Nuns Assaulted in attack on 10 de Abril ejido, and are impeded from attending to the injured
** They retain an ambulance, a pickup truck, the driver and a doctor, in Chiapas community
** Attempts to take possession of Zapatista lands, which began in 2007, continue
By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, February 2, 2014
During the attack of residents from November 20 ejido (Las Margaritas) on the 10 de Abril (April 10th) ejido (autonomous zapatista municipality of 17 de Noviembre), last January 30, denounced yesterday by the Good Government Junta of the Morelia Caracol, not only were three EZLN support bases gravely injured, but personnel from the San Carlos Hospital in Altamirano were also attacked and impeded from attending to the injured.
Sister Patricia Moysén Márquez, known for many years in the Altamirano region for her work at the San Carlos Hospital and her closeness to the indigenous communities, relates what happened: “At approximately 7:30 AM we received a call to go to help the injured because of a problem in 10 de Abril (April 10th) community. The ambulance left with the driver, a doctor and a sister.” A pickup truck followed it, “because of not knowing the number possibly traumatized.” At the San Miguel intersection “we encountered lots of people from November 20 (community) with sticks and machetes.” Another group intercepted them farther ahead.
“Sister Martha Rangel Martínez and I were riding behind the ambulance. We identified ourselves and said that we were going because of a call for aid due to the fact that there were people injured. Their reaction then was that ‘they were going to burn the pick up because we are from the government and the problem will be solved faster like that’. We told them that we are not from the government but rather the Church. They said that then we were Zapatistas that we are going to support our group. We said that we were going to see those injured of whatever religion or party; the problem that they had was not our issue, only the injured.”
They pulled out the ambulance driver “and some said that we could pass then, but we had to take out the injured from both parties, if it was not like that then the driver was going to be taken to November 20. I told them that it was better that the ambulance enters and better that we stay. But another group arrived that said that no one is going to pass, that the government has to resolve it and that the ambulance as well as the pickup truck are going to be burned right there.”
Sister Patricia continues: “As I did not want to give them the key or get out, they said that they were going to turn the pickup truck over. We insisted a lot to them on the urgency of saving the life of anyone that was injured.” After a while the ambulance returned. “Someone from November 20 was driving. They began to hit our pickup with sticks, trying to open the doors. I don’t know how they opened the passenger door and pulled Sister Martha out. I had to make the turn, as they wanted, Sister Martha got in with many more of them, they told me that I should go to the intersection and we got out, but I didn’t want to give them the keys, I put them in the pocket of my habit, because I saw that they pulled the ambulance towards November 20.”
Then, the religious woman continues her story, the women from the same group “they started to molest us, trying to take the keys away from me. As I resisted, they began to undress us. They put their hands wherever they wanted and held both of our arms. They hurt us, tore my jacket and took out the keys and my coin purse where I have all my documents. I asked them to return it to me but they roundly refused.”
A little later the Cioac members “took off with the pickup and all their cars, which were many, full of people, the majority men from November 20. Sister Martha and I got a ride back to Altamirano to give warning.” When the acts were reported at the hospital, two people arrived that: “identified themselves as politicians from the state government working in Altamirano, Juan Baldemar Navarro Guillén, assistant delegate, and Jorge Alfredo Jiménez, political operative.” Towards 11:40 AM, the driver, the doctor and the first religious woman achieved returning, but the ambulance and pickup truck remained in November 20. The municipal president of Altamirano promised to recover them.
There were warnings from the Junta
The foolhardy attempt to take possession of Zapatistas lands by the robbers from the Cioac began to get out of control on November 13 but according to what the Junta of the Whirlwind of Our Words Caracol said this Saturday, the first time that “they provoked us to take away the land we recuperated in 1994 was in 2007,” because “they wanted to become the owner.” On October 18, 2013, residents of November 20 attempted it again.
The most recent provocation to the Zapatista bases of April 10 had occurred last Monday, January 27, when 250 people from the Cioac democratic destroyed the signs at the ejido’s entrance and proceeded to cut down the trees “that we have as an ecological reserve,” according to the Junta, with five chainsaws: nine pines, 40 oaks, 35 coffee bushes and three banana trees. Removed levels, boards, firewood, “not for family use, were stolen to sell them, taking them away in a total of 41 pickup trucks.”
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translation: Chiapas Support Committee
Monday, February 3, 2014