AUGUST 2007 CHIAPAS / ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY


1.  More Info on Indigenous Encuentro - The Indigenous Encuentro is just a little more than one month away (October 11-14).  It will take place on Yaqui territory in Vicam, Sonora, Mexico. Preparatory meetings have also been announced and all non-indigenous adherents to the Sixth Declaration have been invited to participate in the role of Observers (without voice or vote). You can sign up to attend the Encuentro on the Enlace Zapatista blog:  <http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx> For more  information about the Indigenous Encuentro, visit the web site at  <http://www.encuentroindigena.org>

2.  Opddic Members Shoot 2 Zapatistas - On August 10, a large group from the Organization for the Defense of Indigenous and Campesino Rights (Opddic) attacked two Zapatista campesinos with guns and machetes. They were seriously injured and taken to a hospital in the state capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez. The attack occurred in Ba yulumax community, Olga Isabel autonomous Zapatista municipality (Chilón official municipality). The incident seems to be part of the ongoing struggle by the Opddic to take recuperated land in Olga Isabel away from the Zapatistas. Both have recovered from their injuries and have been released from the hospital.  However, the struggle for land in Olga Isabel continues.

3.  Zapatista Community Under Attack Resists - Zapatista support bases currently living in 24 de Diciembre community are living under constant threat of a violent forced eviction by their neighbors belonging to the Unión de Ejidos de la Selva (UES) or, in English, the Union of Ejidos of the Jungle. It seems that the residents of this community were ejido owners of the land who were forced to flee when the Mexican Army entered the Jungle in February 1995.  They lived in exile for many years. While they were in exile, the UES members took their land.  Now, the original owners have returned and claimed the land they were forced to flee from in 1995 and the struggle for the land started.  A civilian peace camp was set up and the Zapatista autonomous county sent people from other communities to form a security belt around the community and to stand guard against the federal Army, police and the UES members. This is an ongoing saga with an interesting history that goes way back to pre-Uprising times. 

4.   Indigenous Communities Expelled from Montes Azules - On August 18 and 19, state and federal police violently expelled several indigenous communities from the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in a surprise attack. Houses were burned and belongings stolen.  Residents of 2 communities, San Manuel and El Buen Samaritano, were forcibly removed by helicopter.  Six heads of family were taken to El Amate prison, while at least 33 are being held in a former La Trinitaria bordello.  Many of the expelled communities’ inhabitants fled when helicopters arrived, and are presumably living in the jungle without food, shelter or medical care, as torrential rains from Hurricane Felix approach Chiapas.  Reports from Chiapas are somewhat confusing as to the political affiliations of those expelled, but it looks like some are Zapatista supporters, others are members of ARIC-Independent and yet others belonging to ARIC UU.  Civilian human rights organizations are concerned about those being held in the former bordello because it lacks sanitary facilities. Two of the women held there are pregnant and there are also small children. Amnesty International (AI) has voiced its concern about those detained, the lack of required consultation with the communities, and the lack of notice.  And, the word is that more government-sponsored evictions are coming soon. 

 

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Compiled by Mary Ann Tenuto Sánchez for the Chiapas Support Committee
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The Chiapas Support Committee is a grass roots all-volunteer human rights organization in Oakland, California.  We work with indigenous and campesino organizations in Mexico.  We have an hermanamiento (partnership) with San Manuel autonomous Zapatista municipality.  In the Bay Area we provide public information about Chiapas through public events,  our newsletter, Chiapas Update,  our listserv and web site.  We organize delegations to Chiapas and also recruit and certify human rights observers and volunteers.  We participate in the Other Campaign and the International Campaign in Northern California.  Our contact information is below!
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Chiapas Support Committee
P.O. Box  3421
Oakland, CA  94609
Tel: (510) 654-9587
Email: cezmat@igc.org