Chiapas Support Committee

Construction of new military base in Chiapas advances rapidly

A view of the entrance to Rancho Nuevo Military Base from the highway. It’s located near San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas.

By: Isaín Mandujano

TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ, Chiapas. (apro)

The Mexican Army advances rapidly in the construction of what will be the new military base in the municipality of Chicomuselo, Chiapas, which according to Governor Manuel Velasco Coello will strengthen the security shield in the state’s Sierra Region and on it’s southern border.

“With the new Army barracks that is being constructed in the Sierra of Chiapas we will have a border that is more secure and a better protection of the population in natural contingencies,” said the Governor, who visited the work together with the commander of the VII Military Region, General Luis Alberto Brito Vázquez.

After supervising the construction –close to the borderline with Guatemala–, Velasco maintained that the new base would strengthen the security actions that they impel in the state to guaranty the social wellbeing, governability and integral development.

It is in the interest of both the state government and the Federation to reinforce joint actions in security matters in the 122 municipalities of Chiapas, he added.

Also accompanied by the Comandante of the 39th Military Zone, Víctor Manuel González Pérez, he pointed out that the construction of the new military complex is done under the corresponding environmental regulations.

The new installation, he said, “forms part of the national security strategy that President Enrique Peña Nieto impels, where the goal is to establish the joint labor among the different levels of government for attending to, combating and eradicating any kind of violence, as well as attaining more secure, dignified and prosperous borders for all those that live or travel through Mexican territory.”

Besides, he added, it will permit improving inter-institutional coordination, strengthening projects in security matters focused in the different regions of the state, guarantying social cohesion and offering better opportunities for social and economic development.

That –he emphasized– it will generate an economic spill of eight million pesos per month, direct and indirect jobs, as well as the opening of businesses with local providers, the arrival of service providers, and the improvement of public services in health, education, communications and transportation.

Also on tour with the governor were: Raciel López Salazar, attorney general of the state; Jorge Luis Llaven Abarca, Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection; Juan Carlos Gómez Aranda, Secretary General of Government; José Antonio Figueroa Hernández, municipal president of Chicomuselo, and federal delegates in the state, among others.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Proceso.com.mx

Monday, June 12, 2017

http://www.proceso.com.mx/490740/avanza-a-marchas-forzadas-construccion-base-militar-en-chicomuselo

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

 

 

López y Rivas: The time has come

María de Jesús Patricio, spokeswoman for the Indigenous Government Council for Mexico.

By: Gilberto López y Rivas

As always, the important comunicado of the National Indigenous Congress and the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (CNI–EZLN), “The time has come,” dated last May 28, went unperceived in the large communications media and particularly among the political class. Immersed in the State elections, as predictable in their fraudulent results as the frustration of those who vote in good faith, confident that “now yes, there could at least be an change,” the media as well as the politicians ignore or make invisible any reference to the resistances e political initiatives of the indigenous peoples. The autism and ego-centrism of the political class goes together with the obedience to the power of the media analysts.

In their document, the CNI–EZLN announces the broad representation of indigenous peoples, communities, nations and tribes present in the constitutive assembly of the Indigenous Government Council: Apache, Amuzgo, Chatino, Chichimeca, Chinanteco, Chol, Chontal de Oaxaca, Chontal de Tabasco, Coca, Cuicateco, Mestizo, Hñähñü, Ñathö, Ñuhhü, Ikoots, Kumiai, Lakota, Mam, Matlazinca, Maya, Mayo, Mazahua, Mazateco, Me`phaa, Mixe, Mixe-Popoluca, Mixteco, Mochó, Nahua or Mexicano, Nayeri, Popoluca, Purépecha, Q´anjob´al, Rarámuri, Tének, Tepehua, Tlahuica, Tohono Odham, Tojolabal, Totonaco, Triqui, Tseltal, Tsotsil, Wixárika, Xi´iuy, Yaqui, Binniza, Zoque, Akimel O´otham and Comkaac.

The document describes in depth the capitalist full-spectrum war against the peoples throughout national territory, and the time of violence, fear, mourning and rage that is experienced, ever since: “the political class has persisted in making the State a corporation that sells the land that belongs to the original peoples, campesinos, city folk; that sells it to people as if they were merchandise that are killed and buried like raw material for the drug cartels, to sell them to the capitalist companies that exploit them until they get sick or die, for selling them in parts for the illegal organ market. The pain of the relatives of the disappeared and their decision to find their loved ones despite the fact that the governments are persistent in not finding them because by looking for them, the rot that governs this country is also appearing. That is the destiny that those above construct for us, bent on the destruction of the social fabric, of what makes us know peoples, nations, tribes, barrios, colonias, even families, it keeps us isolated and alone in our grief, while they consolidate the appropriation of entire territories, in the mountains, the valleys, the coasts and in the cities.”

