SEPTEMBER 2013 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. Court Denies Freedom to Alberto Patishtán – The long-awaited decision regarding Alberto Patishtán’s appeal for a recognition of his innocence came on September 12, but it wasn’t what he hoped for. A federal appeals court in Chiapas denied Alberto Patishtán’s request for a recognition of his innocence, thus denying him freedom. He has no remaining avenues for appeal in Mexican courts. The only Court to which he can appeal is the Inter-American Court on Human Rights and that appeal has been filed. Click here for an article about this adverse decision.
2. Chiapas Teachers “Take” Pemex Installations – Like teachers in many parts of Mexico, Chiapas teachers are protesting the education “reforms” proposed by President Peña Nieto as part of his “Pact for Mexico,” a group of neoliberal structural changes termed “reforms.” In addition to the occupation of a plazas in the state capital, the teachers took over Pemex installations this month, thus blocking the distribution of gasoline to local gas stations. They also took over the toll booths on the super-highways and collected the fees to finance sending teachers from Chiapas to reinforce the occupation in Mexico City.
3. The Plot Thickens on Mexico’s Southern Border – Reports are circulating that the Obama administration is considering a plan for three-tiered security checks around Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala and Belize. Apparently worried about Republican opposition, the administration has attempted to keep these plans secret ever since former Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, visited Mexico and said that the United States was prepared to “act” on Mexico’s southern border. Nevertheless, some details are leaking out. According to one report, the border control plan calls for U.S. funding and technical support for three security lines extending more than 100 miles north of Mexico’s border with Guatemala and Belize. The border security system would use sensors and intelligence gathering to counter human trafficking and drug running from the region, a major source of illegal immigration into the United States. It would be financed through the Merida Initiative.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Tropical Storms Batter Both Coasts of Mexico – On September 14, Ingrid, a category 1 hurricane, hit the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Five states suffered massive displacement of people from their homes and massive property damage: Veracruz, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi, Puebla and Hidalgo. In Veracruz alone, 30,000 people were displaced from their homes. The next day, tropical storm Manuel hit Mexico’s Pacific Coast. While several coastal states were hard hit and experienced flooding, mudslides and power outages, the state of Guerrero apparently suffered the brunt of the storm damage and deaths. Thousands are homeless and there are many yet-to-be counted dead. Mountains crumbled on top of villages and rivers flooded. Tourists were stranded in Acapulco and another city’s water supply was destroyed. As this News Summary is published, the situation in Guerrero is desperate; roads are destroyed, flooded or blocked with mud, and consequently vehicles cannot get through to deliver food and other supplies. The Tlachinollan Human Rights Center in La Montaña region of Guerrero is worried about impending starvation. 26 of 31 states in Mexico were affected by the high winds and heavy rains from the 2 storms. The death toll was reported at 144 several days ago with 53 reported missing or disappeared. The CRAC-PC (community police) in Guerrero reports that 15 more people died due to a lack of medical attention, so the death toll continues to rise.
2. Opposition to Pact for Mexico “Reforms” Grows into Resistance – Teachers protesting anti-worker education “reforms,” politicians and social movements opposing privatizing the state-owned oil company, Pemex, and opposition to tax “reforms” continue and begin to coalesce into a resistance movement. Despite repression, teachers are still occupying space in Mexico City. Cuauhtemoc Cardenas and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), two politicians that have not been friendly for some time, are leading huge protests against privatizing Pemex. And tax “reforms” that will hurt Mexico’s middle class are swelling the ranks of the protests. These protests are also taking place in many states, not just in Mexico City. For an article with more details, click here.
And In the United States
1. US Vice President Joe Biden’s Brief Visit to Mexico – United States Vice President Joe Biden made a very short visit to Mexico on September 19. His visit was apparently cut short by the natural disasters on both coasts. However, he was in Mexico long enough to offer the administration’s support for the neoliberal “reforms” against which many Mexicans are protesting!
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
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