MARCH 2012 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. New Charge Against Zapatista Prisoner Halts Release – On March 28, the Good Government Junta in Oventik denounced the new federal charge against Francisco Santiz: “Carrying firearms for the exclusive use of the Army.” Francisco Santiz Lpez is a civilian Zapatista support base who was arrested and unjustly charged with killing a PRI member in Banavil community during a violent conflict there on December 4, 2011. Santiz Lopez received notice on March 22 that he had been cleared of the murder charges and would be released from prison. A “few meters” away from leaving prison, he was informed of the new charge and was not released. The non-Zapatista detained along with Santiz Lopez has been released with two bullets still in his body. His is one more example of the lack of necessary medical attention Other Campaign prisoners have been complaining about recently.
2. Three (3) Jungle Communities Threatened With Eviction – San Gregorio, Rancheria Corozal and Nuevo Salvador Allende communities received a threat of eviction from the federal government, unless they agree to a “relocation.” The campesino organization to which the communities belong, ARIC-I, said they would not agree to leave. The 3 communities are within the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve. To the best of our knowledge, these communities have no political relationship to the EZLN or the Other Campaign. What we think is of interest here is that the government allegedly told them is that: “only tourism, research and the controlled use of natural resources is permitted in the Montes Azules.”
3. The Struggle Continues to Support Alberto Patishtán – On March 17, more than 1, 000 friends, relatives, and neighbors of Alberto Patishtán Gómez, a prisoner since June 19 2000, gathered together in the community of El Bosque to demand Patishtán’s return to Chiapas (from a federal prison in Sinaloa) and his unconditional release. All believe him to be innocent and a political prisoner. The Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) had earlier reported that Patishtan’s lawyers won a protective order (like an injunction) from a judge to return him to Chiapas. The government was delaying any implementation of the order. It was discovered among the paperwork and evidence in Patishtan’s file that the government of Chiapas had requested his transfer to Sinaloa.
4. Campesinos Denounce Ultimatum to Accept Digital Meters or Cut Off Electricity – On March 8, Peoples United for the Defense of Electric Energy (PUDEE, its initials in Spanish) denounced that the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE, its initials in Spanish) threatened to cut off their electricity supply if they do not accept the new digital meters. PUDEE organizes communities in resistance to paying high energy rates in the Northern Zone of Chiapas and is an adherent to the Other Campaign. PUDEE further denounces that the CFE is working hand-in-hand with the Green Party of Mexico (PVEM, its initials in Spanish) to intimidate people and, in several communities, even threatened to install the dreaded meters by force. PUDEE also alleges that government authorities are requiring proff of payment of electric bills in order to participate in a welfare program known as “Opportunities.” Finally, it reminds folks that the PVEM is linked to the Paz y Justicia paramilitary group in the Northern Zone of Chiapas.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. National Data Base for Missing or Disappeared Persons – On March 6, Mexico’s Senate approved a law creating a national registry of data on missing and disappeared persons. Its purpose is to create an information data base of individuals who are reported as missing or disappeared. Until now, there has been no coordination or information sharing among the various Mexican states. There are currently 8, 898 dead that have not been identified and estimates of missing and disappeared persons vary widely from government agencies, human rights organizations and social organizations.
2. US Vice President Joe Biden Visits Mexico and Honduras – On March 5, under extremely heavy security, US Vice President Joe Biden met with Mexico’s President, Felipe Calderón, for a meeting reported to last about an hour and a half. He next met with presidential pre-candidates from Mexico’s 3 largest political parties. While other issues were surely discussed between Biden and Calderón, it is widely believed that the main purpose of his visit was to insure continued cooperation in the drug war. That was likewise the purpose of his meetings with the 3 presidential pre-candidates. Following this 1-day visit to Mexico, Biden continued on to Honduras for a meeting with President Porfirio Lobo. (See item below.)
In the United States
1. US Vice President Joe Biden Visits Honduras – Vice President Biden left Mexico and continued on to Honduras, where he first met with President Porfirio Lobo and other Honduran officials. At Lobo’s invitation, Biden also met with members of the Central American Integration System (SICA, its initials in Spanish). SICA is Central America’s regional security organization to which the United States, the Inter-American Development Bank and some European countries are giving funding to fight a “war on drugs.” It was in Honduras that the Obama Administration’s concern became clear: it is worried about the proposal by Guatemalan President Otto Perez to decriminalize drugs as an alternative to the drug war. The Administration’s concern was that Perez would pick up support at a Summit of Central American presidents on March 24, which would then carry over to April’s Summit of the Americas in Colombia. As it turned out, the Central American Summit was poorly attended and Perez accused the United States of encouraging a boycott.
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).