Zapatista Store at Toniná Provokes the Government’s Wrath

Photo taken of a sign at Toniná village during March 2012 delegation. Zapatista signs are seen by tourists who visit the well-known archaeological site.


Zapatista Artesanía Store at Toniná Provokes the Chiapas Government’s Wrath

** There is an arrest warrant out for me and I have not committed crimes: José Alfonso Cruz

** It doesn’t want anything that says EZLN during tourist events for the end of the world, accuses the property owner

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

On the outskirts of the City of Ocosingo, Chiapas, near the Toniná archaeological site, Zapatistas from Francisco Gómez autonomous municipality recently installed a store with artesanía on a piece of recuperated land. That has unleashed a governmental rejection as much from the official municipality as the state, which issued an arrest warrant against the owner of the contiguous property, also a support base of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, its initials in Spanish).

The essence of the conflict is the attractive hand painted sign that the Zapatistas put at their place, located at the Toniná entrance, a famous archaeological site where tourist activities will be celebrated next month, taking advantage of the “end of the Maya world” mode and the end of the year vacations. We’re talking about an investment of 5 to 8 million pesos by the municipal government of Octavio Elías Albores Cruz, a PRI member.

According to declarations to La Jornada from José Alfonso Cruz Espinosa, a Zapatista base that legally owns the Toniná lands up to the foot the foot of the pyramid, who resides near the archaeological zone and has repeatedly suffered harassment and attempts at plunder on the part of authorities, who have made it known that they don’t object to the store, only the sign that announces it, which only expresses that it is an autonomous store with artesanía from indigenous Zapatistas and it belongs to the Francisco Gómez rebel municipality.

“The state’s attorney general is already looking for me,” Cruz Espinosa declared via telephone. “Judicial police dressed as civilians want to search my house, and I had to take shelter in an autonomous community.” He insists that he has not committed any crime, and that his compañeros from the autonomous municipality are within their rights to establish their business and to announce it.

“The government doesn’t want anything that says ‘EZLN’ during the end of the world tourist events,” he added. Those events will be celebrated from December 21 to 23, with the participation of the resident archaeologist, and “almost owner” of Toniná, Juan Yadeum.

Weeks ago, the same Cruz Espinosa had denounced the construction of a bridge and a path inside the site, utilizing valuable archaeological material and “destroying a patrimony of humanity.” He placed responsibility on Yadeum, the current mayor Albores Cruz and principally on the former (mayor), Arturo Zúñiga Urbina, who with other associates wants to make use of the “end of the world” (events) and the expected tourist flow from such an emotional happening without the endorsement of the National Institute of Anthropology and History, which while it sanctioned the archaeologist, did not stop the work.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, November 26, 2012

En Español:


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