DECEMBER 2012 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. More Than 40,000 Zapatistas March in Chiapas – On December 21, at the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar (13 Baktún) and the beginning of a new calendar, more than 40,000 Zapatista support bases marched silently into 5 Chiapas cities (Ocosingo, Palenque, San Cristóbal, Las Margaritas and Altamirano). They set up platforms in the central plazas of each city and then filed onto the platform, raised their fists, came down off the platform and returned to the Caracoles from which they came. Zapatista commanders (the CCRI-CG) sent a communiqué signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos to the media. It read in part: “DID YOU HEAR? It’s the sound of your world crumbling and ours re-emerging…” This sent a brief, but pointed message to the new government: We’re still here. We have resisted your counterinsurgency and we’re stronger for having learned how to resist and construct our autonomy. Our world is re-emerging. This show of force sent a few shock waves through those above and waves of hope through those below. Check out the video:
2. EZLN Issues 3 More Communiqués – On December 30, the EZLN released 1 new communique and 2 letters. The communiqué is about the EZLN’s next steps. One letter is addressed to members of the new government (“those above”) and the other letter to Luis H. Alvarez, the former “Indigenous Commissioner” that went around Chiapas giving money to non-Zapatistas and anti-Zapatistas in order to buy their consciences. We’ll have more on these recent EZLN communications shortly.
3. Las Abejas (The Bees) Commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the Acteal Massacre – Between December 20 and 22, Las Abejas held ceremonies to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Acteal Massacre. Among the many speeches they gave, the Bees criticized the new government for the violent repression in Mexico City on December 1 and for appointing Emilio Chuayffet to the cabinet position of Secretary of Education. He was the Interior Minister at the time of the massacre and Las Abejas consider him to be one of the unpunished intellectual authors of the massacre. Las Abejas also pointed out that they were stronger for their struggle and resistance. The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity’s Indigenous Commission attended the ceremonies in Acteal and, while in Chiapas, visited Zapatista and Other Campaign prisoners in the San Cristóbal prison.
4. New Chiapas Governor Takes Office – On December 8, 2012, Manuel Velasco Coello took the oath of office as Governor of Chiapas. He is a member of the Partido Verde Ecologista de México (Green Ecologist Party of Mexico, PVEM). Upon taking office, Velasco Coello greeted the EZLN and the Good Government Juntas, saying he recognized their contributions and that he wanted good relations with them and also wanted to cool down the conflict. We’ll see! In a good will gesture, Velasco Coello released the 2 Zapatista Lopez Monzon brothers and their 2 non-Zapatista brothers from prison in Motozintla and withdrew the arrest warrant issued for Alfonso Cruz Espinoza, a Zapatista support base and the property owner of private land adjacent to the Toniná archaeological site. When a collective from the Caracol of Morelia built a roadside artesianía stand with a sign saying it was a Zapatista stand, the previous state government issued an arrest warrant for Cruz Espinoza. Apparently, the old Sabinas government anticipated tourism around the end of the Mayan Long Count and wanted no evidence of the Zapatistas in front of tourists.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Injuries and Detentions in December 1 Protests – As we reported last month, Enrique Peña Nieto took the oath of office as president of Mexico on December 1, amid protests that turned violent and in which many people were injured, apparently by rubber bullets fired by police or tear gas cannisters. Several people suffered serious injuries. A young man affiliated with #YoSoy 132 lost an eye. Another man, an adherent to the EZLN’s Other Campaign, suffered severe brain damage and remains in a medically induced coma. Some of the demonstrators were arbitrarily detained, many of them young and from the #YoSoy 132 Movement, and 70 were sent to prison. Most were released shortly thereafter, however 14 remained in prison facing charges for which bail was denied. Video footage of arbitrary detentions and inappropriate charges is alleged to exist. There were more demonstrations for the release of the 14. The latest news on this front is that the Mexico City Congress passed legislation that changed the severity of the crime of “attacks on the public peace” (disturbing the peace?) so that the 14 could make bail. And, on December 27, as soon as the new legislation was officially published, all 14 were released on bond. They still face court cases for those charges and there are now more protest actions asking that the charges be dropped. Notwithstanding Mexico City’s legislation, the violent repression and detentions have only solidified opposition to the new PRI government of Enrique Peña Nieto.
2. Death Toll Due to Drug War Reaches 116,100! – An Italian civic organization, Libera, reports that it calculated 136,000 malicious deaths between 2006 and December 1, 2012. Of those, 116,000 are attributed to the “Drug War.” Libera is a grouping of more than one thousand human rights organizations and activists from Europe and America. Its figures were compiled from Inegi (Mexico’s government statistics agency) and from human rights defenders. Prior to this report, the Chiapas Support Committee had confirmed a figure close to that from sources in Chiapas.
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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Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas
P.O. Box 3421, Oakland, CA 94609
Tel: (510) 654-9587