Communique from Las Abejas, issued one year after the release of the paramilitaries.
The Civil Society organisation Las Abejas (the Bees) “returned to the main square in San Cristobal to continue protesting (…) A year ago, on 12 August 2009, the so-called Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation decided to free 29 paramilitaries, perpetrators of the Acteal Massacre”. They denounced Sabines because “he gave the paramilitaries a reward of land and houses which a campesino could not pay for even by working for 10 years (the time the paramilitaries were in jail)” while “we have seen [them] walking around the paths of Chenalho (…) with new cars, and now they’ve become moneylenders”. Then they rejoiced in “the liberation of the FPDT prisoners from Atenco”.
In their monthly bulletin on 22 August, they declared: “We know that our enemy is strong and powerful and that to beat him we will have to unite our struggles and thoughts to build strategies. This capitalist neoliberal monster is still persecuting and killing us. The consequences are fatal [but] we know the words of the freed prisoners who say that they are in prison only because they are evangelicals or because they are poor and indigenous. If it is true that they are Tzotzils, they are screwed by the policies of the bad government just like we are, but they are not in jail for being evangelicals” (…) many are not real evangelicals but just joined in jail.”
Harrassment of people from the Zona Costa (Coastal zone)
The Digna Ochoa Human Rights Centre denounced “the harassment by the CFE of members of the Autonomous Regional Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas, members of the EZLN’s Other Campaign.” Specifically, “CFE staff have been into the communities to take photos of comrades who are in civil resistance against high electricity prices and the CFE have also set deadlines for people who are resisting to pay their debt to the CFE (…) threatening that if they do not pay then appropriate legal action will be taken”.
Finally the centre requests “the end of harassment by the CFE, the end of threats and intimidation, holding the state and federal governments responsible for allowing these disproportionate actions by the parastatal”.
El Pueblo Creyente (the Believing People) of Chenalhó oppose the ciudades rurales (rural towns)
El Pueblo Creyente from the Parish of San Pedro Chenalhó are concerned: “we see how our country is and especially what is to come in our land and territory of Chenalhó.” “The bishops gathered in Aparecida stated: Indigenous peoples are threatened in their physical, cultural and spiritual existence… suffer serious attacks on their identity and survival, as economic and cultural globalization threatens their very existence as distinct peoples.”
They added “we are concerned about the proposed rural towns that are being imposed without consulting the people, (…) the government does not say clearly what really brings this mega project or if it is for good or ill of the people.”
“The rural towns were not invented by governments, but rather have a history of many hundreds of years, for example: since the colonization of Latin America, at that time they were not called rural towns but were known as reducciones, with the objective of enhancing easy and efficient control of the population for collect taxes, using them as manual labour for mines and plantations and for the construction of the cities of the Spanish and, of course, for political and military control. “ They concluded: “we, the believers from Chenalhó, have come to the conclusion that we must decisively reject the construction of rural towns. (…) Because it is clear that this plan is to make us abandon our land so it can be occupied by multinational companies and that once we are all concentrated in one place, they can control us and force us to grow other crops”.
“It is very clear in the government publicity with giant signs saying: ‘Prevent Fire, change farming practices’. We know that the government offers a lot of money to buy the land, but the earth is our mother, God has given us the land”.
Special: THE STRUGGLE IN SAN CRISTOBAL
The ecclesiastical base communities of the seven parishes in the central area of San Cristobal de Las Casas, denounced “the sad and painful situation that is happening, the deterioration and destruction of the hills by the indiscriminate extraction and exploitation of stone material, and also the plan to construct the SORIANA complex “. ”We call on all civil society organizations, communities and society in general (…) to build a common front to prevent the spread of transnational projects”
Several groups demanded “an end to the destruction of the mountains of Salsipuedes”. They denounced “the brutal ecological degradation caused by the mining of a huge open pit mine for gravel and sand”. They insisted that “the opening of new mineral extraction banks has increased mining in the last three years (…) the impact of open pit mines on health is direct, (…) they affect the respiratory system, [and cause] climatic change ”
Dozens of organizations reject “the construction of a new mega mall in San Cristobal.” “In 2004 a wetland area was destroyed to make way for the Chedraui megastore, in 2008 we had to mobilize to prevent [its destruction and takeover] by Wal-Mart, due to this mobilization Wal-Mart [is installed] in the south, affecting the settlements.” “Soriana, with the support of the state and municipal governments, seeks to install new municipal football and baseball stadiums.”
So, the installation and operation of this new commercial mega-centre means yet another violation of the rights to health, to a healthy environment, to water and recreation, for the people of the town of San Cristobal de las Casas. All this just to gratify the greed and excessive ambition of entrepreneurs and corrupt officials.
