Chiapas Support Committee

They install an internal working group on mountain wetlands critical habitat

The wetlands are a key ecosystem in combating climate change. Photo: SEMARNAT

By: Yessica Morales, Editorial Staff

For almost a decade, citizen organizations have been denouncing the degradation of the wetlands that provide 70% of the water used in the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, located in southern Mexico.

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) communicated that on May 9, 2022, the meeting was held for the Critical Habitat Internal Working Group for the mountain wetlands of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, for the purpose of coordinating the actions of the three levels of government for protecting the Kisst and María Eugenia Wetlands.

In said meeting, they established agreements fundamental for defense of the wetlands, among which the announcement of a protection and vigilance strategy stood out, as well as another one of conscientization and sensitization for working together with the inhabitants in the conservation of these important ecosystems.

During the session, Agustín Ávila Romero, General Director of Politics for Climate Change and in charge of the general direction of the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, pointed out that: “the wetlands are a key ecosystem in the fight against climate change.”

Likewise, I make clear the importance of these areas as subsistence habitats for species endemic to Mexico, such as the popoyote fish. An endemic species, whose distribution is limited to the basin of said municipality and in nearby rivers, is small (around 6 to 13 centimeters), a species in danger of extinction by official Mexican standards.

The Kisst Wetland – Photo: Guardianes del Agua (Guardians of the Water)

Representatives of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas districts (colonias) and members of academic institutions like the Autonomous University of Chiapas (UNACH), Intercultural University of Chiapas (UNICH), Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM), College of the Southern Border (ECOSUR) and the Autonomous University of Chapingo (UACh) participated in the meeting.

Those mentioned above, agreed to promote a popular environmental plan that allows contributing to the education and training of guardians of the wetlands in that municipality in the Chiapas Highlands, through the sum of efforts between communities and authorities.

They had the participation of representatives of different bodies like the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC), the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA), the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) and the National Water Commission (CONAGUA), the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) and the National Guard (GN) in the installation of the group.

María del Rosario Bonifaz, Secretary of Environment and Natural History participated for the Chiapas government (SEMAHN), as well as Mariano Alberto Díaz Ochoa, municipal president, for the government of San Cristóbal.

María Eugenia Mountain Wetlands, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

Water is life, not a commodity

It’s appropriate to remember that, the “I prefer water and health” campaign commemorated last May 3, Holy Cross Day, in gratitude for water and to recognize it as an element that transcends people’s lives, as well as every living being on the planet.

The vital liquid is part of the body, food and the common house. That’s why, through a manifesto they indicated that water is life and is sacred, and is not a commodity, therefore water has the right to flow clean and free through its natural channels, as well as being a resource for all living beings.

In the case of the mountain wetlands, they pointed out that since they are fragile ecosystems, refilling them is ecocide. Along with the Jovel Valley’s hills, rivers and springs, they are considered as their home; for that reason, both citizens, rulers and institutions are obliged to protect them.

We are polluting the water in this city, let’s look for solutions to clean it up with efficient and viable eco-techniques. Excessive extraction of water is drying up the deep wells, it is inadmissible to permit irresponsible concessions. The corresponding authorities must respect the international mandate of the human right to safe drinking water and to sanitation, they explained in the manifesto.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2022/05/instalan-grupo-de-trabajo-interno-de-habitat-critico-de-los-humedales-de-montana/#:~:text=Instalan%20grupo%20de%20trabajo%20interno%20de%20h%C3%A1bitat%20cr%C3%ADtico0de%20los%20humedales%20de%20monta%C3%B1a,-Por%20Redacci%C3%B3n%20Yessica&text=Desde%20hace%20casi%20una%20d%C3%A9cada,ubicado%20al%20sur%20de%20M%C3%A9xico. and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

The López Montejo brothers are free after 11 years in prison

They release the brothers Abraham and Germán López Montejo, arrested on January 17, 2011. Photo: Frayba

By: Yessica Morales

*Abraham and Germán were arrested on January 17, 2011, being arbitrarily deprived of their freedom and each one sentenced to 75 years in prison [for murder]. 

The brothers Abraham and Germán López Montejo [1] were set free after 11 years, 3 months and 28 days behind bars in the Center for Social Reinsertion for those Sentenced (CERSS) No. 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

That said, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) announced that after their long struggle to show their innocence and the grave human rights violations committed against them, on May 16, 2022, the Judge of First Instance in Criminal Matters dictated immediate freedom “due to a lack of evidence proving the elements of the crime.

In other words, during these eleven years there was insufficient evidence to prove the brothers’ responsibility. Added to that, in March 2019, Abraham and Germán risked their life by going on a 135-day hunger strike, together with their compañeros Marcelino Ruíz Gómez, Juan de la Cruz Ruiz and Adrián Gómez Jiménez in order to show their innocence. 