Contrary to the political class that participates in electoral processes as if they were taking place in a Swiss Canton, the comunicado emphasizes: “the destruction that we have not only denounced, but also faced for 20 years and that evolve in the better part of the country into an open war waged by criminal corporations that act in brazen complicity with all the organs of the bad government, with all the political parties and institutions. All of them configure the power of above and are a cause of repugnance for millions of Mexicans of the countryside and the cities. In the midst of that repugnance they continue telling us to vote, to believe in the power of above, which continues drawing and imposing our destiny. In that direction, we only see a war that grows and on the horizon is death and the destruction of our lands, our families, our life; it is an absolute certainty that it will get worse, much worse, for everyone, for everyone.”

They reiterate that: “only in resistance and rebellion have we found the possible paths whereby we will be able to continue living, and that in them are the keys not only for surviving the war of money against humanity and against our Mother Earth, but also for being reborn together with every seed that we sow, with each dream and with each hope that is materializing in large regions in autonomous forms of security, of communication, of governments appropriate for protection and defense of territories. Therefore, there is no other path possible than the one being walked below, because above is not our path, it is theirs and we disturb them.”

The CNI–EZLN has decided “not to wait for the disaster that the capitalist killers that govern undoubtedly bring us, but rather to go on the offensive and make that hope an Indigenous Government Council for Mexico that bets on life from below and to the anticapitalist left, which will be lay and that answers to the seven principles of govern by obeying as our moral guaranty (…) we seek to snatch the destiny that they have taken away from us and, unfortunately, we seek to dismantle that rotten power that is killing our peoples and Mother Earth and the only cracks that we have encountered and that have been liberating consciences and territories, giving consolation and hope are in resistance and rebellion.”

The CNI–EZLN calls “to organize ourselves in all the corners of the country, para gather necessary elements so that the Indigenous Government Council and our spokesperson is registered as an independent candidate to the presidency of this country and yes, spoiling their party based on our death and making our own based on dignity, organization and the construction of a new country and of a new world.”

They call “to all sectors of society to be attentive to the steps the Indigenous Government Council is agreeing on and defining through our spokesperson to not surrender, not sell out, not to deviate or rest, to go carving the arrow that will carry the offensive of all the indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, organized and non-organized in order to aim it at the real enemy.”

It’s clear that the time has come for constructing power from below and to the left; a power that governs by obeying starting with the seven principles: to serve and not serve yourself, to represent and not supplant, to construct and not destroy, to obey and not order, to propose and not impose, to convince and not conquer, to step down and not up.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, June 16, 2017

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2017/06/16/opinion/018a2pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

 

 

 

Waffles and Zapatismo II

Elections and the powers from below

By: Raúl Zibechi

In recent decades the political culture of the left converted elections into the principal barometer of its success or failure, of advances or setbacks. In fact, the electoral conjuncture became the axis of political action of the lefts, in most of the world.

A new political reality, since not so distant times the electoral question occupied one part of the energies and was considered a complement to the main work, which revolved around organizing the popular sectors.

What’s certain is that electoral participation was articulated as the first step in the integration into the institutions of the political system (capitalist). That process destroyed popular organizing, weakening to the extreme the ability of those below to directly resist (not through their representatives) systemic oppression.

With the years, politics from below began to turn on what the leaders decided and did. A small group of deputies and senators, assisted by dozens of functionaries paid with public monies, were displacing la participation of grass roots militants.

In my country, Uruguay, the Frente Amplio (Broad Front) achieved having before the 1973 State coup more than 500 grassroots committees just in Montevideo. There, militants gathered from the different parties that made up the coalition, but also independents and neighbors. In the first elections in which it participated (1971), one of every three or four voters was organized in those committees.

Now the reality is that almost no grassroots committees exist and everything is decided at the top, made up of people that have made a career in state institutions. Only a fistful of committees reactivated during the electoral campaign, to later be submerged in a long nap until the next election.

In parallel, the institutionalization of the lefts and of the popular movements –added to the centrality of electoral participation– ended up dispersing the popular powers that those below had erected with such determination and that were the key vault of the resistances.

In the debate over elections I believe that it’s necessary to distinguish three completely different attitudes, or strategies.

Immanuel Wallerstein has defended the first one for some time: the popular sectors must protect themselves during the systemic storm in order to survive. In that sense, he proposes that reaching the government through legal means, as well as progressive social policies, can help the popular camp both to limit the damages resulting from conservative offenses and to avoid that ultra-right forces take state power.

This point of view seems reasonable, although I don’t agree, since I consider the social policies linked to “fighting poverty” as forms of counterinsurgency, based on the experience that exists in the Southern Cone of the continent. At the same time, reaching government office almost always implies administering the policies of the IMF and the World Bank. Who today remembers the experience the Greek Syriza? What consequences do we get from a government that promised the opposite?

It’s evident that being focused on that such and so leader committed “treason,” leads the debate to a dead end street, except that one thinks that things would have gone another way with different leaders. It isn’t only about errors; it’s the system.