Las Abejas “expressed solidarity with honest journalists and aware citizens of San Cristobal in the face of the harassment which occurred a week ago because of their support for the people of San Cristobal, who do not want politicians and their businesses to go on destroying the city by exploiting the sand mines.” “We urge you not to be intimidated in your struggle. We are keeping up our protest against the imposition of megaprojects on our territory, the construction of rural cities in Chenalhó and other projects which do not bring life to our communities.”
SPECIAL: EUROPEAN BRIGADE IN SUPPORT OF THE ZAPATISTAS
A European brigade of solidarity, support and fellowship with the indigenous communities in rebellion, went to Chiapas to “affirm [their] support [for the] project to construct autonomy, to denounce the counterinsurgency policies of the bad governments trying to overthrow them, and to raise awareness of these realities in our own villages, neighbourhoods, and struggles”..
They presented their observations under ten headings:
Construction of autonomy “we have seen strong and substantial progress”…
Political Organization: “The people are in charge, making decisions and appointing their authorities in their assembly at various levels, with a sufficient number of people to allow them to take turns in the exercise of their responsibilities. They ensure the equitable sharing of financial and material resources and intervene in matters of justice, land and territory “…
Health: “One of the most significant advances has been in the reduction in infant and maternal mortality. They emphasise the “importance of the recovery of traditional medicine”…
Education: “To the Zapatistas, education is a process of which the school is part, but which also involves sharing and working in the community throughout life.” “All three levels of primary education last as long as it takes to learn them”…
Women: “A year before the uprising, in 1993, the Zapatistas announced the Women’s Revolutionary Law” “In all the autonomous areas there are groups of women who have an important role in the development of autonomy and self-emancipation” …
Land and Territory: “they affirm that they do not need money, what they want is to work. They work the land collectively, taking care of it to ensure that future generations can enjoy it “…
Agro-ecology: “Everything we take from the earth, we must put back, building on the fundamental principle of care for our ancestral land and natural resources through the rejection of the chemicals and the conservation of native seed” …
Communication: “One aspect of the creativity of the Zapatista movement in everyday resistance is the collective work of community radio and video-making teams”…
Current situation and counter-insurgency strategy of the bad governments: “All the Zapatista communities are faced with aggression so identical that we need do no more than confirm the existence of an overall strategy, developed at the highest level of political power, and closely linked to the interests of the international capitalist economy” …
Building Bridges: “In this struggle the Zapatistas are not alone. Over the years a network of solidarity with the Zapatista communities has been built up, of which the European brigade is part”…
Communities in the area of lower Tila denounce drainage project happening without their consent: http://chiapasdenuncia.blogspot.com/2010/08/video-denuncia-de-habitantes-de-la-zona.html
“The voice of Amate” denounces abuse by the director in the prison: http://chiapasdenuncia.blogspot.com/2010/08/denuncia-de-la-voz-del-amate-no-dejan.html
The MOCRI cnpa mn warns of prison violence in Tapachula: http://mocri-cnpa-mn.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=248&Itemid=29
Students in the bilingual indigenous school Jacinto Janek denounce government repression: http://chiapasdenuncia.blogspot.com/2010/08/denuncia-de-los-estudiantes-de-la.html
Members of the RC OCEZ begin torture inquiry: http://chiapas.indymedia.org/article_176102
Communities hand over arms and vehicle of the Mayor of Pantelho to the Fiscalia Indigena: http://chiapasdenuncia.blogspot.com/2010/08/comunidad-entregan-armas-y-vehiculo-de.html
OPEZ-MLN Calls for release of its prisoners in Chiapas in front of UN headquarters: http://escrutiniopublico.blogspot.com/2010/08/reclama-opez-mln-libertad-sus-presos-en.html
Community of Venustiano Carranza, adherent of the Other Campaign, denounces threats from a group of OCEZ RC: http://chiapas.indymedia.org/article_176212
Statement from the meeting of rural and indigenous women of southeast Mexico: http://chiapas.indymedia.org/article_176138
Harassment and threats against the Other Campaign in San Cristobal lead to cancellation of the the conference against repression: http://chiapas.indymedia.org/display.php3?article_id=176078
Ejidatarios from Tila denounce dispossession before the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation: http://chiapasdenuncia.blogspot.com/2010/08/ejidatarios-de-tila-denuncian-despojo.html
Statement of Autonomous Women from the Chiapas Coast: http://chiapas.indymedia.org/article_176209
Rancho La Granada: The OCEZ FNLS demonstrates the criminalization of protest and clarifies the facts: http://escrutiniopublico.blogspot.com/2010/08/aclaracion-de-ocez-fnls-sobre-rancho-la.html
Blackfire Mines: Rema Chiapas demands investigation of corruption at City Hall: http://escrutiniopublico.blogspot.com/2010/08/rema-chiapas-demanda-investigacion-por.html
Adherents of the Other Campaign in the community of Mitziton denounce government’s failure to relocate paramilitaries: http://escrutiniopublico.blogspot.com/2010/08/denuncian-en-mitziton-incumplimiento-de.html