FRAYBA DENOUNCES MORE DEATH THREATS AND DISPLACEMENTS IN SAN MANUEL (UPDATED)
[Please sign on to a trusted Mexican Human Rights Network’s letter to the bad governments about the attacks in San Manuel.] http://www.redtdt.org.mx/d_acciones/d_visual.php?id_accion=358
We are “on alert” and very concerned about the on-going attacks against Zapatista communities in the hills overlooking the city of Ocosingo, Chiapas, Mexico. Yesterday, Friday, August 15, 2014, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) issued Urgent Action No. 3 regarding the situation in San Manuel Autonomous Rebel Zapatista Municipality, the Chiapas Support Committee’s partner Zapatista Municipality for the last 12 years. There was no denunciation from the Good Government Junta in La Garrucha when we wrote this, but it was issued August 16. The facts are the same as already presented in this article and the Frayba Urgent Action below.
Frayba issued its first alert regarding this situation on August 4, 2014, when 32 Zapatistas were displaced from Egipto community in San Manuel because of gunshots and threats. Frayba issued a second alert on August 7, 2014, when the paramilitaries continued the same behavior. Now, the threats seem to have escalated.
The new Frayba Urgent Action describes the threats of death and dispossession in the communities of El Rosario, Kexil , Egipto and a new community called San Jacinto, all of which are communities founded on land the Zapatistas recuperated from large estate owners following the 1994 Zapatista Uprising.
In a typical Zapatista response to dispossession, Zapatistas from San Manuel founded a new community named San Jacinto on the lands used for collective work adjacent to Egipto and El Rosario, the very lands the paramilitaries desire for cutting down trees and displacing Zapatistas. On August 13, nine Zapatista families built nine houses and a grocery store in San Jacinto. Some 250 Zapatistas were also present that day to clear land for planting.
On August 14, according to the Frayba bulletin, at 3:50 AM, a group of 18 people belonging to the ORCAO, armed with shotguns and .22-caliber weapons from Pojcol community, municipality of Chilón, surrounded the collective work lands and fired their weapons into the air. The aggressors shouted: “these weapons we use are from the government” and “this land is ours and does not belong to those fucking Zapatistas.” They then warned the Zapatistas that they had 6 hours to leave.
In order to avoid being attacked, the 9 families (40 men, women and children) and the 250 Zapatista bases resting there left in different directions. After the displacement, the ORCAO members destroyed the nine houses and the grocery store, stealing the store’s merchandise, any cash in the homes and all the machetes. They also burned clothing left behind and destroyed roofs.
Later that same night (August 14), at 8:30 PM, the women and children of the ORCAO families living in El Rosario abandoned the community, leaving only the men behind. The Zapatistas living in El Rosario were then threatened with eviction and the Zapatista women and children left. So, there are now only men left in this divided community; some are members of the paramilitary group  and others that are Zapatistas.
 Kexil is a newly revised spelling used for the community of Nuevo Guadalupe Quexil in San Manuel.
 In the EZLN communiqué titled “Pain and Rage,” Marcos (now Galeano) labeled the CIOAC-Historic as a paramilitary organization and named the ORCAO as being in the same category. The Good Government Junta in La Garrucha denounced the ORCAO members from Pojcol in April 2012 for their actions in Francisco Villa autonomous municipality.
The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas
August 15, 2014
Urgent Action No. 03
Displacement, risk of dispossession and threats to support bases of the EZLN
The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre has documented further acts of aggression perpetrated by members of the Regional Organization of Coffee Growers of Ocosingo (ORCAO) against support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) which occurred on the land for collective work (1) of the Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipality (MAREZ) San Manuel (official municipality of Ocosingo), belonging to the Good Government Junta (JBG) “The Path of the Future”, of Caracol III, La Garrucha, Selva Tzeltal Zone, Chiapas .
On August 13, 2014, by agreement of the Zone of the JBG, nine families of BAEZLN built nine houses (one of them containing a grocery shop) and in this way founded Nuevo Poblado (village) “San Jacinto” on the reclaimed lands for collective work belonging to the MAREZ of San Manuel, which adjoin the communities of Egipto and El Rosario; on that day 250 BAEZLN were also present to perform clearance tasks to prepare the ground for planting.
On 14 August, at approximately 3.50 am, a group of 18 people armed with shotguns and .22 caliber weapons, from the community of Pojcol, municipality of Chilón, belonging to ORCAO, surrounded the field and lands for collective work and began firing their weapons into the air for about 40 minutes. According to testimonies of the people who slept there that night, the attackers shouted “these weapons we use are from the government”, “this land is ours and does not belong to those fucking Zapatistas”, warning the BAEZLN at the same time that they had 6 hours to leave the place.
To avoid being attacked, the nine families (a total of 40 people, including girls, boys, women and men) together with 250 BAEZLN who were resting there, decided to leave in different directions. After the displacement, the members of ORCAO from the community of Pojcol destroyed the nine houses (including the grocery shop), stealing the merchandise that was in the shop and the cash that was in the houses; they also burned the clothes left by all the people who were at the scene, destroyed 150 nylon and canvas roofs, and stole the machetes with which they were working the land. The assessment of the damage so far has not been completed.
The same August 14th, at approximately 20.30 pm, information was received that the women and children of El Rosario community, belonging to ORCAO, had abandoned the community leaving only the men, while, according to testimony, the BAEZLN were being threatened with immediate eviction. As a result, the women and children from the same community, but belonging to the BAEZLN, also decided to leave due to the risk of a possible attack, also leaving only the men.
During the last few hours it has been reported to us that the threats from ORCAO against the BAEZLN of the community of El Rosario are intensifying and threatening to potentially result in dispossession.
In this situation, we express our concern at the imminent risk to the life, personal integrity and safety of the BAEZLN of the communities of El Rosario, Kexil, Egipto and Nuevo Poblado San Jacinto, belonging to the MAREZ of San Manuel.
Faced with the displacement of the BAEZLN communities of Egipto, Nuevo Poblado San Jacinto and El Rosario through acts of harassment, threats, aggression and destruction of their property, we hold the government of Chiapas responsible for ignoring the facts which were initially reported, allowing a gradual continuation of increasingly serious flagrant Human Rights violations to be committed.
Given these facts, this Human Rights Centre calls on the authorities of the state and federal government to:
- Stop the death threats, harassments, assaults, damages and attempts at dispossession that have led up to now to the displacement of the three BAEZLN communities.
- Guarantee to take the necessary measures and investigations aimed to promote conditions to protect the life, personal integrity and safety of the BAEZLN from the MAREZ San Manuel, respecting their process of autonomy which they are constructing under the right to self-determination of the peoples, referred to in the San Andrés Accords, and established in international treaties such as Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The denunciation from the La Garrucha Junta also refers to the attackers from ORCAO as paramilitaries.
To national and international civil society we repeat the call to solidarity to circulate the denunciations and express outrage at the systematic attacks against the BAEZLN belonging to the JBG of La Garrucha (official municipality of Ocosingo).
(1) See Urgent Action No. 03 available at: http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/acciones_urgentes/140613_au_3_bazeln.pdf and Bulletin no. 22: http://frayba.org.mx/archivo/boletines/140803_boletin_22_desplazamiento_baez.pdf
Many thanks to our compañera in London for the above translation of the Frayba Urgent Action