MAY 2012 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. Campaign To Free Alberto Patishtan and Francisco Santiz Lopez – The Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) in Chiapas called for an intense national and international campaign to win freedom for Alberto Patishtan and Francisco Santiz Lopez, both of whom are “political prisoners.” Patishtan is a member of the Zapatistas’ Other Campaign and Santiz is a Zapatista support base. The international week of protest took place between May 15 to 22 and may be extended for another week. A very large protest took place in El Bosque Municipality, where Patishtan is from, and the Oventik Junta demanded the freedom of Santiz Lopez, who they referred to as a “political hostage.”
2. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Grants Protection to Patishtan – While solidarity organizations and collectives around the world took actions to demand Alberto Patishtan’s freedom, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced that it granted urgent precautionary measures in favor of prisoner of conscience Alberto Patishtán Gómez, faced with the grave danger to his life and health due to the worsening of untreated glaucoma. The IACHR asked the government of Mexico to instruct the competent authorities “to carry out the medical examinations that permit evaluating the beneficiary’s health and to offer him adequate treatment.” Patishtan has started to denounce de-humanizing conditions in the federal prison located in Sinaloa.
3. Morelia Junta Denounces Land Grabbing by ORCAO Members – The Good Government Junta in Morelia denounced a land grab by members of ORCAO in Patria Nueva community (Lucio Cabañas autonomous municipality) on the outskirts of Ocosingo. It also denounced attacks and harassment by ORCAO members on the El Nantze Ranchería, in the community of 21 de Abril (17 de Noviembre autonomous municipality), near Altamirano. The Junta alleges that the attacks are being orchestrated with support from all 3 levels of government. This is the same organization that the Zapatista Junta in La Garrucha denounced last month for attacking land in Pancho Villa autonomous municipality.
4. Campesinos Reject An Adventure Tourism Hotel on Lake Miramar – A series of articles in La Jornada this month reported that many of Emiliano Zapata’s ejido owners, whose lands are adjacent to Lake Miramar, reject a government plan for a hotel on the shores of the virgin lake. The plan includes 11 double rooms, 4 suites, a restaurant and bar, laundry and an “employee area.” Lake Miramar is located on the edge of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in the Lacandon Jungle. More information and a beautiful photo of the lake can be found at: https://compamanuel.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/chiapas-communities-reject-adventure-tourism-project/
5. Paramilitary Members of Opddic Threaten Cintalapa Women With Death – Paramilitary members of the Organization for Indigenous and Campesino Rights (Opddic, its initials in Spanish) have threatened to kill the women who remain in their homes in the Cintalapa ejido, according to a denunciation by a representative of a group of families displaced from that ejido since 2007. The denunciation alleges that on May 16 two PRI members who are also members of Opddic threatened that if the women did not abandon their homes they would be killed. This is the same group of displaced people that reported the 2011 kidnapping of a little girl in Busiljá. The representative also demanded freedom for 2 prisoners from
their group and reported that paramilitaries intimidated those in Busiljá by throwing stones on the roofs and wearing uniforms and bullet-proof vests and being heavily armed.
6. San Sebastian Bachajon Denounces Armed Attack by UCIAF – On Sunday, May 6, members of the Indigenous and Forest Campesino Union (UCIAF, its initials in Spanish) attacked 2 residents of San Sebastian Bachajon (SSB) with guns. A 17-year old youth was severely injured and was taken to a hospital in San Cristobal. His brother was not injured. A week before, another attack by the same person from the same group attacked a man from SSB with a steel object, seriously injuring him. When they went to demand that the authorities execute an arrest warrant against the assailant, they were told that they would have to pay 6, 000 pesos for that and that “justice costs money.” The UCIAF used to be the paramilitary group known as Paz Y Justicia (Peace and Justice). Its members are also affiliated with the Green Ecologist and Institutional Revolutionary Parties. Moreover, SSB reports constant harassment and the detention of another ejido member.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Mexican Spring: #YoSoy132 Student Movement Forms Around Elections – Mexico will hold elections for national office on July 1st of this year, including the election of a new president. The electoral scene has become more interesting with the appearance of the student movement #YoSoy132, which is in touch with the #Occupy movement in the US. According to an account in La Jornada, the university students met several days ago at UNAM and demanded: political trial against President Felipe Calderón, for the more than 65, 000 deaths that his struggle against drug trafficking has left; against the PRI candidate, for the repression in San Salvador Atenco in May 2006, and against president-for-life of the National Education Workers Union, Elba Esther Gordillo Morales, for corruption and for harming education. They demanded her immediate exit from that union and the investigation of her relatives, name lenders and wealth. Moreover, the student movement opposes the return of the PRI to State power, “whose current face is Peña Nieto,” the PRI presidential candidate.
In the United States
1. State Department Report on Human Rights in Mexico – On May 24, the US State Department issued its 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The section on Mexico reports that members of security forces have been involved in killings, forced disappearances, torture and other abuses, while a high degree of impunity and official corruption persist. It emphasized that the transnational criminal organizations are the ones principally responsible for violent crimes in Mexico. The report has prompted some legislators to look at the Merida Initiative’s human rights provisions and consider whether a cut in funding is appropriate. The (weak) provisions allow for a very small reduction in security aid if human rights violations by security forces persist. The report on Mexico is found at:
Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas
P.O. Box 3421, Oakland, CA 94609