The second attitude is hegemonic among the global lefts. The strategy would be more or less like this: there is no organized social base; the movements are very weak and almost non-existent, so that the only way to modify the so-called “correlation of forces” is to try to arrive in the government. This situation has proven to be fatal, even in case the lefts succeed in winning, as happened in Greece and Italy (if the remains of the Communist Party can be called the left).

The case is different in countries like Venezuela and Bolivia. When Evo Morales and Hugo Chávez arrived in government through electoral means, powerful movements existed, organized and mobilized, especially in the first case. However, once in government they decided to strengthen the state apparatus and, therefore, they undertook actions to weaken the movements.

They are the most “advanced” state experiences, but today no autonomous anti-systemic movements exist in either country that maintain those governments. Those who support them, with exceptions, are social organizations coopted or created from above. On this point I propose distinguishing between movements (anchored in grassroots militancy) and organizations (bureaucracies financed by the States).

A variant of this attitude are those movements that, at a certain time, decide to enter into the electoral terrain. More often than not, and I believe that Mexico has a long experience in this direction, over the years the bases of the movements weaken, while the leaders end up imbedded in the state apparatus.

The third orientation is what the Indigenous Government Council impels, which in my opinion consists of taking advantage of the electoral process to connect with the popular sectors, for the purpose of impelling self-organization. They have said: it’s not about votes, much less positions, but rather about deepening efforts to change the world.

It seems evident to me that it’s not about an electoral campaign, or that Zapatismo has taken an electoral turn. It’s a proposal –that’s how I understand it and I can be wrong– that seeks to continue to construct in a situation of internal war, of genocide against those below, like that which Mexico has lived for almost a decade.

We’re dealing with a tactic that brings back the 20th century revolutionary experience for confronting the current storm, not using the weapons that the system offers us (polls and votes), but rather with their own weapons, like the organization of those below.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, June 11, 2017

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2017/06/09/opinion/020a2pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

 

Emergency in the Chol town of Tila, Chiapas

The Tila ejido marches.

By: Magdalena Gómez

Starting last June 2, paramilitary aggression and threats against the Tila ejido in Chiapas have intensified. [1] They accuse, its authorities point out, “that we are robbing them of their 130-hectare property and that they have more than 200 private deeds.” With that, the root of the injustice is again put on the table without the State, at all 3 levels taking charge of the potential for violence, or it does so, in fact, by permitting the illegal behavior of groups with a long trajectory in that zone.

Remember: the Chol people, in the Tila ejido of Chiapas, were affected by the dispossession of 130 hectares of their territory, occupied unconstitutionally by the municipal council of Tila, following the publication of Decree 72 on December 17, 1980, issued by the governor and the Congress of the state of Chiapas. In their defense, they filed a lawsuit for protection on April 14, 1982 (259/1982), with the first court, which was resolved 26 years after its presentation, on December 16, 2008, conceding the order of protection to the Tila ejido and ordering the municipal council of Tila, the governor of the state of Chiapas, the local Congress and the Public Registry of Property and Commerce to immediately restore the lands to the Tila ejido and to cancel every kind of deed that would privatize them. Nine years after the resolution, the successive governments have alleged the physical and material impossibility of complying with the judgment, and therefore they have argued that only indemnification be required for those lands.

The Chol ejido owners have insisted that upon being restored to them, as is fitting, they would head up an internal process of de negotiations with those who currently occupy the lands that were taken away from them, and would do it from a position of authority. In November 2010 a case of non-execution of judgment (1302/2010) was initiated in the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN). It was assigned to then Minister Olga María del Carmen Sánchez Cordero, who elaborated a project that attempted to condition the judgment’s execution, rejecting, that yes, the indemnification would include measures so that the lands would be returned to the patrimony of the ejido and from there the lands in the possession of third parties would be legalized. However, the majority of the ministers suggested the substitute fulfillment (indemnification), making use of an ability of the Court in cases in which said fulfillment would occasion a greater damage to society.

Implicitly, according to the Court’s views, on behalf of society, in this case, it would understand those who are in possession of the Chol ejido’s lands. The now former minister withdrew her project. To realize a new one, she requested diverse experts from the Autonomous National University of Mexico that is now finished. Nevertheless, the case has remained practically in limbo in the SCJN, without resolution. Facing this brief recap, the meaning of the November 8, 2015 decision of the Ejido Assembly, the maximum body of the ejido where the Chol people are settled, is clear in the sense of self-executing the 2008 court decision and initiating the construction of their autonomy as indigenous people, according to what Article 2 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States and Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization establish. This is how they expressed it: “One more time we demand that the municipal council of Tila, Chiapas withdraw to where it belongs, since here in the ejido not one centimeter of terrain belongs to it… Now it has been self-determined via general agreement that the municipal council will leave our territory, and that the nest of paramilitaries and partisan politicians get out of our town. Because of that the Federation sent soldiers and police… We denounce the false commissioners named by the state government… who are deceiving the settlers, saying that the ejido owners are going to burn their houses or that they are going to run them out.” For almost two years they have advanced in the construction of autonomy in different ambits, among others community justice, always in the midst of tension.

