February 25, 2011
On Saturday 19 February a caravan departed to the Agua Azul region that was made up of members of different communities and civil and social organizations with the aim of “documenting the situation lived by the comrades, and to see and accompany the comrades of the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido […] and to give a voice to the women, who are affected by the conflict that is lived in the area whose voice would also like to be heard.”
Organized by the Centre for the Rights of Women in Chiapas, the Independent Movement of Women and the Feminist Brigade, together with different civil organizations from Chiapas, they sought to “open a space for women and families that are suffering from the difficulties in Agua Azul and to document the looting by the government and people from the community who are associated with it, beyond continuing to express our solidarity and demanding the release of the 10 comrades who are still unjustly imprisoned.” It should be remembered that on 2 and 3 February 117 ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Other campaign, were detained following a confrontation. 10 of them were sentenced to imprisonment “for crimes that they did not commit, like kidnapping, injuries, homicide, and damage to communications media and public peace,” while the rest were freed.
The communiqué released by the Caravan stressed that “[t]he violation of autonomy began some time ago with the government’s attempt to construct in Agua Azul a large tourist centre, using transnational capital, that would supposedly benefit the ejidatarios of Agua Azul who form part of the large ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón. The resistance of those who for many generations have taken care of and administered this beautiful space, which is part of their land and territory, has been long and heroic; but the government succeeded in coopting several leaders and destroying the dynamic of internal accords and unity. In collaboration with dissidents and through its dirty measures, it has succeeded in taking over the administration of the place using 3000 signatures that accept its intervention, though most of these signatures are of ejidatarios from other communities of the ejido, not from Agua Azul who do not respond to the historical interests and international rights of the indigenous peoples. We know that the so-called ‘dialogue-table’ carried out last Sunday, which was attended by governmental authorities and representatives of the official Council of Human Rights of the State, was a shameful celebration that attempted to legitimise the government’s intervention and the looting of the tourist centre of Agua Azul from its legitimate possessors, who are unfortunately now divided.”
The communiqué moreover disclosed that “[t]he war that is lived in Chiapas cannot any longer be covered up by promises or by the war on organized crime. The members of this caravan believe that the violation of autonomy of all those who reside in Agua Azul (not only one part of those in conflict) is part of the strategy of war of low intensity implemented by the different levels of state and federal government since 1994 that is now directed against the organized resistance of the Other Campaign, which finds its focus in Agua Azul, Mitzitón, Tila, Chicomuselo, and different territories where the peoples resist in defence of their land and territory.”