NOVEMBER 2011 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
Thank You for Supporting Our Annual Zapatista Celebration
1. EZLN Celebrates 28th Anniversary – On November 17, the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) celebrated 28 years since its founding on that date in 1983, when 6 members of the National Liberation Forces (FLN) entered the Lacandón Jungle to begin organizing. In keeping with current security measures in Zapatista communities, members of the press are not permitted entry to report on the celebrations, so there are no details about the celebrations.
2. The Hunger Strike Ends, Only 2 Are Released – As we reported in our mid-month news update, the hunger strike was suspended on November, 7. Although the government agreed to review the records of the indigenous prisoners involved in the hunger strike, the prisoners suspended their protest to prevent anyone from suffering permanent organ damage. A week later, Jose Díaz and Andrés Nuñez Hernández were released from the state prison in San Cristóbal de las Casas, apparently without conditions. On November 16, Juan Collazo was transferred back to the San Cristóbal prison, where his fellow members of Solidarity with The Voice of El Amate are held. He had been isolated from his compañeros for more than a year in the Motozintla State Prison.
3. Child of Hunger Strike Couple Dies – On November 3, it was learned that the son of a couple participating in the protest by Chiapas prisoners had died the week before. Neither of the parents were released after the hunger strike ended. The heart-wrenching story of this couple and their first-born child is posted on our blog at: https://compamanuel.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/child-of-hunger-strikers-dies/
4. Commission Visits Alberto Patishtán in Sinaloa Prison – A commission made up of Alberto Patishtán’s daughter (Gabriela), Sacario Hernández and a member of the civil society group working in support of the prisoners visited Alberto Patishtán in the federal prison located in Guasave, Sinaloa. The commission reported that Patishtán was not receiving appropriate medical care for his glaucoma and is confined to an individual cell 23 hours per day. In other words, he is being punished for organizing other indigenous prisoners and defending their rights.
5. Cocopa to Promote Indigenous Rights Law in Congress – The Commission of Concordance and Pacification (Cocopa) will promote before the plenary session of the Chamber of Deputies its initiative in favor of peace in Chiapas and the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples. In order to impel said project, three forums will be held in the San Quintín Valley of Baja California, in Comitán, Chiapas, and a third yet to be defined to collect society’s opinion. Jaime Martínez Veloz, representative of the Chiapas state government in the Cocopa, maintained that the indigenous theme is pending on the national political agenda and in no way can a democratic transformation of State be impelled if the voice and participation of the indigenous peoples is not included. The first forum is scheduled for December 11.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Interior Minister Blake Mora Dies in Plane Crash – On November 11, Mexico’s Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora, and seven others, including pilots and staff members, died in the crash of a government helicopter. Although investigations are on-going, all current evidence points to poor visibility as the cause of the crash. The Interior Minister is the 2nd most powerful federal official (after the president) in Mexico. Blake More was also the one responsible for the “war against organized crime.” Alejandro Poire, the head of Mexico’s national intelligence agency, Cisen, has been appointed to replace Blake Mora. Poire was also spokesperson for the national security cabinet and a strong supporter of Calderón’s “war against organized crime.” Poire is the 5th Interior Minister since Calderón took office 5 years ago.
2. Complaint Against Calderón Filed in International Criminal Court for War Crimes – On November 25, Mexican attorney Netsaí Sandoval filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, alleging that Calderón has covered up and tolerated war crimes and crimes against humanity. Propelled bIt accuses them all of y Mexican human rights groups, the complaint is signed by 23, 000 Mexicans and documents 470 cases. The complaint also includes several members of the Calderón Cabinet, among them the Secretaries of National Defense, Navy and Public Security, Guillermo Galván, Francisco Saynez and Genaro García Luna, respectively, besides the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán. It accuses them all of of “systematic repetition” of abuses against civilians. The lawyer said he wanted the Court’s chief prosecutor to begin monitoring the situation in Mexico, where La Jornada reports over 50, 000 people have died since 2006 when Calderón began his war against organized crime. President Calderón vowed to vigorously defend against the complaint.
3. Movement For Peace Activist Murdered in Hermosillo, Mexico – On November 28, unidentified men shot repeatedly from a passing vehicle and killed Nepomuceno Moreno Munoz, an activist with the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD). The murder occurred in Hermosillo, capital of Sonora state, a little after noon in a downtown area. The MPJD organization had requested protection for Moreno Munoz from President Calderón because he was investigating the disappearance of several youths, including his own son. He had testified against some people involved in the disappearances, which allegedly included police. Last month, Pedro Leyva Dominguez, who also participated in the MPJD, was murdered. Leyva Dominguez was a member of the Commission for Defense of Communal Property in Santa María Ostula and one of the Communal Guards. He served as a representative to the MPJD. He was also one of those who struggled to recuperate the Nahua lands in Santa María Ostula and to establish the community of Xayakalán.
In the United States
1. Pentagon Giving Contracts to Mercenaries for Mexico – Wired Magazine reports that an obscure office in the Pentagon is awarding military contracts totaling over $3 billion to private security firms for services designed to stop drug-funded terrorism on a global scale. The article specifically mentions Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia and Mexico as countries in which contracts would be awarded. No specific dollar amounts are indicated in the article. The little-known office with all that money is the Counter Narco-Terrorism Program Office (CNTPO) in the Defense Department. Possible contracts related to Mexico include: training for armed forces drivers; training for pilots, mechanics for UH-60, Schweizer 333 or OH-58 helicopter teams, for the Public Security Ministry; the training of up to 48 people to command and pilot Bell 206 helicopters; the development and delivery of a study program, offering all the necessary personnel, equipment and materials, and conducting night vision training to pilots and crew members of helicopters. The entire article is available in English at: https://compamanuel.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/195/ or en español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/11/23/mundo/032n1mun The awarding of these contracts takes place as the Merida Initiative is set to expire. (See below)..
2. Merida Initiative Set to Expire – The 3-year security agreement between the US and Mexico known as the Merida Initiative expires on December 31, 2011. Also known as “Plan Mexico,” the security agreement provided Mexico with 1.4 billion dollars to fight a drug war. A recent report by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) criticizes the Merida Initiative as contributing to human rights abuses in Mexico and makes a comparison to Plan Colombia The entire report can be downloaded in English from WOLA’s web site: http://www.wola.org/
Compiled monthly by the Chiapas Support Committee / Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas
P.O. Box 3421, Oakland, CA 94609
Tel: (510) 654-9587