The Judicial Power at its highest level does not contribute to resolving critical cases about the violation of indigenous peoples’ rights and, as we know, when resolutions are issued they may offer only half a remedy, as in the case of the Yaqui tribe, it is not realized that in fact they lose all meaning upon not being executed. As to Tila it is paradoxical that they find it difficult to reorient a case that was undertaken via the agrarian route, when recognition of the indigenous peoples didn’t exist. Today they have all the elements and do not use them. What to say about the Executive Power, federal and state: they permit or encourage conflicts to grow without any notion that the responsibility belongs to them. Their gaze is focused elsewhere, on other interests. It’s urgent to stop the aggression towards those who achieved that justice recognized their right. There is still time.

[1] This is one of the conflicts denounced by the CNI-EZLN in the communiqué “The Offensive of above, versus the movement below.” According to the compañer@s in Tila, adherents to the EZLN’s 6th Declaration and members of the National Indigenous Congress, the paramilitaries say they have formed the “Special Forces of Tila” and are prepared to attack.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2017/06/13/opinion/014a1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

 

 

 

Violence escalates against Cruztón, Chiapas, one dead

Peace camp (campamento de paz) in Cruztón.

Chiapas, México, June 12, 2017.

Despite repeated denunciations from Cruztón community, municipality of Venustiano Carranza, on this May 22 violence on the part of “invading groups” from the Nuevo Guadalupe Victoria ejido cost the life of the community defender Rodrigo Guadalupe Huet Gómez. After being ambushed together with 30 of his compañeros, Rodrigo Guadalupe left the place where he was safeguarded from the attack to verify whether the attackers had withdrawn, when he received a bullet impact in the left temple, agonized for an hour due to lack of medical attention and died at approximately 8:00 am, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) explained in a denunciation.

It’s appropriate to emphasize that the requested emergency medical services were not able to provide assistance, according to statements from civilian protection agents, because Eleuterio Bautista Aguilar, Municipal Agent of the Guadalupe Victoria ejido, stopped the ambulance coming from Venustiano Carranza, while the civilian protection ambulance coming from Teopisca was intercepted by men with firearms in a shooting position, the Frayba reports.

Cruztón residents have been demanding respect for their territory, especially where the holy field is found, which since 1920 “by right of our ancestors we reclaim and we know that no one can privatize and take away from us, like the group of invaders from Guadalupe Victoria are doing now,” they had denounced.

On March 5, 2013, “an invader group from Guadalupe Victoria, placed banners on 12 small properties (Tombs), in order to soon take possession of them,” the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) members warned. On April 16, 2015, upon seeing no response from the government to the Cruztón denunciations, the invading group took possession of 3 small properties.

Afterwards, on May 8, 2015 the invaders stopped up the pass that leads to Venustiano Carranza, detaining two Cruztón residents that were carrying a sick person for two hours, threatened them with high-caliber weapons and telling them: “that they were going to know who they were,” the adherents to The Sixth related.

On May 10, 2016, when Augusto de la Cruz Pérez went to Guadalupe Victoria to leave his wife at her mother’s house, “he was kidnapped upon his return without having committed any crime,” Cruztón denounced at that time. “The aggressor group from Guadalupe Victoria that kidnapped him was strongly armed with high-caliber weapons; they beat him, hung him for an hour and let him go at 5 o’clock in the morning, but at the same time they threatened him saying: “no one messes with us and if you say who it was it will; get worse for you,” the Cruztón residents reported, who are also members of the Dignified Seed collective (colectivo Semilla Digna).

In its communications, Cruztón urges Manuel Velasco and all his (government) agencies to: “respect our rights to land and territory since this aggressor group’s harassments have continued up to this moment and we hold you responsible for any aggression that may happen,” which then occurred last May 22.

The national and international condemnation response to the crime was not expected; from the CNI Mexico and the Network Against Repression (La Red Contra la Represión) to the collectives and organizations from Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland, they all agree that: “Guadalupe, the Cruztón Community not only misses him, but we also miss him. His death pushed us to raise our struggle for freedom and justice higher. We will multiply our efforts so that you don’t feel alone because your struggle is the same as our struggle for dignity and humanity,” they emphasize.

“The farewell to the body of our compañero was May 24, 2017 in our community cemetery. We said farewell to his body but his always dignified and rebellious struggle will be with us forever,” his compañer@s asserted from Cruztón.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Pozol Colectivo

Monday, June 12, 2017

http://www.pozol.org/?p=15409

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

The offensive of above, versus the movement below

U.S. Military forces in the Guatemalan department of Petén, near the border with Campeche, Mexico.