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention demands the immediate release of Marcelino Ruíz Gómez, Abraham López Montejo and Germán López Montejo. Photo: Frayba

We demand that the Mexican State fully comply with Opinion 43/2021 of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

Similarly, former prisoner Marcelino Ruiz, who was set free after 20 years, 3 months and 2 days, suffered arbitrary detention and was a victim of torture. He called for compliance with Opinion 43/2021 of the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

The Opinion, apart from the immediate freedom the prisoners in struggle Abraham and Germán López Montejo, demands that comprehensive reparations be made.

It should be remembered that within the framework of its 91st period of sessions, from September 6 to 10, 2021, this Working Group approved Opinion 43/2021, corresponding to the deprivation of freedom of those already mentioned.

Likewise, it determined that the Mexican State did not comply with international norms relative to the right to a fair and impartial trial, in addition to its discriminatory position ignoring the equality of human beings, based on their ethnic or social origin and language, lack of medical care, among others.

[1] While in prison, Abraham and Germán López Montejo were members of The True Voice of El Amate, which means they were adherents to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo, Tuesday, May 17, 2022, https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2022/05/despues-de-11-anos-indigenas-son-liberados-por-falta-de-elementos/ and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Maya Train: judge ordered the provisional suspension of construction on Section 5 south

The Maya Train’s route, stations and stops.

The claim for amparo, filed by a group of divers, points to the absence of an environmental impact statement

Infobae Newsroom

April 19, 2022

A judge in the state of Yucatán granted the provisional suspension of Section 5 south of the Maya Train after a group of divers filed a claim for an amparo (a suspension) for not having an environmental impact statement. [1]

This was announced by the Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment (DMAS) association through a statement shared on its social networks, in which it says that, after three weeks, the First District Court admitted the issue and notified them on Monday, April 18 of the suspension.

The agreement, dated April 12, provides for the suspension of any act aimed at continuing the construction of Section 5 South, which runs from Playa del Carmen to Tulum and covers an area of 60.3 kilometers, so that the execution of works related to its infrastructure will not be allowed, as well as the removal of destruction of the biodiversity of the area.

The Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment organization (DMAS, Defendiendo el Derecho a un Medio Ambiente Sano) celebrated the provisional suspension for Section 5 South (Foto: Twitter@AcDmas)

The amparo was filed on Thursday, March 24, before the Ninth District Court by the DMAS and a group of speleologists and divers residing in Playa del Carmen, but was subsequently referred to the First Court through an agreement with the Council of the Federal Judiciary (CJF).

They pointed out that, even without having the environmental impact statement, deforestation took place in Playa del Carmen, Rio Secreto, Akumal and Tulum. They also indicated that this section will cross underground rivers that will be affected, since they run from west to east and the preliminary line is from north to south.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development (Sedatu), the Ministry of National Defense (Sedena) and the National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism (Fonatur) were the petitioned authorities, according to file 884/2022. According to El Financiero, it will be on April 22 when it will be determined whether to grant the definitive suspension.

It should be remembered that Section 5 South of the Maya Train is run by Grupo México and the Spanish company Acciona. It will have two stations (Tulum and Tulum Airport) and three stops (Xcaret, Puerto Aventuras and Akumal). However, various civil organizations, such as that of the French oceanographer Jean Michel Cousteau, have pointed out that construction in that area is not viable because of the karst soil on the peninsula.

As a result, on 28 March a group of Greenpeace activists chained themselves to the machinery occupied for this stretch as a form of symbolic protest, on the grounds that the General Law on Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection (Lgeepa) was being violated, since articles 170 to 174 were being violated stipulate sanctions if the environmental impact statement is not presented or is not complied with.

Similarly, a group of celebrities joined the campaign “Sélvame del Tren” to protest against the construction of Section 5 of Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s megaproject, as it would affect underground rivers, cenotes and the ecological balance of the area. Eugenio Derbez, Kate del Castillo, Natalia Lafourcade, Rubén Albarran, Omar Chaparro, Ana Claudia Talancón and Bárbara Mori participated in this event.

[…]

The investment for this mega-project is 200 billion pesos and covers an area of 1,554 kilometers that will pass through the states of Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo through 7 construction sections, as well as 18 stations and 12 stops.

[1] On May 12, 2022, a collegiate court of appeals upheld the provisional suspension issued by the First District Court on April 18, 2022. https://www.jornada.com.mx/2022/05/14/politica/003n2pol

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Originally Published by Infobae, April 19, 2022, https://www.infobae.com/en/2022/04/19/tren-maya-judge-ordered-the-provisional-suspension-of-construction-of-stretch-5-south/ Edited and Re-Published by the Chiapas Support Committee

One Hundred Years of Normal Schools

Diego Rivera mural, Secretary of Public Education Building, Mexico City

By: Luis Hernández Navarro

Whitewashing the past, de-radicalizing it, polishing the sharpest edges of its emancipatory episodes has been a recurrent obsession of our modernizing elites. In his infinite hatred of progressive educators, Octavio Véjar Vázques, head of the Secretary of Public Education (SEP) between 1941 and 1943, ordered the demolition of a wall of the central building, in which the caption was found: In honor of the rural teachers who have fallen in pursuit of the ideal of socialist education.

