OCTOBER 2012 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. Las Abejas (the Bees) Denounced the Reactivation of Paramilitary Groups –
Las Abejas of Acteal, a civil society organization, denounced the reactivation of the paramilitary group, Mascara Roja, in Chenalhó Municipality. They attribute this to the large number of paramilitaries imprisoned for participating in the Acteal Massacre who have been released over the last several years. Las Abejas states that those released have re-grouped with those who never were brought to justice, and that they are now carrying firearms on the highways, in the mountains and on the paths to corn and coffee fields. Las Abejas also states that a PRI member shot a Zapatista in the back about a month ago. Furthermore, they denounced the resurgence of Paz y Justicia, the paramilitary group that is attacking 2 Zapatista communities in the region of the Roberto Barrios Caracol, near Palenque.
2. Alberto Patishtan Recovering from Neurosurgery – On October 3, Alberto Patishtan was transferred to the Manuel Velasco Suarez National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery in Mexico City, and operated on October 8 to remove a brain tumor. The surgery was reportedly successful and he is recuperating now in the Vida Mejor Hospital in Tuxtla Gutierrez. His close friends report that he has recovered 70% of his eyesight! Meanwhile, Mexico’s Supreme Court accepted the request from Patishtan’s lawyer to consider whether the Court has the jurisdiction to hold a hearing and issue a ruling on Patishtan’s innocence. Amnesty International sent a letter to the Court in favor of Patishtan.
3. The Siege Against Comandante Abel and Union Hidalgo Communities – The Good Government Junta in Roberto Barrios denounced the continuing siege of the two Zapatista communities, Comandante Abel and Union Hidalgo, by paramilitaries. In a communiqué posted October 30 0n Enlace Zapatista, the Junta described how paramilitaries have already redistributed the land they stole from Zapatistas on September 6. They have harvested and taken away all the corn and bean crop. They fire shots into the air in the middle of the night and the police are patrolling to protect the paramilitaries. The Junta suggests, describing certain actions, that the state police are training the paramilitary members, who engage in military-style exercises. It also alleges that police and paramilitary activities are coordinated under one command. Moreover, it appears that those who stayed behind to protect the Zapatistas’ homes and belongings remain in the communities under siege.
4. Zapatista Detained in Zinacantan in Reprisal for Delivering an Invitation – In early October, the Good Government Junta in the Caracol of Oventik denounced that authorities in Jechvo (Zinacantan) once again used violence to cut off the water supply to the Zapatistas. One of the civilian Zapatistas, Mariano Gomez Perez, asked for help from the autonomous judge and the Junta. The autonomous judge sent a letter to the PRI agent, inviting the agent to a meeting to talk about the problem. When Gomez Perez attempted to deliver the written invitation, the PRI agent detained him and took him before a community assembly, which fabricated crimes against him and sent him to a Zinacantan municipal judge. The judge told the PRI agent not to accept the invitation. This situation is a repeat of 2004, when the same authorities, then PRD members, cut off the water supply to the Zapatistas. When Zapatistas from throughout the region brought water in a show of solidarity, the PRD members opened fire on them.
5. Six Zapatistas Detained in Guadalupe Los Altos – On October 12, the Good Government Junta in La Realidad denounced that 6 Zapatista support bases from Guadalupe Los Altos community had been in jail for 12 days and that their families were being threatened with expulsion. Community authorities are part of the CIOAC Official organization and are members of the PAN and PRD political parties. It seems that there is a history of provocations over the degree of participation in community issues, specifically making financial contributions to projects such as schools and roads. The Junta maintains that the Zapatistas have their own school, but are current in their contributions for the benefit of the community, as long as they are not projects of the bad government. This is a common point of contention in divided communities with a mix of pro-government party members and Zapatistas.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Investigation Into Ambush of 2 CIA Agents Continues – Investigations continue into what is now being called “the attempted murder” of 2 CIA agents and a Mexican marine on August 24 near Tres Marias. A judge extended the detention without charges (sometimes referred to as house arrest) of the 12 original Federal Police agents for an additional 40 days and 2 more federal police agents were detained in connection with the case. Mexico’s attorney general, Marisela Morales, termed the incident “attempted murder” the week following the testimony of the CIA agents who termed it a “direct attack.” Morales stated that all of the police agents currently detained will be charged within the next 2 weeks.
2. Police Raid 3 Michoacan Teachers Colleges, 176 Detained – State and Federal police raided teachers colleges in Tiripetio, Cheran and Arteaga, Michoacan to break up student protests. They detained 176 students who were protesting obligatory English and computer classes. Similar protests have occurred at teachers colleges in other states as the federal government tries to severely restrict and regulate them. Teachers colleges in Mexico prepare students to teach in rural and heavily indigenous areas. Many of the students are themselves indigenous. The schools have faced reduced budgets, admissions and staffing, as higher education in Mexico focuses more and more on business interests.
3. Urapicho Organizes Community Police – Another Purépecha community, Urapicho, a neighbor of Cherán, is constructing its own security force in the absence of any police protection from the official government. Urapicho posted a video on YouTube enumerating the problems they have faced from organized crime and woodcutters. Masked members of the community appear in the video talking about those who have been disappeared. One of them wears a hat with a Che logo and a Zapatista paliacate. The government has agreed to send the community police to the state’s police academy for training and has also added police encampments to the area. For those of you who participated in the March of the Color of the Earth in 2001, this community is in the general area of Nurio. You can watch the video (in Spanish) at: