OCTOBER 2011 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. The Hunger Strike Continues! – On September 29, 7 indigenous prisoners started a hunger strike at the state prisons located in the municipalities of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Cintalapa and Motozintla. Another four began fasting for 12 hours per day for health reasons. Participants were members of The Voice of El Amate, Innocent Voices, Mitzitón prisoners and a group in solidarity with the Voice of El Amate. All are adherents to the EZLN’s Other Campaign. Two others joined the hunger strike and fast on October 3 and just this week 2 of those fasting have joined the total hunger strike. Family members of the prisoners set up an encampment (occupation) on Cathedral Plaza in San Cristóbal de las Casas and say they will not leave until their relatives are free. This is the season of intense rain throughout the state and both the prisoners and the occupiers are outside.
The Good News! – The 2 prisoners from Mitzitón community were released on October 15. Two of those prisoners fasting in solidarity joined the total hunger strike. Also, expressions of solidarity are reaching Mexico from all over the world. Together with other solidarity groups, the Chiapas Support Committee signed a Letter to the Editor, which was published by La Jornada.
The Bad News – On October 20, the federal government transferred Alberto Patishtán, spokesperson for the fasting prisoners, to a high security federal prison in Guasave, Sinaloa, along with other prisoners convicted of federal crimes. Patishtán was sentenced to 60 years in prison for an ambush and killing in El Bosque Municipality. He was falsely accused, but forced into confessing. At the time of his incarceration, he was a teacher. Although there is evidence of his innocence, including the admission of his accuser that he is innocent, the federal government refuses to release him. Those participating in the hunger strike and fast, the family members occupying the plaza in San Cristóbal and Other Campaign organizations analyze Patishtán’s transfer as an attempt to break up the protest! Prison authorities are also denying entry to an independent doctor to examine the prisoners as they complete one month without food!
2. Worldwide Declaration Circulated for San Marcos Avilés – The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) circulated a worldwide petition on behalf of the Zapatista support bases in the besieged community of San Marcos Avilés. Many thanks to all who signed the worldwide declaration. Frayba will release it when appropriate.
3. Urgent Action – Frayba also requested that organizations sign on to an Urgent Action letter to Felipe Calderón regarding the rapidly deteriorating situation in Chiapas. There was no time to circulate it throughout our lists, but we signed onto it. There are hundreds of organizations in Mexico and around the world that signed!
4. World Summit of Adventure Tourism Held In San Cristóbal, Chiapas – Mexico’s President, Felipe Calderón, was the keynote speaker at the World Summit of Adventure Tourism. It took place from October 17-20 in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism and the Governor of Chiapas also spoke. These annual summits are organized every year by the Adventure Travel Trade Association, in Seattle. Eddie Bauer is a major sponsor. The announced lineup of speakers included former Democratic Governor Bill Richardson, but there is no confirmation that he actually made an appearance. Calderón recommended adventure tourism as a way for indigenous people to escape poverty!
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Movement for Peace and the 2nd Meeting With Calderón – The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD) met with Mexico President Felipe Calderón for the second time on October 14 in Mexico City, just as the New York Times was reporting his determination to continue the war against organized crime. The MPJD is, of course, asking to stop that war. By all accounts, this was a non-meeting, meaning that no progress has really been made. Some members of the MPJD went to New York for a meeting with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The number of dead and disappeared continues mounting every day. No accurate figures are available from the government or from the MPJD anymore.
In the United States
1. Occupy Oakland Calls A General Strike! – Building on the success of Occupy Wall Street, a group of people started occupying the plaza in front of the Oakland City Hall. They renamed it Oscar Grant Plaza. Police dismantled the camp, prompting a protest march on the evening of October 25. Police brutally attacked demonstrators with tear gas and projectiles, causing the serious skull fracture of Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen who was marching with the protestors. City residents got really angry over the police brutality and the mayor admitted that it was a mistake and has now allowed the occupation to be put up again in front of city hall. The nightly assembly decided to call for a march and general strike on Wednesday, November 2. See:
Compiled monthly by the Chiapas Support Committee in Oakland, California.
The primary sources for our information are: La Jornada, Enlace Zapatista and the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba).
We encourage folks to distribute this information widely, but please include our name and contact information in the distribution. Gracias/Thanks.
News Summaries are now posted on our blog: https://compamanuel.wordpress.com
Click on the Donate button of www.chiapas-support.org to support indigenous autonomy.
Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas
P.O. Box 3421, Oakland, CA 94609
Tel: (510) 654-9587