Tuesday April 12, 2011
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. April 11. ‘Official’ groups of government supporters from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón (municipality of Chilon) have been threatening, according to the ejidatarios who are adherents to the Other Campaign, to “take” human rights defenders and people who come to show solidarity. Although the lawyers for the five indigenous prisoners have not ceased to work on their defence, doing so puts them at risk. Not long ago, [human rights] defenders from the Chiapas coast were imprisoned for doing their work.
This [risk] applies also to civilian observers and supporters of the Other Campaign, and to the media, both alternative and commercial, and potentially even to the tourists, many of whom flock to the resort, in greater numbers now, as a holiday period approaches. The threats are justified [by the official groups] on the grounds that these “foreigners” could be the cause of the “problem.”
Similar threats have been circulating in recent times in Mitzitón, another community belonging to the Other Campaign that resists road and tourist projects designed by the government and private investors. In Bachajón this is happening in the context of the current police occupation of some sites, which began on February 2nd, and has been growing since the 8th of February, with the intervention of hundreds of police and military forces to retake the tollbooth for tourists in San Sebastian – briefly recovered the previous day by the communal farmers of the Other Campaign who originally built it – which gives access to the waterfalls of the neighbouring ejido of Agua Azul (Tumbalá), which also has its own tollbooth.
In various ongoing conflicts or community problems related to support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) or the Other Campaign, a pattern stands out, both one of hostility and aggression from ‘official’ groups towards autonomous ones, and one of clear state intervention, whether repressive, social or political.
The counterinsurgency strategy is not new, it is just evolving and becoming even more evident. In San Sebastian it has been discovered that former adherents of the Other Campaign, who left the resistance in recent times, have privileges and state protection far greater than that granted to other groups affiliated to the government and political parties.