Those of us who are the National Indigenous Congress (CNI); indigenous peoples, nations, tribes and barrios of this country, make a call to the indigenous and non-indigenous peoples of Mexico, to the honest human rights organizations, to the communications media, to the scientific and intellectual community to repudiate the repressive escalation against compañeros and compañeras of our peoples where they have been naming council members to make up the Indigenous Government Council for Mexico, which to us represents an aggression against the CNI and the proposal that we have launched to the whole nation. Therefore we denounce and point out that:

In Chiapas, the hostility and grave tension increase that the bad governments have generated in the Tila ejido, due to the political bosses tied to paramilitary groups in their attempt to bring the bad government to the community, as is the paramilitary leader of Paz y Justicia, Arturo Sánchez Sánchez, and his son Francisco Arturo Sánchez Martínez, who, firing shots and accompanied by more people belonging to their organization, closed access to the town of Tila. Recently, on June 5 of this year, they blocked the highway that goes from Tila to Salto de Agua in front of the integral hospital of Tila and another part on the highway from Tila to Yajalón, including blocking roads inside of ejido lands with masked and armed individuals. The escalation of the harassment sharpened starting with a mobilization that this group carried out last June 2 in the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, headed by followers and paramilitaries of Paz y Justicia.

We place responsibility on the three levels of bad government for what can occur and we call for solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Tila ejido.

In the same state, the rich once again seek to snatch away the land recuperated in a dignified way by our brothers of the San Francisco community, municipality of Teopisca, members of the Semilla Digna (Dignified Seed) work group. The harassment is carried out b y three rich men: Juan Hernández Molina, Pedro López Girón and Pedro Hernández Espinoza. Last June 4 of this year, Mr. Pedro López Girón presented himself, accompanied by a group of approximately 50 people that violently destroyed the crossbar, barbed wire and the fence near the pasture that marks off the lands recuperated on September 19, 2016. That day, they threatened the compañeras with violating (raping) them sexually and threatened them with evicting them overnight accompanied by public forces. We condemn these cowardly attacks, and we demand complete respect for the territory recuperated by our brothers in San Francisco. We also demand the definitive cancellation of the seven existing arrest warrants against our compañeros.

Also in Chiapas, last May 28 the house of Compañera Alejandra Padilla, of the Semilla Digna work group, was broken into. They stole a laptop computer from the house, in which she was saving information about the accompaniment she has given the CNI’s indigenous communities in their struggles, as well as a part that belongs to the CIDECI- UNITIERRA work team.

On May 22 of this year at 5:20 am, a paramilitary group that identifies itself as Nuevo Guadalupe Victoria attacked a group of compañeros and compañeras of Cruztón community, participants in the CNI, with high-caliber weapons. At 7:00 am, our compañero Rodrigo Guadalupe Huet Gómez, left the place where he was protecting himself from the attack to verify if the aggressors had withdrawn, when a bullet struck him in the temple. The aggressors were identified as coming from the Guadalupe Victoria ejido.

In Querétaro we demand the immediate freedom of the Otomí compañeros Jerónimo Sánchez and Anselmo Robles, delegates of the National Indigenous Congress, who the bad government kidnapped together with Pablo González and Luis Alberto Reyes, through arrest warrants that the 9th Criminal Court of the 1st level issued against them, for the alleged crime of being the intellectual authors of aggravated rioting, which is not considered grave and, therefore, they could achieve their freedom under bond, a right that has been denied them. We are clear that said charges are to detain the struggle, the honesty and coherence that our compañeros have demonstrated.

In Morelos, we salute the dignified struggle of the Nahua people of Tepoztlán, against the expansion of the La Pera – Cuautla superhighway, and we repudiate any attempt at repression through the use of police or shock groups like the group that entered on June 7 of this year, commanded by former municipal president Gabino Ríos, to dismantle the occupation with the intention of generating violence in order to attack our compañeros, on the superhighway as well as at the municipal palace. Compañer@s, you are not alone!

In the State of Mexico, Ñuhú community of Santa Cruz Ayotuxco, municipality of Huixquilucan, they confront the destruction of their territory in the midst of the lack of any legal guaranty while the machines of the bad government and the construction companies devastate the Otomí Mexica forest in order to construct the Toluca- Naucalpan superhighway. Despite the fact that they were notified on April 26 of this year of the judicial suspension of said construction work, the authorities of the bad government and the construction companies have not respected that suspension, thereby violating the bad government’s own laws.

In Michoacán, the bad governments keep the following compañeros from the community of Calzontzin, in the municipality of Uruapan kidnapped: Ramón Ortiz Marín, Daniel Pérez Anguiano, Francisco Javier Rodríguez Amezcua, Lorenzo Aguirre Rangel, Jorge Daniel Oros Cuin, José Luis Rangel Rangel, Humberto Romero Martinez, Josué Yair Romero Ortiz, Guillermo Romero Ortiz, José Alejandro Esquivel Alvarez, José Artemio Zinzun Galván, Juan Zavala Guevara, Jose de Jesus Belmontes Arrollo, Roberto Isidro Jiménez, Juan Carlos Rangel Morales, Angrey Raúl García González and Jesus Magdalena Chávez following the bad government’s repression against the community last February 24. We demand the immediate freedom of our compañeros that are unjustly imprisoned.

In Campeche and Guatemala, we denounce the dispossession and destruction of their homes and lands that have forcibly displaced our Kekchi and Chu Maya brothers from the department of Peten, in Guatemala, by soldiers that are protected because of alleged armed conflicts; the capitalist devastation of the natural resources; and the latifundios (very large landholdings) protected by the bad governments of that country. That dispossession has brought hundreds of brothers to Candelaria, Campeche, where they set up an encampment to resist and make visible the capitalist war that they face in their lands a few meters from the Mexican border. 
[1] So, we denounce: the sharpening of the war against our peoples, the storm that flashes in the sky and that now seeks to kill the hopes of all the Mexicans that the Indigenous Government Council and our spokesperson represent; the use of shock groups and paramilitary groups to strike blows against the struggle of the peoples that make up the CNI, the criminalization and persecution of those who struggle for a just world, from below and to the left.

To those who think that our struggle will die because of your repression, we remind you that this path is for life and liberty, and therefore death will not stop it, but rather the opposite, and we continue calling on civil society to be aware, in solidarity and attentive to this struggle, to this offensive, which is for reconstructing democracy, liberty and justice for everyone.

[1] See: https://chiapas-support.org/2017/06/10/the-southern-command-will-support-vigilance-on-the-mexico-guatemala-border/

Attentively,

June 2017

For the Integral Vindication of Our Peoples

Never More a Mexico Without Us


 National Indigenous Congress

En español: http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/06/10/la-ofensiva-de-arriba-ante-el-movimiento-de-abajo/

The Southern Command will support vigilance on the Mexico-Guatemala border

Guatemalan refugees stranded at the border with Mexico after police evicted them from their lands in the Petén.

By: Jesús Aranda

Cozumel, Quintana Roo

With support from the United States Southern Command, the armed forces of Mexico and Guatemala impel “very important” task force project on their common border for carrying out land and air patrols and recognizance for the exchange of information and intelligence to fight organized crime, General Juan Manuel Pérez Ramírez, head of Guatemala’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, revealed.

Upon participating in a meeting of the media from the seven representatives of the nations that took part in the Central American Security Conference (Centsec 2017), which was held in Mexico for the first time and was organized by the Secretariats of National Defense and of the Navy, with co-sponsorship from the United States Northern and Southern Commands, the Guatemalan military emphasized that this task force project “has been working since more than five years ago,” and one of the bases of las bases operations will be located in the Petén, a strategic area that borders on the Usumacinta River.

“There are tangible projects” for carrying out land, air and recognizance patrols on the border of more than 1,000 kilometers, besides the exchange of information and intelligence, standardization of protocols and procedures for carrying out interdiction operations with technology and intelligence support from the Southern Command.

‘‘Inside the exchange of information process there is a route for immigrants undocumented that passes through the Northern Petén; we have periodic tactical and strategic meetings with military commanders (of the Mexican Army and Navy), Governance does its own, he indicated, and added that these kinds of “face-to-face” meetings are invaluable.

“They are strategic meetings and key to define mechanisms, the routes for migrants, contraband cattle, and for using people to carry drugs. The absence of the State is not a secret in Guatemala; with these meetings we try to be better organized to generate governability and subtract strength from organized crime,” he maintained.

Without the presence of the Secretaries of National Defense, General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda; of the Secretary of the Navy, Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberón Sanz, or of the chiefs of the Northern Command, General Lori J. Robinson and Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, who participated in the tasks and the closing, but not in the press conference, the Central American ministers agreed in pointing out that the biggest challenge they face in the area is the fight against organized crime.

In that regard, General David Munguía, El Salvador’s Defense Minister, emphasized that drug trafficking affects each country differently, and in this context, each nation must use “all its capacity” to confront it.

Such is the case of nations like Mexico, in which the armed forces, with respect to its legal framework in effect, participate in the fight against organized crime, he said.

The Vice Minister of Public Security of Panama, Jonathan Gabriel del Rosario Arosamena, said that drug trafficking is a transnational threat “that we must fight” with our best minds and abilities, not just in the ambit of public security, but also in the social ambit.

Initially, the conclusions of Centsec 2017 centered on the importance of information exchange based on trust as a necessity for responding effectively to threats.

A greater integration of nations was called for to make the regional security structures efficient and it was emphasized that the inequality in operational and logistical capacities would be a challenge to confront in the short term to achieve results that benefit the region.

