Boca en Boca No. 11 January 2011

Editorial (“Don’t chuck it, share it”)

Boca en Boca [“by word of mouth”] is an independent news sheet that aims to spread news of what is happening in the organised communities in Chiapas. It aims to oppose the strategy of the government and generate solidarity by providing summaries and extracts from the communities’ news releases. In the long term, the goal is to distribute it among the indigenous communities in their own language.

The Commemoration in Acteal

“Today is the 13th anniversary of the Acteal Massacre. For 156 months we have raised our voice, demanding justice for the state’s crime. 13 years after the massacre, it seems that the whole of Mexico has fallen into the hands of the Lords of Xibalba [the evil lords of the Mayan underworld], who impose their laws of fear and darkness. Las Abejas denounce the threats and harassment that they have brought to Chiapas in recent weeks, against Margarita of the Network for Communication and Training NGO, against the Frayba Centre for Human Rights, against the independent blogger Hector Bautista, against Julio Cesar Perez Ruiz, against Jose Alejandro Meza, member of RPMSMAST. All of these are innocent voices.”

The Commemoration, entitled Weaving Resistance and Autonomy against Counter-Insurgency and Dependency, denounced “the resort of the government to counter-insurgency and repression, because it knows that it can only impose its mega-projects by dividing and weakening our organisations…”

“The government has tried to destroy Las Abejas, first with lead bullets, and then with promises of support and hand-outs, to divide us and distract us from our central demand, which is for justice. As the bad government believes it has weakened us enough, it is opening the prison gates to let out its paramilitary allies, and it is trying to implement its mega-projects in Chenalhó… Only a few days ago one of our comrades from Las Abejas was working in her corn-field when she heard fire-arms being let off. In this community some of the paramilitaries that were freed have already returned to live.”

The Commemoration went on to discuss the Rural Cities mega-project in Chenalhó: “Las Abejas were the first to denounce the project, followed by the rest of the Chenalhó Parish… Now all parties are rebelling against it, including even the same Priistas that initially supported it… In this way we see that in spite of the aim of the government to weaken and destroy Las Abejas, we have come out stronger, and what we say is taken account of by other organisations. We will never give up the fight, and we will never give up hope, because we know that our struggle, like the growing of maize, takes time to bear fruit.”

Vicente Guerrero Collective, Zinacantan

“We decided to make ourselves independent [not accepting government support] in our communities in order to organise ourselves better. For a long time we have been resisting, and organising ourselves in collectives, so we can struggle against the neo-liberal system. We want to improve our villages and world. We demand that the government implements the San Andres Accords… We denounce multi-national companies which want to expropriate the lands of our comrades by implementing projects, offering them the false promise of better homes.”

“We see no advance, and no change. The communities continue being repressed by the political parties, who follow the same ideology as the exploiters. The history of our grandfathers tells us how the organisation of our communities has come about, how to improve our lives, how to select our own authorities, how to struggle so that our own way of living and resisting is respected.”

“Our way of living is to follow our own customs, and this is how we are going to go on organising ourselves. To achieve this in practice we have set up our own shop for the collective. We are thinking about how to create our own health service, which will be more reliable. We select our own authorities to resolve problems, because when the government sticks its hand into these things it only makes things dirty and destroys them… We will go on resisting”.

Statement by Innocent Voices

Innocent Voices, a group of ex-prisoners and families of existing political prisoners and supporters of The Other Campaign, expresses its concern at the state of health of Alfredo Lopez Jimenez who is in being held in Tonala Prison, Chiapas. Since 6th December 2010 he has been on hunger strike, and his health is now deteriorating every day. Instead of worrying about this, the prison governor sent some other prisoners to get Alfredo to end his hunger strike by throwing rubbish into his cell.

The same prisoners told Alfredo that it would be better if he got up and looked for somewhere else to stay so they could paint the area. If he refused, they’d send people to move him, for better or for worse. “In this way we [Innocent Voices] have found out that the penal authorities are ignoring Alfredo Lopez Jimenez’s struggle… we register our support and unconditional solidarity with this prisoner who is raising his voice to denounce the injustice occurring in the prison.”

Highway robberies denounced between Ocosingo and Palenque

Compañeros from the Other Campaign in Bachajon reported: “a robbery by masked and armed people between Palenque and Ocosingo. Authorities saw the thieves robbing unidentified people. Traffic police challenged them, but they managed to flee, the police didn’t see how many there were; the authorities didn’t chase them, but found ‘a 22 calibre rifle’ ”. Traffic police were aware of the incident, during the robbery “the police shot one of them”. At 6 o’clock the next day the community near the incident held a meeting. People from the communities nearby and members of the organization started to investigate and follow trails of blood from the robbers, until they got to the house of Morales Alvares’ family, non-members of the organization. According to an official, they are members of the council, “they are sons of the leader of the Movimiento oficialista”. “If the appropriate authorities do not take action on the issue, the community will do something about it” they claimed.

