THE NEW ERA
By: Gustavo Esteva
And the band kept on playing.
The sinking of the Titanic was unavoidable. To ignore it was foolish. But the band kept on playing.
His performance on the first day is a blatant illustration of this peculiar kind of blindness. It shows the gap that has opened between the political classes and the people, and it also reveals their dangerous detachment from reality, the irresponsible and short-sighted way in which he is preoccupied with mafia-style interests in the short term, while ignoring the depth of the economic, social and political crisis in which we find ourselves.
His discourse about the country is currently showing the worst symptoms of a populist authoritarianism that has been installed against all odds. It is conceived as a triumph of optimism over irresponsible reality, with the evident intention of generalizing this blindness. The band will continue playing until the instruments and musicians sink with the ship.
It is particularly difficult not to hear the roar of the collapse, which is observed worldwide and has been precipitated very sharply in Mexico. Those who have climbed the ladders of political power, however, will persist in their self-interested deafness… while they can, for as long as they can.
But the rest of us cannot continue to be deaf. We need to respond.
“I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so,” Subcomandante Marcos said years ago. The Zapatistas have repeatedly warned us of what would happen if we did not respond. We did not respond. It happened. They described in various ways the mess we are in today. They anticipated, before anyone else, the series of crises that have been happening and the destruction that they would bring to the political classes, to the country itself, to the social fabric… They offered with strength and clarity options for change, without dogmatism or imposition. We did not take them.
The new call from the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) needs to be heard by all those who, from below, try to resist the dominant horror and to create another possibility. If only it could be heard by those who still harbor the fantasy that an electoral change might be enough to remedy it all, those who can only think and organize within the framework of the political parties and institutions and that still believe that anti-capitalism is a bad word.
It is useful to show again that the emperor has no clothes. They may see it and dare to say it out loud to those who believe it is possible to continue in denial.
While listening to the din of the collapse of the dying world is inevitable, no less because the noise is all-encompassing and is experienced daily through suffering in the flesh, it is not so with the sound of the world that re-emerges. You need different ears in order to hear that.
We are not looking at another version of what we know. It is not a new twist, a bend in a familiar path. It is something new and radical. Its deep roots in the past are not dedicated to reproducing the past, or even worse, making an impossible attempt to return to it. It is something different.
As was seen last Friday, the new world will be built with hope, joy and celebration, through the discipline that is learned through their own order, autonomy. Only then, through organic discipline, which is woven from below by their own will, it is possible to propose the elimination of coercive power and authority, the condition in which a hierarchical position is used to impose action.
In dark times like these it is a blessing to know we can rely on them. As Chomsky, Wallerstein, Gonzalez Casanova and many more said long ago, the Zapatista political initiative is the most radical in the world, and probably the most important. That was yesterday, that night of the first of January 1994, which triggered a wave of anti-systemic movements throughout the world and woke us all up. They continue doing so today, when they are once again an inspiration to do what is needed.
The end of an era has arrived. The evidence is accumulating daily. Nothing can stop its conclusion. But it will acquire an apocalyptic form, deepening the immense natural, social and cultural destruction that has been characterizing its agony, unless we are able to resist such horror. And in these circumstances, the only valid and effective way to resist is to create an alternative. We all have to do this, each in his or her place and way. We need to dissolve the economic and political relations which trap us in the old world, while being increasingly aware that the dignity of every man and every woman and every human relationship must of necessity defy all existing systems. That is what today is about.
Originally Published in Spanish by CGT Chiapas
English translation by the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network for the:
International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the:
Chiapas Support Committee, California
Wellington Zapatista Support Group
UK Zapatista Solidarity Network
Collapse and Rebirth in the Zapatista Maya World
By: Luis Hernández Navarro
What has never gone away cannot reappear. What made the rebel Zapatista Mayas to occupy peacefully and in silence five Chiapas cities this December 21 was not to reappear, but rather to reaffirm their strength.
The EZLN has been here for more than 28 years. It has never gone away. For ten years it grew under the radar; it announced itself publicly more than 18 years ago. Since then it has spoken and guarded silence intermittently, but has never stopped. At one time or another its disappearance or irrelevance has been decreed, but it has always re-emerged with force and with a message.
