JANUARY 2014 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. Zapatistas Celebrate 20 Years of Resistance! – On January 1, 2014, the Zapatistas celebrated the 20th anniversary of their Rebellion and Resistance. They hosted approximately 5,000 students between the 2 Escuelitas, one during the week before January 1st and one the week afterwards. Students from both sessions also attended the anniversary celebration, along with many other supporters who joined in. The Huffington Post published an article by a journalist that attended the Escuelitas and then the New Year’s celebration in Oventik. We are awaiting communication from the EZLN about the dates for the next Escuelita.
2. Chiapas Ejido Files Suit Against San Cristóbal-Palenque Toll Road – On January 6, Los Llanos, a Tzotzil community in the rural part of San Cristóbal Municipality, filed suit to stop construction of the San Cristóbal-Palenque Toll Road. On January 13, the court issued a temporary injunction until there is a decision on the case. We posted a translation of the news article on our blog. The toll road is one of the infrastructure projects envisioned within the Plan Puebla Panamá (now renamed the Mesoamerica Project) to facilitate tourism. Los Llanos is across the road from the Mitziton ejido, which has a history of conflict and protest over the toll road’s construction.
3. San Sebastián Bachajón (SSB) Denounces That an Ex Prisoner Is Not Free and the Latest Move to Take Their Land – Antonio Estrada, a resident of San Sebastián Bachajón, was released from a Chiapas state prison on Christmas Eve. However, he has to report to and sign in at a court in the state capital every week. Apparently there is still an unresolved federal case against him for carrying a weapon intended for the exclusive use of the Mexican Army. On January 24, a court granted Estrada a protective order against that charge, which opens the door for absolving him of that crime.
The ejido owners also accuse a pro-government faction in the SSB ejido of attempting to fabricate yet another false assembly act in order to dispossess them of the portion of land in dispute since 2011.
4. Those Displaced from the Puebla Ejido Return to Harvest Coffee – From January 17-27, those displaced from the Puebla ejido nearly 5 months ago returned to harvest their coffee fields. Members of social organizations accompanied them. Although they received insults and threats, they were able to harvest their fields and then return to the refugee camp in Acteal. Many of the 98 displaced individuals are members of Las Abejas of Acteal, an adherent to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration.
5. Tila Ejido Obtains Court Order To Stop Land Grab – The Tila ejido is located in the state’s Northern Zone and is an adherent to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle. A portion of their ejido land lies within the town of Tila, the capital of Tila municipality. A building known as the “Casino del Pueblo” (the People’s Clubhouse) was taken over by municipal authorities some time ago and is still the subject of litigation that has dragged on for years and is pending before Mexico’s Supreme Court. Now, however, municipal authorities want to tear it down to build a commercial center and, although the building does not belong to them, are promoting a referendum on the project as a substitute for the “prior, full and informed consent” required when indigenous lands are affected by the government. On January 24, the Tila ejido obtained a court order suspending any work or construction on the ejido’s property until the case is resolved in court.
6. Dispossession in the Lacandón Jungle of Chiapas – A journalist from La Jornada toured parts of the Lacandón Jungle and filed reports on government attempts to affect the land in the northern part of the Jungle, some within the Jungle’s so-called Buffer Zone. The communities in that region are unhappy with the application of government programs like Fanar (the Fund for Support to Agrarian Nuclei without Registration, and previously called Procede), which limits the use of their land and would permit the privatization of individual plots. Fanar is being promoted by Sedatu (Secretariat of Agrarian Territorial and Urban Development) and also the Agrarian Prosecutor.
In other parts of Mexico
1. Mexican Government Temporarily Legalizes Michoacán Self-Defense Groups – On January 27, Michoacán’s Self Defense groups and the federal government signed an agreement in the municipality of Tepalcatepec, Michoacán. The agreement requires members of self-defense forces to register by name with the government, register their weapons and become enrolled in Mexico’s Rural Defense Corps under the control of the National Defense Ministry, known as Sedena. The agreement came about after a month of armed clashes between the self-defense forces and alleged cartel members, as Mexico’s federal armed forces were deployed to Michoacán. At the start of the month, Reuters published a story about the drug cartels shipping iron ore to China out of the Lazaro Cardenas Port. With respect to the Self-Defense groups, the question of who financed them was frequently raised. In the wake of signing the agreement, stories are emerging that they were financed by transnational mining companies. There is also some testimony that a rival drug cartel, Jalisco Nueva Generación, gave some of them weapons.
A New Raúl Zibechi Article – We posted a new article of opinion by Raúl Zibechi translated into English on our blog. As always, there is a link to the original Spanish for those who prefer to read in Spanish.
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