Information Links

Statement from the Network for Solidarity and against repression about the kidnapping of Diego F. De Ceballos:

PROCAMPO payments reclaimed in the border region:

Complaint against the pastor of Petalcingo, Tila:

Grupo de choque (paramilitary or similar group) operating in a community of Altamirano:

Complaint at the prison in Motozintla:

Complaint from Human rights committees of the Ch’ol Indian zone in Chiapas:

Threats to human rights advocate in northern Chiapas:

Weaving resistance and autonomy against Counterinsurgency and Dependence:

Municipal president of Pantelhó unpunished

Ejidatarios (common landholders) from las Limas, in the municipality of Pantelhó, Chiapas, still remember what happened in May 2010 when the municipal president was caught with 3 other people carrying guns and shooting in a public area. They have had their arms and van taken away but they could get them back by paying a fine. “On 20th August the municipal president sent 5 of his colleagues fully armed (…) and tried to get their guns and the vehicle back”. For this reason the ejidatarios handed in the guns and the van to the public prosecutor and asked publicly that the law be applied. “Up to now the authorities have not informed us about the application of the law to the municipal president”. They cited “Article No.71 of the political constitution of Chiapas, ‘Sanctions will consist of dismissal of the public servant who will be barred from holding office or any responsibility related to public service’ ”.

Denuncia from Network for Communication and Training NGO (Enlace, Capacitacion y Comunicación) of Comitán:

“On 10th November, the Network for Communication and Training NGO, from Comitán, collaborator with SIPAZ, and member of “Red por la Paz”, made a public denuncia (complaint) about a police raid on the house of one of their members: on 8th November at 3.30 am more than 18 armed police, wearing civilian clothes and balaclavas, broke abruptly into the home of Adolfo Guzman and his family, located in the city of Comitán. The police claimed they had a search warrant. “This incident seems to be part of a well-known tendency to criminalize the work of human rights defenders”. Also, the report explains what happened during this operation, commenting: “It is important to say that these events happened as part of a series of searches which took place the same night, against campesino leaders and women leaders of the “canasteras” (market traders). With these actions, the municipal government has demonstrated its lack of will to negotiate social problems, as well as showing its inability to establish political dialogue to resolve conflict in a peaceful way. Its stance is to criminalize any social protest or fight for workers’ rights”

Against displacement from San Cristóbal market

Market traders from José Castillo Tielemans market in San Cristóbal de las Casas, remember its history: “40 years ago a lady under the name of Eferbina Ballina donated José Castillo Tielemans market”. Thet comment: “a year ago the construction of a new market in the north of San Cristóbal city started to take place (…) This market was agreed by local residents of the 48 neighbourhoods (colonias) of the northern zone of the city with the authorities, who promised 60 stalls (puestos) for each neighbourhood. However, later the president changed the agreement to only 6 stalls for each neighbourhood and only 5 for the others. This happened because the authorities wanted everyone to go to the new market in the north. “The plans for José Castillo Tielemans market are unknown to us”. “Some people say that the municipality have sold it to the private company Soriana, other people say they are going to turn it into a new park”.
Some newspapers have said “that the municipal president is going to evict us by force, because they have all the backup of the authority and have heavy machinery. According to them we do not have the right to speak out because we are not citizens of San Cristobal, but that is not true. Moreover, the Mexican Constitution says that all human beings have the right to protest, and as members of the Other Campaign, we are going to defend our trading centre, José Castillo Tielemans market, because it is our living”.
They demand “respect for all the market traders that want to continue working in José Castillo Tielemans market.”

UK in struggle
In the UK students are protesting against the trebling of tuition fees at English Universities. The UK coalition government is in the process of introducing a stringent programme of cuts and redundancies in all public services. These have resulted in a series of protests. There have been four national days of action, most recently on 9th December 2010, when 30,000 people protested in Central London, marching on Parliament on the day when the government passed the increases. The police attacked protestors and journalists. Mounted police on horseback charged the crowd and at least ten people received serious head injuries from police batons. Some of the students were as young as twelve. 22 people were arrested. The protests were not only in London, there were also actions in other cities such as Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Belfast, Brighton, Manchester and Bristol.
The gamble by the police was that using extreme violence against school students would scare them off the streets. This gamble has failed. It has simply increased the anger of these young people, who have learned a lesson about whose side the British state is on.
This is only the beginning!

Follow-up links for the previous edition

Paramilitary attack in Mitziton:
Radio Proletaria on the Internet:
Harrassment of the CFE, coastal zone:
Candelaria el Alto:
Political prisoner, CERSS No 13:
International accompaniment for Frayba:

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