This start of the new Maya cycle was no exception. More than 40, 000 Zapatista support bases marched in the rain in five Chiapas cities: 20, 000 in San Cristóbal, 8, 000 in Palenque, 8, 000 in Las Margaritas, 6, 000 in Ocosingo, and at least 5, 000 more in Altamirano. We’re dealing with the most numerous mobilization since the emergence of the rebels from the Mexican southeast.
The magnitude of the protest is a signal that their internal strength, far from diminishing with the passage of years, has grown. It is an indicator that the counterinsurgency against them, carried out by the different governments, has failed. It is sign that their project is a genuine expression of the Maya world, but also of a whole lot of poor Mestizo campesinos in Chiapas.
The EZLN never abandoned the national scene. Guided by their own political calendar, loyal to their ethical congruence and with the force of the State against them, it strengthened its forms of autonomous government, it kept alive its political authority among the country’s indigenous peoples and kept the international solidarity networks active. The fact that it has not appeared publicly does not mean that it is not present in many significant struggles in the country.
In the five Good Government Juntas that exist in Chiapas and in the autonomous municipalities the authorities of the Zapatista support bases govern themselves, exercise justice and resolve agrarian conflicts. Within their territories, the rebels have made their health and education systems function at the margin of the state and federal governments, organized production and commercialization and kept its military structure standing. They successfully resolved the challenge of the generational relief of their commanders. As if it were nothing, they efficiently dodged threats from drug traffickers, public insecurity and migration. The book Luchas “muy otras” Zapatismo y autonomía en las comunidades indígenas de Chiapas is an extraordinary window for looking at some of these experiences.
The Zapatistas marched this December 21 in order, with dignity, with discipline and cohesion, and in silence, a silence that was loudly heard. In the same way in which they had to cover their face in order to be seen, they now interrupted the word in order to be heard. We’re dealing with a silence that expresses a fertile generative capacity for other horizons of social transformation, a great potency. A silence that communicates the will of resistance in front of power: “He who stays in silence is ungovernable,” Ivan Illich said.
A cycle of the political struggle closed in Mexico this December 1, at the time that another opened. The EZLN has a lot to say in the nascent map of social struggles that begins to be drawn within the country. Their mobilization can impact them in a relevant way.
Among the contours that define the new stage of social struggles are: the return to Los Pinos of the old PRI dinosaur, manned by Salinismo and its authoritarian ways of exercising state command; the pretension of managing social conflict starting from a pact among elites that excludes the subordinate sectors; the crisis, decomposition and reorganization of the partisan left, and the emergence of new social movements.
The EZLN is a new player that, without invitation, sits down at the table of the party that recently came out in national politics.
The Pact for Mexico, subscribed to by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the National Action Party (PAN) and, individually, by the president of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) seeks to agree on a program of reforms at the margin of broad social sectors. The EZLN’s mobilization makes evident that a very broad part of Mexican society is not included in that agreement, and that what its subscribers agree to does not necessarily have the endorsement of the citizens.
The party of the Aztec Sun (the PRD) is locked in an internal struggle that can provoke its rupture. The New Left’s pretension of yoking its destiny to the Peña Nieto government mortgages any possibility of a critical distance from power.
The National Regeneration Movement (Morena, its Spanish acronym) has been occupied with the organizational tasks for obtaining its registry. It is probable that the Workers Popular Organization (OPT, its initials in Spanish) continues the same path. It exists because there is a broad political and social territory that the partisan left is not occupying. The Zapatistas enjoy an indubitable political authority among those who people those latitudes.
In the last year and a half social movements have emerged that question power at the margin of the political parties. They don’t feel represented by any of them. The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, #YoSoy132, the community struggles against public insecurity and ecological devastation, the student protests in defense of public education, among others, walk along different paths than those of institutional politics. The sympathies toward Zapatismo within those forces are real.
But, beyond the conjuncture, the marches of the Maya 13 Bak’tun are a novel “¡Ya basta!” similar to what they enunciated in January 1994, and a renewed version of “Never more a Mexico without us!” formulated in October 1996, which opens other horizons. They don’t ask for anything, don’t demand anything. They demonstrate the power of silence. They announce that a world is crumbling and another is reborn.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
English translation: Chiapas Support Committee
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Above is a photo of the very brief message delivered to the media from the Zapatistas. It reads: “Did you hear? It’s the sound of your world crumbling and ours re-emerging… ” (obviously addressed to the new PRI government) Article from La Jornada is below.
More than 40,000 Zapatistas Mobilize in 5 Chiapas Municipalities
** In silence, they occupy the central plazas of Ocosingo, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Palenque, Altamirano and Las Margaritas
** Later they disappear in an orderly way
[The indigenous wear a number according to the Zapatista zone to which they belong. Photo: Victor Camacho]
[Under the rain, thousands of indigenous marched through San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Palenque, Las Margaritas, Ocosingo and Altamirano Photo: Víctor Camacho]
By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy
Ocosingo, Chiapas, December 21, 2012
More than 40, 000 Zapatista support bases filed silently this morning in five Chiapas cities, which results in the most numerous mobilization of said organization since the Zapatista National Liberation Army’s (EZLN) armed uprising on January 1, 1994.
Coming from the five Zapatista Caracoles in the Lacandón Jungle, Los Altos and the Northern Zone, the Maya peoples in rebellion (Tzeltales, Tzotziles, Choles, Tojolabales and Mames) and Zoques of Chiapas occupied the central plazas of Ocosingo, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Palenque, Altamirano and Las Margaritas; in each case, in complete silence.
At 6:30 in the morning, about 6, 000 indigenous Zapatistas, the majority young, concentrated near the University of the Jungle, near the Toniná archaeological site. From there they marched to the central park of Ocosingo, where they stayed for a space of three hours in front of city hall, which the EZLN’s insurgents and milicianos took over with arms 19 years ago upon declaring war on the Mexican government.
On this occasion the action was civilian and peaceful, and the only ones that spoke were the raised left fists of all the Zapatistas, who filed in order onto a platform that they installed for that purpose. Toward 10:30 AM, the last of the demonstrators abandoned the plaza, on their way back to the Jungle.
In the same fashion, at the other plazas mentioned the Zapatistas placed platforms that all mobilization participants mounted with raised fist, in a parade of impressive brevity.
Some 20, 000 Zapatista men and women paraded in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. According to reports, at least 7, 000 indigenous congregated in Las Margaritas, and 8, 000 in Palenque. The number in Altamirano is not known. According to the testimony of a transport worker (driver) from the zone of Ocosingo, double the number of indigenous that arrived in the municipal headquarters of Ocosingo could have left from the Caracol of La Garrucha, but there were not enough vehicles, therefore only 6, 000 people were transported.
[The presence of youths and women was especially emphasized. Photo: Víctor Camacho]
Intermittently, throughout recent weeks, the Enlace Zapatista electronic portal has been announcing “the word” of the EZLN’s Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee-General Command (Comité Clandestino Revolucionario Indígena, Comandancia General del EZLN), as well as of the Sixth Commission and International Sixth Commission. It is foreseen that these communications could be announced soon, but that has still not occurred.
On the date on which many unwary in the world believed that the world would end, according to the opportunist interpretation of the “prophesies” (in reality, mathematical calculations) of the ancient Mayas, the EZLN’s support base communities, belonging to the contemporary Maya peoples, which in their languages are named “true men,” with face covered carried out a powerful demonstration of power and discipline, perfectly formed under a persistent rain (unusual in this time of the year) that accompanied the mobilizations in the different localities all morning long.
Able to “appear” quickly, the indigenous rebels “disappeared” as neatly and silently as they had arrived in the early morning in this city that, two decades after the EZLN’s traumatic irruption here on New Years 1994, received them with bewilderment and curiosity, without any expression of rejection. Under the arches of city hall, which suspended its activities today, dozens of Ocosingoans congregated to photograph with cell phones and cameras the spectacular concentration of covered faces that filled the park like in a game of Tetris, advancing among the gardening with an order that seemed choreographed, to go up to the platform installed rapidly since early on, raising their fist and saying, silently, here we are; one more time.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
English Translation: Chiapas Support Committee
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Zapatistas enter San Cristóbal de las Casas
Zapatistas Mobilize in 5 Chiapas Cities
On the date on which the unwary awaited the end of the world, the EZLN’s Maya support base communities occupied the plazas of Ocosingo, San Cristóbal, Las Margaritas, Comitán and Altamirano in a peaceful and silent way.
