Chiapas/Zapatista News March 2011

We are sending you the new edition of Boca en Boca, an independent magazine that aims at spreading information about what happens in the organized communities in Chiapas. The goal is to report the government’s strategies and create solidarity amongst the communities via extracts, announcements and summaries. In the long term, the aim is to distribute the magazine within the indigenous communities in their own languages.
As the organized communities in Chiapas are facing new escalations of violence and repression against them, this magazine issue contains summaries of statements from Bachajon, Mitziton, and from the Consejo Autonomo in the coastal zone. Amongst the many statements and support actions for the freedom of the prisoners, there is a poem and a letter from Palestine. 15 years since the San Andres agreement there is a presentation, and finally it returns to the dignified revolution of the Egyptian people.
If you would like the magazine in a different format, send us an email. Thank you for helping us to distribute it.
BoCa en BoCa Collective

Boca en Boca No 13, March 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 of 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.

Further escalation of violence and repression against the organized communities of Chiapas

More than 100 people arrested at Agua Azul

Adherents to the Other Campaign in the ejido of San Sebastian Bachajón denounced that on the 2nd February , about 60 people, “accompanied by a hundred policemen from different dependencies”, “broke into the toll booth”, “to take over the ecotourism centre at the waterfalls of Agua Azul”, “which had been recovered by the organization two years ago through their own efforts, after the government had seized the ecotourism centre as part of their plans to make profit through transnational investment; now after taking prisoners they are doing the same again”. “A member of the PRI lost his life in the confrontation.”

“We blame the government delegate for Chilon, the political co-ordinator and Noe Castañon León, the secretary of government, since this is the fruit of the meetings they have conducted with party leaders”.

On the 3rd February, “the groups of political party supporters had cut down trees to stop us crossing to reclaim the toll booth”. Hours later they were “surrounded by hundreds of policemen”, and “about 121 members of the Other Campaign were arrested and accused of various crimes”. “In one single night they say that all 107 ejidatarios were rushed into giving statements without being offered a translator.”

“Currently 10 compas are imprisoned, taken as hostages so that the government can achieve its goal”. Arguing that on the 12th February “5 members of the government presented at the San Jose en Rebeldía headquarters”, “insisting on dialogue with the state government over a draft agreement for the tollbooth. Once the government had signed the agreement, the 10 compas would be released. Since nobody wanted to dialogue with the government … the prisoners were being offered their freedom in exchange for the tollbooth and the ecotourism centre”.

Violence continues in Mitzitón

On the 13th February, ejidatarios from the community of Mitzitón, adherents to the Other Campaign, said they had suffered a “new attack by the paramilitary ‘Army of God’, in which two compas were taken prisoner, one of them was tortured, and then, later, one of our compas was shot in a gun attack”. They explained how their compas were kidnapped and tortured and how they tried to free them. It was the Sub-delegate of the Government of the Altos (Highland) Region who negotiated with the kidnappers. On the same day, at 11 at night, “the paramilitaries arrived and opened fire” wounding an ejidatario from Mitzitón.

On the 14th of February, they reported that the “compa Andrew (one of the kidnapped) is now back in the community, but delicate and can hardly move due to the beating he received.” “Carmen (the injured ejidatario) remains in hospital in San Cristobal, his condition is stable”.
“As the organized people of Mitzitón, we gather day and night in the ejidal house” since the 13th February. On the 26th, an ejidatario from Mitzitón “was attacked with stones by a group of paramilitary aggressors.”

Later an ejidatario was attacked on arriving home, “his parents are part of one of the groups of aggressors and at that time he found them drinking alcohol” with other offenders. In trying to help him, 3 other people were injured and taken to the Red Cross. On the 27th, “other members of the same group of aggressors” arrived at his house, “taking pictures, and it was feared that they would falsely blame the injured compas for the damage, fabricating crimes so that the bad government would have a pretext to take us to jail”

“We denounce the fact that the serious threats and attacks by this group have increased since 2009, when we decided to fight in an organized way to defend our territory which they want to plunder; the violence on their part against us has been escalating and coincides with the attacks on our compas, also adherents [to the Other Campaign], from Bachajón and the Coast”.

“If you go for one of us, you go for all of us”
On the 16th of February, the Regional Autonomous Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas denounced the fact that the “Government of the State of Chiapas has intensified the attacks against our brothers and sisters who struggle and resist in the communities of Mitziton and Bachajón to defend their land and territory, used government force to repress our comrades who are adherents to the Other Campaign, …. and has used confrontations within the communities, imprisonment, physical attacks and media attacks, … so, faced with this situation, we reassert our commitment as adherents to the EZLN’s Other Campaign, and if they go for one of us, they go for all of us”.

In line with these statements, on the 22nd February, “we set up a road block at the hill above las Pilitas between Tonalá and Pijijiapan”, where a dozen people were arrested and three lawyers from the Digna Ochoa Human Rights Centre were detained. After these arrests, they called for the accompaniment of “a Motorised March (caravan) from the coast to the Cereso (prison) of El Amate and Tuxtla Gutierrez, on the 2nd of March, the date of the statutory deadline for the liberation of our compas.”

They also joined the “global call to mobilize on 7th and 8th March in a Worldwide Day for the release of the political prisoners from San Sebastian Bachajon, from the Regional Autonomous Council and from all Chiapas. This activity has been a proposal from New York”. On that day they achieved the release of the jailed lawyers, subject to the law, which means that the criminal proceedings against them, for the crime of ‘riot’, remain open.