A decorated brigadier general with a pistol on his belt, an admirer of Benito Mussolini, he fought socialist education, promoted the “school of love,” sought reconciliation with the Catholic Church and persecuted rural teachers. On the wall that he destroyed were written the names of teachers who had been sacrificed by the Cristeros [1] and hacienda owners: [2] female teachers who had been raped, educators who had been murdered, impaled and mutilated.

He canceled the mixed normal boarding schools (1943), because it encouraged degeneracy between boys and girls, almost at the same time in which, in Mexico City, a loincloth was placed on [the statue] of Diana the Huntress. And he opposed bilingual education, as he considered it an obstacle to national unity.

The damage that the official caused to rural normal schools was devastating. A relevant figure in the history of education in the country, Mario Aguilera Dorantes, tells that maestro Rafael Ramírez began a meeting of inspectors with the Minister saying, “Mr. Secretary, there among the teachers is a document that you should know about — they say that for the new León Toral [3] with a dagger in his hand, is Véjar Vázquez Octavio who killed the rural schools.

The idea was to take away from the rural normal school its mission of conscientization, its commitment to the community, its role as a promoter of agrarian reform, its lay vocation. It was intended that the teachers who graduated from these schools would stop committing themselves to social transformation. They did not succeed.

The rural teachers’ college emerged a century ago. On May 22nd, 1922 the first one opened enrollment on Benito Juarez 106, in Tacámbaro, Michoacán, just one year after the founding of the Secretary of Public Education. Francisco J. Múgica governed the state. Teacher Isidro Castillo says, “I founded it. Nobody wanted to rent us the house, due to the pressures of Bishop Lepoldo Lara y Torres, who was a Cristero. He was a very demanding and negative priest who was in conflict with us. After five years of being there, I finally got it; Ignacio Chávez’s father rented it to me.”

Diego Rivera Mural, Secretary of Public Education Building, Mexico City

“That day we were few students, but the school began to work. I, who had been in the elementary school, settled in with the sixth-grade group —we carried the benches and set up the room. I got the building; I procured the furniture for it.” The first class had 16 graduates.

The turbulence that accompanied its birth also accompanied its development. In May 1923, the first student strike in the institution broke out, in opposition to the naming of a director with no standing. In 1925, the school temporarily separated from the SEP and was rescued by the University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo. In 1926, to the cry of ¡Long live Christ the King! teacher Moisés Zamora, a graduate of the normal school, was hanged from a tree and stabbed. Religious fanaticism and poverty forced the school, once again dependent upon the SEP, to move to Erongarícuaro, on the banks of Lake Pátzcuaro. Later, it moved to Huetamo. In 1949, it was moved to the former hacienda of Coapa, in the district of Tiripetío, to become the Vasco de Quiroga Rural Normal School, a boarding school for women.

When, as revenge for their participation in the popular student movement of 1968, Gustavo Díaz Ordaz in 1969 ordered the closure of more than half of the existing rural normal schools, the school of La Huerta, in Michoacán became a secondary school for young women, and the boys that studied there to become rural teachers were moved to Tirpetío. Under the weight of political harassment and repression, the Federation of Socialist Campesino Students of Mexico (Fecsm) languished for three years until in 1971, a student strike of more than 22 days in Tiripetío relaunched the movement.

The woes of the normal schools did not remain there. The list of grievances suffered appears to have no end. As a repeat of the campaign against the rural normal schools headed up by Véjar Vázquez in 1941, just in 2021, the Secretary of Education in Michoacán considered, with federal authorities, closing the normal school due to vandalism and delinquent acts frequently committed by a group of students.

From Tiripetío (and from La Huerta) graduated leaders like Francisco Javier Acuña, key to the creation of the Political-Union Liberation Movement and the CNTE in Michoacán. A proponent of a proposal for construction of power by the masses, Javier understood that this was the germ of the new power. Javier died in the final moments of 1999, in an unexplained automobile accident. According to his compañeros, his death was a blow that stopped or hindered many processes thereafter.

The SEP has no memory. 100 years after their emergence, rural teachers colleges, beginning with Tiripetío, suffer from age-old problems that are not being addressed. Today, as yesterday, they are victims of stigmatization. A century ago, they were accused of being schools of the devil, now nests of criminals. However, beyond the demonization, neither the communities nor the student teachers will allow them to disappear, as Véjar Vázquez wanted 80 years ago. They are here to stay.

“True civilization will be the harmony of men with the land and of men among themselves.”
Diego Rivera Mural in the Secretary of Public Education Building, Mexico City.

Notes

[1[ The Cristero Rebellion (1926-1929) was a popular uprising of peasants against stringent state restrictions on the Church under President Calles. The ensuing strike by the Church, and cessation of its services created widespread panic among the faithful, who with the Church’s tacit approval, mobilized the energy of a generalized discontent that had been brewing into violent uprising against the State.

