SEPTEMBER 2012 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. Paramilitaries Cause Displacement from 2 Zapatista Communities: Comandate Abel and Union Hidalgo – On September 7, the Good Government Junta in the Caracol of Roberto Barrios denounced that paramilitaries invaded and fired upon Comandante Abel community, a newly-founded community of Zapatistas supporters who had been forced to leave San Patricio community because of paramilitary attacks by members of Paz y Justicia. 73 people fled from Comandante Abel into the woods on September 7, when the shooting that started on September 6 continued. They reached San Marcos, a Zapatista community, on September 9, where they were given shelter. Currently, there are 27 Zapatistas remaining in Comandante Abel community. They are surrounded by an armed aggressor group from Union Hidalgo and members of the State Preventive Police.On September 8, 10 Zapatistas were also displaced from Union Hidalgo due to constant harassment and death threats by members of the PRI and PVEM political parties. They are currently sheltered in Zaquitel Ojo de Agua community. The re-emergence of the paramilitaries belonging to Paz y Justicia is more than alarming! This re-emergence is partially attributed to the victory of the PRI and the PVEM political parties in the July 1 elections. The PRI won the presidency and the PVEM won the Chiapas governorship. The Junta in Roberto Barrios issued a press release on September 30, accusing the state government of supplying the paramilitaries and state police in order to maintain the siege against the Zapatistas.
2. Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas Expands and Continues – In just two months, since the election of a new president and a new governor of Chiapas, the attacks and threats against Zapatista communities have increased dramatically. The Worldwide Echo Campaign has expanded to include many of the Zapatista communities now under attack, as well as for the Zapatista political prisoner Francisco Santiz Lopez. Information about the 2nd phase of this campaign, which consists of direct action, can be found on the campaign’s website: http://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/
3. Alberto Patishtan Diagnosed With Brain Tumor While Supreme Court Postpones Decision – The effort to obtain a Supreme Court hearing wherein Alberto Patishtan Gomez (or his lawyers) can prove his innocence is underway. Patishtan’s lawyer obtained a meeting with the president of Mexico’s Supreme Court. The purpose of such a meeting was to present a request for the creation of an innovative legal mechanism to open a space in which Patishtan could prove his innocence. The Supreme Court must decide whether to open such a new space. Its decision has been postponed. Meanwhile, Patishtan was placed in a government hospital in the state capital and has been diagnosed with a brain tumor requiring surgery.
4. Another Man Involved in the Acteal Massacre Released from Prison – On September 26, Mexico’s Supreme Court ordered the release from prison of Manuel Santiz Perez, convicted of participating in the Acteal Massacre of 45 women, children and men on December 22, 1997. The Court used the same rationale for this case as it did in the previous cases: the photographic album shown to survivors and witnesses was prejudicial and violated legal rights and criminal procedure. According to the report in La Jornada, this is the last of the cases appealed on behalf of those who participated in the Acteal Massacre. It is worth noting that the Court found the time to free a confessed killer, but not the time to decide whether it will hear Alberto Patishtan’s case or the case of the Other Campaign folks from Tila.
On the Chiapas Border
1. New Military Bases in Guatemala and 200 US Marines – The president of Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina, announced that Guatemala will build 3 new military bases to reinforce the fight against organized crime (the trafficking of drugs, arms, and humans). Two of these bases will be close to the Chiapas border; one in the Department of Peten (on the other side of the Usumacinta River from Chiapas) and one in the Department of San Marcos. San Marcos borders the southwestern part of Chiapas. A third base will be located near Puerto Barrios (close to Honduras). It has also been widely reported that 200 US Marines are now patrolling Guatemala’s Pacific Coast to intercept drug trafficking by sea. Guatemalans report that the country is being militarized with the rationale of fighting the drug war, but the militarization is also being used against social movements.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Investigation Into Ambush of 2 CIA Agents Suggests Connection to the Beltran Leyva Cartel – During September, investigations continued into the Tres Marias Case, as the attack on an armor-plated vehicle belonging to the US Embassy in Mexico is known. Mexico’s attorney general has requested that the detention without charges of 12 Federal Police agents be continued for another 40 days. Meanwhile, La Jornada reported that the FBI is carrying on a parallel investigation and offered the 12 police agents the “opportunity” to be converted from collaborators in the attack into the US government’s protected witnesses. Their lawyers say they declined the “offer.” Although no definitive final reports have yet been issued, it now appears that the US officials in charge believe the attack may have been perpetrated by members of the Beltran Leyva Cartel as “payback” for the murder of Arturo Beltran Leyva in December 2009.
2. US State Department Grants Immunity from Prosecution to Zedillo – On September 7, the US State Department announced that it would recommend immunity for former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo to the Connecticut Court in which he was sued for damages in the murder of 45 women, men and children on December 22, 1997 in Acteal, Chiapas. The State Department said the decision was made in order to keep good relations with Mexico.
3. 25, 000 – 30,000 Displaced by Narco-Violence in Sinaloa – The state of Sinaloa’s Commission for Defense of Human Rights reports that between 25 – 30 thousand people have had to flee their communities because of criminal acts related to drug trafficking within the last 9 months! The state estimates that twelve of the state’s 18 municipalities are most affected by this violence, averaging approximately 2, 000 displaced from each municipality.
In the United States
1. Caravan for Peace Ends – The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD), headed by Mexican poet and journalist Javier Sicilia, ended its US Peace Caravan in Washington, DC on September 12. The month-long Caravan toured 27 US cities and traveled a total of 6,210 miles, addressing 5 US policy 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. At the Caravan’s conclusion, Sicilia announced that he would take 2 months off from the MPJD to grieve over the loss of his son.
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).
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