By: Hermann Bellinghausen, envoy Published: 12/21/2012 09:15 AM
Ocosingo, Chiapas. Since the first hours of today, thousands of Zapatista support bases coming from the five Caracoles started to peacefully occupy the central plazas of the cities of las Ocosingo, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Las Margaritas, Comitán and Altamirano.
At 6:30 in the morning the bases that arrived in Ocosingo began to congregate near the University of the Jungle, and from there they started to a march towards the center of the city.
At this moment in the Ocosingo plaza the bases continue arriving and they occupy all the spaces without trees in the ample plaza from the municipal presidency (city hall) to the city’s parish church.
It is expected that the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee-General Command CCRI-CG) of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) will emit a message in the coming hours.
On the date that many unwary believed that the world would end, the EZLN’s Maya support base communities, with faces covered, the majority of them very young, wait in perfectly formed silence under a stubborn drizzle.
Unusually for these dates, it has rained all night.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Friday, December 21, 2012
Document 116, 100 Deaths Due to the Fight Against Drugs, “more than in a Country at War”
** The European grouping classifies Mexico as a nation of killings and unheard of barbarities
** It details in a report that there is corruption in police and Army; “authorities hide the evidence”
By: Alfredo Méndez
“Mexico is a country of killings, murders and unheard of barbarities. It is a nation of organized crime, of drug trafficking cartels, of journalists kidnapped and murdered,” the Italian civil organization Líbera maintains in a report.
This association’s report, formed by more than one thousand groupings of European activists and American human rights defenders, asserts that: “the invisible and absurd war” that ex president Felipe Calderón invented against organized crime “has provoked, from 2006 to the last moment of his government, the death of 53 people peer day, 1, 620 per month, 19, 442 per year, which gives us total of 136, 100 dead, of which 116, 100 (murders) are related to the drug war and 20, 000 murders linked to common crime,” the document details.
We’re talking about alarming numbers that place Mexico greatly on top of other countries at war, like Afghanistan, whose body count (from 2006 to present), according to numbers from the United Nations, reached 13, 000 deaths, in other words, bare 10 percent of the number of murders committed in Mexico.
The Líbera document –that includes governmental numbers, statistical data collected by non-governmental organisms, besides journalistic reports and analyses elaborated by academic experts in national and public security– was presented to the Mexican media this Monday during a press conference headed by journalists like Anabel Hernández and José Reveles; academics like Edgardo Buscaglia, president of the Institute for Citizen Action for Justice and Democracy, and members of different non-governmental organizations.
Starting with the premise of corruption as an irrefutable factor that nurtures crime, the report concludes that” “in Mexico there is corruption in the police, in the Army and, in the face of all that, the political power prefers to deny the evidence, dissimulate (lie) and hide.”
It adds: “in Mexico, representatives of the political class have not been capable of substituting the authoritarian mechanisms of the old and only State party with others with democratic characteristics. For this reason, in the political, judicial, legislative, administrative, patrimonial and social ambit one still observes power vacuums that are occupied by formal instances from the private sector and informal ones, like organized crime.”
As incredible as it seems, it established that: “it has been able to document that in the dance of the numbers, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, Inegi) from 2005 to July 19, 2012, established 116, 000 ‘alleged homicides’; but recent 2012 empirical-methodology investigations (The use, misuse and abuse of the crime statistics in Mexico, a document elaborated by James Creechan), published during the month of September by US and Canadian authors, make a different accuracy.
“In that study he calculates that the total number of malicious homicides 136, 100 individuals. Nevertheless, so as not to exaggerate for political motivations, one must remember that not all these lost lives are linked to the ‘war’ against organized crime. In the scientific study, of the 136, 100 people that have been murdered with firearms, decapitated, hung, burned in acid or found in narco-graves, “one can conclude that 116, 100 individual deaths are linked to the war against drug trafficking and 20, 000 have been murdered by common crime,” the Líbera report points out.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
English Translation: Chiapas Support Committee
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
A woman is arrested during the December in protests in Mexico City Photo: La Jornada
Mexico’s presidential inauguration marked by vows and violence
By: Laura Carlson
The official broadcast showed smiling legislators from the Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI), uniformed in red shawls and red ties, welcoming the triumphant arrival of the president-elect amid cries of “Enrique, Enrique!” It was an almost flawlessly choreographed production, despite occasional cries of protest from the opposition. The presidential mantle was passed from one party to the next, the handsome new president delivered a well-polished speech designed to please all, and there was the obligatory visit to address the armed forces. The official version of the inauguration of Mexico’s 57th president seemed to go off with only minor glitches.
That’s pretty much all you could see from your television screen. Some stations showed a few jarring scenes of rioters in the streets being beaten back with tear gas amid the crack of rubber bullets. But they only lasted a few seconds before returning to the comforting pomp and circumstance of the change of powers. Television networks were not allowed to film the inauguration and acceptance speech. Flipping from channel to channel produced the simultaneous repetition of the official signal, with its official selection of shots and official narration.
A city under siege
Social media and the streets themselves told a different story. From the pre-dawn hours, battalions of police barricaded the area blocks away from both the Congress where the official swearing-in took place and the National Palace where the new president would present his first speech. Protestors left for the legislative center at San Lázaro in the pre-dawn hours. Arriving, small groups attacked police lines to gain entrance into the security perimeter surrounding Congress.
The situation heated up quickly. Police responded hurling tear gas canisters and firing rubber bullets, enraging the protestors. Images show young people, mostly men with hoods and masks, attacking police lines with rocks and sticks. Some Molotov cocktails and bottle rockets were reported. Soon it became an all-out battle, with youth hurling back the gas grenades. Students reported “bombs, pepper gas, tear gas and rubber bullets”, all confirmed by the press.
This is not a common method of reacting to demonstrations in Mexico City. It reflects a decision to crack down hard, regardless of the consequences, particularly within the ranks of the Federal Police. After clashes, some people destroyed lamp- posts, vandalized buildings and parts of the expensively remodeled Alameda Park and vandalized buildings along Mexico City’s main streets. News stories have reported the presence of paid provocateurs among the vandals.
The movement reports that anti-Peña Nieto protestor José Uriel Díaz reportedly lost an eye and Juan Francisco Koytenal (spelling according to YoSoy132)  is in a coma after receiving direct hits from rubber bullets. The use of rubber bullets is prohibited in Mexico.
Mainstream media allied with the new president throughout the campaign and subsequent lame duck period, immediately blamed Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the youth movement #YoSoy132 for the violence. López Obrador came out against violence, stating that the “mafia in power” desires violence to justify authoritarian measures. He condemned the violent response of the police:
“There was no reason to use brute force… and rubber bullets against the youth and students. As the first action of defense of HR and citizen liberties, we demand destitution of the current Secretary of the Interior (Miguel Osorio Chong) the guilty must be punished there are youth seriously wounded, and there must be justice.”
The YoSoy132 movement communiqué reports 101 people arrested and calls for a demonstration today, Dec. 3. Their message of Dec. 3 reads:
“We declare our complete opposition to the criminalization of social protest and of youth that became clear in the speech of the Federal Government and the Government of Mexico City. To consider that expression of the right to freedom of assembly justifies violence is to judge that no citizen or group can demonstrate without being the object of violence.”
They call for freedom for those arrested and guarantees of human rights for all involved and for future demonstrations. While the violence captured headlines and marked inauguration day, the vast majority of the demonstrators stuck to instructions of non-violence of the organizations and protested peacefully.
After the clashes, I drove downtown to do a television commentary on the day’s events. The walls along one of Mexico City’s main thoroughfares were covered with spray-painted messages: No to the Imposition, Mexico has no president, Peña–Fraud, Peña Out!
On the Zocalo, seen from the bird’s-eye view of a hotel balcony, a drama played out between security forces and protestors. Shielded police cordoned off the area from several blocks away. A group of about two to three hundred protestors who managed to be inside screamed anti-Pena Nieto slogans outside the Palacio Nacional long after the new president had finished his speech and headed off to address the armed forces. They had no rocks or sticks and made no aggressive moves. Other people walked through the central plaza like on a normal Saturday.
Rows of police began streaming into the plaza from both sides, marching in twos. Fourteen truckloads of soldiers pulled into the square and unloaded. You could hear cries and feel the fear from below. A group of police broke the line of contention and advanced on protestors. Protestors and bystanders screamed and ran.
Eventually the police retreated and the soldiers did nothing. The scene flowed back into young people heckling police at the doors of the Palace. But I was left with an unsettled feeling, that something was gravely wrong. Why the gratuitous shows of intimidation? Do we read the events of this ominous inauguration as a particularly paranoid response or a pattern for the future?
Controlling the opposition
In the House of Deputies, the incoming government was determined to avoid a takeover of the podium and the disruptions that characterized the inauguration of Felipe Calderón six years ago. The PRI positioned its members at the two entrances to the podium, stating that “there aren’t enough seats” to explain their presence there.
Members of Congress from all parties were given ten minutes to present speeches before the president-elect arrived to take office. There were relatively few interruptions, but a huge banner along the sidewall proclaimed “Consummated Imposition. Mexico in Mourning.” The opposition also had images of Monex back cards and Soriana grocery coupons as a statement against vote buying during the PRI campaign and signs saying “Presidency Bought”.
During his speech, Ricardo Monreal of the PRI called the alliance between the PRI and the PAN a sign of “transaction, not transition” and noted an increase of 12 million people below the poverty line. He vowed to “defend our oil and energy resources”, and “work against femicides and forced disappearances.”
In a completely different tone, Arturo Escobar of the Green Party, part of the Peña Nieto coalition, heralded the “maturity of the majority of Mexico following the results of the elections” and of the electoral institutions. He predicted that Mexico would change and grow, eradicating its enemies of violence and extreme poverty.
Other notable moments: As Calderón entered the hall, journalists covering the event cried out, “God forgive you for the journalists killed!” Others called out, “Assassin” and “Murdered by Felipe” as the PAN began a counter-cry of “Very good, Felipe!”
As has often been the case in Mexican history, the victors and the vanquished seemed to live in two, very different Mexicos.
Laura Carlsen is a political analyst and Director of the CIP Americas Program in Mexico City at http://www.cipamericas.org.
 Kuykendall is the correct spelling of the last name. He is known as “Kuy” and is a theater director and an adherent to the EZLN’s Other Campaign.
NOVEMBER 2012 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
1. The EZLN Celebrates 29th Anniversary – November 17 was the 29th anniversary of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN). In Chiapas, alternative media and other organizations celebrated. Nationally and internationally, the Worldwide Echo concluded with organizations and collectives holding demonstrations and delivering the Statement of Support for the Zapatista Communities to Mexican Embassies and Consulates. We thank all those who signed the letter. It is posted on our main website: http:// www.chiapas-support.org
2. La Realidad Denounces Unjust Imprisonment and Attempted Land Grab –
The Good Government Junta in La Realidad denounced that 2 Zapatista brothers and 2 more of their brothers have been in prison since June, falsely accused of crimes they did not commit. The detention stems from a 2011 incident when the 2 Zapatista brothers were severely beaten by people that are referred to as “criminals” and 2 other brothers came to their rescue. A year later, the aggressors lodged complaints against the 2 Zapatista brothers they beat up and also against the 2 who came to their rescue. The 2 Zapatista brothers are from the San Ramon section of Motozintla municipality. The same Junta also denounced an attempted land grab in Motozintla by members of the Mexico’s Green Ecologist Party (PVEM, its initials in Spanish) from Che Guevara community.
3. EZLN’s Word Expected Soon – The EZLN’s website posted an announcement on November 25 that said the EZLN’s word is coming soon. We assume that it will have to do with Enrique Pena Nieto taking power as president of Mexico and thereby returning the PRI to power. As soon as this communication is available, we will send it out.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Enrique Peña Nieto Assumes the Presidency on December 1 – On December 1st, Enrique Peña Nieto became President of Mexico amid violent protests from a broad spectrum of organizations opposed to the PRI’s return to power and the way Pena Nieto was elected. Pena Nieto inherits a Drug War in which approximately 90,000 have been killed, 25,000 are disappeared and tens of thousands displaced from their homes. As Pena Nieto takes office, the government reports that 4 out of every 10 Mexicans in the labor force are unemployed and poverty affects roughly 46 percent of the population. Finally, Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) reported a 500% increase in torture, as well has a huge rise in forced disappearances and arbitrary detentions.
2. US Vice President Joe Biden Attends Ceremonies – US Vice President Joe Biden headed the US delegation to the ceremonies for Pena Nieto’s swearing-in. In his first address to the nation, Pena Nieto announced measures geared to address the insecurity, hunger and to kickstart the economy. He says he will focus security forces in areas of high violence to protect the public, rather that focusing on capturing crime bosses. He is also proposing a Universal Social Security system. At least 100 people were injured in violent demonstrations around the country.
