Leader of the Emiliano Zapata Peasant Organization (OCEZ) released

Elio Henríquez
La Jornada
Tuesday, 24 November 2009, p. 29

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, 23 November. The historical leader of the Emiliano Zapata Peasant Organization (OCEZ), Jose Manuel Chema Hernandez Martinez, accused of harm and conspiracy, was released on bail tonight, unofficial sources.

At 20 hours, the indigenous leader, arrested on Sept. 30 in the community June 28, municipality of Venustiano Carranza, arrived by private plane at the airport in Tuxtla Gutierrez, from Nayarit high-security penal where He was transferred on Oct. 16.

According to some sources, the judge decided that the crimes of accusing Hernandez Martinez were considered not serious and would continue his criminal trial outside prison.

Meanwhile, it emerged that José Manuel de la Torre and Rosalio de la Cruz González, Chema fellow inmates at the prison in El Amate, Cintalapa municipality, were also released.

Following the arrest of its leaders, members of the OCEZ installed on October 26 a camp in the plaza of San Cristobal Cathedral on 30 October and took the offices of the United Nations Organization (UN) in this city.

The 17 members of OCEZ who seized the facilities of the international organization say they will not leave until his three companions are released and canceled the 11 arrest warrants against other militants.

The afternoon of Monday, before knowing about Chema release, OCEZ reported to have accepted the proposal made by Governor Juan Sabines through Diego Cadenas, director of Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, to install a table of debate on Thursday.

At a press conference 18:00, the group conditioned the talks on the release of the three leaders or that the authorities provide in the  a draft of withdrawal of prosecution for the three defendants, plus the cancellation of 11 arrest warrants.

OCEZ said to make substantial progress in resolving the conflict “requires the presence of Governor Juan Sabines, the secretary of government, Léon Noah Castanon, and other officials of the cabinet.

He argued that once fulfilled these demands the 17 members of the region OCEZ Carranza, who are holding the UN offices for 23 days, “will remove and evacuate the camp” that remain in the plaza of San Cristobal Cathedral de Las Casas since 26 October, and argued that the first contact between the parties is outside the UN offices.

“This is the fifth bid to convene the state government to talk and negotiate and we hope that the authorities respond to this call,” he said and stressed that OCEZ expect a public response in writing.

The organization also called for debate as “witnesses of honor,” the bishop emeritus of San Cristobal, Samuel Ruiz and representatives of the United Nations Program for Development and various social groups and nongovernmental organizations.


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