MAY 2011 CHIAPAS/ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. Huge Zapatista Silent March in Support of Javier Sicilia - The streets of Chiapas overflowed with Zapatista support bases, Other Campaign adherents and members of civil society during a May 7 silent march in support of the National March for Peace with Justice and Dignity called by Javier Sicilia. Crowd estimates vary widely, ranging between 15 and 25,000, but photos show the size of the crowd. The Cathedral Plaza wasn't big enough to hold everyone. More than 30 EZLN commanders (the CCRI-CG) took the stage and Comandante David read a message in Spanish in support of the national movement, saying that this is a movement of honest people that represents a choice between life (peace) and death (war). They urged Mexicans to put aside their differences to support this anti-war movement. This was the first mobilization by the Zapatistas outside their territory since 2006 when they went on the Other Campaign tour. It was also the first public appearance of the commanders since the Digna Rabia Festival.
2. Worldwide Declaration To Support the 5 Bachajon Prisoners - International solidarity organizations collected signatures for the "Bachajon 5" on a declaration demanding compliance with international law regarding respect for indigenous territory, release of the 5 prisoners and withdrawal of police and military from San Sebastian Bachajon. The Declaration was released mid-May by the Frayba Human Rights Center in Chiapas to the appropriate officials. The CSC participated in that worldwide mobilization. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO SIGNED THE DECLARATION and PASSED IT ON TO OTHERS!
3. Mexico Will Reinforce Its Southern (Chiapas/Guatemala) Border - Last month we reported on the 2 new military bases planned for the Chiapas border with Guatemala. This month, following the massacre of 27 workers on the Los Cocos Finca in Guatemala's Petén, allegedly by Mexico's Los Zetas drug gang, Mexico's Interior Minister, Francisco Blake Mora, said that the federal government would invest 2 billion pesos in infrastructure, equipment and technology along the border. At a press conference in Frontera Talisman, Chiapas (a border crossing point), Blake Mora said that the Mexican government would reinforce vigilance on the southern border to have more control over the passage of undocumented (migrants) and merchandise, drugs and weapons. (See Item #4 below.) It is important to note that there are Zapatistas and Other Campaign adherents living in communities close to these new military bases.
4. A Total Of 513 Migrants Detained In Chiapas On Their Way To The USA - On May 17, the day before Mexico's Interior Minister, Francisco Blake Mora, held his press conference in Chiapas, local and state police detained 513 migrants from Central America and Asia being transported in two tractor-trailers under "inhuman conditions." They were detected at a control post near Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the state capital of Chiapas. Blake Mora explained that international organized crime is engaged in human trafficking and that Mexico will open 3 new migratory stations, one of them in Chiapas near Palenque. He stated that currently there are 6 formal entry points into Mexico, but there are 56 irregular ones. He also announced control posts for Huixtla, Comitán-La Trinitaria and Santuario-Palenque. These "integral" control posts will have Customs and Immigration officials, as well as agents from the departments of Defense and Agriculture. One wonders what effect this might have on tourism, currently booming in Chiapas.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Sicilia Movement Draws Enormous Crowd in Mexico City Zocalo - On May 8, the movement started by poet and novelist Javier Sicilia after the murder of his son,
completed a 4-day silent walk from Cuernavaca to the Zocalo in Mexico City to protest (president) Calderon's War Against Organized Crime. Sicilia began a series of protests against the Calderon War (the Drug War) that attracted substantial support from his friends, the families and friends of other victims and those in civil society who oppose the war and the bloodshed. The EZLN, many independent social movements, individuals and immigrants answered Sicilia's call for the silent march. The result was 200, 000 people in the Zocalo and supporting marches all over the country. At the conclusion of the march, Sicilia gave an emotional speech and a call for change. It included a critique of Mexico's political class and included platform of demands. It can be read in English at:
The movement started by Sicilia is planning to move its headquarters to Ciudad Juarez (across the river from El Paso, Texas) in early June.
In the US
1. The US Supreme Court Upholds An Arizona Law - On May 26, the US Supreme Court, in a 5-3 decision, upheld an Arizona law requiring businesses to use the E-Verify system to determine that new hires are legal U.S. residents. Some Court analysts believe that this decision is a blow to the defense that reserves regulation of immigration exclusively to the federal government.
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