[2] Among the discontented were those whose prosperity and power would be affected by the rural and agrarian reforms of the Mexican Revolution, such as large landowners and the Church. While some of the Cristeros were actually peasants, it is thought that counter-revolutionary forces merged with those defending their faith.

[3] José León Toral was a Roman Catholic who assassinated General Alvaro Obregón, then president of Mexico, in 1928. Witnessing the reforms of the new secular state following the Revolution, León Toral was reportedly involved in the Cristero Rebellion.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, April 26, 2022, https://www.jornada.com.mx/2022/04/26/opinion/014a2pol Translated by Schools for Chiapas and Re-Published by the Chiapas Support Committee

The right of self-determination of peoples and nations

Vintage engraving of Edward Winslow’s visit to Massasoit. Massasoit Sachem or Ousamequin (c. 1581 – 1661) was the sachem or leader of the Wampanoag tribe. Edward Winslow (18 October 1595 – 8 May 1655) was a Separatist who traveled on the Mayflower in 1620.

By: Gilberto López y Rivas /I

The principle of self-determination, understood as the right of peoples and nations to freely choose their political, economic and cultural regime, including the formation of an independent State, and to resolve all questions related to its existence, is consolidated as a fundamental element within the international legal framework, at least formally, since the Second World War, when the United Nations Charter specified equal rights among nations and the “self-determination of the peoples.” The principle of self-determination is established in various international documents, like the Atlantic Charter of 1941, the United Nations Declaration of 1942, the Yalta Conference of 1945, among others. The end of the war conflict in 1945, its ideological and political repercussions, and the liberation movements of the peoples of Africa and Asia during the following decades, brought as a consequence the formation of more than 50 states, which emerged in opposition to the triumphant colonial and neocolonial powers in that war, like the United States, England and France, as well as against other metropolises like Portugal, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy and Japan. The principle of self-determination appears formulated as a generic criterion, in which concrete circumstances are the ones in charge of giving precise content to that right and, the majority of times, with little observance on the part of the states.

Historically, self-determination has its early origins in the “principle of nationalities,” which finds the same doctrinal bases that gave rise to the emergence of the modern nation and the principle of national sovereignty. The “principle of nationalities” was fully formulated in the first half of the last century, at a time of national effervescence that implied, in essence, that each nationality had the right to have its own State. With all that, the principle of nationality emerges from the ideas of the French Revolution and the Constitution of 1791, in which it is pointed out that: “peoples and states shall enjoy equal natural rights and shall be subject to the same standards of justice.” By introducing the principle of popular sovereignty, the French Revolution fundamentally alters the prevailing conception of the State, by unifying the idea of a political unit, together with the formal will of a people who become a nation. From the revolutionary theory that the people have the right to elect their own government; in other words, a process that takes place from the bottom to the top, we move on to the vindication that people can equally join one State or another, or they can establish their own State.

As a consequence of the democratization of the idea of the State as a product of the “popular will” and the integration of the “citizen” into a common political form, the Nation-State, nationalism, which spreads to all corners of the world, takes the theoretical form of national independence or self-determination, beyond the intention of its original creators. The principle of nationalities on the part of the French revolutionaries was applied selectively and in accordance with the interests of the nascent bourgeoisies, which denied that right to the peoples of their own overseas colonies or to the peoples whose independence was not pertinent to the stability of the European political space.

The principle of nationalities was actually the political expression of the European bourgeoisies in the process of consolidation of their national states and an instrument of struggle against the dynastic systems that had populations and territories at their will. The unification of Germany, Italy, and other European states that were established at the expense of the old Russian, Turkish and Austro-Hungarian multi-national empires was carried out under this principle.

However, in the period of worldwide capitalist expansion, the bourgeoisie of the countries in which the principle of nationalities had been proclaimed renounced its application, since the ideal of their ruling classes at this time is not the national State based on territorial continuity, but rather on a multi-national State of a particular type: the neocolonial empire. The capitalists of these metropolises export their capitals to the colonies in the face of the standardization of mass production caused by the Industrial Revolution, in search of new markets and new sources of raw materials. Thus, the European bourgeoisies didn’t have the slightest intention of extending the principle of nationalities to the colonial peoples, expressing the contradictions between the metropolitan ideal and the colonialist realities and practices that, at the time, theoreticians of the anti-colonial movements would have reproached the old Europe.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Friday, May 13, 2022, https://www.jornada.com.mx/2022/05/13/opinion/018a2pol and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

Indigenous man set free after 20 years in prison

Marcelino Ruiz free after 20 years, 3 months and 2 days unjustly imprisoned. Photo: Frayba

By: Editor Yéssica Morales

*Marcelino was arrested on February 5, 2002, arbitrarily and illegally deprived of his freedom; he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

The Relatives of Prisoners in Struggle Collective, the Working Group We Are Not Alone and the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centro (Frayba) celebrated the freedom and life of Marcelino Ruiz Gómez, [1] upon his being set free after 20 years, 3 months and 2 days deprived of his freedom. 

That said, they recalled their struggle to demonstrate his innocence, with denunciations and making visible the grave violations of his human rights, as well as those of the organization with other victims of the system and exposing their lives by carrying out a 135-day hunger strike, nourishing themselves only with water and honey. On May 7, 2022, he left State Center for Social Reinsertion (CERSS) No. 10 in Comitán de Domínguez.

The foregoing, through the opinion of the booklet 45/MR/2022, after granting him freedom with a suspended sentence, after having spent 20 years, 3 months and 2 days deprived of his freedom, paying for a crime he didn’t commit.

At the same time, they indicated that Abraham López Montejo and German López Montejo, two brothers who in 2011 were arbitrarily deprived of their freedom, are in the same situation. Crimes were fabricated against them that they did not commit no through the use of systematic torture.

Since March 15, 2019, the men deprived of their freedom have been in a struggle to obtain their freedom; they have spent 12 years behind bars, taking advantage of their defenselessness due to not speaking the same language or not having the resources for their defense.

They are victims of simulated justice, of the most complicated, long and cumbersome processes. The damage committed to our families are irreparable, the organizations said.

They mentioned that without further delay the Mexican government and the competent authorities should immediately comply with opinion 43/2021approved by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at its 91st session regarding Adrián Gómez, Germán López, Abraham López, Juan de la Cruz and Marcelino Ruiz.

Adrián Gómez Jiménez. Photo: Frayba

The Working Group considered that the detention of those mentioned above was arbitrary due to non-compliance with international norms related to the right to a fair and impartial trial, enshrined in Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Working Group urged the government to carry out a thorough and independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding the arbitrary deprivation of freedom and adopt pertinent measures against those responsible for the violation of their rights. Due to the fact that these cases are not the only ones, the modality of fabricating culprits by the State’s Attorney General’s Office (FGE) of Chiapas, has a long list of victims because of which they will continue struggling.

[1] Marcelino Ruiz Gómez is an adherent to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle. While in prison, he was a member of Indigenous Men in Resistance.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo, Monday, May 8, 2022, https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2022/05/liberan-indigena-tras-20-anos-encarcelado/ and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

“El Machete” celebrates first anniversary of its struggle against the chiefdom in Pantelhó

El Machete celebrates its first anniversary in struggle.

By: Isaín Mandujano

*Members of the Pueblo Creyente (Believing People) organization and other civil organizations that have accompanied them were present at the event, from which they also sent a greeting to the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional) and to all the legitimate self-defense groups here in Mexico.

In an event closed to the press, the El Machete Self-Defense group celebrated the first anniversary of its foundation and ratified its armed struggle until all traces of the cacicazgo (chiefdom or political bossism) in Pantelhó have been banished.

Although they irrupted publicly on July 7, 2021, Los Machetes said that they elected May 8 as the day to celebrate their foundation, because it was on that date that a compañero of theirs, Enrique Pérez Pérez, and his son were murdered when they were working their land together.

Upon celebrating the first anniversary of the armed uprising, Los Machetes said that: “on a day like today drug traffickers from Pantelhó and Los Capotes -an armed civilian group- murdered Compañero Enrique Pérez Pérez while he was at work together with his son.”

El Machete marches in Pantelhó to celebrate its first anniversary.

While celebrating the first anniversary of the armed uprising, Los Machetes said that: “on a day like today drug traffickers from Pantelhó and Los Capotes -an armed civilian group- murdered Compañero Enrique Pérez Pérez while he was at work together with his son.”

As a result of this crime, the El Machete Self-Defense group was created to confront the armed group’s assassins that Dayli de los Santos Herrera headed in that municipality and that from the municipal seat of Pantelhó “imposed terror on more than 100 rural communities.”

The Self-Defense group also recalled the murder of the activist and human rights defender Simón Pedro Pérez López on July 5, 2021, executed on a street in the municipality of Simojovel when he was with his son.

Another of the crimes that they attribute to the armed group that used to operate in Pantelhó with Dayli de los Santos Herrera at the head, was that of Mario Santiz López, “who was murdered in his home, but not only that one but also many more that were murdered, more than 20 years, they were murdering campesino compañeros in different communities of Pantelhó and other municipalities.”

We, as El Machete Peoples’ Self-Defense Forces, are going to work with the people and for the people, not with the drug traffickers. We know that in this country it’s getting worse and many people are entering here, most are drug traffickers, that’s why we’re going to be here to defend the people, Comandante Machete said.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo, Monday, May 9, 2022, https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2022/05/el-machete-celebra-primer-aniversario-de-su-lucha-contra-el-cacicazgo-en-pantelho/ Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

 

Zibechi: When war no longer saves the system

A Firefighter in Kiev, Ukraine, March 2022.

By: Raúl Zibechi

Many data indicate that the large companies of the military-industrial complex have been obtaining juicy profits since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But other data assure the opposite; they say that the capitalist crisis is deepening: the threat of recession in United States, price increases throughout the world, or China’s difficulty to maintain the global supply chains, to give some examples.

