MAY 2010 CHIAPAS/ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. Good Government Junta Warns of More Evictions - On May 2, the Junta in La Realidad denounced that there were going to be more evictions from the few remaining communities in the Montes Azules. In April, the Chiapas delegate from the office of the Federal Environmental Protection Prosecutor's (Profepa, its initials in Spanish) announced that his office is negotiating with the following seven communities: Salvador Allende, Ranchería Corozal, San Gregorio, Nuevo Limar, Agua Dulce, Ojo de Agua La Pimienta and Nuevo Villaflores. He also announced that the amount of money being offered each family to leave is more that 200,000 pesos (between 16 and 17 thousand dollars).
2. La Garrucha Junta Denounces Detentions and Disappearances
- On May 11, the Good Government Junta in La Garrucha denounced that nine Zapatista support bases were kidnapped and disappeared on the morning of May 10 and five more were detained in Pena Limonar ejido by members of an armed group. The five detainees were turned over to the state police and taken to the municipal jail in Ocosingo. They were released the next day without charges. Apparently, those classified as "disappeared" were folks who had escaped detention and their whereabouts could not be confirmed. All the Zapatista support bases are from Amaytic community. (See; March News Summary at: http://www.chiapas-support.org/CSC-News-March-2010.html)
3. A Major Discovery at Tonina Archaeological Site, Chiapas - Archaeologists from Mexico's National Institute of History and Anthropology (INAH, its initials in Spanish) announced this month the discovery of a pyramid, larger than the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, at the Tonina archaeological site, located several miles outside the city of Ocosingo. INAH's site director announced that the newly-discovered pyramid is one of the largest buildings in Mesoamerica, comparable to those in Tikal and El Mirador, Guatemala. The pyramid, located on Tonina's Acropolis, is 75 meters high and is around 1700 years old. In addition to discovering the pyramid, experts have also learned that the Tonina site is much larger than previously thought and now is believed to be one of the largest cities of the ancient Maya in Chiapas, comparable to Palenque and Bonampak. This discovery has major significance for the government's tourism plans in the region surrounding the planned San Cristobal-Palenque superhighway.
4. Chiapas Human Rights Center Issues Annual Report
- On May 27, the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba), founded and presided over by Bishop Emeritus of San Cristobal de las Casas, Samuel Ruiz Garcia, issued its annual report on human rights in Chiapas. It concluded that: "it is documented and proven" that the counterinsurgency strategy in Chiapas continues to be applied 16 years after the Zapatista Uprising." The executive summary is available in Spanish at: http://www.frayba.org.mx/index.php
In Other Parts of Mexico...
1. Oaxaca: 6 Women and 6 Children from San Juan Copala Kidnapped and Robbed - On May 15, a group of women left San Juan Copala with their children to go to the Juxtlahuaca market to buy food supplies. They reached the market safely but, while there, one woman and her child were detained by a member of the Ubisort paramilitary group. The two escaped and returned to the group. The women called for an escort back to San Juan Copala, but the government escort took them to a different town and told them to walk the rest of the way. When they walked past La Sabana, the Ubisort paramilitaries detained them. They were held for about 12 hours and then allowed to return to San Juan Copala. The paramilitaries stole their money and the supplies they bought in town.
2. Oaxaca: Triqui Leader and His Wife Murdered - On May 20, unidentified men murdered Timoteo Alejandro Ramirez, Leader of the Movement of Unification and Triqui Struggle Independent (MULTI), and his wife, Cleriberta Castro, between 5:00 and 5:30 PM at his house, in Yosoyuxi, in the Triqui Region, Oaxaca.
3. Oaxaca: Another Caravan to San Juan Copala leaves June 8 - The Bety Carino and Jyri Jaakkola Civil Humanitarian Caravan will leave for San Juan Copala on June 8 in an attempt to break the paramilitary circle around the autonomous town. Named for the two human rights workers murdered by para-militaries last month, the caravan is recruiting human rights defenders from all over Mexico to make it a very large caravan with a real opportunity to break the circle and deliver food, medical supplies and water to the community in resistance. Many organizations, ranging from the PRD to the Other Campaign, will participate in the caravan.
In the USA...
1. US State Department Issues Mexico Travel Alert - On May 6, the US State Department issued its travel alert for US citizens that wish to visit or reside in Mexico, due to the grave situation of insecurity and violence associated with drug trafficking. It recommends not visiting the states of Michoacan, Tamaulipas and some parts of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Durango, Coahuila y Guerrero. The warning concedes that the Mexican government makes an effort to protect US tourists, that drug violence is not prevalent in tourist areas and that millions of US citizens travel to Mexico each year safely.
2. Mexican President Visits Washington, D.C. - Mexican President Felipe Calderon visited Washington for several days in May. He attended a State dinner at the White House on May 18 and spoke to Congress on May 20. He also met privately with US President, Barack Obama. The results of that meeting are, of course, secret. However, in the days following the meeting President Obama announced that he would send 1200 national guard troops to the US/Mexico Border to help fight crime. It has also been announced that an administrative office for the Merida Initiative in Mexico City is moving full speed ahead and is almost completely functional, thus institutionalizing this deadly military plan and assuring its continued funding for some time.
3. Tens of Thousands Demonstrate Against SB 1070 in Arizona - On May 29, up to 100,000 people demonstrated against the Arizona Law that criminalizes immigrants seeking work without the government's permission; i.e, without papers.
The main march and rally was in Phoenix, Arizona, but there were also large marches and rallies in other USt cities and in Mexico.
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