FEBRUARY 2011 CHIAPAS/ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
[In last month's News Summary, we reported on the Cocopa's concern that a counterinsurgency campaign was about to begin. They know the signs and so do we. When there is so much news that we can barely keep up with it, a counterinsurgency campaign is underway. This month, the Chiapas govern-ment launched another wave of repression (counterinsurgency) against Other Campaign members in Chiapas. CSC.]
1. Subcomandante Marcos: About Wars, Part 2
- The EZLN released Part 2 of a letter from Subcomandante Marcos to sociologist Luis Villoro. The other 3 parts will be published soon in Rebel Magazine (Revista Rebeldia
). The letter is about the Mexican government's "War on Organized Crime," (aka the "War on Drugs). After reminding us all that war is a big business, Marcos then lists how much the Mexican government has spent on this war, year-by-year and Department-by-Department. He concludes that the main beneficiary of the war is the North American military industry, because they sell weapons to both sides: the Mexican government and the criminal drug gangs. Finally, Marcos defines identity and concludes that the "war on organized crime" is tearing apart the fabric of society and destroying the Mexican identity by creating fear in people. A most enlightening letter. To read part 2 in English: http://mywordismyweapon.blogspot.com/2011/02/about-wars-fragment-of-first-letter.html
2. Ten Other Campaign Members from Bachajon Imprisoned - On February 2, a group of PRI members, accompanied by approximately 100 police officers from various police forces, attacked and took control of the ticket booth to the Agua Azul Cascades. Before the February 2 attack, members of the Other Campaign from the San Sebastian Bachajon ejido operated the ticket booth. Apparently, the Other Campaign members organized to try to recuperate control of the ticket booth, a very profitable source of income to the community. A confrontation occurred and one PRI member died, while another was injured. The next day, February 3, approximately 300 Chiapas state police arrived in Bachajon while the Other Campaign members were meeting. A police commander approached the group and asked if they were prepared to dialogue with the state government. When they said "No," the commander gave the order to detain all 117 of them. 107 were released the next day. Ten (10) face charges of murder and other serious crimes and are confined to prison in Playas de Catazaja. The state Attorney General issued information about the detentions stating that the 117 detained were blocking the highway and that foreign tourists were trapped. Bachajon residents deny both of those allegations. Unfortunately, many early reports of the incidents reported that disinformation (propaganda). The 10 imprisoned assert their innocence and the Frayba Center asserts that their legal rights were violated. International protests are planned around the world for March 7 and 8.
3. Paramilitaries Open Fire on Other Campaign Members in Mitziton - The trouble began on Sunday, February 13, when members of the Army of God retained an Other Campaign member and put him in their "jail." Other campaign members retained an Army of God member as a bargaining chip. It was finally agreed to exchange the 2 "prisoners," but Other Campaign members saw that their companero was badly beaten and needed medical attention. Police and government officials were present in the community and, eventually, the man was taken to the hospital. While Other Campaign members were in the chapel and on the basketball court awaiting a medical report, Army of God members opened fire on them. One man was seriously injured by the bullets and also hospitalized. Police detained and arrested 23 members of the Army of God.
4. Three Human Rights Lawyers Imprisoned - The Pacific Coast of Chiapas has a group of autonomous communities belonging to the Other Campaign. They are organized into the Regional Autonomous Council of the Coastal Region of Chiapas (CARZCC, its initials in Spanish). On Tuesday, Feb. 22, 300 CARZCC members blocked the international highway along the Pacific Coast. They were protesting the repression in Bachajon and Mitziton in solidarity with the Other Campaign members in those communities. They lifted the roadblock because their representatives were dialoguing with government officials. When those representatives were returning from the dialogue, the Federal Police detained more than 50 people indiscriminately, including women and children. After a number were released, 16 members of the CARZCC face charges and 3 human rights defenders are still detained. The human rights defenders are lawyers from the Digna Ochoa Human Rights Center in Tonala, Chiapas. The 3 are charged with uprising, a serious change.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. One US Agent Killed and Another Injured In Highway Ambush - On February 15, 2 US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were forced off a main highway in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi by several other vehicles that had been pursuing them. The 2 ICE agents were returning to Mexico City in an armored SUV with diplomatic plates. Gunmen got out of the other vehicles and one of them fired at the 2 agents through a window that was open a crack, killing special agent Jaime Zapata and injuring fellow agent Victor Avila in the leg. Avila apparently was able to close the car window completely and call the US Embassy for help while the gunmen continued firing at the armored SUV. The bullets were unable to penetrate the armored vehicle and the gunmen fled the scene before help arrived. The US government says that the 2 ICE agents "exchanged technical equipment" with other agents at an undisclosed location in San Luis Potosi. (The "spin" on this incident has changed several times.) Agent Avila is recovering from the gunshot wound and attended the funeral for Jaime Zapata in a wheelchair. Mexican soldiers detained a number of suspects, allegedly comprising a cell of gunmen for the Los Zetas drug cartel. The cell's members are in custody and so, apparently, is their boss, El Toto. This is an on-going investigation and the story changes from day-to-day and week-to-week. Stay tuned.
In the US
1. The US Places Mexico Among Highest Security Concerns - On February 10, the US House Select Committee on Intelligence heard testimony from James Clapper, National Director of Intelligence, and his staff, regarding world threats to US security. Clapper said that Mexico has been elevated to the highest category of priorities in evaluating potential threats to the US. This is due to the narco-violence. He said that they are worried about that violence crossing over into the border states. Referring to the Mexican Army and police, he also stated that: "the joint military and police abilities remain inadequate to break up the trafficking organizations and contain criminal violence." He also pointed out that civilians are caught in the crossfire, which reduces public support (in Mexico) for 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