More Than 20 NGOs Join Caravan for Peace and Demand Attention to the Southern Border

Para leer en español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/09/13/politica/012n1pol

More than 20 NGOs Join the Caravan for Peace and Demand Attention to the Southern Border

** Since three presidential terms ago the region confronts repression as a system, they denounce

** Civil organizations strongly urge sharing experiences about situations of violence

[Foto of Monte Alban by Xinhua]

By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, September 12

Upon announcing their incorporation into the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity’s caravan, which will arrive in Chiapas this Wednesday, activists, academics, citizens and more than 20 civilian organisms admitted that, “understandably,” in the country the attention is “on the war against organized crime, particularly, but not exclusively in the North.” Nevertheless, they remembered, “we are living a war here of grave and profound consequences since for at least three presidential terms [18 years], a counterinsurgency strategy with a strong military occupation of the territory, the formation of paramilitary groups, and the repression and criminalization of social protest and human rights defenders.”

Starting with the 1994 Zapatista Uprising, they point out in a document, “tens of thousands of soldiers and marines have been installed in Chiapas territory, to which one would have to add those that recently arrived to reinforce the southern border.”

This “counterinsurgency war” seeks “the plunder of the territory of indigenous peoples for its exploitation in favor of transnational interests.” That brings “depredation and destruction of the natural wealth, cultural riches and the social fabric of the original peoples.” The document, presented today at a press conference, enumerates the “badly named ecotourist” projects, mining concessions, construction of dams, looting of biodiversity, and productive reconversion projects.

Besides, it goes on, “in Chiapas we begin to live through the first phases of the war against organized crime, as a consequence of the Mexican government’s submission to the United States’ desire” to open “another front” against organized crime at the southern border. “The conditions of violence that Mexico is living in have reached Guatemala and other Central American countries, in great measure because in Chiapas, principally in the border region, conditions of great violence exist that have repeatedly been made invisible.

“One must not forget that everything passes through the Chiapas border: migrants, drugs, arms and all kinds of illegal traffic. Here in the South we share with the Northern border kidnapping, the disappearance of migrants, executions and the murder of women.”

The civil organisms demonstrated that the arrival in the state of the caravan that Javier Sicilia heads “means the opportunity to meet together as peoples, communities and individuals, to share our experiences in relation to the situation of violence and death” provoked by the government of Felipe Calderón “with the pretext of the fight against organized crime.” They warned that: “the objective of the caravan is meeting with civil society and those who have been affected by the war, and therefore we condemn any attempt by the authorities and the political parties to capitalize on the mobilization for political-electoral purposes.”

The organisms expressed their solidarity and sympathy with the causes of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, as well as its rejection of the projected national security law and “the militarist focus.”

For Chiapas in particular they demanded an end to the counterinsurgency war and to the harassment of Zapatista communities or those of adherent to the Other Campaign, “and to all the peoples that defend their territory and their autonomy,” as well as “the liberation of political prisoners, free and safe transit for our migrant brothers, and that they fulfill the San Andrés Accords.”

____________________________________________________

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/09/13/politica/012n1pol

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