AUGUST 2008 CHIAPAS / ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY

[Reminder: This Wednesday, September 3rd - 7:00 pm.  Premiere of Caminos: The Immigrant's Trail, a 22-min.  film showing the factors that drive Mexican migrants to leave their families and risk their lives to seek work in the U.S.  This film features Mexican farmers who were driven off their land by U.S. farm subsidies, NAFTA, and the globalization of food trade.  Eric Holt-Gimenez and David Bacon will speak on the roots of Mexican migration in the context of globalization. 7pm $7-$10 sliding scale (no one turned away). Film and discussion. Contact: Paul Chin: pchin@lapena.org]

1. Marcos and Moises Address Caravan -  On August 2,  in the Caracol of La Garrucha, Subcomandante Marcos and Lt. Col. Moises made a public appearance for the first time since Marcos announced last December that there would be no more public appearances for a while because the EZLN was preparing for a war they were sure was coming. Comandantes Masho and Ismael appeared with them. The occasion was the visit of a brigade from the National and International Caravan of Observation and Solidarity with the Zapatista Communities. Marcos and Moises each addressed the brigade. Marcos, assuming more or less the role of an educator to the group of mostly first-time visitors, talked to them about the EZLN’s beginnings in 1983 as a tiny guerrilla “foco” in the Chiapas jungle, and how it evolved into an indigenous army. He also discussed the reasoning behind the break with the institutional left in the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle. Marcos introduced the 2 comandantes, Masho and Ismael, who would accompany the brigade to the 2 communities (Galeana and San Alejandro) accused by the Mexican army of growing marijuana. Lt. Col. Moises described the process of constructing autonomy to the visitors. The brigade also visited new communities constructed on recuperated land to learn about the history of the fincas and how it was before the January 1, 1994 Zapatista Uprising. No was mention was made about a date for resuming the 2nd Stage of the Other Campaign. 

2.   Caravan of Observation and Solidarity -  Over 300 national and international observers divided into brigades and visited Zapatista communities during the first two weeks of August.  They traveled to the Caracoles of La Garrucha, Oventik, Morelia and La Realidad, as well as the Huitepec Ecological Reserve, Cruzton and other Zapatista sites recently threatened by provocations from the Army and police. They celebrated the 5th anniversary of the Caracoles and the Good Government Juntas on August 8 and 9 and issued a report verifying the militarization of Zapatista zones and the absence of drugs in Zapatista communities.

3.  11 Atenco Prisoners Sentenced; Ignacio del Valle to 45 More Years in Prison -
On August 21, 11 prisoners arrested during the brutal police repression of May 3-4, 2006 in San Salvador Atenco were sentenced for alleged crimes arising out of the confrontation between protesters and police. Ignacio del Valle, leader of the Peoples Front in Defense of Land (FPDT, its initials in Spanish), was sentenced to 45 years in prison plus a monetary fine for alleged “kidnapping.” He is already serving a sentence of 67 years and six months in a maximum security prison for a “kidnapping” which allegedly occurred which allegedly occurred during an incident prior to the May 2006 confrontation. The other 10 already in prison received sentences of 31 years, 10 months and 15 days in prison plus a fine. Many see these sentences as revenge by the governor of the state of Mexico, Enrique Pen~a Nieto. Lawyers for all eleven prisoners indicated that they will appeal the sentences.

4.  Another Montes Azules Eviction Imminent? - The ARIC UU-ID, a campesino organization with members living in communities inside the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, reported that state and federal officials arrived in Rancheria Corozal by helicopter on August 15. Fifty (50) members of the federal army and state judicial police also arrived to accompany the officials, who measured occupied surfaces and counted housing units while the soldiers and police assumed attack positions (guns pointed). Next, officials told residents that they had to accept “relocation” or indemnification. Officials also warned residents that if they did not accept, they would be evicted by force. The campesino organization, related to the PRD state government, said residents will not leave voluntarily. The same threats of eviction were also made by government officials in the village of El Suspiro. 

5.  Paramilitary Attacks on Zapatistas in Chilon - On August 31, the Zapatista Good Government Junta in Morelia issued a denunciation regarding a series of attacks by Opddic members on Zapatistas of Kan akil community (Olga Isabel autonomous municipality), official municipality of Chilon, in the northern zone of Chiapas. Some may remember that Kan akil is where a Zapatista was murdered by paramilitaries during the violent summer of 2002. Unfortunately, the Opddic has gained control of the Chilon municipal council, thus giving the paramilitaries impunity for their actions. 

 

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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.
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 posted on our web page: 
http://www.chiapas-support.org
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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.  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