Inside the work groups it was emphasized that it’s indispensable to establish action protocols and form strategic alliances among the area’s nations (Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belize, El Salvador and Panamá), since the common enemy, which is transnational crime, does not respect borders.

Another agreement was the urgency in coordinating the internal agencies in each nation so that they share information and with other countries and impel the exchange, thereby fomenting trust.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2017/04/26/politica/003n1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

Indigenous Government Council

A Zapatista Comandanta at the CNI Assembly.

By: Magdalena Gómez

Last weekend, the constitutive assembly of the Indigenous Government Council (CIG, its initials in Spanish) of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) was held in the Cideci in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. 1,252 representatives from indigenous peoples and communities and 230 Zapatista delegates, a total of 1,482, participated. That completed the first phase of the process that was opened at the CNI’s fifth congress last October around the proposal, which was consulted widely and approved by the peoples, to create the Indigenous Government Council and name a spokesperson that would participate as an independent candidate to the Presidency of the Republic in 2018.

It’s important to remember that after the announcement of the aforementioned proposal, a racist attack was unleashed that quickly mutated into a strategy of omitting all reference to it. To that were added different personalities from the institutional left. The silence was recently partially broken and it showed that it’s difficult to question the electoral hegemonic view. The central note about the assembly was the naming of an indigenous “candidate,” rather than the relevance of the creation of the CIG, no reference to the resolutions that were announced in the phase open to the media about the council’s proposals, its organization and the way of linking up with the country’s social sectors. The ample and mature discussion about these themes was the heart of the assembly, their corollary was the naming as spokesperson the historic figure of the CNI belonging to the Náhuatl people of southern Jalisco, María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, who, it emphasized, will represent the voice of the original peoples of the CIG in the 2018 electoral process. They named a spokeswoman and all of the media translated it as a candidate. And it’s not merely a formal question; by omitting the CIG they seek to elude the autonomic and anti-capitalist organizational project. On the other hand, despite the fact that the inaugural session and the closing were open to the media, not one referred to the care of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) in occupying a place in the back of the auditorium, nor in Subcomandante Moisés’ punctual participation demanding truth and justice for Ayotzinapa, and demonstrating support and solidarity with the Wirrárika people, and the very symbolic and silent presence of Subcomandante Galeano accompanied by the little girl Defensa Zapatista with the message: “Don’t be afraid” and the message of Pedrito “continue forward and don’t give up.”

The EZLN’s relationship to the indigenous peoples and the CNI is solid, and is one of deep respect. It’s obvious that there is a relationship, therefore, when the CNI’s provisional council announced that its proposal for a spokesperson was Compañera Marichuy, it asked the EZLN and Comandanta Miriam for their opinion. Next a group of comandantas entered and asked permission to speak with her alone and converse about how “their heart feels” and went back to report that they accompany said proposal, which was unanimously endorsed in the assembly. There is no doubt that María de Jesús Patricio more than expresses the profile on which the CNI decided. Her words, strong and slow, reminded me of those that she spoke in San Lázaro on March 28, 2001: “Land and territory have a special meaning for our peoples, to us the land is our mother, we are born from her and she grows everything that gives us life; every stream, every rock, every hill breathes and has life in her. Because of having life and being a source of life, land has a special and sacred meaning to us. Mother Earth feeds us; we receive the air that we breathe from her, the sun that illuminates us, the light to work, the darkness to rest and dream. Upon being born we receive the first vision from her and the first breath. We return to her at the end of our steps through this world… We cannot conceive that our lands and territories are like any object that can be bought and sold like any merchandise.”

The indigenous assembly that created the CIG is an example of the potential of the indigenous peoples, of their maturity, of the breadth of their agendas, of the conscience they have about the need for unity, of breaking the chains that immobilize them like the so-called official economic “support” that no party questions because they benefit from it. Many of their proposals are not for immediate realization, but are their beacon, their emancipatory horizon. The principles are not a passing fad; thus Marichuy, the CIG’s spokesperson, recuperating the voices of the assembly, reaffirmed that this is a project for life, for organization, for the reconstitution of the peoples; it’s not for getting votes; we will call to civil society and join efforts; it’s a necessary step if we want to continue existing. Those of us who are present here are going to be at the front, the 71 council members, men and women of the CIG. I will be the spokesperson, she indicated.

No more no less.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2017/05/30/opinion/020a1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

María de Jesús Patricio, the CIG’s spokesperson

María de Jesús Patricio, spokesperson for the Indigenous Government Council

By: Luis Hernández Navarro

María de Jesús Patricio is an indigenous Nahua woman. Born in 1963 in the municipality of Tuxpan (land of the rabbit), Jalisco. She will be 54 years old next December. She is the mother of three children. She is a traditional doctor and herbalist. She has won different recognitions for her work in defense of the original peoples. Now she is also the spokesperson of the Indigenous Government Council and its candidate for the Presidency of the Republic.