We can agree with William I. Robinson in that wars have helped capitalism to overcome its crises and that they divert attention from the deterioration of the system’s legitimacy.

His concept of “militarized accumulation,” a fusion of private accumulation with state militarization, is useful for comprehending the processes underway (https://bit.ly/3Fb5RMa). He considers repression as necessary for sustaining capital accumulation in this period of increasing social protests.

However, it’s likely that we are facing the radicalization of the global elites, who seem willing to provoke a mass genocide against a part of the planet’s population, if they believe that their interests are in danger. In fact, the destruction of the planet continues advancing, despite the declarations and conventions that claim to defend the environment.

Every time that a way of resolving situations enters into crisis, the elites escalate towards another even more destructive model. As war is no longer enough to ensure the indefinite accumulation of capital, it’s used for another purpose: to keep the ruling classes in their place of privilege when capitalism is exhausted.

I believe that Robinson’s theses, interesting in themselves, as well as those of other analysts, do not take into account that we are not facing situations similar to the two world wars of the 20th century, or the “cold war,” but rather new systemic drifts. Strictly speaking, we should no longer speak of repression or crisis, because the mutations underway go beyond these concepts.

In the first place, because the West had never been challenged by non-European nations, like China, which was a victim of the colonialism and racism that still persist in that way in international relations. This doesn’t mean that Chinese elites are less oppressive than Western elites. Or that they are some type of alternative, since they all reason in the same way.

We’re not only facing conflicts for preeminence within Western capitalism, as were the previous wars. Now the racial factor has a determining weight and, therefore, Western elites don’t hesitate –like they did in Iraq and in Afghanistan– to destroy entire nations, including their peoples.

Invasions are measured by different yardsticks according to geo-political interests and the skin color of the victims. At the same time that the Russian Army invades Ukraine, the Turkish Army is invading Kurdish territories in northern Syria, but the big media don’t give it the same importance (https://bit.ly/3P7PxAu).

In the second place, we must not ignore the world revolution of 1968, since it places us before completely different realities: the peoples have organized and are in movement. This is the central fact, not so much the economic and political crisis. The native, black and mestizo peoples in Latin America, the oppressed peoples of the world, are placing limits on capital that it considers unsustainable. That’s why it attacks with paramilitaries and narcos.

The third thing is a consequence of the first two. We are facing something that goes beyond the crises and is much deeper: the decomposition of the world we know, a crisis of modern civilization, Western and capitalist, which is much more than the crisis of capitalism understood as mere economy.

In broad strokes, the situation created in 1968 can be resolved with the installation of a new system, less unequal than the current one, or with the annihilation of the peoples. I believe that we are facing an unprecedented threat because the elites (from the entire world) feel that oppressed peoples threaten their interests, as they have never felt since 1917.

We are in a transition towards something unknown to us, which can be dramatic, but that is more in the form of decomposition than orderly transition. As Immanuel Wallerstein said: new oppressions were born from controlled transitions. That’s why we must lose fear of the collapse of the current system that “can be anarchic, but not necessarily disastrous.” [1]

The problem is that we don’t have strategies to deal with this period. With the notable exception of Zapatismo, we have not constructed knowledge and ways of doing things to resist in militarized societies, in which those above bet on genocidal violence to continue dominating. It’s not easy, but we should work on that or resign ourselves to being an object of the powerful.

[1] In “Marx and underdevelopment”

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Friday, May 6, 2022, https://www.jornada.com.mx/2022/05/06/opinion/013a1pol and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

The Government of Mexico foments counterinsurgency against EZLN territories

Different caliber bullets used in attacks on EZLN communities. Photo: Red Ajmaq

Sent by ajmaq on May 5, 2022
Jovel, Chiapas, México
May 5, 2022

To the National Indigenous Congress
To the national and international Sixth
To the Networks of Resistances and Rebellions
To the signers of the Declaration for Life
To people who sow Dignity and Organization

Compañeros and compañeras, the persistence of the bad government of Mexico in fomenting War continues / Counterinsurgency against EZLN territories.

This time, the paramilitary group of the ORCAO (Regional Organization of Ocosingo Coffee Growers) forcibly displaced 83 EZLN support bases (BAEZLN) from the town of Emiliano Zapata and La Resistencia, belonging to the Good Government Junta of the Patria Nueva region.

The Ajmaq Network of Resistance and Rebellion has been documenting, denouncing and accompanying the support base communities of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional) in the territory, where they have been carrying out observation and documentation caravans and have been denouncing the situations in Moisés Gandhi and Nuevo San Gregorio.

