SEPTEMBER 2011 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. Paramilitaries Encircle Zapatista Community of San Patricio; Eviction Feared; Massacre Threatened
- Numerous denunciations, Urgent Action Alerts and newspaper articles during September warn of the paramilitary encirclement of San Patricio, a Zapatista community in the Northern Zone of Chiapas, Caracol of Roberto Barrios. The paramilitary group threatening the community is apparently none other than Paz y Justicia
, the deadly gang that terrorized the Northern Zone in the 1990s. The situation is day-to-day. The attackers have threatened a "massacre" for October 7. A translation of one of the articles describing the siege is posted on our blog: http://compamanuel.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/paramilitaries-surround-zapatista-village-and-threaten-to-kill-everyone/
2. La Garrucha Junta Denounces Attempted Land Grab in Nuevo Purisima - On September 20, the Good Government Junta based in the Caracol of La Garrucha denounced that 45 individuals claiming to be "independent" (belonging to no organization) arrived in Nuevo Purísima on September 18 to "take possession" of acres of land recuperated by the EZLN as a result of the 1994 Zapatista Uprising. They were armed with machetes and said they had documents. They arrived in trucks belonging to the Ocosingo municipal government. The following day, another 100 individuals arrived who the Junta identified as paramilitary and carrying firearms. The Junta further alleges that the local government is using money from the United Nations via the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to support these dangerous land grabs.
3. Sicilia Caravan Visits Chiapas - The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity's Southern Caravan traveled through Chiapas in mid-September. It visited Ciudad Hidalgo on the Chiapas-Guatemala border near Tapachula and a shelter for migrants who pass through Chiapas on their way north. A small group of Caravan members were permitted to enter Oventik and to meet with the Good Government Junta in order to thank the Zapatistas for their show of support for the Movement with their big protest march in May. The Junta welcomed them, thanked them for coming and then just listened. The Zapatista Junta did not offer their word. The Caravan visited with Las Abejas (The Bees) in Acteal, civil society in San Cristóbal and said a few words while passing through Ocosingo on the way to Palenque. Much of the focus in Palenque was on the Central American migrants who pass through there and are victims of crime.
4. Complaint Filed in US Against Zedillo for Acteal Massacre - On September 16, a Miami law firm filed a complaint in the federal district court of Connecticut against former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo on behalf of 4 Jane Does and 6 John Does, alleged victims of the December 22, 1997 Massacre. The complaint seeks monetary damages, both compensatory and punitive. Las Abejas denounced this lawsuit, saying it was politically and economically motivated and that the only legal representative of the Acteal survivors and family members of victims is the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba).
5. Political Bosses in Chilón Destroy Schools - On September 24, in Guaquitepec community, Chilón Municipality, a group of 100 campesinos headed by local caciques (political bosses) violently entered and destroyed the installations of the Emiliano Zapata Bilingual Middle School, as well as the Bartolomé de Las Casas Intercultural College. These centers have provided quality bilingual and intercultural education. Their students come from many Tzeltal communities in Chilón, Ocosingo, Altamirano and the Chol Zone to the north.
6. Hunger Strike By Political Prisoners - On September 29, 7 political prisoners started a hunger strike at the state prison located in the municipality of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. Another four are fasting for 12 hours per day for health reasons. The 11 participants are members of The Voice of El Amate and Innocent Voices, two organizations belonging to the Zapatistas' Other Campaign.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Movement for Peace Visits Southern States - The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD) organized a "Caravan to the South" that visited cities, towns, and rural communities in Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco, Veracruz and Puebla. The Caravan left Mexico City on September 9 and returned on the 18th. It encountered various difficulties along the way, like security threats, some press problems and severe storms. The Caravan's tour highlighted human rights abuses resulting from the "Drug War," the Low-Intensity War in Chiapas and the exploitation of Immigrants, primarily from Central America. Along the way, the MPJD invited organizations to join its movement (not in Oventic). I have seen two articles that reported the size of the Caravan. They estimated that there were between 500 and 600 people in different buses and vehicles plus security.
In the United States
1. Occupy Wall Street Targets the Real Criminals!
- A group of people started to occupy a park in New York's financial district and to demonstrate against Wall Street investment bankers that are destroying the US and World economy, while enriching themselves. Aimed directly at the core of neoliberal economics, these demonstrations have caught on with lots of folks. And now, if you have not already done so, you can check out their blog to learn how it is spreading to other cities, including SF: https://occupywallst.org/
2. Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne Arrives in Mexico with 3 Black Hawk Helicopters - On September 15, US Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne arrived in Mexico. He brought 3 Black Hawk helicopters for the Navy with him, courtesy of the Merida Initiative. He also said that the Merida Initiative, through which $612 million dollars in equipment and training had been delivered to Mexico. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Latin American Issues, Paul N. Stockton, referred to these numbers later in a meeting with Admiral Saynez, Secretary of Mexico's Navy, and Robert Gates, former US Defense Secretary. Remember! The Mexican Navy's principal base for fighting drug cartels Is now in Southern Mexico (Veracruz).
3. Rep. Connie Mack Wants Counterinsurgency Strategy Applied to Mexico Drug War
- On September 13, US Representative Connie Mack, a Republican Congressman from Florida, convened a hearing on the "Drug War" in Mexico and recommended that a counterinsurgency strategy be applied against drug cartels on the Mexico border, similar to that used by US forces in Afghanistan. Mack is the very conservative Chair of the House Western Hemisphere Subcommittee. You can read the proposal on his website: http://mack.house.gov/index.cfm?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=5e49a326-90e7-42eb-9de3-faa97c6e3b58
The Obama administration responded that the Merida Initiative was working fine and, therefore, there was no need for Congressman Mack's proposal.
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.
Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas
P.O. Box 3421, Oakland, CA 94609
Tel: (510) 654-9587