THE MEXICAN STATE INCREASES THE MILITARIZATION IN ZAPATISTA TERRITORY
Five years after the unpunished extrajudicial execution of José Luis Solís López, teacher Galeano, during an attack on the autonomous Zapatista project, in the community of La Realidad, the Mexican State reaffirms its bet for war in a region where the Original Peoples construct a Dignified Life.
Since December 2018, the Mexican State increased the militarization in territories of the Original Peoples Bases of Support of the EZLN (Bases de Apoyo del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, BAEZLN) especially in the Lacandón Jungle region, as part of the continuation of the counterinsurgency strategy for eroding autonomous projects in Chiapas, Mexico.
The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba), through the documentation that the Civilian Observation Brigades (BriCOs) carry out, documented that since the end of 2018, the number of Mexican Army incursions into the seat of the Good Government Junta (JBG) Towards Hope, in the Caracol of La Realidad (Official municipio of Las Margaritas) doubled. The BriCos observed 19 land patrols, (with soldiers armed with machine guns) and 5 flyovers from helicopters, from January to April 2019. The regularization of the flyovers of the communities and the increase of military movements in the last month is worrisome.
The military incursions constitute acts of intimidation and harassment against the Original Zapatista Peoples in resistance, signify an attack on their right to autonomy and represent a risk to the life, integrity and security of the entire population: “We observed that many times the military vehicles pass through the communities at high speed, without any concern for people, children or animals on the road.”
In the first four months of this year, the Frayba documented two acts of espionage against the BriCos, in the international observation camp located in La Realidad. This action harms the personal integrity and security of those who carry out the monitoring of human rights violations in the region and whose work is based on the Declaration On the Right and the Duty of Individuals, Groups and Institutions to Promote and Protect the Human Rights and the Universally Recognized Fundamental Freedoms of the United Nations Organization.
The Frayba confirms with data the BriCos collected the denunciation that the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) published in its communiqué last April 10: “In our mountains and valleys the presence of military, police, paramilitary, and spies, ears and informants has increased. The flyovers of military planes and helicopters, as well as artillery vehicles have reappeared.”
The militarization that persists in the new federal government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and state government of Rutilio Escandón Cadenas attempts against the life of the communities of Original Peoples that, in Chiapas, defend their right to autonomy, self-determination and territory.
It’s appropriate to remember that on May 2, 2014, during the same action in which José Luis Solís López was extra-judicially executed, members of the Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos-Historical destroyed the autonomous school and clinic, as well as threaten to dismantle the Caracol “Mother of the Caracoles of the Sea of Our Dreams. The act was a pretext so that the National Defense Ministry could intensify the militarization, which the Frayba pointed to as an act of intimidation, instead of seeking justice and the means for solving the conflict in a civil and peaceful manner.
Therefore, we make a call to national and international solidarity to strengthen the path of peace and respect for human rights given the risk of a new military offensive against Zapatista territories.
Originally Published in Spanish by Frayba Communication
Thursday, May 2, 2019
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee