OCTUBRE DEL 2012 RESUMEN DE NOTICIAS SOBRE LOS ZAPATISTAS
1. Las Abejas denuncian la reactivación de grupos paramilitares – Las Abejas de Acteal, una organización de la sociedad civil, denunció la reactivación del grupo paramilitar Mascara Roja en el municipio de Chenalhó. Ellos lo atribuyen al gran numero de paramilitares encarcelados por su participación en la masacre de Acteal que han sido liberados durante los últimos años. Las Abejas dicen que quienes han sido liberados se han reincorporado con quienes nunca fueron llevados a la justicia, y que ahora portan armas en las carreteras, en las montañas y en los senderos a las milpas de maíz y café. Las Abejas también dicen que hace un mes un priísta disparó a un zapatista en la espalda. Además denuncian el resurgimiento de Paz y Justicia, el grupo paramilitar que esta atacando a dos comunidades zapatistas en la región del caracol de Roberto Barrios, cerca de Palenque.
2. Alberto Patishtan se recupera después de neurocirugía – El 3 de octubre, Alberto Patishtan fue transferido al Instituto de Neurología y neurocirugía Manuel Velasco Suárez en la Ciudad de México, donde le operaron el 8 de octubre para extirpar un tumor cerebral. Se informó que la cirugía fue exitosa y que se está recuperando ahora en el hospital Vida Mejor en Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Sus amigos informan que ha recuperado el 70% de su vista. Mientras tanto, la corte suprema de México aceptó el pedido del abogado de Patishtan de considerar si la corte tiene la jurisdicción de realizar una audiencia y dictar una decisión sobre la inocencia de Patishtan. Amnistía Internacional mandó una carta a la Corte a favor de Patishtan.
3. Sigue el asedio contra las comunidades Comandante Abel y Unión Hidalgo – La Junta de Buen Gobierno de Roberto Barrios denunció el asedio continuo por paramilitares de dos comunidades zapatistas, Comandante Abel y Unión Hidalgo. En un comunicado publicado el 30 de octubre por Enlace Zapatista, la junta describe cómo los paramilitares ya han distribuido las tierras que robaron de los Zapatistas el 6 de septiembre. Han recogido y sacado toda la cosecha de maíz y frijol. Dispararon al aire durante la noche y la policía esta patrullando el área para proteger a los paramilitares. La junta insinúa, describiendo algunas acciones, que la policía estatal está entrenando a los paramilitares quienes están realizando ejercicios de tipo militar. también declara que las actividades de la policía y los paramilitares están siendo coordinados bajo el mismo comando. Además, parece que quienes se quedaron atrás para proteger las casas y pertenencias de los zapatistas permanecen en las comunidades bajo asedio.
4. Detienen a zapatista en Zinacantan en represalia por entregar una invitación – En principios de octubre, la Junta de Buen Gobierno en el caracol de Oventik denunció que las autoridades de Jechvo (Zinacantan) han usado la violencia otra vez para cortar el suministro de agua a los zapatistas. Uno de los zapatistas civiles, Mariano Gómez Pérez, pidió la ayuda de un juez autónomo y de la junta. El juez autónomo mandó una carta al agente del PRI, invitándolo a una reunión para discutir el problema. Cuando Gómez Pérez intentó entregar la invitación, el agente del PRI lo detuvo y lo llevó ante la asamblea comunitaria, la cual fabricó unos crimines en su contra y lo mandó al juez municipal en Zinacantan. El juez municipal dijo al agente del PRI que no debería aceptar la invitación. Esta situación repite la del 2004, cuando las mismas autoridades, en ese entonces miembros del PRD, cortaron el suministro de agua a los zapatistas. Cuando los zapatistas de toda la región les trajeron agua en una muestra de solidaridad, los del PRD les abrieron fuego.
5. Seis zapatistas detenidos en Guadalupe Los Altos – El 12 de octubre, la Junta de Buen Gobierno de La Realidad denunció que seis bases de apoyo zapatistas de la comunidad Guadalupe Los Altos habían sido encarcelados durante 12 dias, y que sus familias estaban siendo amenazadas con expulsión. Las autoridades comunitarias son parte de la organización CIOAC Oficial, y también miembros de los partidos PRD y PAN. Parece ser que hay una historia larga de provocaciones relacionadas con la participación en cuanto a asuntos comunales, en particular la contribución económica para proyectos como escuelas y carreteras. La JBG sostiene que los zapatistas tienen sus propias escuelas, sin embargo tienen actualizadas sus cuotas para el beneficio de la comunidad, siempre y cuando no sean proyectos del mal gobierno. Este es un punto común en los conflictos dentro de las comunidades divididas entre integrantes pro-partidos oficiales y bases de apoyo zapatistas.
Por otras partes de México
1. Continua investigación de la emboscada contra 2 agentes de la CIA – Las indagaciones continuan en el caso de lo que ahora se conoce como “intento de asesinato” contra dos agentes de la CIA y un marino mexicano, el 24 de agosto, cerca de Tres Marias. El juez correspondiente extendíó el periodo de detención sin cargos (el llamado “arresto domiciliario”) a los 12 elementos de la Policía Federal por 40 dias más. Además, otros dos agentes de la policía federal fueron arrestados en conexión con el caso. Marisela Morales, Procuradora General de la República en México, se refirió al incidente como “intento de asesinato” una semana después del testimonio de los agentes de la CIA quienes lo denominaran como un “ataque directo”. Morales estableció que todos los agentes actualmente detenidos enfrentarán cargos oficiales en dos semanas más.
2. Policías toman 3 normales rurales en Michoacán, 176 detenidos – Policías federales y estatales tomaron las normales rurales de Tiripetio, Cherán y Arteaga, Michoacán para acabar con las protestas estudiantiles. Detuvieron a 176 estudiantes que protestaban por la implementación de cursos obligatorios de inglés y computación. Protestas similares ocurrieron en normales rurales de otros Estados conforme el gobierno federal intenta severamente restringirlas y regularlas. Las normales rurales en México preparan estudiantes para enseñar en zonas rurales e indígenas. Muchos de estos estudiantes son indígenas. Las escuelas han enfrentado reducción de presupuestos, admisiones y de personal, al mismo tiempo que la educación superior en México se enfoca más y más en los intereses empresariales.
3. Urapicho organiza su policía comunitaria – Otra comunidad purépecha, Urapicho, vecina de Cherán, está construyendo su propia fuerza de seguridad ante la completa ausencia de protección policiaca del gobierno oficial . Urapicho difundió un video a través de YouTube enumerando los problemas que han enfrentado con el crimen organizado y los talamontes. Miembros enmascarados de la comunidad aparecen en el video hablando de las y los que han sido desaparecidos. Uno de ellos porta un sombrero con la imagen del Ché y un paliacate zapatista. El gobierno ha acordado enviar a la policía comunitaria a recibir entrenamiento en la academia estatal de policía. También ha incrementado los campamentos de policía en el área. Para las y los que participaron en la Marcha del color de la tierra en 2001, esta comunidad se localiza en el área general de Nurio. Puedes ver el video en: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=e851A-FoB_o
Compilación mensual hecha por el Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas.
Nuestras principales fuentes de información son: La Jornada, Enlace Zapatista y el Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (Frayba).
Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas
P.O. Box 3421, Oakland, CA 94609
[Below is an article about a report from the Frayba Human Rights Center. It confirms and elaborates what our delegation learned in March 2011 about the massive infusion of money to divide Zapatista and Other Campaign communities. An excerpt from our report on the 2011 delegation follows the article.]
The Recent Elections Fragmented Chiapas Communities: Frayba Center
** It documents in a broad report political pressures, vote buying and acts of corruption
** It emphasizes the persistent practice “of counterinsurgency directed at the EZLN and its support bases”
By: Hermann Bellinghausen
In recent months the state and federal electoral campaigns converged in the state of Chiapas, with troubling social effects. The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) documents in a broad report “the political pressure that was exercised in the towns and communities, to the end that through the purchase of votes and other classic means of electoral corruption electoral they would vote for the alliance of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM), the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the New Alliance Party (Panal), converting the Green Party into the first political force and leaving a deep fragmentation in the communities.”
The Frayba has monitored the armed conflict in Chiapas from its beginning, giving an account of the diverse junctures, always characterized by a counterinsurgency policy directed at the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) and its support bases. This is sharpened “when it is dealing with a change of diplomatic couriers and the distribution of political control.”
The lawyer Pedro Faro, a member of the Fray Bartolomé Center, says: “We have located a pattern of recurring violence during the electoral changes, which unleashes rancor and conflicts between the power groups for government posts, and once the essential scenario is established, actions are let loose for beating up the enemy. In these circumstances the dispute for the EZLN’s recuperated territories is specific.”
Between May and September 2012, Faro points out, “we have documented the continuous strategy of community confrontation that the government, at all three levels (municipal, state and federal), carries out in the autonomous Zapatista communities by means of local power groups, which benefit from the protection” that it offers them. Since 2000 “an integral war of wear and tear has been constructed,” and the government jointly “distorts” in the communications media the forced displacements, the armed attacks and the harassment that the EZLN’s support bases now receive. This scenario is corroborated with the hostilities underway against the Zapatista rebel autonomous municipalities and the communities of San Marcos Avilés, Comandante Abel, Jechvó and Banavil.
The “double discourse”
On the one hand, the federal government makes the EZLN invisible, and on the other, the state (government) expresses attending to their demands, removing itself as a contender and presenting itself as the administrator of the scenarios and the mediator of the conflicts, classified as “intercommunity.” Nevertheless, “the state government plays a fundamental role in the war of wear and tear, especially with the use of economic resources for confronting and coopting organizations or communities that resist the system.”
In the communications media we’re “dealing with blocking the EZLN’s posture and that of the organizations that differ with governmental policies.” The government “imposes its opinion or diverts attention with tourist publicity or the diffusion of ‘vanguard’ achievements, being that it gives continuity to the policy of displacing the autonomic process and the civil and peaceful resistance constructed starting at the beginning of the ceasefire, on the gamble of unilaterally fulfilling the San Andrés Accords, disavowed by the Mexican government.”
The Frayba registers that the counterinsurgency strategy has operated very patently in the armed incursions of groups of a paramilitary cut of Sabanilla, in Comandante Abel community, which already provoked the forced displacement of 87 people.
These are the facts, despite the fact that the local government “tries to hide the consequences of its policy of violence using a discourse of ‘human rights’ through reforms that are dead laws, and through the State Human Rights Council, which serves as a political operator for endorsing and maintaining impunity.”
Report on the 2011 CSC Delegation to Chiapas
By: Mary Ann Tenuto
Shiny new cars slithered over the dirt road like snakes. “Lots of traffic,” a delegate commented in Spanish to a small group chatting nearby. Sitting in front of his home by the side of the unusually busy road, a Zapatista elder responded to that observation about the parade of vehicles: “The government is sending money and projects to all the non-Zapatistas and even trying to buy off individual Zapatistas and Other Campaign adherents. The three political parties are doing the same thing because next year is an election year for all three levels of government. They’re looking for votes and trying to divide people.” He frowned as he finished talking, obviously upset by the government’s economic counterinsurgency tactic.
The topic of the government trying to divide the Zapatista and Other Campaign communities with tons of money received equal attention with that of the war and violence throughout Mexico during the two and a half weeks spent in Chiapas at the end of March 2011 preparing for and participating in the Chiapas Support Committee’s 10th delegation to Chiapas.
As a matter of principle the Zapatistas do not accept money from government aid programs. That applies to all three levels of government: federal, state and municipal (county). Consequently, these different levels of government have always used the aid programs to divide people from the Zapatistas. Now, it seems that both the amount of money and the amount of effort have increased/intensified. One wonders where the money comes from in a state where many have no money to buy medicine or school supplies. Are the corporations that want indigenous lands giving money to the state government?
One of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) visited summed it up this way for the delegates: “Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero is known as the man with the checkbook.” Another NGO said: “The government has an economic strategy: give lots of money to the campesino communities they know can be divided.” Those include some campesino communities belonging to the Other Campaign.
Regardless of where the delegation went or with whom delegates spoke, the vast quantity of pesos being spent to divide pro-Zapatista communities and the political conflict it was causing dominated the conversation and is a cause for genuine concern.
During a long interview with the Good Government Junta in La Garrucha, Caracol 3, Tzeltal Jungle Zone, we asked about the government’s strategy to divide people. Different members of the Junta responded to the various strategies being used. “The government is taking communal land and privatizing it. Government agents tell the people that the land will be theirs, but the people end up without any land and poorer than they were before,” one Junta member told delegates. Another man on the Junta said: “The Government offers housing with strings attached and people in the community are refusing it because most people don’t have confidence in the government and don’t believe it will keep its promises.”
Asked about money the government is offering to people in the region, the Junta responded: “The government’s plan is pretty powerful because they are using a lot of money to entice people away and divide the communities. But, the Junta is trying to keep everyone united and keep everyone participating together.” This Junta is in the last month of its three-year term of office and has learned a lot during those three years of experience governing the large region.
OCTOBER 2012 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. Las Abejas (the Bees) Denounced the Reactivation of Paramilitary Groups –
Las Abejas of Acteal, a civil society organization, denounced the reactivation of the paramilitary group, Mascara Roja, in Chenalhó Municipality. They attribute this to the large number of paramilitaries imprisoned for participating in the Acteal Massacre who have been released over the last several years. Las Abejas states that those released have re-grouped with those who never were brought to justice, and that they are now carrying firearms on the highways, in the mountains and on the paths to corn and coffee fields. Las Abejas also states that a PRI member shot a Zapatista in the back about a month ago. Furthermore, they denounced the resurgence of Paz y Justicia, the paramilitary group that is attacking 2 Zapatista communities in the region of the Roberto Barrios Caracol, near Palenque.
2. Alberto Patishtan Recovering from Neurosurgery – On October 3, Alberto Patishtan was transferred to the Manuel Velasco Suarez National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery in Mexico City, and operated on October 8 to remove a brain tumor. The surgery was reportedly successful and he is recuperating now in the Vida Mejor Hospital in Tuxtla Gutierrez. His close friends report that he has recovered 70% of his eyesight! Meanwhile, Mexico’s Supreme Court accepted the request from Patishtan’s lawyer to consider whether the Court has the jurisdiction to hold a hearing and issue a ruling on Patishtan’s innocence. Amnesty International sent a letter to the Court in favor of Patishtan.
3. The Siege Against Comandante Abel and Union Hidalgo Communities – The Good Government Junta in Roberto Barrios denounced the continuing siege of the two Zapatista communities, Comandante Abel and Union Hidalgo, by paramilitaries. In a communiqué posted October 30 0n Enlace Zapatista, the Junta described how paramilitaries have already redistributed the land they stole from Zapatistas on September 6. They have harvested and taken away all the corn and bean crop. They fire shots into the air in the middle of the night and the police are patrolling to protect the paramilitaries. The Junta suggests, describing certain actions, that the state police are training the paramilitary members, who engage in military-style exercises. It also alleges that police and paramilitary activities are coordinated under one command. Moreover, it appears that those who stayed behind to protect the Zapatistas’ homes and belongings remain in the communities under siege.
4. Zapatista Detained in Zinacantan in Reprisal for Delivering an Invitation – In early October, the Good Government Junta in the Caracol of Oventik denounced that authorities in Jechvo (Zinacantan) once again used violence to cut off the water supply to the Zapatistas. One of the civilian Zapatistas, Mariano Gomez Perez, asked for help from the autonomous judge and the Junta. The autonomous judge sent a letter to the PRI agent, inviting the agent to a meeting to talk about the problem. When Gomez Perez attempted to deliver the written invitation, the PRI agent detained him and took him before a community assembly, which fabricated crimes against him and sent him to a Zinacantan municipal judge. The judge told the PRI agent not to accept the invitation. This situation is a repeat of 2004, when the same authorities, then PRD members, cut off the water supply to the Zapatistas. When Zapatistas from throughout the region brought water in a show of solidarity, the PRD members opened fire on them.
5. Six Zapatistas Detained in Guadalupe Los Altos – On October 12, the Good Government Junta in La Realidad denounced that 6 Zapatista support bases from Guadalupe Los Altos community had been in jail for 12 days and that their families were being threatened with expulsion. Community authorities are part of the CIOAC Official organization and are members of the PAN and PRD political parties. It seems that there is a history of provocations over the degree of participation in community issues, specifically making financial contributions to projects such as schools and roads. The Junta maintains that the Zapatistas have their own school, but are current in their contributions for the benefit of the community, as long as they are not projects of the bad government. This is a common point of contention in divided communities with a mix of pro-government party members and Zapatistas.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Investigation Into Ambush of 2 CIA Agents Continues – Investigations continue into what is now being called “the attempted murder” of 2 CIA agents and a Mexican marine on August 24 near Tres Marias. A judge extended the detention without charges (sometimes referred to as house arrest) of the 12 original Federal Police agents for an additional 40 days and 2 more federal police agents were detained in connection with the case. Mexico’s attorney general, Marisela Morales, termed the incident “attempted murder” the week following the testimony of the CIA agents who termed it a “direct attack.” Morales stated that all of the police agents currently detained will be charged within the next 2 weeks.
2. Police Raid 3 Michoacan Teachers Colleges, 176 Detained – State and Federal police raided teachers colleges in Tiripetio, Cheran and Arteaga, Michoacan to break up student protests. They detained 176 students who were protesting obligatory English and computer classes. Similar protests have occurred at teachers colleges in other states as the federal government tries to severely restrict and regulate them. Teachers colleges in Mexico prepare students to teach in rural and heavily indigenous areas. Many of the students are themselves indigenous. The schools have faced reduced budgets, admissions and staffing, as higher education in Mexico focuses more and more on business interests.
3. Urapicho Organizes Community Police – Another Purépecha community, Urapicho, a neighbor of Cherán, is constructing its own security force in the absence of any police protection from the official government. Urapicho posted a video on YouTube enumerating the problems they have faced from organized crime and woodcutters. Masked members of the community appear in the video talking about those who have been disappeared. One of them wears a hat with a Che logo and a Zapatista paliacate. The government has agreed to send the community police to the state’s police academy for training and has also added police encampments to the area. For those of you who participated in the March of the Color of the Earth in 2001, this community is in the general area of Nurio. You can watch the video (in Spanish) at:
Uruguay Rejects “the War on Drugs”
By: Raúl Zibechi
The government of President José Mujica achieved its main objective when it proposed legalizing marijuana: to spark a broad national debate regarding drugs, prohibitionist policies, and the repressive measures used to date.
State participation “would ruin” the market “ for the marijuana traffickers “because we will sell the product cheaper at a price you can’t get on the black market”, Mujica said to CNN . The president told reporter Andres Oppenheimer “that a private business” could be in charge of selling marijuana, under strict state control.
“And if this law is passed wouldn’t it make Uruguay a tourist mecca for marijuana smokers?” Oppenheimer asked. Mujica responded that his plan is “a mechanism for Uruguayans,” who would be registered and get a monthly ration, and that foreigners would not be able to buy marijuana.
“What we cannot do is pretend to be ignorant and look the other way”, while consumption increases along with violence associated with drug trafficking, Mujica concluded.
On Aug. 8 the Uruguayan government sent legislation to the parliament containing only one article: “The state assumes control and regulation of activities related to the importation, production, acquisition of any title, storage, commercialization, and distribution of marijuana and its associated products, in terms and conditions defined by the respective regulation.”
The explained motives behind the proposed legislation criticizes prohibitionist policies because they have aggravated the drug problem and the objectives of legalization establish that “users not be stigmatized or treated under penal law, but instead create conditions to work with them and with society as a whole.”
Based on field studies, the government maintains that the consumption of marijuana is widely considered legitimate in society. It also affirms that “this substance, whose capacity to generate physical or psychological dependency is slight to moderate, is clearly differentiated in the risks it poses from other drugs with far greater toxicological and addictive potential.” Included in the group of addictive and toxic drugs are cocaine, alcohol, tobacco, and psycho-pharmacological drugs.
The proposed legislation states that marijuana users who do not have problems associated with the drug “are exposed to psychological, social and legal risks due to the necessity of obtaining the drug illegally.” This is the main point issue that legalization seeks to address.
The government’s proposal served to open up a wide social debate on drugs, where finer points are being discussed since the objective is to regulate and control marijuana so it is no longer a step toward consumption of cocaine paste, which the government considers the most dangerous.
War against drugs and repression
Julio Calzada, secretary general of the National Drugs Board, an office of the presidency, is part of a different generation from the current president. A sociologist and former member of the MLN-Tupamaros youth, he stood out in grassroots movements that espoused non-traditional ways of dealing with social problems.
In his analysis to support the new drug policy, he goes back two centuries to the two opium wars fought against China  that in his opinion were wars of piracy that led to the 1912 Conference at the Hague where the International Convention on Opium was signed establishing a number of drug prohibitions.
“If we analyze what has occurred over the last 40 years, after the Vietnam War, the war on drugs became part of the lexicon and there are those who argue that with the fall of the Berlin wall the drug war was promoted due to the need for a new enemy after communism disappeared as a credible adversary”, Calzada declared during an interview the CIP Americas Program. 
“In 1998 the UN established [goals for] a substantial reduction in the production, commercialization and use of three substances and a series of very restrictive policies. After ten years, in 2008 an evaluation was conducted that discovered the production and consumption of opium increased by 120% and that cannabis and cocaine registered important increases.”
As a result, he notes, “when you look at the results, they are contrary to what was intended, we should make a change. For us, the key isn’t prohibition but regulation.”
In the opinion of the principal government adviser on drugs, prohibition generates two types of extremely harmful deregulation–it leaves intact black markets for drugs and it gives power to financial circuits dedicated to laundering illegal money.
A bold bet
Even though Uruguay is not the first country in the world to legalize the consumption of marijuana, Uruguay will be the first to produce it legally. This is a bold move that shakes up the status quo and obliges the political system to engage in a debate that began and grew within society some time ago.
In many countries around the world within the last few decades there have been important legal changes. Holland is an important point of reference since it separated the marijuana and heroin markets back in 1978. “The results were so good that Holland had a much lower incidence during the AIDS crisis of the1980’s,” Calzada explains.
The legalization proposal involves separating the marijuana market from other drugs, after finding that marijuana consumers approach illegal dealers and if they cannot obtain marijuana sometimes end up buying heroin. An important example is Portugal, which stopped criminalizing the use of marijuana without registering any negative impacts.
“In Uruguay consumption has never been criminalized, so we can’t make comparisons like the Argentines can when they legalize the consumption of marijuana,” Calzada continued. A different case is Australia, which has regulated cultivation for personal consumption since the 1980’s, something the Mujica government rejects.
The Uruguayan diplomatic corps is taking its policy position on drugs to different world forums. The Uruguayan Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Milton Romani, who led the National Commission on Drugs during the administration of Tabaré Våzquez (2005-2010), highlighted that he supports three principles: “the adequate integration of the system of human rights into the criminalization of drugs; the participation of civil society in the design of international policies, at the UN and the OAS, and the openness for a transparent democratic debate to rethink criminalization policies on the international and regional levels that transcends the regulation of markets through criminal law.”.
The Cartagena Summit saw an unprecedented convergence of critiques of the war on drugs driven by the U.S., from countries with very different governments like Colombia and Guatemala, on one side, and Bolivia and Uruguay, on the other.
“The Cartagena Summit gave a mandate to the OAS to conduct an extensive study, analyzing the actual policies regarding drugs in collaboration with the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) and the Pan-American Health Organization,” Romani explains.
In his opinion, “a drug policy that bases regulation on punitive laws has proven to be insufficient and cause harm.” He noted that President Juan Manuel Santos stated that “the problem of drugs is like a waterbed, step on one side and the other rises.”
The proposal to convert the government into the producer and distributor of marijuana has not only been criticized by the opposition, but has a long road to travel to define the rules with the objectives expressed by Calzada of “guaranteeing that there are no deviations into a national or regional black market.” A geopolitical reality limits the capacity of one country to adopt measures of this type without running the risk of affecting the entire region that, he hopes, will take the same path in the years to come.
“The term legalization opens up to different interpretations, such as buying marijuana at a local store, something not true,” declared Calzada. Regulation would encompass every component of the trade including financing, production, and distribution to the point of sale, although it would not remain a government operation.
According to the last national poll on the consumption of drugs this past May, there are 75,000 habitual consumers of marijuana, that is, persons who consume between 30 to 60 cigarettes of marijuana per month (some 30 grams). When occasional users are included, the estimate rises to130, 000. 
One of the most controversial aspects is how to establish a registry of users, which means that buyers must show their identification cards to make a purchase. Based on this method, when the user goes to buy they do not run the risk of being offered other drugs, as currently happens. The separation of markets is the product of long experience, and backed up by field studies.
“All users of cocaine paste consumed marijuana before,” Calzada says. The path to use of cocaine paste begins with alcohol, beginning at age 12 to 13 years, and continues with tobacco, depending the person’s age when they started smoking at or about 15 years of age, then marijuana use, which begins heavily at 17 years of age.
Just a few continue on to cocaine paste or cocaine. “When a major seizure of marijuana occurs the price rises and some people switch to paste,” explains Calzada to show how legalization can act to stop the cycle.
The new official drug policy, launched at the beginning in June, establishes five mechanisms to attend to drug users, the greatest concern for the government. The Hospital Teams for Immediate Response in Addictive Crisis can hospitalize the addict for three to six days until the crisis abates. There will be four teams, two in the capital, Montevideo.
In conjunction, they will create various “on-hand units” as listening centers and mobile doctors’ offices based on experience accumulated since 2007 through various NGO’s that work in the streets and in the community. In Montevideo these work in neighborhoods with high levels of social decay and are accompanied by detox programs.
Through these efforts, the government calculates it can reach 30 percent of paste users, who will be in outpatient clinics, prisons, and treatment centers.
Calzada maintains that the consumption of cocaine paste is leveling off and even dropping slightly, while alcohol consumption has risen dramatically and the experimental consumption of marijuana and cocaine grown slightly. The most worrisome case is alcohol, which the society treats as though it were unimportant and yet it is the gateway to the use of other dangerous drugs.
“We are undergoing important cultural changes related to the use of leisure time, the hours of operation for bars and family control, which means that persons between 15 and 17 years of age are the most exposed and vulnerable when consuming psycho-active substances. We cannot remain indifferent when one out of three youths has episodes of acute intoxication in the past 15 days,” Calzada concludes.
Uruguayan society has calmly accepted the proposal to legalize marijuana, which would be cultivated on150 hectares under the control of the army. However, it will not be easy to turn away from the “heavy-handed” measures against youth.
En español: http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=157171
Raúl Zibechi is an international analyst for the weekly Brecha of Montevideo, professor and researcher on social movements in the Multiversidad Franciscana of Latin America, and advisor to several grassroots organizations. He writes the monthly “Zibechi Report” for the CIP Americas Program www.cipamericas.org.
Translation: Joseph J. García
Editor: Laura Carlsen
Annual Delegation Visits Zapatista Regions, Witnesses Building of Autonomy
By: Todd Davies
This year’s Chiapas Support Committee delegation to Zapatista Territory happened in March, as it has for the past three years. Seven delegates, all of whom currently reside in California, represented the CSC as we traveled to three Zapatista Zonas (autonomous regions), including the Selva Tseltal (Tseltal Jungle) region, which is the target of most of our fundraising projects. This was a special trip because it offered our first visits to schools that have been built with funds raised by the CSC as part of a three-year education project. The Good Government Council (Junta de Buen Gobierno, or JBG) of La Garrucha directs the education project, the Caracol (regional headquarters) of the Selva Tseltal. Others who helped organize and conduct the delegation were Carolina Dutton and Michael Kozart of the CSC Board.
Our delegation began with a visit to Oventik, which is the caracol for the Highlands Zapatista region near San Cristóbal de las Casas. Zapatistas and their supporters in this region have been taking extra security precautions since 2009-10 when the government released prisoners who had been involved in the 1997 Acteal Massacre, which killed 45 Zapatista-sympathizing members of the Catholic pacifist group Las Abejas and created thousands of Zapatista refugees from the Official Municipality of Chenalhó. Many Zapatistas still live without adequate food and shelter in the refugee camp of Polhó, close to Acteal. We have visited both Acteal and Polhó on recent delegations, but this time we had a long meeting with the JBG in Oventik and heard how the Tzotzil-speaking Zapatistas of the region are coping with continued harassment from the state and federal governments and local paramilitaries who want to take over Zapatista land. In Oventik we bought artesania produced by Zapatista collectives to bring back and sell at community events. Selling these Zapatista fair trade goods in the U.S. is one way that we support the Zapatistas, and the proceeds allow us to continually buy more during our visits.
Following visits with three organizations in San Cristobal (SIPAZ, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center, and CIDECI/Universidad de la Tierra), we traveled to the Tzotz Choj autonomous region and stayed at the Zapatista hotel at Agua Clara. This is another hot spot in the conflict with the “Bad Government”, which wants to develop this and nearby areas such as Agua Azul into major tourist destinations. Agua Clara is an idyllic spot for river swimming and sunbathing, and is an affordable option for overnight stays just off the road between Ocosingo and Palenque as well as being a way to support the Zapatistas.
Following Agua Clara, we traveled to our main destination: the Selva Tseltal autonomous region. The region’s JBG in La Garrucha briefed us on progress made during the first year of the education project that we are helping to fund in the region. The JBG had recently been restructured in this region in a way that allows it to work together as a team, but with some division of responsibilities among members of the Junta. Members of this turno (shift) of the JBG, who represent all four autonomous municipalities in this region, rotate with two other turnos every ten days. They spoke with enthusiasm about the structural changes that have taken place, as well as about the progress being made in education.
The CSC had recently sent the second installment (100, 000 Mexican Pesos) of a MP300, 000 commitment to help with education in each of the four autonomous municipalities (municipios) of the Selva Tseltal. On this trip, we mainly learned how funds from the first installment had been put to use. These projects included two new one-room schools in the municipio of Francisco Gomez, a general equipment purchase for all existing schools in Francisco Villa, three new schools in Ricardo Flores Magón, and one new classroom in an existing school plus a new school in San Manuel.
The delegation traveled to San Manuel, where we have had an hermanamiento (sister relationship) for the last decade. This allowed us to see old friends, but also to see the new schoolroom and schoolhouse that funds raised by the CSC had made possible. We learned about the various levels in the schools, and about the four subject areas for children between 5 and 12 years old: language (Tseltal and Spanish), math, history, and vida y medio (life and means – natural science of the local environment and ways of living). Children are building local history through listening to the stories of local ancestors. I was glad to see that the pharmacy of the clinic in Emiliano Zapata (the headquarters of San Manuel) was well stocked and to learn that the Health Promoters there are now getting good training and regular visits with volunteer doctors from around Mexico.
After briefings with the Education Promoters and the lead Health Promoter in this municipio, as well as a wonderful fiesta that took place that Friday, we ended our visit to San Manuel with a celebration and lunch in 8 de Agosto (August 8), the community where the new schoolhouse had just been built. We met with children and their families who were attending the Comandante Hugo School, and heard music sung by formadores (trainers of the education promoters). Many Zapatistas in San Manuel are Tzotzil-speaking refugees who have come here from Chenalhó, and we heard songs that movingly told of the Acteal Massacre. Following this joyous occasion, many of the compañeros/as joined the truck taking us back to Ocosingo, accompanying us on a visit to the ancient Mayan ruins of Toniná. Delegates and our Zapatista hosts climbed the steps of Toniná together as we listened to a guide tell about the history of this amazing site.
This article first appeared in the Chiapas Support Committee’s Newsletter, Chiapas Update. See: http://www.chiapas-support.org/Chiapas-Update-Sept-2012.pdf
Moratorium On Mining Expires in Chiapas
By: Jose Plascencia
The state of Chiapas produces about 3.1% of natural gas, 1.8% of oil, 7.5% of electrical production, and contains about 30% of México’s surface water. This means Chiapas is one of the richest states in terms of natural resources.
Moratorium On Mining Expires in Chiapas
The state of Chiapas produces about 3.1% of natural gas, 1.8% of oil, 7.5% of electrical production, and contains about 30% of México’s surface water. This means Chiapas is one of the richest states in terms of natural resources.
It is estimated that just ten countries contain between 50 and 80% of the planet’s biodiversity; Mexico is one of them. The state of Chiapas includes about a third of the Mexican flora (around 8,000 different plant species) and 80% of the tropical tree species in the country. Approximately 30% of amphibians, 28% of reptiles, 65% of birds, and 55% of mammals known in Mexico are found in Chiapas. What this means is that Chiaps is also one of the regions richest in biodiversity.
Unfortunatley, Chiapas is also home to a diversity of minerals, which include some of the more highly exploited such as gold, silver, lead, titanium, and zinc. This makes Chiapas of huge interest to transnational mining corporations seeking mining concessions, many of which are granted in the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range, which begins in the northwest of Chiapas and extends into Central America.
This territory is also home to communities that have generational history in the region whose interests are being ignored and human rights outright violated. One famous case is that of anti-mining activist leader Mariano Abarca Roblero of the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA), who was shot to death in front of his home. Abarca was one of the most visible figures to publicly denounce the negative impacts of Blackfire Exploration Limited’s mining practices in Chiapas. At one point Mariano Abarca had to file charges against two Blackfire employees for threatening to kill him for continuing to organize community members to protest the loss of land and subsistence to mining concessions. As of now, three men linked to Blackfire are in prison for Abarca’s murder.
Blackfire has also admitted to the validity of documents filed in 2009 by REMA with the Chiapas Attorney General’s Office that exposed Blackfire’s monthly payments of $1,000 to the bank account of the Mayor of Chicomuselo, the town in which Mariano Abarca was organizing. This payoff sealed a mutual agreement that municipal authorities would suppress opposition from community residents.
The conflict around mining is not new, it is a complex conflict that dates back to more than 500 hundred years of history of oppression and exploitation and was recently made worse by constitutional reforms in 1993 to pave the way for NAFTA. These reforms allowed for an increase in mining concessions to transnational mining corporations that have caused an even greater transfer of wealth because most of the profits generated are not invested back into the communities in which these mines are located, (and don’t get me started on the labor violations)! Mining companies also gain access into the communities because of promises of development, but it’s all marketing.
What typically happens is that the mining companies mine the areas for several years, devastate the local water supplies and in some cases causing serious issues of public health with increased cases of chemical poisoning, lung disease, and leaving the community without the ability to go back to their subsistence farming because lands are contaminated. So these transnational mining corporations are basically leaving communities sick, jobless, and landless after pillaging their mines.
Presently in Chiapas the air is buzzing with talk that a moratorium on mining that had been placed on the region is about to be lifted, or may very well be lifted by the time you’re reading this. What this means is more displacement of communities, of culture, serious environmental degradation of one of the last remaining biospheres our planet has, loss of wild life, and the list goes on and on….
Please support our work with the Zapatista communities that continue to live in resistance in order to keep this from happening to their communities. Support us by continuing to read our newsletter and staying informed, and of course every dollar counts in the fight to build autonomy.
This article is featured in the September 2012 Chiapas Update newsletter: http://www.chiapas-support.org/Chiapas-Update-Sept-2012.pdf
[Por favor, disculpe el retraso. Estábamos muy ocupad@s por la celebración el 14 de octubre.]
SEPTIEMBRE DEL 2012 RESUMEN DE NOTICIAS SOBRE LOS ZAPATISTAS
1. Paramilitares causan desalojo de 2 comunidades Zapatistas: Comandante Abel y Unión Hidalgo – El 7 de septiembre, la Junta de Buen Gobierno en el Caracol de Roberto Barrios denunció que paramilitares invadieron y dispararon contra la comunidad Comandante Abel, una nueva comunidad de zapatistas que habían sido forzados a dejar la comunidad de San Patricio debido a ataques paramilitares por parte de miembros de Paz y Justicia. 73 personas huyeron de Comandante Abel hacia el bosque el 7 de septiembre cuando continuaban los disparos que empezaron el 6 de septiembre. Llegaron a San Marcos, una comunidad zapatista, el 9 de septiembre, donde se les dió refugio. Actualmente hay 27 zapatistas que todavía quedan en la comunidad Comandante Abel. Están rodeados por un grupo agresor armado de Unión Hidalgo y miembros de la policía preventiva del estado. El 8 de septiembre, 10 zapatistas fueron desplazados de Unión Hidalgo debido al constante hostigamiento y amenazas de muerte por miembros del PRI y PVEM. Están refugiados actualmente en la comunidad Zaquitel Ojo de Agua. ¡El resurgimiento de paramilitares miembros de Paz y Justicia es más que preocupante! Se debe en parte a la victoria del PRI y PVEM en las elecciones del primero de julio. El PRI ganó la presidencia de la república y el PVEM ganó la gubernatura de Chiapas. La Junta de Roberto Barrios publicó un comunicado de prensa el 30 de septiembre acusando al gobierno estatal de equipar a los paramilitares y la policía estatal para poder mantener el asedio contra los zapatistas.
2. Eco Mundial en Apoyo a los zapatista se expande y continua – En solo dos meses, desde la elección de un nuevo presidente de la república y nuevo gobernador de Chiapas, los ataques y amenazas contra comunidades zapatistas se han incrementado dramáticamente. La Campaña del Eco Mundial se ha expandido para incluir muchas comunidades zapatistas ahora bajo agresión, además del preso político zapatista Francisco Santiz López. Se puede encontrar información sobre la segunda fase de esta campaña, la cual consiste de acción directa, en la pagina web de la campaña:
3. A Alberto Patishtan le diagnosticaron un tumor cerebral mientras la Corte Suprema aplaza su decisión – Está en marcha un esfuerzo para obtener una audiencia con la Corte Suprema para que Alberto Patishtan Gómez (o sus abogados) puedan demostrar su inocencia. El abogado de Patishtan logró una reunión con el presidente de la Corte Suprema Mexicana. El propósito de la reunión era presentar una petición para la creación de un mecanismo legal nuevo que abra un espacio para que Patishtan pueda demostrar su inocencia. La Corte Suprema tiene que decidir si se abrirá ó no este nuevo espacio. Su decisión ha sido pospuesta. Mientras tanto, Patishtan está en un hospital en la capital del estado donde le han diagnosticado un tumor cerebral que requiere cirugía.
4. Liberan de prisión a otro hombre involucrado en la masacre de Acteal – El 26 de septiembre, la Corte Suprema de México ordenó la libertad del preso Manuel Santiz Pérez, encontrado culpable de participar en la masacre de Acteal de 45 mujeres, niños y hombres el 22 de diciembre de 1997. La Corte usó el mismo razonamiento que utilizó en los casos anteriores: el álbum de fotos mostrado a los sobrevivientes y testigos era perjudicial y violó los derechos legales y el procedimiento criminal. Según un artículo publicado en La Jornada, este es el último de los casos apelado por parte de los que participaron en la masacre de Acteal. Vale notar que la Corte encontró el tiempo para liberar a un asesino confeso, pero no tiene tiempo para decidir si se oirá el caso de Alberto Patishtan o el caso de los miembros de la Otra Campaña en Tila.
En la frontera de Chiapas
1. Bases militares nuevas y 200 marinos de EEUU en Guatemala – El presidente de Guatemala, Otto Pérez Molina, anunció que Guatemala construirá tres bases militares nuevas para redoblar la lucha contra el crímen organizado (el tráfico de drogas, armas y personas). Dos de estas bases estarán cerca de la frontera con Chiapas; una en el Departamento del Petén (al otro lado del río Usumacinta de Chiapas) y otra en el Departamento de San Marcos. San Marcos colinda con la región sudoeste de Chiapas. Una tercera base estará localizada en Puerto Barrios (cerca de Honduras). Se ha reportado ampliamente que unos 200 marinos estadounidenses ya están patrullando la costa pacífica de Guatemala para interceptar el narcotráfico por mar. Las y los guatemaltecos están reportando que el país se está militarizando bajo el lema de la guerra contra las drogas; pero la militarización también está siendo usada contra los movimientos sociales.
En otras partes de México
1. Investigaciones del ataque contra dos agentes de la CIA sugiere conexión al cartel Beltran Levya – En septiembre, continuaron las investigaciones sobre el caso Tres Marías, el ataque contra un vehículo blindado de la embajada de los EUA en México. La procuraduría federal mexicana requirió que la detención sin cargos (arraigo) de 12 polícias federales continúe por 40 días más. La Jornada reportó que el FBI está llevando a cabo una investigación paralela de lo ocurrido, y ha ofrecido a los 12 agentes la “oportunidad” de convertirse de colaboradores en el ataque a testigos protegidos del gobierno estadounidense. Sus abogados dicen que han rechazado esta “propuesta.” Aunque no se ha publicado ningún informe final al respecto, parece ser que los oficiales estadounidenses ahora creen que el ataque lo perpetraron integrantes del cartel Beltran Levya como venganza por el asesinato de Arturo Beltran Leyva, ocurrido en diciembre del 2009.
2. El Departamento de Estado de los EUA recomienda inmunidad para Zedillo – El 7 de septiembre, el Departamento de Estado estadounidense anunció que recomendará inmunidad para el ex-presidente Ernesto Zedillo ante una Corte de Connecticut, en donde fue demandado por daños en el asesinato de 45 mujeres, hombres y niños el 22 de diciembre de 1997 en Acteal, Chiapas. El Departamento de Estado anadió que esta decisión se tomó con el fin de mantener las buenas relaciones con el gobierno mexicano.
3. 25.000 – 30.000 desplazad@s por narcoviolencia en Sinaloa – La Comisión para la Defensa de Derechos Humanos del estado de Sinaloa informó que entre 25,000 y 30,000 personas han tenido que huir de sus comunidades tras actos criminales relacionados con el tráfico de drogas durante estos nueve meses. La Comisión dió a conocer que 12 de los 18 municipios del estado están siendo muy afectados por esta violencia, con un promedio aproximado de 2,000 desplazados por municipio.
En los Estados Unidos
1. La Caravana por la paz concluye – El Movimiento por la paz con Justicia y Dignidad (MPJD), encabezado por el poeta y periodista mexicano Javier Sicilia, terminó su caravana por los estados unidos en Washington, DC el 12 de septiembre. La caravana de un mes viajó por 27 ciudades estadounidenses y recorrió 6,210 millas, tratando asuntos politicos estadounidenses en su ruta hacia Washington DC: 1) financiamiento estadounidense de una guerra contra las drogas en México a través de la Iniciativa Mérida; 2) tratamiento humano a los inmigrantes; 3) tráfico de armas hacia México; 4) blanqueo de dinero de la droga por bancos estadounidenses; y 5) la militarización de la política exterior norteamericana. Al concluir la caravana, Sicilia dió a conocer que se retirará del MPJD por dos meses para reflexionar sobre la pérdida de su hijo.
ya basta: the zapatistas eighteen years on
mary ann tenuto of the chiapas support committee speaks with i.t.a.
it has been eighteen years since the zapatista uprising. what is the situation like in chiapas today?
In a nutshell, what is occurring throughout Chiapas and especially in Zapatista territory is a struggle for territory. It is a struggle between the Zapatista and other campaign communities and the transnational corporations for land with resources. The corporate interests seek land and territory for mining, agro-fuel plantations, water and precious woods. The situation in some parts of Zapatista territory becomes more difficult every day. The Zapatistas are focused on constructing autonomous governance and projects, like education, health and production. The government, in collaboration with transnational corporate interests, is waging a low-intensity war against the autonomous governments. This has two sides to it: the softer side, whereby the government entices people and communities to leave the Zapatista movement with money and economic projects or health clinics; and the violent side, where violent evictions of Zapatistas from their communities are part of the counterinsurgency.
the board of good government in la realidad has made reports of a series of unprovoked attacks and threats of land dispossession made towards ezln members as late as august this year. who is behind these attacks and what are their motives?
In August, the Good Government Board (it is commonly referred to as “the junta”) of La Realidad denounced an attack on the Zapatista coffee warehouse near the San Carlos Ejido by members of two political parties, the PRI and the PVEM. These political party members put up a fence around the warehouse and cut off its electricity in an attempt to take the warehouse away from the Zapatistas, who store and sell their coffee products there. This is part of the low-intensity war against the autonomous communities. The PRI and the PVEM took power in the July 1 elections in Mexico and have been emboldened by their victory. The controlling factor is that the government does not punish the groups that attack the Zapatistas. They have impunity.
the uprising of january first nineteen, ninety four was a movement of indigenous campesinos revolting against neoliberal capitalism. what sparked this uprising and what were the conditions that led up to it?
The conditions that led up to the Zapatista uprising were, for the overwhelming majority of the Zapatistas, conditions of extreme poverty partially caused by a lack of land for growing the food with which to feed their families. Another cause was extreme racism against indigenous peoples in Mexico and Chiapas, which is now 80% indigenous. Plantation owners first enslaved the indigenous peoples and later used them as serfs. The state was still emerging from a form of feudalism with indigenous peoples as the serfs. 50% of indigenous children died before reaching 5 years of age because of malnutrition and a lack of health care. Armed private security guards working for plantation owners were stealing what little land the indigenous peoples had with violence. The government provided virtually no public services, like health care for example.
much has been made of the zapatistas’ usage of the internet at the time of the uprising which allowed them to connect with ngo’s across the globe who gave them support. did this lead to the initial success or is there more to it than that?
I think the usage of the Internet permitted the Zapatistas to spread the word effectively and continuously after the corporate media tired of Zapatista news and/or figured out that the Zapatistas were against their corporate interests and those of Wall Street. Perhaps the “more than that” has to do with their analysis of neoliberalism, previously not even heard of in some parts of the world. As the movement evolved, their construction of autonomy provided an alternative for changing the system or opting out of the system without an on-going violent revolution to take power; in other words, an alternative for the Left.
what were the original objectives of the ezln and how have these changed over time?
Initially, the Zapatistas made certain basic demands of the Mexican government: land, housing, jobs, education, health care, roads, electricity, sewage systems, etcetera; in other words, all the government services that the government had failed to provide. But, during the first year of the rebellion, the Zapatistas formed 38 autonomous municipios (municipalities) and in the peace talks that began in 1995, the first topic for discussion was indigenous autonomy for all indigenous territories of Mexico. An agreement was reached on that issue. It is known as the San Andrés Accords. The government of Vicente Fox presented it to the Mexican Congress, which did not pass the accords that were agreed upon. It watered them down to be almost completely meaningless. Since the congressional betrayal, the focus of the Zapatistas has been on their internal construction of autonomy.
does the ezln consider itself a marxist, anarchist or a unique type of movement. what is their basic ideology? how does this organization differ from others?
This is a question on which people don’t always agree. My personal perception of the Zapatista “ideology” is that it is a mixture of ideas and principles taken from various Mexican revolutionaries (Zapata, Villa, Flores Magón), liberation theology and some of the lessons from other Latin American countries and adapted to their specific situation of oppression and indigenous culture. Indigenous culture plays a dominant role. It would seem like their style of autonomous governance and direct participatory democracy is compatible with some anarchist principles, while their internal economy is socialist. I believe they adapted these various principles to their cultural values.
an internal uprising occurred within the ezln ranks in nineteen ninety three when a revolutionary law for women was implemented by women. how is life for women within the zapatista movement and how does it differ compared to women living in other similar communities?
Life for women within the Zapatista movement has changed. They are now allowed to vote in community assemblies, hold positions of responsibility in the Zapatista organization, attend school and women’s health care is a priority. These are big changes. They can also choose their own husband and decide how many, if any, children they want to have. The implementation of the Women’s Revolutionary Law has been easier in some Zapatista areas than in others. I don’t know how to compare it to non-Zapatista communities because in those I am familiar with women have those same rights because they are part of an independent campesino organization. In some traditional communities women do not have those rights.
the figure of subcomandante marcos looms over the zapatista movement; he is their revolutionary spokesman who himself is not an indigenous person. what occupies the subcomandante at present and what is he working on in twenty twelve?
I have no inside information about what “El Sup” is doing. However, the security of the Zapatista communities is a major concern now. The CCRI (the Zapatista movement’s commanders), which includes Marcos, is most likely focused on protecting the communities against an expected onslaught from the PRI. The CCRI is the Zapatista political/military governing body. (The good government juntas are the civilian governing bodies.) Marcos may also be involved in plans for January 1, 2014, their 20th anniversary!
in two thousand and three the good government committees (juntas de buen gobierno) were established in chiapas. how are these operate and how do they co-ordinate the autonomous regions?
The Juntas are the regional civilian government in the 5 Zapatista regions. They resolve disputes that cannot be resolved at the local level (community or municipal level). They resolve disputes between husbands and wives, land disputes, disputes between Zapatistas and non-Zapatistas. They also oversee the distribution of funds received from NGOs and collectives. They decide who is and is not permitted within Zapatista territory.
in two thousand and six subcomandante marcos, in the guise of delegado cero, toured mexico in what became known as the other campaign. what were the objectives of this campaign and how successful was it?
The objective of the Other Campaign was to form a national civilian campaign to politically support the EZLN and hold a meeting to decide on a new constitution for Mexico. It was timed to draw a contrast to the presidential electoral campaigns of 2006. Initially, the Zapatista delegation drew enormous crowds and many people joined. However, the police terrorism against San Salvador Atenco unleashed violent repression on one of the Other Campaign’s most active and admired members and put a stop to the Other Campaign tour. After the new president (Felipe Calderon) took power in December 2006, he sent the Mexican Army into the streets to perform police functions and that led to the violent and deadly “Drug War,” which made safe travel impossible for the Zapatita commanders. In the short term, I think the Other Campaign had some success in uniting folks who shared Zapatista ideas. However, in the long term, I’m not sure it accomplished what the Zapatistas hoped for: a large national social movement led by the Zapatistas to peacefully transform Mexico.
after all these years what do you see as the significance of the zapataista revolt?
The first and by far the most significant gain to the Zapatistas is the recuperation of somewhere between 750,000 to one million acres of land for distribution to land-hungry indigenous campesinos belonging to the Zapatista movement. This has enabled Zapatistas to have enough land on which to grow food for their families and thereby decrease malnutrition and death. There is also enough land on which to grow a cash crop to provide income with which to buy other basic needs. Although the communities are still poor, the horrendous conditions in which they previously lived have been somewhat alleviated. The second significant influence is the implementation of autonomy. Their construction of autonomous self-government provides the Left with an alternative to violent armed struggle for the purpose of taking power.
in what way have they influenced other movements and in which movements has their influence been felt? The Zapatista analysis of neoliberalism has inspired movements around the world, as well as their analysis of government, political parties, “democracy” and most recently wars. The Zapatistas are believed to have inspired the formation of a World Social Forum. They are clearly the inspiration for indigenous movements in Mexico and the entire American continent (both hemispheres). Their influence is seen in the US Occupy movement and the new #YoSoy 132 movement in Mexico. Many European movements have also been inspired by the Zapatistas and they maintain relations with many important movements around the world.
what are the challenges for the zapatista movement in the future and what changes do you anticipate?
The July 1, 2012 election returned the PRI to power. The PRI is expected to respond more violently to protest from social movements than the PAN has for the past 12 years. The PRI thinks it has a score to settle with the Zapatistas on whom it blames the 2000 election defeat of its 70-year rule in Mexico. Many in Mexico believe that the Zapatistas are in for a violent counterinsurgency against them under the PRI. I expect security to tighten in Zapatista communities and the need for national and international solidarity to increase.
mary ann tenuto, thank you for speaking with us and a shout out of solidarity from powder…
PRI and PVEM Groups Invade Zapatistas and Stir Up Agrarian Conflicts
** EZLN sympathizers have not gone through the process of titling their lands because of being in resistance
** To the land grabs by political parties are added paramilitary attacks
[The Good Government Junta in Oventic has suffered attacks Photo: Víctor Camacho]
By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, October 4, 2012
The paramilitary upturn in Chiapas is accompanied by a substratum of alleged agrarian conflicts, the majority unfounded but stirred up by politicians from the parties and government officials, and directed against lands recuperated by the support bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, its initials in Spanish), the majority occupied and worked by rebel communities since 10 or 15 years ago. In particular groups from the PRI, and recently the PVEM, using it as an electoral booty, invade or threaten to invade, plots of land and even Zapatista villages, taking advantage of the fact that they, by remaining in resistance, do not process any agrarian titling with the State, because they follow their revolutionary laws through the Good Government Juntas (Juntas).
An analysis to which La Jornada had access documents these “conflicts” and identifies the invader or aggressor groups: PRI, PVEM, PRD, PAN, or rather organizations like Paz y Justicia (and its derivations: Uciaf and Opddic), Orcao, Cioac or Aric. In one very recent denunciation, Las Abejas confirmed the reactivation of “Máscara Roja” (Red Mask) in Chenalhó, as it has identified the perpetrators of the Acteal Massacre in 1997. Other Campaign communities (Jotolá, Mitzitón, San Sebastián Bachajón) are also attacked through religious “conflicts” (Ejército de Dios) or ejidal differences.
This is the scenario that the PVEM-PRI alliance headed by Manuel Velasco Coello inherits, which shortly will govern the state. The major part of the paramilitary groups, agrarian invaders and municipal governments involved belong to their ranks.
In an analysis of the investigator Arturo Lomelí identifies the principal places (not the only ones) where offenses and unsolved crimes have happened in recent years, especially from 2010 to 2012. He points out in there that starting with 1994 between 250,000 and 750,000 hectares (there is no conclusive data)  were occupied en Ocosingo, Chilón, Sitalá, Yajalón, Tila, Tumbalá, Sabanilla, Salto de Agua, Palenque, Altamirano, Las Margaritas and Comitán, among other municipalities. Under the protection of the Zapatista rebellion, OCEZ, Cioac, ARIC, CNPA, OPEZ, Xinich, Orcao and Tsoblej, side by side with the Zapatistas, “recuperated” and founded new localities. In 2000, when leaders of said organizations were incorporated into the state or municipal government, “they were given the task of regularizing (legalizing) the plots of land and as the Zapatistas did not enter into those negotiations, the organizations claimed their plots of land.” These organizations are the electoral base of the parties –Lomelí maintains– and the dynamic of betrayal initiated by Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía was maintained with Juan Sabines Guerrero.
The conflicts involve the five Juntas. The Morelia Junta has been very busy. Primero de Enero community (Lucio Cabañas autonomous municipality) was invaded in August 2011 by Orcao members, who already had obtained lands thanks to the Zapatista Uprising. As in other cases, after 2000 they abandoned the agreement to “recuperate” and reached agreement with the government for programs and more of the Zapatistas’ land. Orcao has also advanced against Los Mártires (Lucio Cabañas).
Other communities and plots of Zapatista land under siege are Bolón Ajaw and Santa Rosalía. In Agua Clara (Comandanta Ramona autonomous municipality) “dangerous criminals operate, advised by the ex military Carlos Jiménez López.” In 2010, residents of Nueva Virginia, Jalisco and Getzemaní, members of the Cioac and the PRD “entered onto Campo Alegre recuperated land where the autonomous municipalities of Lucio Cabañas, Comandanta Ramona and 17 de Noviembre are working,” according to the same Junta. Besides, 33 Zapatista families were dispossessed of their rights in Aldama, and the attacks against the support bases in Olga Isabel and K’an Akil persist; they have even been shot at by “paramilitaries of Opddic,” which also have attacked the new 21 de Abril community.
The La Garrucha Junta denounced that the Puerto Arturo and San José Las Flores neighborhoods seek to take away 178 hectares of recuperated land from Nuevo Purísima (Francisco Gómez autonomous municipality) in Ocosingo. Also, aggressions and detentions of Zapatistas by paramilitaries in Peña Limonar, as well as plunder in Laguna San Pedro, violence in Casa Blanca and harassment in Toniná. Groups from Las Conchitas and P’ojcol (Chilón), as well as Guadalupe Victoria, “paramilitaries,” according to the Junta, members of Orcao and of political parties, violently occupied recuperated lands in Nuevo Paraíso (municipio Francisco Villa autonomous municipality).
In the Northern Zone, the panorama is alarming, according to what the Roberto Barrios Junta has been reporting. Last year, Zapatista lands in San Patricio (La Dignidad autonomous municipality) were plundered from Zapatista lands by villagers from Ostealukum, El Paraíso, El Calvario and Rancho Guadalupe (Sabanilla). The autonomous Zapatistas then founded Comandante Abel, but this September they were expelled, with support from the police and the state government, as well as from Unión Hidalgo. A few years ago, in Choles de Tumbalá (El Trabajo autonomous municipality), there were houses burned and persecution by members of Xinich-Official (official implying pro-government and anti-Zapatista).
The La Realidad Junta documented how in the Monte Redondo ejido (Frontera Comalapa), EZLN support bases of Tierra y Libertad autonomous municipality were plundered of milpas and coffee fields by people from the PVEM, PRD and PRI political parties that even sold plots of land to third parties. Other aggressions come from the PAN organization known as Aciac against Che Guevara community, and in Espíritu Santo by people from the PRD, Cioac and PRI. And in Veracruz (community), there were attacks on the warehouse belonging to San Pedro de Michoacán autonomous municipality.
Lastly, the Oventic Junta confronts a grave conflict in San Marcos Avilés (Chilón), where its bases have been attacked, expelled or robbed by “Greens,” and both PRD and PRI members. In El Pozo, Cruztón and Ts’uluwits (San Juan Apóstol Cancuc autonomous municipality), as well as in Zinacantán, the PRI and PRD members have not stopped harassing the Zapatistas.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee
Saturday, October 6, 2012
[Editors’ Note: The conflict in Chiapas is intensifying with the re-emergence of paramilitary conflicts.]
Las Abejas Denounces the Reactivation of Paramilitary Groups in Chenalhó
** The organization reports that an indigenous Zapatista support base was shot one month ago
** It asserts that they re-grouped after the massive release from prison of those responsible for the Acteal Massacre
By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, October 4, 2012
The civil society organization Las Abejas of Acteal denounced the re-activation of paramilitary groups in Chenalhó Municipality, in the same way that is occurring in the state’s Northern Zone. “The massive release of paramilitaries, in prison because of the Acteal Massacre, that goes from August 12, 2009 to the release of Manuel Sántiz Pérez last September 25, has favored their regrouping and they have now been revealed in coordination with those that were not judged, carrying firearms on the highways, the mountains, the path to the milpas and coffee fields.”
In Chenalhó communities “they display firearms anywhere,” add the accusers and announce that one month ago an indigenous Zapatista support base was shot: “The recent tragedy of last September 5, when a PRI member shot Manuel Ruiz Hernández in the back, near the plaza in Yabteclum, reveals the paramilitary actions and the presence of said armed groups.”
The Tzotzil organization, which maintains its independence with much effort for more than a decade, declared: “The governmental transition of Enrique Peña Nieto has unleashed violent acts that are a strategy of threats to counter social protest, not only against him, but it also goes against social organizations that denounce the injustices and human rights violations committed and developed by the governments.”
These actions are implemented “under the logic of counterinsurgency,” for the purpose “of creating division and community conflict until causing forced displacement, so that the same government may administer it, as Juan Sabines Guerrero has been doing against organizations in the Northern Zone (Tila, San Sebastián Bachajón) and other autonomous regions.”
This governmental attitude, Las Abejas abounds, “permitted the re-activation of the paramilitary group Paz y Justicia, in the Northern Zone, and Máscara Roja, en Chenalhó.”
“The State’s violent action is not limited to sowing fear: it continues the strategy of integral wear and tear with which it has harassed our pacifist organization since the times of Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía. It is painful for the government to accept its defeat in 2008, when Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and Sabines Guerrero divided our organization thinking that they were going to disarticulate us, but were wrong. What they did strengthened us and defined us as the organization that we currently are.”
Nevertheless, “the predators don’t stop harassing.” As already occurred in April 2010, “they have reactivated their delegates or messengers; they now disguise themselves as survivors to deceive people and they arrive at the houses of paramilitaries, of PRI members, of members of the so-called Las Abejas Civil Association and at ours. They invite forming a survivors group for negotiating an indemnification and requesting assistance programs in the name of the martyrs.”
The Civil Society Organization Las Abejas and the survivors of the massacre denounced individuals that say they are survivors, but are not: Juan Oyalté Paciencia, paramilitary of Tzajaluk’um; Vicente Oyalte Luna, PRI member of Acteal community; Pedro Vásquez Ruíz and Juan Pérez Pérez, members of Las Abejas Civil Association.”
To the government “it’s not enough to kill us, it now tries to buy our conscience,” Las Abejas concluded this Wednesday, who later emitted a communiqué from Acteal: “The government knows how to murder the unborn, boys and girls, women, the elderly and men. We are never going to exchange the blood of our martyrs for money or assistance programs. We will not permit the dignity of our massacred brothers to be sold, and we will not cease pointing out or crying out for ‘justice’ against the material and intellectual authors of the Acteal Massacre.”
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Friday, October 5, 2012
English Translation: Chiapas Support Committee