JUNE 2010 CHIAPAS/ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. Roberto Barrios Junta Denounces Attack - On June 10, the Junta in Roberto Barrios denounced continuing problems in the community of Choles de Tumbala. In May, a group of 93 people, belonging to XINICH Official (meaning the pro-government faction of the XINICH organization), invaded Choles de Tumbala community and gradually forced their way onto various parts of Zapatista land, thus taking it over and removing Zapatista members. On June 2, they started a fire that burned more than 200 acres of land and caused a woman's death. They blamed the fire on the Zapatistas. The pro-government folks entered the Zapatista cooperative store armed with machetes and threatened to kill the 9 people who were inside. Although the 9 escaped, death threats continue. They have also burned an entire field of chile peppers. The Junta's considers this situation as part of the government's counterinsurgency plan.
2. Oventik Junta Denounces Vicious Attack in El Pozo - On June 21, the Good Government Junta in Oventik denounced an attack on Zapatistas in El Pozo by PRI and PRD members. Two people were gravely injured and are in the hospital with skull fractures; five others are injured and one Zapatista is considered disappeared (his whereabouts are unknown). Local police detained health promoters who were taking the injured out and took them to the DA's office in San Cristóbal. As of the date of the denunciation, they were still being held at the DA's office in San Cristóbal. El Pozo is located in San Juan Apostol Cancuc autonomous municipality in the Chiapas Highlands.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Oaxaca: 2nd Humanitarian Caravan to San Juan Copala Turned Away - On June 8, the Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola Humanitarian Caravan to San Juan Copala was turned back by the paramilitary group known as Ubisort. A large group of women blocked the road and were backed up by armed men. Oaxaca government officials were nearby and warned the Caravan that it would be dangerous to try to get through to Copala. Local officials apparently feel powerless to move against the paramilitaries and the situation continues. Members of the caravan plan to ask the International Red Cross to take the supplies to the surrounded town.
2. Atenco: GREAT NEWS! Mexico's Supreme Court Frees the 12 Atenco Political Prisoners - On June 30, Mexico's Supreme Court of Justice granted a protective order to the 12 political prisoners from San Salvador Atenco, effectively ordering their immediate release from prison. The nine prisoners held in Molino de Flores prison were released immediately, while the three FPDT leaders, including Ignacio del Valle, in the Altiplano maximum security prison were awaiting the paperwork necessary for their release.
3. Atenco: America del Valle Requests Political Asylum in the Venezuela Embassy - On June 24, America del Valle Ramirez, daughter of imprisoned Atenco leader Ignacio del Valle and Trinidad Ramirez, went to the Venezuelan Embassy in Mexico City with her lawyer and requested political asylum from the government of Hugo Chavez. There are arrest warrants pending against her for the same crimes for which her father received a sentence of 112 years in prison. The Supreme Court's decision regarding the 12 Atenco prisoners does not affect the arrest warrants against her.
At the US-Mexico Border...
1. Anastasio Hernandez Rojas Beaten to Death - On May 28, a Mexican immigrant was severely and repeatedly beaten by Border Patrol agents, and then "tasered" by Customs and Border Protection agents during his deportation from the United States at the San Ysidro Port of Entry near San Diego. He died on May 31 from his injuries. The Coroner's office said he suffered a heart attack as a result of the beating. Hernandez Rojas, 42 at the time of his death, was the father of five children and had lived in San Diego for more than twenty-five years. His children are US citizens.
2. Border Patrol Shoots and Kills Youth On Mexican Side of the Border - On June 7, Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, 15, who had just graduated from junior high school, was shot and killed, allegedly by a U.S. Border Patrol agent, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Juarez is across the river from El Paso Texas. There are a lot of questions about this killing and conflicting stories from witnesses. Border Patrol agents say that the young men on the Mexican side were throwing stones at them. They further maintain that stones are considered "deadly force" and, therefore, they had the right to use deadly force in return. There is some evidence that the Border Patrol agent came over to the Mexican side of the river to shoot Sergio. When Border Patrol investigators tried to cross the river to investigate, Mexican security forces pointed their guns at them. There is a lot of anger over this killing of an adolescent and over U.S. claims that he was smoking marijuana and smuggling young people across the border in order to justify their actions and blame the victim for the crime.
3. Mexico Joins Immigration Lawsuit in Arizona - The Mexican government submitted a "friend of the court" brief in support of a case brought by a group of civil rights organizations, including the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Immigration Law Center, and the American Civil Liberties Union against SB 1070. The law - which goes into effect on 29 July - makes it a state crime to be in Arizona without immigration papers. It also requires police to question people about their immigration status, if officers suspect the person is in the US illegally, and if they have stopped them for a legitimate reason. It urges the federal court in Arizona to declare the law unconstitutional and stop it from going into effect. "Mexico has a duty to protect its citizens and ensure that their ethnic origin is not used as a basis for committing discriminatory acts", the Mexican foreign ministry said in a statement. The lawsuit is one of five separate challenges to the Arizona immigration law.
Compiled monthly by the Chiapas Support Committee.
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Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas
P.O. Box 3421, Oakland, CA 94609
Tel: (510) 654-9587