JULY 2012 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
[Many Thanks to Everyone Who Attended Our July 12 Community Forum on Mexico and Made It A Big Success!]
1. Alberto Patishtan Returns to San Cristóbal Prison – A federal appeals court upheld the decision of a federal judge in Chiapas ordering that Alberto Patishtan be returned to the state prison in San Cristobal. After considerable delay, the government finally complied with the court order and removed Patishtan from the federal maximum-security prison in Sinaloa and returned him to the Chiapas prison on July 26. This is one small victory on the road to winning his freedom. Obtaining necessary medical treatment is another challenge he faces.
2. Campaign to Free Alberto Patishtan and Francisco Santiz Lopez – The 3rd week of struggle, called “Bringing Down the Walls of the Jails,” to win freedom for Alberto Patishtan and Francisco Santiz Lopez, also took place during July. Patishtan is a member of the Zapatistas’ Other Campaign and Santiz is a Zapatista support base. The national and international protest, supported by the Zapatistas and the family and friends of Alberto Patishtán, again gained support from around the world. The Chiapas Support Committee circulated the letter demanding Patishtán and Sántiz’ freedom at our Community Forum on Mexico. The Forum was well-attended, so we obtained a lot of signatures. We thank all those who signed the letter. It was mailed to Mexico’s current president, Felipe Calderón.
3. Attempts to Evict Zapatistas from San Marcos Avilés Continue – On July 25, La Jornada published an article summarizing the request from Zapatista support bases in San Marcos Avilés directed to national and international civil society, asking for support. The community fears another eviction. The first eviction occurred in 2010 after the Zapatistas built a primary school as part of their construction of autonomy. The divided community is officially governed by members of the 3 political parties who do not want Zapatistas or autonomous schools threatening their political power and control. That first eviction drove the Zapatista into the wooded mountains where they had to survive outdoors for 33 days. The same acts that occurred before are taking place once again. All the Zapatistas’ crops, animals and building supplies have been stolen by political party members, along with threats of eviction. A global campaign is underway to provide solidarity to San Marcos Avilés, in Chilón municipality. The first phase of the campaign is publishing information about what is taking place in that location. A videotaped bilingual testimony by Zapatista residents of San Marcos Aviles can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-8CBt3Vkg
4. Caravan for Land and Territory Travels to Mexico City – Adherents to the EZLN’s Other Campaign announced details of a march and caravan from Tila, in the Northern Zone of Chiapas, to Mexico City. The Chiapas state government and the municipal authorities took approximately 21 acres (130 hectares) of land away from Tila’s Chol ejido owners. The state refused to comply with a court order and the appeal has reached Mexico’s Supreme Court. A decision is expected on August 2. The caravan left Tila on Monday, July 30 and arrived in San Cristobal the same day for a lively press conference, which included the compañeros from the FPDT (Atenco), before heading for Mexico City.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Mexican Elections – On July 1, Mexicans voted in elections for national offices and some state and local offices, including the election of a new president. Mexico’s Federal Electoral Tribunal certified the PRI candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, as winner of the presidential contest. PRD candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who lost by 3 million votes, has challenged the election. The basis of his challenge is that the PRI exceeded spending limits in several ways:, including buying votes with pre-paid gift cards. There is also an allegation that the free advertising given by the pro-PRI television networks should be counted as a campaign expenditure and that the polling was rigged to give false impressions.
2. Election Protests – Besides the formal legal challenge to the election, which most give little chance of succeeding, Mexico’s civil society is organizing against what is referred to as the “imposition” of Peña Nieto. On July 14 and 15, representatives from some 300 social organizations met in San Salvador Atenco for the 1st National Convention Against the Imposition. In addition to Atenco’s home-grown host organization, the Peoples Front in Defense of Land (FPDT, its initials in Spanish), #YoSoy 132 (student movement), the SME (electricians union), the CNTE (teachers union) and from communities, including representatives from Cherán. Representatives agreed upon an agenda of protest actions (already underway) all the way up to the date Peña Nieto is scheduled to take office: December 1, 2012. Representatives went back to their organizations for approval of each action. Meanwhile, Mexicans have been demonstrating in Mexico and all over the world (including San Francisco) against the return of the PRI. Large demonstrations have been held in Mexico City. On July 27, #YoSoy132 peacefully “took” (surrounded) Televisa offices in Chapultepec and issued a 6-point program for change. Televisa is half of Mexico’s media duopoly that is accused of publishing biased information in favor of Peña Nieto during the election.
3. Two Killed in Cherán – On July 9, the Council in Cherán, Michoacan, reported 2 campesinos had disappeared. They were found murdered several days later. Cherán is an autonomous community in the Purépecha Meseta that is part of the Zapatistas’ Other Campaign and participates in various social movements. The community is surrounded by woodcutters who are destroying the forests. Some of them may have ties to organized crime. However, some of the woodcutters are now protesting because they maintain that their only source of income is from making furniture and artesanía out of wood from the forest. The army has placed 3 mixed operations bases in the region, known as the Purépecha Meseta.
In the United States
1. Sicilia’s US Campaign Begins in San Diego on August 12 – The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD), headed by Mexican poet and journalist Javier Sicilia, begins a US Peace Caravan in San Diego, California. on August 12. The Caravan plans to address 5 issues along its route to Washington DC: 1) US funding of a Drug War in Mexico through the Merida Initiative; 2) humane treatment of immigrants; 3) arms trafficking to Mexico; 4) laundering of drug money by US banks; and 5) the militarization of US foreign policy. The Peace Caravan’s itinerary is posted on our blog: https://compamanuel.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/javier-sicilia-and-the-caravan-for-peace-us-schedule/ The MPJD’s website gives as a contact for more specific information on San Diego and Los Angeles sites, or for joining the caravan: email@example.com
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).
We encourage folks to distribute this information widely, but please include our name and contact information in the distribution. Gracias/Thanks.
Click on the Donate button of www.chiapas-support.org to support indigenous autonomy.