Yesterday, May 4, and today, May 5, we received information from the Good Government Junta “New Dawn in Resistance for Life and Humanity” Caracol 10 “Flowering the Rebel Seed” related to yet another escalation of violence by the ORCAO that has been attacking our BAEZLN compañeras and compañeros in an armed manner, consisting of a series of armed attacks by said paramilitary group. The armed aggressions began on May 2, 2022, around 8:00 p.m. towards Town Emiliano Zapata; the BAEZLN withdrew towards the autonomous school, protecting themselves from the shots: first approximately 300 meters away, then 50 meters away, and later 30 meters away. since the paramilitary group was getting closer and closer. Given the life-threatening circumstances, the BAEZLN chose to displace 11 families, 54 people (among women, men, youth, girls, boys, elderly women and the elderly) due to this violence that has persisted for three years now and has increased in recent months.

The violence continues, we have testimonies that the armed actions of the ORCAO’s paramilitary group continue because today, May 5 at 12:59 am, the ORCAO of San Felipe fired about 32 22 caliber shots towards the Zapatista town of La Resistencia. At 1:30 am the aggressions by the ORCAO of San Felipe continued when a group of them came to burn down the small autonomous Zapatista school and the garage of one of the BAEZLN in the town of La Resistencia; the houses of the BAEZLN are 10 meters from where they burned the autonomous school building. In this context of the burning of the school, they continue to hear shots. Due to this situation 29 people (women, men, young men and women, girls, boys, old women and old men) displaced most of the community of La Resistencia. As of the moment, in the latest report it’s says that they see the houses of the BAEZLN are open, without knowing now exactly the damages that this ORCAO paramilitary group caused.

Regarding the events of May 2, testimonies refer to the following:

“The ORCAO attacked Emiliano Zapata community; it came from 300 meters of distance, so when they were 50 meters away the families had to leave. They were attacked by the group from San Felipe; those who come to attack are from seven communities belonging to the ORCAO.

We won’t fall into provocation. We told the compañeros and compañeras that they attacked us with different caliber weapons. The ORCAO started shooting on February 7; we told the men and women of Moisés y Gandhi that they have to leave when they came within 30 meters, that’s when the families had to displace.

Another group from San Antonio attacked the community of Moisés y Gandhi with different caliber weapons, coming close to the school, withdrawing at 5 o’clock in the morning.”

According to the information received, the ORCAO has been attacking Zapatista communities for three years. These communities have resisted and are going to continue resisting despite the fact that they are armed attacks, theft of crops, destruction of BAEZLN property, the fruit of their labor.

Other testimonies say that:

  • “It gives us great sadness because we are suffering with the children. Yesterday, at 3 in the afternoon we left, suffering, walking, enduring hunger, because since the day before yesterday they started to attack around 8 o’clock at night. We went out to hide, with suffering. The children were trembling because we were going out to hide. They began to fire high-caliber bullets, nearby they fired bullets, it calmed down a little and we advanced until reaching the school; we stayed there, we were surrounded, but they saw us because there is no bush. They started to shoot bullets, we laid down on the ground so that the bullets didn’t touch us. We were surrounded until 3 in the morning. They came to tell us to withdraw and we did because we didn’t want to confront and be converted into dead people, so we left yesterday, walking we came withstanding hunger and thirst with this heat.”
  • “It’s not the first time, it’s been going on for 3 years and we have always been living with bullets. We go out to work our milpa and we’re always afraid because they’re running us out with bullets. They have been going on like this for 4 years and it continues, and who is going to resolve the problem. The damn government does nothing, or it wants that we die or, you go tell them. We are accustomed to working, to planting out corn and beans; we don’t want to be here for a long time, because we also suffer here; the children are accustomed to being in their homes and also to working, and that the fault of that damned ORCAO…”.
  • “It’s been years since they let the BAEZLN work in peace, that increased with the arrival in government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his sowing life program that is only causing division and conflict, “they don’t let us work… it’s promoted by its leaders: José Pérez who is the first councilor in the Ocosingo municipal government and Tomas Santiz Gómez,  plus Antonio Juárez, Marcos López Gómez and Juan Gómez who are the leaders, who encourage the communities to attack us, the latter done when the seven communities attacked us. They were shooting all night, they also burn milpa and steal corn.”
  • “The compañeras have courage and sadness, because they leave their things and animals, because from there they resist and struggle’ There is a compañera who is injured from running into wire; they have to get out as best they can. There is also a compañero who was recently operated on; he had to leave. There is a compañera who is six months pregnant. Those from the ORCAO don’t understand their parents, they are the ones from the government who give them money. AMLO only brought problems between communities, now with his sowing life, they want us to kill each other, that is what the 4T wants.”

From the Ajmaq Network of Resistance and Rebellion, we repudiate the armed actions and aggressions of the ORCAO’s criminal group towards the Zapatista communities of Emiliano Zapata and La Resistencia, we denounce the Mexican government for being part of these counterinsurgency actions and for not stopping the harassment and attacks against the EZLN territories, we call on the compañeros of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion and all the compañer@s of the struggle for Life and the defense of Mother Earth to demonstrate with denunciations and solidarity actions to demand that these people who are members of the  ORCAO and are committing criminal acts against our EZLN compañeros and compañeras in struggle, we demand that the violence against Zapatista territory be stopped.

