Zapatista News Summary for November 2013

 NOVEMBER 2013 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY

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In Chiapas

1. EZLN Issues 3 Comunicados – The Zapatistas released 3 comunicados: The Bad and the Not-So-Bad News; Rewind 3; and Spaces Full for the December and January Escuelitas (Little Schools). In the first comunicado, Marcos talks about finances for the August Escuelitas and reports that the original  $100 peso fee for students was not enough to cover the costs and, therefore, they have to raise the fee for the December/January Escuelitas to $380 pesos per student. Rewind 3 tells the story of Durito  and the Cat-Dog. Spaces Full reports that there is no room for any more students at the December or the January Escuelitas. However, it adds that there will be a fourth Escuelita in either April or August of next year.

2. Good News for San Sebastián Bachajón – Finally, some good news for the compañeros in San Sebastián Bachajón! A federal appeals court in Tuxtla Gutiérrez overturned a lower court decision regarding their ejido land that the government appropriated and occupied. The court of appeals ruled that the lower court judge should not have given credibility to the document introduced by a pro-government (and anti-Zapatista) ejido commissioner. This is a case that involves access to the Agua Azul Cascades, where the government hopes to develop a luxury tourist complex. The government wants to get control over the land surrounding the Cascades so that it can lease that land to tourist developers for enormous sums of money.

3. La Garrucha issues 2 Denunciations – The Good Government Junta in La Garrucha denounced that yet another arrest warrant has been issued for Alfonso Cruz Espinoza, a Zapatista support base who just happens to own the land  called San Antonio Toniná adjacent to the Toniná archaeological site, near the city of Ocosingo, Chiapas. The arrest warrant is allegedly because Cruz Espinoza permitted Zapatista support bases to cut down a small tree on his property to build an artesianía store for Francisco Gómez autonomous municipality with the authorization of the Good Government Junta and the region’s four autonomous municipalities. This is another struggle over a potentially profitable tourist site and not the first time that government authorities have judicially pursued Cruz Espinoza in an attempt to take away his land.

The second denunciation concerns the on-going dispute between officially organized (with the government’s permission) truckers and independent truckers (Zapatistas). The official truckers are retaining trucks belonging to the independent truckers in the yard at their central headquarters in Ocosingo, thus depriving the independents of their ability to make a living. The Junta wants the trucks released and the independent truckers compensated for lost income.

4. Morelia Denounces Land Invasion – On November 12, Morelia’s Good Government Junta denounced that members of CIOAC-Historic, a pro-government campesino organization, invaded Zapatista lands in the 10 de Abril (April 10) Ejido. This occurred during the month of October. The Junta set 2 appointments for the CIOAC-Historic members to appear and make their case for why they invaded the lands. No one appeared for the first appointment, but 60 CIOAC-Historic members came to the second appointment on October 25. They failed to produce any document giving them rights to the land and they agreed to not work it. However, they entered the land on November 6 issuing death threats and continued to commit aggressions afterwards, including an attempted kidnapping, and they divided the land with a fence. The CIOAC-Historic members claim their orders are coming from the governor of Chiapas.

5. The Samuel Ruiz García Committee Denounces Mining Companies –  The Samuel Ruiz García Committee for the Promotion and Defense of Life denounced that one or more mining companies want to renew exploitation on the La Revancha plot of the La Grecia Ejido in Chicomuselo municipality. That is the area where Semarnat (Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources) issued an environmental impact report alerting residents to the health hazards of mining. It is also the area where anti-mining activist Mariano Abarca Roblero was murdered.

6. Alberto Patishtán Returns to Chiapas – On November 30, Alberto Patishtán returned to Chiapas a free man after completing medical treatment in Mexico City. His supporters from several organizations and his family greeted him at the airport near Tuxtla Gutiérrez and then he went to San Cristóbal for a mass in the Cathedral. He was quoted in La Jornada as saying: “The struggle doesn’t end here; it starts here.”

In other parts of Mexico

1. “Drug War” Violence Continues – The Mexican Army has taken control of the Port of Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán as a means of controlling drug trafficking and the extreme violence in western Michoacán. Lázaro Cárdenas is allegedly the port where large shipments of ephedrine from China enter Mexico. Ephedrine is used (legally) in different pharmaceuticals and Mexican drug cartels use it (illegally) in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Michoacán has a large Army presence due to an increase in violent conflicts among several drug cartels and by the drug cartels against local residents. The local residents are forming armed self-defense groups to protect their families, homes and communities from the cartels and from corrupt security forces (both police and military). The federal and state governments, however, have characterized these self-defense groups as “criminal.” The situation is similar in Guerrero with the drug cartels, self-defense groups and security forces. Within the last several months, the murders of several campesino leaders have escalated the violence in Guerrero; while in the state of Jalisco, the government is finding clandestine graves with the remains of at least 100 victims, allegedly victims of cartel violence.

In the United States

1. The DEA’s Principal Concern Is Mexico – Due to being the largest port of entry and a growing production center for illicit substances, Mexico is the DEA’s principal concern. A report, Evaluation of the drug threat, points out that Mexican cartels have increased their production of heroine and also initiated their expansion through the east and center west of the United States. The report indicated a decrease in the availability of cocaine and an increase in heroine, meth and marijuana.

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