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MARCH 2011 CHIAPAS/ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY

[Members of the Chiapas Support Committee spent the last 2 weeks of March in Chiapas. We spent 6 days in the Canyons east of Ocosingo (Zapatista territory), 1 day in los Altos (the Highlands) and 7 days in the city of San Cristobal de las Casas. While in San Cristobal, we had interviews, briefings, meals and chats with different NGO staff. This month's report includes information learned in our visits and conversations, as well as from Mexican media. CSC.]

In Chiapas

1. Complete Marcos Letter to Don Luis Villoro - This month, the EZLN released the complete text of a letter from Subcomandante Marcos to the Mexican philosopher Luis Villoro. The complete text is published in Rebel Magazine (Revista Rebeldia). Parts 1, 3 and 4 of the letter trace the history of wars and how they are legitimized to the public (the taxpayers). Marcos discusses different wars as examples, the war against organized crime in Mexico (the "Drug War"), the business of rebuilding from the destruction of war and concludes that capitalism  is what wages war. This is an amazing analysis. For those of you who read Spanish see: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/03/12/index.php?section=politica&article=020n2pol

2. Bushels of Money for Counterinsurgency - Zapatista Territory is being flooded with money for projects and support offered to any Zapatista or Other Campaign adherent who deserts the organization. Of course money continues for non-Zapatistas to keep them from joining or supporting the EZLN, but current Zapatista deserters are given the highest priority and extra pesos. The money is accompanied by an intense propaganda campaign against the Zapatistas, attempting to link them to terrorists. Without a doubt this was the local topic foremost on everyone's mind while we were in Chiapas. It seems that in addition to the government giving money to deserters, the 3 major political parties are already buying votes for next year's presidential, state and municipal elections.

3. February Violence Leaves 5 from Bachajon Still In Prison - Another major topic in Chiapas was the wave of violent repression (counterinsurgency) that took place  in Chiapas in February. Other Campaign adherents in Bachajon, Mitziton and on the Pacific Coast of Chiapas were affected. Of those who were imprisoned, 5 ejido members from Bachajon remain incarcerated. The community speaks of them as "hostages" of the government because the state government is using them to pressure the Other Campaign adherents to dialogue over the government's construction and control of a ticket booth for entry to the Agua Azul Cascades, a major tourist attraction that bring in millions of pesos each year. The government wants control of it, but the Other Campaign members know that to dialogue means to give in and cede part of their land to the government. Other Campaign members went to court requesting an "amparo" (in this case like a restraining order) to protect their land, but it was denied.

4. Zapatistas Tighten Security Measures - Due to the wave of violence and the intense efforts to "buy consciences" (a term used by Comandante David at the Digna Rabia New Years celebration), Zapatista communities have tightened their security. This also applies to the Caracoles. Access to the Caracoles is often very limited and interviews with the Juntas are rare. In some cases, they are busy trying to resolve the conflicts caused by the government's efforts to entice people away with money.

5. Marcos Sends Message to Human Rights Gatherings - "Send Tobacco!" says Marcos. "The rumors about me (Marcos) being sick are false. I don't have lung cancer or emphysema." On March 16 and 17, the Frayba Human Rights Center convoked human rights organisms and human rights representatives from communities in Chiapas to a gathering entitled "With Memory, the Peoples Construct Justice and Truth." From March 18 to 20, the All Rights for Everyone Network held its 41st national assembly in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. Marcos sent an important message to the gathering. It can be read in Spanish at: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/03/19/index.php?section=politica&article=012n2pol

In Other Parts of Mexico

1. The War Against Organized Crime (The Drug War) - The war in Mexico continues to ravage its citizens, as well as its towns and cities. The current death toll is over 35,000. According to an investigation by La Jornada, there also are more than 18,000 disappeared (the National Human Rights Commission puts the number at 5,397). According to the Monitoring Center of Internally Displaced, the war has displaced 230,000 Mexicans from their homes. The United Nations has become concerned and urged (president) Calderon to get the Army out of the streets. He, of course, refused.   

In the US

1. Carlos Pascual, US Ambassador to Mexico, Resigns - On March 19, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the resignation of Carlos Pascual, US Ambassador to Mexico. WikiLeaks released numerous diplomatic cables between the US Embassy in Mexico and US State Department officials to La Jornada. The publication of these cables is widely thought to have played a role in the resignation of Carlos Pascual as US Ambassador to Mexico. Mexican President Felipe Calderon allegedly requested Pascual's removal because one or more cables  disclosed that he questioned the ability of Mexico's Armed Forces to wage the drug war. Pascual is, nevertheless, remaining at the Embassy in Mexico City for awhile to "assure an orderly transition."

2. More and More US Involvement In Mexico - It has become clear in the last several months that not only are US agents carrying weapons in Mexico (previously prohibited by the Mexican government), but the US is flying "drones" over the entire country. These unmanned flights began over the border, but are no longer limited to the border region.
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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:
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Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas
P.O. Box  3421, Oakland, CA  94609
Tel: (510) 654-9587
Email: cezmat@igc.org
http://www.chiapas-support.org
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