Solidarity with the Zapatista peoples!
Stop the counterinsurgency actions against the Zapatista peoples!

Ajmaq Network of Resistance and Rebellion

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Originally Published in Spanish by Red Ajmaq, Thursday, May 5, 2022, https://redajmaq.org/es/fomenta-el-gobierno-de-mexico-la-contrainsurgencia-hacia-los-territorios-del-ezln and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Ukraine, the global war economy and the crisis of capitalism

By: William I. Robinson*

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has unleashed heated political debate on the geopolitical consequences of the conflict. Less noticed, the Ukrainian conflict has opened the way for a broader militarization of what was already a global war economy when global capitalism is sinking in deep political and economic crisis.

In March, the Biden administration announced an increase of 31 billion dollars in the Pentagon’s budget on top of an appropriation approved weeks before of 14 billion dollars for the defense of Ukraine. In 2021, Washington approved a military budget of almost 800 billion dollars even as it ended the war in Afghanistan that year. After the Russian invasion, the governments of the United States, the European Union and others allocated billions more to military spending and sent weapons and private military contractors to Ukraine. Stocks of military and security companies shot up after the invasion: Raytheon (8 percent), General Dynamics (12), Lockheed Martin (18), Northrop Grumman (22). Stocks of military firms in Europe, India and other countries rose similarly on expectations of an exponential rise in global military spending.

The Russian invasion –brutal, reckless and reprehensible– has sparked debate about the role NATO’s expansion into Ukraine played in motivating the Kremlin. US officials were aware that said expansion would impel Moscow toward a military conflict, as a recent report from the RAND Corporation, a Pentagon consultant, affirmed. “The measures that we propose are conceived as part of a campaign to unbalance the adversary, causing Russia to overextend itself militarily and economically.”

Militarized accumulation –endless wars, potential conflicts, civil and political unrest, as well as police actions– plays a central role here in the global political economy, which depends on them to sustain capital accumulation in the face of chronic stagnation and saturation of global markets. These processes encompass a fusion of private accumulation with state militarization to sustain the process of capital accumulation.

The cycles of destruction and reconstruction provide constant outlets for over-accumulated capital, opening possibilities for reinvesting the money that the transnational capitalist class has accumulated. Wars provide important economic stimulus. They have historically have pulled the capitalist system out of crises as they serve to divert attention from political tensions and from problems of legitimacy. It was World War II that finally allowed global capitalism to get out of the Great Depression. The “cold war” legitimized 50 years of increases in military budgets. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the longest in modern history, helped to keep the economy afloat in the face of chronic stagnation in the first two decades of the current century. From the anti-communist fervor of the “cold war,” to the “war on terror,” followed by the so-called “new cold war,” and now the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the transnational elite, led by Washington, have had to conjure up one enemy after another to legitimize the military accumulation and shift attention from internal tensions to external enemies and artificial threats.

September 11, 2001 marked the beginning of an epoch of permanent global war in which logistics, warfare, intelligence, repression, and tracking –even military personnel– are increasingly in the privatized domain of transnational capital. State military spending on a global scale has grown by more than 50 percent from 2001 to date, while profits of the military-industrial complex have quadrupled. For-profit military companies employ some 15 million people worldwide, while another 20 million worked in private security. The amount spent on private security in 2003, the year of the invasion of Iraq, was 73 percent higher than the amount spent in the public sector, and three times as many people were employed in private forces companies than in public law enforcement.

These corporate soldiers and police were deployed to: guard corporate property; provide personal security to executives and their families; monitor, spy and collect data; carry out police, paramilitary, counterinsurgency and tracking operations; crowd control, riot control activities and repression of protesters; manage prisons, and participate in war. These private military firms are flocking to Ukraine. Some mercenary firms offer between $1,000 and $2,000 dollars a day to those who have combat experience.

The crisis of global capitalism is economic, of chronic stagnation and also political, of the legitimacy of the states and of capitalist hegemony. Billions of people in the world face uncertain struggles for survival and question a system that they no longer consider legitimate. International frictions grow as states, in their effort to preserve legitimacy, seek to sublimate political tensions and to prevent the social order from fracturing. Mass strikes and protests have proliferated in the world. Wars and external enemies allow dominant groups –in their quest to retain dominance– to divert attention from political tensions and from problems of legitimacy.

In the US, the class struggle is intensifying, with a wave of strikes and unionization campaigns at Amazon, Starbucks, and other sectors of the gig economy. The current inflationary spiral and the escalation of class struggles in the world underscore the inability of the dominant groups to contain the growing crisis. The impulse of the capitalist State to externalize the political repercussions of the crisis increases the danger that international tensions and local conflicts, such as in Ukraine, will lead to broader international conflagrations with unpredictable consequences.

*Professor of sociology. University of California at Santa Barbara

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Monday, May 2, 2022, https://www.jornada.com.mx/2022/05/02/opinion/019a1pol and Re-Published by the Chiapas Support Committee