AUGUST 2011 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. PERHAPS, the 3rd Letter from SCI Marcos to Don Luis Villoro on Ethics and Politics – Dated July-August of 2011, the 3rd letter in a series from Marcos to Don Luis Villoro is divided into 6 parts. Part I, The Local Mirror, is a commentary on the Chiapas political class. In Part II, An Epitaph for A Political Class or for A Nation, Marcos comments on Mexican politics and the economy, including charts to show the transfer of wealth to the rich and the rise in prices. Part III, Blaming the Victim, is an insightful commentary on how the Mexican government is blaming the victims for their own deaths by saying that the deaths are the result of drug traffickers “settling scores” with each other. In Part IV, Naming the Dead and Their Story, Marcos tells the story of a young man from Chihuahua who was killed by drug traffickers. Part V, Judging or Trying to Understand, is a critique of those who criticize Javier Sicilia and his movement and a reiteration of Zapatista support for the Movement for Peace. Part VI ends the letter with the story of a Zapatista who died in a car accident on the way to the San Cristobal march in support of Javier Sicilia’s movement. We already sent the English version to our e-mail lists and will soon have it posted here. The entire letter can be read in Spanish at:
2. La Realidad Junta Denounces Provocations in Monte Redondo Ejido – In a denunciation dated August 2, the Good Government Junta located in La Realidad, Chiapas, demanded that “provocations and damages” by authorities and ejido members of Monte Redondo (Frontera Comalapa Municipality) against EZLN support bases belonging to Tierra y Libertad autonomous municipality be stopped. They place responsibility on members of the four political parties: PAN, PRD, PRI and PVEM, and on the state government, for covering up the aggressions. The Junta described the provocations as land invasions and the damages as cutting down mature coffee bushes. The Junta alleges that these are the same political party members “that incarcerated Patricio Domínguez (a few months ago) because of a false accusation.” He was liberated after denunciations and the intervention of human rights organisms “because he did not commit any crime.”
3. Orcao Members Shoot At Zapatistas – This month, the Good Government Juntas in both La Garrucha and Morelia denounced aggressions by the Regional Organization of Ocosingo Coffee Growers (Orcao, its intials in Spanish). On August 14, the La Garrucha Junta reported further problems in Francisco Villa autonomous municipality. The Junta states that on August 12, Orcao members blocked the passage of Zapatistas who were going to work their fields, threatened to burn their vehicle and fired shots when one of the Zapatistas took out a camera to film the confrontation. Apparently, a bullet grazed one of the Zapatistas. Another Zapatista vehicle was shot at a little later. On August 13, entered Zapatista land to cut down trees and shot high caliber bullets. This lasted for two days. Interestingly, the Junta also reported that on July 27, Orcao members damaged Ocosingo’s municipal palace and a neighboring hotel because the municipal president “has not fulfilled his campaign promises.”
4. Orcao Members Destroy Zapatista Building in Patria Nueva – On August 17, the Junta in Morelia reported that 150 Orcao members burned a building belonging to Zapatista support bases in Patria Nueva. The building was used by international observers for cooking their food. It also reported an Orcao attempt to enter an autonomous secondary school (apparently unsuccessful) and a July 10 kidnapping of two cameramen from Morelia by Orcao members. The 2 Zapatistas were forced into a car and taken to a house in the city of Ocosingo and robbed of 2 video cameras, a computer, a cell phone and 600 pesos. The Zapatistas managed to escape after 2 of the kidnappers left and only one man remained to guard them.
The Chiapas-Guatemala Border
1. The Mexican Navy’s Principal Base for Fighting Drug Cartels Is Now In Veracruz – The Mexican Navy announced that it recently transferred its principal operations center for fighting drug trafficking to the southern state of Veracruz. In addition to patrolling the Suchiate River on the southern border between Guatemala and Chiapas, the Navy is also patrolling the Usumacintra River, which forms the eastern border between Chiapas and Guatemala. The Navy will conduct high-impact operations from the Veracruz center, principally against Los Zetas. This announcement came just a week or so after 3 members of the Navy and one cadet went missing en route to Veracruz.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. The Movement For Peace Marches Against National Security Law – On August 14, Javier Sicilia and members of the Movement for Peace marched in Mexico City against proposed revisions to the National Security Law that would make it legal for the Army to perform police functions (it is currently unconstitutional) and that would continue to protect the military from civil liability for human rights abuses.
2. Movement for Peace Heads South – The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity is organizing a “Caravan to the South” that will visit cities, towns, and rural communities in Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco, and Veracruz. The Caravan starts in Mexico City on September 8 and will return on the 18th, just prior to a second meeting with Calderon scheduled for September 23. In a letter to Subcomandante Marcos thanking him and all the Zapatistas for their continued support, Javier Sicilia confirmed that they would see each other when the Caravan heads south and reaches Chiapas.
In the United States
1. Senate Approves Earl Anthony Wayne as Mexico Ambassador – On August 2, the United States Senate approved President Obama’s appointment of Earl Anthony Wayne as Ambassador to Mexico. He replaces Carlos Pascual, who left because of problems with President Calderon over statements Pascual made about Mexico’s security forces not being up to the job of fighting the Drug War. His statements were contained in diplomatic cables revealed by Wikileaks. Ambassador Wayne is a career diplomat who most recently served as US Deputy Ambassador in Afghanistan.
2. US Widens Role In Mexico Drug War – On August 7, The New York Times published an article about the US establishing an intelligence post on a military base somewhere in Northern Mexico. There are less than 2 dozen DEA agents, CIA officials and retired military members from the Pentagon’s Northern Command working at the compound. They work in what the US calls a “fusion center;” in other words, a joint intelligence-gathering center. According to the article, Mexico’s president requested the fusion center after drug violence skyrocketed in Monterrey last year (2010) and signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding its implementation with President Obama in March of this year. This moves the US beyond its traditional role of sharing intelligence information to participating in its collection and the planning of operations. The US operates fusion intelligence centers in Iraq and Afghanistan “to monitor insurgent groups.” The NYT article also revealed that in addition to the 1.4 billion dollars in the Merida Initiative, “tens of millions of Defense Department dollars” have also been spent on “security assistance” in Mexico. The NYT reports that there is also a proposal to embed US contractors inside a Mexican counter-narcotics police unit. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/world/07drugs.html
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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News Summaries from previous months are now posted on our web page:
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Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas
P.O. Box 3421, Oakland, CA 94609