Her friends and compañeros affectionately call María de Jesús “Marichuy.” Her commitment to the local and national indigenous struggle goes back many years. She attended the National Indigenous Forum, a Zapatista convocation, held in San Cristóbal in January 1996 as a representative of her community. In October 1996 she was part of the founding assembly of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI, its initials in Spanish) and read final declaration of the nascent organism. In March 2001, she responded brilliantly to the questions formulated by the legislators in the Chamber of Deputies, when the EZLN occupied the tribunal to defend the San Andrés Accords.

“We know –she said on that occasion to the deputies– that the national indigenous movement wasn’t born in 1994. The national indigenous movement has many years; it’s just that now, after 1994, is when Mexico shook and many who didn’t even know that the indigenous existed turned around to see.”

Very few individuals (men and women) have the pulse of what happens with the struggle of the original peoples that she has. Her knowledge of what’s happening in the entrails of the communities is profound and reflective. It is first hand. It comes, as much from her commitment to the reconstitution of her people, as from her participation of more than two decades in gatherings, forums, seminars, sharings and congresses all over Mexico. Additionally, she has elaborated a diagnostic statement of what is happening in the country.

It was during her participation in the National Indigenous Forum of San Cristóbal that she discovered that the inhabitants of her community were not the only poor ones and that other Native communities suffered the same problems as hers. She immediately adhered to the indigenous cause, in which she found her place and her life’s mission.

It was not exclusively an individual decision, but rather part of the feeling of all of a people. When Subcomandante Marcos visited Tuxpan, in March 2006, the representative of the municipality’s elders, Félix Vázquez Ceballos, told the Zapatistas: “Since 1994, the year in which you rose up against the government, the Nahua communities of Tuxpan have accompanied your step, because we have understood that your struggle is the struggle of all the indigenous peoples.”

María de Jesús remembers that when she was born, in Tuxpan there was only light and stone pavement in the center of the municipality, and the houses were made of adobe and roof tile. They used to carry water in jars hung on the ends of a stick (Revista Tukari, https://goo.gl/0sd0Kq).

The Nahuas of Tuxpan, dispossessed of their lands, had been neglected, impoverished and officially “disappeared” from the los census, in the face of the combined attack from cattle ranchers, the lumber industry, mining companies and government programs. And the teaching of their language was banished from the classrooms and educational programs.

Nevertheless, despite that aggressive neocolonial offensive against them, her indigenous identity resisted the pounding from the new colonialism. Against the current, from the intricacies of their culture, the Nahuas of Tuxpan undertook their reconstitution as a people. María de Jesús was fully involved in this rebirth.

Marichuy directs the Calli Tecolhuacateca Tochan Clinic, a space for the exercise and development of traditional indigenous medicine. A tool privileged in the reconstitution of the peoples, this therapy permits preserving and transmitting knowledge acquired for years by the ancestors. “It focuses –according to Doctor Patricio– not only on curing a particular evil, but also an evil of the community.”

Her calling as a traditional doctor was born in her since she was little, “when I observed how the older women, my aunts and my grandmother among them, healed the sick of fright, shock, possession by an evil spirit, bile, weakness or heat stroke. My Aunt Catarina, for example, did the cleansings with plants and she prepared ointments that she spread all over the body of the sick” (Revista Tukari, https://goo.gl/0sd0Kq). Her father and her aunt were her teachers.

The exercise of traditional medicine forms part of a project of broader resistance and emancipation. “The Clinic –asserts María de Jesús– has led us to the defense of traditional medicine, indigenous territories and Mother Earth from an anti-capitalist perspective, of the libertarian struggle of the indigenous peoples, a circumstance that has made us active promoters of the CNI, of the forums and meetings in defense of traditional medicine and of the strategic alliance between the civilian indigenous movement and the EZLN.” (https://goo.gl/d6M3eT)

Marichuy has reflected for many years on the question of the indigenous woman and her liberation. In her talk at the Seminar The Walls of Capital, the cracks of the Left, she documented the two faces of the feminine condition: on the one hand –she said– “the country is thinking without the woman,” and women are always oppressed and excluded, on the other hand –she assured– they are the ones who now head the resistances.

For her, dismantling capitalism walks hand in hand in the fight against machismo. That’s why she sees in the proposal of the CNI-EZLN that the Indigenous Government Council (CIG, its initials in Spanish) has a woman from below, indigenous and anti-capitalist, as its spokesperson and independent candidate to the Presidency of Mexico, the way to simultaneously struggle against machismo and the capitalist hydra.

On May 28, the CNI’s plenary, made up of 693 delegates, 71 council members, 230 Zapatista delegates and 492 invited guests, decided that the woman that is going to make history as the CIG’s spokesperson and candidate, who doesn’t seek votes, but seeks to defend life, is neither more nor less than her: María de Jesús Patricio.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2017/05/30/opinion/021a1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee