace in the state capital of Chihuahua. She was protesting the fact that a judge failed to prosecute the 2008 murder of her daughter, Rubi. Escobedo identified the alleged killer as her daughter's former partner. After his arrest and confession, a three judge panel released him for lack of evidence and he reportedly went into hiding. An appeals court later overturned the panel and convicted him in absentia. The three judges on the panel were suspended. However, the alleged killer's whereabouts remain unknown. Several days after Escobedo's murder, her husband's lumberyard was burned down and her brother-in-law was disappeared and then found dead. The former partner is alleged to have ties to organized crime and Escobedo's relatives are receiving death threats and some have fled to the United States. Escobedo's son applied for political asylum in the US and is currently in an ICE detention Center awaiting action on his case.
2. Kidnappers Release Jefe (Boss) Diego
Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, a powerful attorney and former PAN presidential candidate, was kidnapped for ransom on May 14 of this year. His kidnappers were known only as the "Mysterious Disapperers" until his release and subsequent public appearance on December 20. On that same date, a healthy Jefe Diego appeared in public and his kidnappers released a document entitled "Epilogue of a Disappearance" and identifying themselves as the Network for Global Transformation, a revolutionary armed group (RTG, its initials in Spanish). The RTG says it obtained $30 million dollars from Diego's family and "friends" (political cronies) in exchange for his release. In a well-written communiqué, the RTG chronicles all the evils of neoliberalism and the dirty deeds of specifically-named Mexican politicians and businesspeople for the last 20 some years, at times using a bit of Zapatista terminology, but distinguishable from the Zapatistas by its justification of violence. The communiqué unleashed a flood of speculation and commentary in the Mexican press, some of it absurd. The RTG, or someone claiming to be the RTG, sent a response to La Jornada
contradicting much of the the commentary and speculation. The 3-part "Epilogue of a Disappearance" communique is available (in Spanish) at: http://www.milenio.com/node/603690
3. US Delivers Helicopter to Mexico's Secretary of National Defense - The US State Department reported that in December it delivered a Bell 412 helicopter worth 11 million dollars to Mexico's Secretary of National Defense (Sedena). This is reported to be the eighth and last airship transferred to Mexico under the Merida Initiative (Plan Mexico). The US Embassy in Mexico said that it had delivered another 495 million dollars in equipment and training as of December 2010. It anticipated delivering another 495 million worth of training and equipment. La Jornada reports that in November 2010 the US transferred 2 unarmed Bell 412 helicopters to Sedena and 3 UH-60 M Blackhawk helicopters to Mexico for the Federal Police.
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