They conclude: “A special mention is needed for the human rights defenders of the Digna Ochoa Human Rights Centre, who have been accused of being the leading representatives of the movement, when their role has been to protect the security of the communities in a correct act of the professionalism which characterizes them and which should be more common in the current situation, since the government has followed the ancient policy “if you don’t like the message, shoot the messenger”.

Information links:
Repudiating the repression against journalists in Chiapas, the criminalization of social protest, and the bloodbath, the FNLS celebrates the anniversary of the constitution with marches and roadblocks.
Members of the OPECH report corruption, $93, 500 pesos stolen and the fraud by the manager of the SRA for productive goods (Ministry of Agrarian Reform) in Chiapas.
Roadblock by the Lakluma Ixim organization, [on the road] between Yajalon and Tila, for the 94th anniversary of the Mexican Political Constitution, denouncing violence.
Organized women’s collectives in the North area of Chiapas declare themselves in opposition to the privatization of land and ecotourism; and they demand respect for their way of organizing and living.
The United people for the Defence of the Electricity Energy (PUDEE) of the Selva north region, denounce harassment from the CFE (Federal Electricity Commission) and their striving to divide the communities.
Various organizations are calling on civil society to protest against National Immigration Laws in Arriaga, Chiapas.
The Comité de Campesinos Pobres (Poor Campesinos Committee) declare their support for the families of the indigenous tzeltal political prisoners, and demand their immediate and unconditional freedom.

Local, state, national and international support for the political prisoners of Chiapas
Free Palestine, end the occupation
Letter from Mohammed Khateeb and Mahmud Zawahre, from Palestine to Chiapas.
We wish to share with you a poem by our national poet, Mahmud Darwish: {the prison cell}

It is possible…. It is possible sometimes….
It is especially possible now Inside a prison
To ride on horseback
And escape….
It is possible for the prison walls
To disappear, For the cell to become a distant land Without borders:
– What did you do with the walls?
– I gave them back to the rocks. – What did you do with the roof? – I made it into a saddle.
– And your chains? – I turned them into a pencil. The guard became angry
He ended my dialogue.
He said he did not care for poetry
And he locked me in my cell.
He came back to see me In the morning,
He shouted to me:
– Where has all this water come from? – I brought it from the Nile – And the trees?
– From the gardens of Damascus
– And the music?
– From my heartbeats.
 The guard was annoyed;
He ended my dialogue.
He said he did not like my poetry,
And he locked my cell,
But he returned at dusk:
– Where did that Moon come from?
– From the nights of Baghdad.
– And the wine?
– From the vineyards of Algiers.
– And this freedom?
– From the chain you tied me with yesterday.
The guard became very sad.
He begged me to give him back His freedom.

In solidarity and struggle
Mohammed Khateeb, Co-ordinator of the Popular Committee of Al Ma’asara
Mahmud Zawahre, Popular Committee of Bil’in

The Signing of the San Andres Accords, 16th February 1996
The 16th of February was the fifteenth anniversary of the signing of the San Andres Accords, commitments and joint proposals which the federal government agreed with the EZLN, to guarantee new relationships with the indigenous peoples, that is to say to put an end to the relationship of subordination, inequality, discrimination, poverty, exploitation and political exclusion.
{The Accords} called for the recognition of indigenous peoples in the constitution and of their right to free self-determination in the constitutional framework of autonomy. {The Accords offered them} increased political participation, the recognition of their political, cultural, social and economic rights, guaranteed full access to justice, the promotion their culture, a guarantee of education and training which would use and respect their traditional knowledge, in order to meet their basic needs … With all this in mind, each programme or project of the state would have to ensure the participation of indigenous peoples: free determination and autonomy, participation, pluralism, inclusiveness, and sustainability.

Egypt: eighteen days of rebel rage

Social rebellion in Egypt began on 25th January with large protest marches, a few weeks later. On Friday 28th, “the day of rage”, but also the weekly big day of Muslim prayers, in more than five cities hundreds of Egyptians protested. The repression was strong, with 200 dead, President Mubarak called for the army, made ​​major reforms, changed his government and appointed a vice president, but the people continued to stay in a protest in Tahrir Square. It was too late and not enough!
The 1st of February was the day of the million man march, which confirmed the re-vindication of the people, Mubarak spoke for a second time; on the 3rd February people from the government, or paid by the government, attacked the demonstrators, but they resisted and the army remained neutral. The government apologised for so much violence and on the 6th February started negotiations with the opposition, to no avail. From the 8th February a million people took to the streets peacefully, the demonstrators staying day and night in Tahrir Square, the movement won over the south of the country. On the 11th February, Mubarak left the country to go into exile.

Similar movements are now underway in Libya, Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco, Bahrain … the revolt grows in Arab countries…..

Links to follow up:
The Ch’ol people of Tila, Chiapas, report that the state authorities are forcing them to accept economic compensation for the 130 hectares of land that was taken away from them unconstitutionally.
The rural teacher training school at Mactumatzá, Chiapas (FECMS), ask Sabines to restore the internship taken from them by Salazar in 2003, and present their list of demands
Political prisoners offer solidarity to “the voice of Amate”; due to the injustice of the State towards the poor and marginalized of the indigenous communities, they are on hunger strike to demand their unconditional freedom from the government.
Communiqué from the civil society group “Las Abejas”, following 2 days of fasting and non- violent action in support of their brothers and sisters from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, who are currently suffering terror and death from the so called “war against drugs”.

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