3. 14 Police and 5 Commanders Indicted In Ambush of 2 CIA Agents at Tres Marias – As previously announced, 14 federal police agents have been formally charged with the attempted murder of 2 CIA agents and a Mexican marine on August 24 near Tres Marias. They have also been charged with causing bodily harm, abuse of authority and damage to the property of another. Additionally, 5 police commanders have been charged as accessories after the fact for participating in an attempted coverup. The 14 police are in prison while awaiting a determination of their case. The five commanders are free on bond.
In the United States
1. President Obama Meets with Pena Nieto – On November 27, US President Barack Obama met with president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto at the White House. While the US press emphasized that the meeting focused heavily on economic issues, reports in the Mexican press stated that that the meeting also focused on immigration reform and security issues.
Photo taken of a sign at Toniná village during March 2012 delegation. Zapatista signs are seen by tourists who visit the well-known archaeological site.
Zapatista Artesanía Store at Toniná Provokes the Chiapas Government’s Wrath
** There is an arrest warrant out for me and I have not committed crimes: José Alfonso Cruz
** It doesn’t want anything that says EZLN during tourist events for the end of the world, accuses the property owner
By: Hermann Bellinghausen
On the outskirts of the City of Ocosingo, Chiapas, near the Toniná archaeological site, Zapatistas from Francisco Gómez autonomous municipality recently installed a store with artesanía on a piece of recuperated land. That has unleashed a governmental rejection as much from the official municipality as the state, which issued an arrest warrant against the owner of the contiguous property, also a support base of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, its initials in Spanish).
The essence of the conflict is the attractive hand painted sign that the Zapatistas put at their place, located at the Toniná entrance, a famous archaeological site where tourist activities will be celebrated next month, taking advantage of the “end of the Maya world” mode and the end of the year vacations. We’re talking about an investment of 5 to 8 million pesos by the municipal government of Octavio Elías Albores Cruz, a PRI member.
According to declarations to La Jornada from José Alfonso Cruz Espinosa, a Zapatista base that legally owns the Toniná lands up to the foot the foot of the pyramid, who resides near the archaeological zone and has repeatedly suffered harassment and attempts at plunder on the part of authorities, who have made it known that they don’t object to the store, only the sign that announces it, which only expresses that it is an autonomous store with artesanía from indigenous Zapatistas and it belongs to the Francisco Gómez rebel municipality.
“The state’s attorney general is already looking for me,” Cruz Espinosa declared via telephone. “Judicial police dressed as civilians want to search my house, and I had to take shelter in an autonomous community.” He insists that he has not committed any crime, and that his compañeros from the autonomous municipality are within their rights to establish their business and to announce it.
“The government doesn’t want anything that says ‘EZLN’ during the end of the world tourist events,” he added. Those events will be celebrated from December 21 to 23, with the participation of the resident archaeologist, and “almost owner” of Toniná, Juan Yadeum.
Weeks ago, the same Cruz Espinosa had denounced the construction of a bridge and a path inside the site, utilizing valuable archaeological material and “destroying a patrimony of humanity.” He placed responsibility on Yadeum, the current mayor Albores Cruz and principally on the former (mayor), Arturo Zúñiga Urbina, who with other associates wants to make use of the “end of the world” (events) and the expected tourist flow from such an emotional happening without the endorsement of the National Institute of Anthropology and History, which while it sanctioned the archaeologist, did not stop the work.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Monday, November 26, 2012
Próximamente la palabra del Comité Clandestina Revolucionario Indígena – Comandancia General (CCRI-CG) del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, Comisión Sexta y Comisión Internacional del EZLN.
The Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee-General Command (CCRI-CG) of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, the EZLN’s Sixth Commission and International Commission will issue their word soon.
(We assume this announcement will be about Enrique Peña Nieto taking power.)
Colombia: Peace, Land and Rights
By: Raúl Zibechi
The social climate has changed. What was said before in a whisper is now pronounced openly in the streets, plazas and markets. The historic fears, which increased exponentially during the eight years of the Alvaro Uribe government, are slowly receding, although they are far from having disappeared. In the cities is lived a situation very different than that in the rural areas, where one is made to feel the armed power of the narcos and the big landholders.
The peace process is felt as something irreversible by a good part of the population. Hope is a sign of this time in which almost 80 percent support the negotiations between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, their initials in Spanish) and the government headed by President Juan Manuel Santos. Hopeful lights and shadows exist that can once again abort the path to peace. Anyway, the current scenario is very different from the one we were familiar with decades ago.
The first difference is that the guerrilla comes to the negotiations very beaten up. The last conversations, initiated in 1999, were a consequence of hard tactical blows inflicted by the FARC on the armed forces, which took advantage of the detente to recompose and equip themselves with air capability and new technology contributed by Plan Colombia. Members of the Colombian Army, like a good part of the dominant class, continue aspiring to annihilate the insurgency, an old dream that now feels wounded in the realized conditions.
Within the country it is speculated that one of the military command’s objectives is to provoke a division within the guerrilla among those who would be added to the demobilization and a sector that would continue the conflict. It is also possible that they might launch a powerful attack to kill several commanders in the midst of the negotiations, as a way of pressuring for concessions.
The second question that differentiates these negotiations from the previous ones is that the so-called cacaos, the economic power elite, agree with Santos on the need to arrive at a negotiated end with the guerrilla. This sector, composed of an urban bourgeoisie linked to finance and industry, bet on international business and modernization as a way of consolidating power and profits. The image of a country in conflict does not usually seduce the capitalists.
Nevertheless, the archaic class of landholding ranchers, whose interests appear interlaced with drug traffickers and paramilitaries, do not seem happy with the negotiations. The recent massacre of 10 campesinos in a municipio to the north of Antioquia can be the beginning of an escalation impelled by this sector, which would lose power with the end of the conflict.
The key to peace is land for the campesinos. The class war that began towards the end of the 1940s turned around land: big landholders that grabbed it from campesinos armed in order to defender it. What began as a struggle for survival, for which they created campesino self defense, was prolonged into a four-decade war that was consumed in a real narco-landholder agrarian counter-reform,Alvaro Uribe is the incarnation of this sector.
The third difference is the international and regional reality. The victory of Barack Obama benefits the peace plans of Santos and prejudices the obstructionism of Uribe. In any case, the White House does not have a defined policy towards Latin America, except for the persistence of military pressure through the Southern Command. But the changes that continue to be produced in the region push towards the end of the Colombian war.
The consolidation of the Bolivarian process after the victory of Hugo Chávez implies that for a long period Colombian diplomacy will have to choose between conflict or cooperation with its neighbor. It’s clear that Santos opted for the second. In Ecuador, after four years Brasil once again has a decisive weight. These days the BNDES signs the first of a series of loans for big public infrastructure works that was won by Odebrecht, the same company that had been expelled in 2008.
The government of Rafael Correa had approached China in search of loans for public works, but the interest rates are very high and the Asian country demands oil to guaranty the loans. The government of Ecuador offered Brazilian companies that have BNDES credit a package of public works for 2,500,000 dollars (Valor, November12). The repositioning of Brazil in Ecuador represents another inflection in favor of regional integration, of the Unasur and of the South American Defense Council.
The fourth aspect is the difficult situations that pierce the social movements. They are what could weigh on the negotiating table in decisive themes like land, the working group that began this November 15 in Havana. Nevertheless, after some advances, a situation of stagnation and recession exists, above all in the cities, where the cultural and political hegemony of the right is overwhelming.
On October 12, the three principal groupings, the Patriotic March, the Congress of the Peoples and the Coalition of Movements and Social Organizations of Colombia, called a day of struggle collecting the principal demands of society. The response was scarce and they basically mobilized the universities. A political culture of a patriarchal, hierarchal and masculine cut, anchored in the disputes for spaces of power, continues dominating inside the movements and blocks being open to differences.
New times are open in Colombia. The end of the conflict is one possibility among others. All the actors have a “Plan B” faced with the eventuality of reinforcements for armed confrontation; all except the indigenous peoples, the Afro-descendants and the urban and rural popular sectors. As has been happening to the Nasa (tribe) in Cauca, they only win with peace, unlike multinational mining companies and armed combatants.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
English Translation: Chiapas Support Committee
Friday, November 16, 2012