APRIL 2012 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. Campaign To Free Alberto Patishtan and Francisco Santiz Lopez – The Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) in Chiapas launched an intense national and international campaign to win freedom for Alberto Patishtan and Francisco Santiz Lopez, both of whom are “political prisoners.” Patishtan is a member of the Zapatistas’ Other Campaign and Santiz is a Zapatista support base. The campaign also demands the presentation of Alonso López Luna, disappeared and presumed dead in the Banavil conflict of December 4. The Movement for Justice in the Barrio is collaborating with Frayba to coordinate an International week of action and protest May 15 to 22.
2. Two More Other Campaign Members Tortured and Imprisoned - During the last week in April, La Jornada reported on the torture and unjust imprisonment of 2 more men from San Sebatian Bachajon (SSB) Antonio Estrada Estrada and Miguel Vázquez Deara. Both men sent their accounts of detention, torture and incarceration to La Jornada via family members. Both men are accused of auto theft on the Ocosingo-Palenque Highway. Both were tortured in order to obtain confessions.Vazquez Deara has been in the Ocosingo Prison since Septemberb 2011. Antonio Estrada has been in the Playas de Catazaja Prison since August 2011. These are two more incidents that demonstrate the government’s efforts to “break” the resistance of SSB to tourism development.
3. La Garrucha Denounces Land Grabbing in Francisco Villa - On April 24, the Good Government Junta in La Garrucha denounced a wave of land invasions and attacks against the community of Nuevo Paraiso in Francisco “Pancho” Villa autonomous municipality, a little to the east of the city of Ocosingo. The lands in question are lands recuperated by the EZLN after its 1994 Uprising. The Junta states that the invaders are from the communities of Pojkol, Guadalupe Victoria and Las Conchitas. Ther are armed and have invaded corn and coffee fields to steal the crops and sell them. The Junta also says that the invaders cut the wire fencing that encloses pastureland for cattle and let out all the animals, then burned the fence posts. Another destructive tactic being used by the invaders is to pollute the water supply with dead animals and women’s underwear. According to the Junta, the invaders from Las Conchitas belong to ARIC Historic, a pro-government faction of the old ARIC, and the invaders from Guadalupe Victoria belong to the ORCAO. The purpose of these actions is to obtain legal title to the land from the government and drive away the Zapatistas. The government cooperates with the invaders as part of its “soft” counterinsurgency war against the Zapatistas and grants legal title to invaders.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Ambush in Cheran, 2 Dead and 2 Injured - On April 18, paramilitary groups associated with organized crime and the woodcutters that operate in the region ambushed Cheran residents while they were re-foresting land. Two Cheran residents were murdered and two others injured. According to the Michoacan state attorney general’s office, 6 of the attackers were also killed, but Cheran authorities say they did not kill them and know nothing about how the 6 died. The attorney general’s office is using the old “inter-community conflict” label, just like the government did in Acteal. In other words, they blame the victim for the crime. Cheran is an indigenous Purepecha community that declared itself autonomous in order to organize its own self defense against the paramilitaries and woodcutters by forming community police and electing its own authorities through traditional indigenous methods (known as uses and customs). Cheran is adhered to the EZLN’s Other Campaign.
2. General Law for Victims Approved by Deputies - On April 30, Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies unanimously approved the General Law for Victims. The law establishes a system of attention to victims that includes the right to truth, justice and reparations for damages. It also institutes guarantees of no repetition. It also creates a National Registry for Victims. The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD) and non-governmental organizations promoted the law.
3. Javier Sicilia Tours US – Javier Sicilia is making appearances in the United States to promote his caravan to Washington, DC in August. Sicilia and the MPJD plan to lead a caravan from San Diego to Washington, DC to demand alternatives to the drug war in Mexico from the US government. Such alternatives could be: decriminalization of drugs that are currently illegal; stricter gun control; immigrant rights and an end to funding the drug war in Mexico.
In the United States
1. Wal-Mart de Mexico, International Scandal – On April 21, the New York Times published the results of a long and extensive investigation into the business practices of Wal-Mart de Mexico, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wal-Mart in the United States. The results of the investigation showed that Wal-Mart de Mexico executives bribed Mexican government officials in order to obtain building permits for their enormous expansion throughout Mexico. The investigation also showed that Wal-Mart executives in the US knew about the bribes and covered it up for approximately the past 5 years or more. Bribe money was used to unclog bureaucratic delay, environmental concerns and community objections. The startling numbers show that Wal-Mart de Mexico now has 2, 087 different kinds of stores with different names throughout the country and that it has driven a lot of smaller Mexican businesses into bankruptcy. Its practices appear to violate both US and Mexican laws. The US Justice Department is investigating potential violations of the federal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The entire shocking article can be read in English at:
2. Summit of the Americas – The Sixth Summit of the Americas was held in Cartagena, Colombia on April 14 and 15. While the US corporate media reports that a big sex scandal occurred among Secret Service agents and Colombian prostitutes, issues of substance also occurred. The US was taken to task for the embargo against Cuba and the attending countries vowed that there would not be another Summit without Cuba. The issue of legalizing/decriminalizing drugs was also discussed and, while no decisions were made, the fact that it is being discussed at all among the member countries as an alternative to the bloody drug wars favored by the United States is significant. The US lobbied hard to keep legalization as an alternative to a drug war from being considered. Another issue dividing the US and Canada from other countries is Argentina’s position on the Falkland Islands (las Malvinas). The countries were unable to agree on a consensus document summarizing the Summit.
Compiled monthly by the Chiapas Support Committee.
The primary sources for our information are: La Jornada, Enlace Zapatista and the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba).
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Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas
P.O. Box 3421, Oakland, CA 94609
Tel: (510) 654-9587