NOVEMBER 2014 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. Ayotzinapa Caravan Meets with EZLN in Oventik – On November 15, the Caravan of relatives and compañer@s of the murdered and disappeared Ayotzinapa students that traveled south met with Zapatista bases and commanders of the EZLN commanders in the Caracol of Oventik. Comandantes Javier and Tacho welcomed and opened the meeting and Subcomandante Moisés issued a major statement on behalf of the EZLN’s General Command. The 3 comunicados can be read here!
2. EZLN and CNI Denounce Xochicuautla Arrests – On November 3, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the EZLN issued a joint statement regarding the use of riot police and helicopters in an action to break up a protest in Xochicuautla over the construction of a super-highway. 8 indigenous members of the community were arrested. This is the same community where the Worldwide Festival of Resistances and Rebellion Against Capitalism will be inaugurated on December 21.
3. CNI Announces Schedule and Registration for Worldwide Festival of Resistance and Rebellion Against Capitalism – On November 26, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) announced the schedule and registration process for the Worldwide Festival of Resistance and Rebellion Against Capitalism to be held in several locations over the holiday season and ending at Cideci in Chiapas.
4. More than 20,000 March Against Chiapas Super-Highway – On November 25, more than 20,000 thousand members of Pueblo Creyente (Believing People) and the Movement in Defense of Life and Territory marched in 12 municipalities (counties) of Chiapas against the construction of the super-highway between San Cristóbal and Palenque. Pueblo Creyente is a religious-political organization in the local parishes of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas Catholic Diocese, which includes much of the eastern half of Chiapas. The marchers were also protesting the proliferation of bars and the sale of alcoholic beverages, and the cultivation and sale of drugs. It was the international day against violence toward women and the marchers issued a statement that included a commitment to end violence against women in all its forms. Among the reasons given for opposing the super-highway’s construction was that it would destroy Mother Nature, bring with it new kinds of customs and only benefit the rich. Marchers also demanded that the 43 forcibly disappeared Ayotzinapa students be returned alive!
5. 3 Men Convicted for the Acteal Massacre Released from Prison – On November 13, three more of the paramilitaries convicted of participating in the December 22, 1997 Acteal Massacre of 45 indigenous members of Las Abejas were released from prison. The Supreme Court overturned their cases finding a lack of due process. Their release means that 73 of the 75 paramilitaries convicted of the crime against humanity are now free. Las Abejas and the Frayba Human Rights Center denounced the release. Las Abejas was one of the organizations that participated in the march against the super-highway.
In other parts of Mexico
1. Mass Support for Ayotzinapa on November 20 – Relatives and student compañer@s of the 3 murdered and 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students formed 3 caravans; one caravan headed north, another went south and the third toured communities in Guerrero, organizing support. The 3 caravans then culminated in a huge march to Mexico City’s Zocalo for one of the largest marches and rallies in recent history (meaning that there were so many hundreds of thousands that they couldn’t be conuted). Solidarity protests continue to take place in various parts of Mexico and in the United States. Mexico’s attorney general gave a press conference in which he presented photographic evidence and confessions from gunmen for the United Warriors criminal gang. The government’s position is that the gang members shot and killed the students, and incinerated their bodies in a Cocula municipal garbage dump, ultimately scooping their ashes into plastic bags and tossing the bags into the river. The parents and many others refuse to accept the government’s version of the facts for reasons that Luis Hernández Navarro explains here. Although forensics experts have examined the clandestine graves found around Iguala, Guerrero, no bodies have been identified as those of the missing students. Mexico has now agreed to permit experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to participate in the investigation regarding the 43 disappeared students.
2. Reports On Mexico’s Drug War – This month we learned that the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) not only gave guns to Mexican drug traffickers, it also gave them explosive devices! Another news report indicates that US marshals are participating in military exercises with Mexican Marines, although the US government denies it. Eleven headless and partially-burned bodies were just found in Guerrero and rumors are circulating about the disappearance of 30 students a year ago. This has not been confirmed. As of one year ago, a reliable source reports that the total number of dead in Mexico’s “Drug War” reached 150,000. That number represents an educated guess because both governments (US and Mexico) hide the numbers and not all murders are reported to government authorities. However, several news sources have started to compare the number of deaths in Mexico’s Drug War to the number of deaths in Iraq’s war and to question why so much attention is paid to the numbers in Iraq and not to those in Mexico.
In the United States
1. Solidarity in U.S. with Relatives and Students of Ayotzinapa – There have been different forms of solidarity with the 43 disappeared students expressed throughout the United States: marches, vigils, protests, etc. Many communities around the country and the world participated in the Nov. 20 Day of Action. Actions are planned throughout the United States on Wednesday, December 3. This time the actions question the billions of dollars in military aid the US sends to Mexico through the Merida Initiative (“Plan Mexico”) and the role that money plays in the country’s terrifying violence. The Ayotzinapa Massacre and 43 forced disappearances have started to shine some light on drug war violence in Mexico, as well as on the political corruption and impunity.
Compiled monthly by the Chiapas Support Committee.The primary sources for our information are: La Jornada, Enlace Zapatista and the Fray Bartolomé 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