Chiapas Support Committee

Zapatista Anniversary Celebration


 November 13, 2011 3-7 PM

La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA


 3-4 PM – Dinner (Reservations Required)

4-7 PM – SonRisas, an all-women group performing son jarocho Mexican music and

 Keynote Panel Featuring Monami Maulik of DRUM: Desis Rising Up & Moving, from New York City

PLUS Report from Occupy Oakland and Report from Chiapas


 Suggested Donation(s):

Dinner, Music & Keynote Panel – $35-50 (Sliding Scale)*

Musical Performance and Keynote Panel only – $10-$20 (Sliding Scale)*

*Proceeds go to build autonomous schools in Chiapas


Sponsored by: Chiapas Support Committee

For more information or for dinner reservations call: (510) 654-9587


October 2011 Zapatista News Summary


In Chiapas

1. The Hunger Strike Continues! – On September 29, 7 indigenous prisoners started a hunger strike at the state prisons located in the municipalities of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Cintalapa and Motozintla. Another four began fasting for 12 hours per day for health reasons. Participants were members of The Voice of El Amate, Innocent Voices, Mitzitón prisoners and a group in solidarity with the Voice of El Amate. All are adherents to the EZLN’s Other Campaign. Two others joined the hunger strike and fast on October 3 and just this week 2 of those fasting have joined the total hunger strike. Family members of the prisoners set up an encampment (occupation) on Cathedral Plaza in San Cristóbal de las Casas and say they will not leave until their relatives are free. This is the season of intense rain throughout the state and both the prisoners and the occupiers are outside.

The Good News! – The 2 prisoners from Mitzitón community were released on October 15. Two of those prisoners fasting in solidarity joined the total hunger strike. Also, expressions of solidarity are reaching Mexico from all over the world. Together with other solidarity groups, the Chiapas Support Committee signed a Letter to the Editor,  which was published by La Jornada.

The Bad News – On October 20, the federal government transferred Alberto Patishtán, spokesperson for the fasting prisoners, to a high security federal prison in Guasave, Sinaloa, along with other prisoners convicted of federal crimes. Patishtán was sentenced to 60 years in prison for an ambush and killing in El Bosque Municipality. He was falsely accused, but forced into confessing. At the time of his incarceration, he was a teacher. Although there is evidence of his innocence, including the admission of his accuser that he is innocent, the federal government refuses to release him. Those participating in the hunger strike and fast, the family members occupying the plaza in San Cristóbal and Other Campaign organizations analyze Patishtán’s transfer as an attempt to break up the protest! Prison authorities are also denying entry to an independent doctor to examine the prisoners as they complete one month without food!

2. Worldwide Declaration Circulated for San Marcos Avilés – The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) circulated a worldwide petition on behalf of the Zapatista support bases in the besieged community of San Marcos Avilés. Many thanks to all who signed the worldwide declaration. Frayba will release it when appropriate.

3. Urgent Action – Frayba also requested that organizations sign on to an Urgent Action letter to Felipe Calderón regarding the rapidly deteriorating situation in Chiapas. There was no time to circulate it throughout our lists, but we signed onto it. There are hundreds of organizations in Mexico and around the world that signed!

4. World Summit of Adventure Tourism Held In San Cristóbal, Chiapas – Mexico’s President, Felipe Calderón, was the keynote speaker at the World Summit of Adventure Tourism. It took place from October 17-20 in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism and the Governor of Chiapas also spoke. These annual summits are organized every year by the Adventure Travel Trade Association, in Seattle. Eddie Bauer is a major sponsor. The announced lineup of speakers included former Democratic Governor Bill Richardson, but there is no confirmation that he actually made an appearance. Calderón recommended adventure tourism as a way for indigenous people to escape poverty!

In Other Parts of Mexico

1. Movement for Peace and the 2nd Meeting With Calderón – The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD) met with Mexico President Felipe Calderón for the second time on October 14 in Mexico City, just as the New York Times was reporting his determination to continue the war against organized crime. The MPJD is, of course, asking to stop that war. By all accounts, this was a non-meeting, meaning that no progress has really been made. Some members of the MPJD went to New York for a meeting with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The number of dead and disappeared continues mounting every day. No accurate figures are available from the government or from the MPJD anymore.

In the United States

1. Occupy Oakland Calls A General Strike! – Building on the success of Occupy Wall Street, a group of people started occupying the plaza in front of the Oakland City Hall. They renamed it Oscar Grant Plaza. Police dismantled the camp, prompting a protest march on the evening of October 25. Police brutally attacked demonstrators with tear gas and projectiles, causing the serious skull fracture of Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen who was marching with the protestors. City residents got really angry over the police brutality and the mayor admitted that it was a mistake and has now allowed the occupation to be put up again in front of city hall. The nightly assembly decided to call for a march and general strike on Wednesday, November 2. See:

Compiled monthly by the Chiapas Support Committee in Oakland, California.

The primary sources for our information are: La Jornada, Enlace Zapatista and the Fray  Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba).

We encourage folks to distribute this information widely, but please include our name and  contact information in the distribution. Gracias/Thanks.

News Summaries are now posted on our blog:

Click on the Donate button of to support indigenous autonomy.


Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas

P.O. Box  3421, Oakland, CA  94609

Tel: (510) 654-9587


Occupy Oakland Calls General Strike!

The Irresistible Advance of Militarization

para leer en español:

 The Irresistible Advance of Militarization

By: Raúl Zibechi

The recent approval of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Colombia and the United States reaffirms the militarist policy of Barack Obama’s government towards Latin America, as the principal path for resolving the economic crisis and the decline of global and regional hegemony. Ironies of life, the FTA impelled by the conservative George W. Bush was unfettered after five years by the Congress, under the “progressive” Obama, demonstrating that when we’re dealing with imperial and multi-national interests there is no substantial difference between the two US parties.

President Juan Manuel Santos declared: “it is the most important treaty that we have signed in our history,” although it is going to drown small farming production, as already happened in the countries that signed those agreements. Nevertheless, as the Colombian journalist Antonio Caballero points out in his column entitled “The Impalement” (Semana, 15/10/ 2011), the treaty is in reality “an act of submission” that deepens the role of the regional gendarme of Colombia.

We are faced with a clear option by then elites in favor of an “armed neoliberalism” that permits increasing profits and at the same time blocking social protest. This model, which is now being applied with success in Guatemala and Mexico, and that tends to overflow towards the whole, is the political regimen adequate for promoting the “accumulation by dispossession” that David Harvey analyzes in The New Imperialism (Akal, 2003), although the British geographer does not specify in his works the type of State that corresponds to this mode of accumulation.

Colombia exhibits the region’s largest officially recognized military expense, which amounts to almost 4 percent of the GNP, duplicating in percentage that of Brazil and almost three times greater than that of Venezuela, although other sources elevate it to 6 percent. Currently, the Colombian Army has 230, 000 members, the same quantity as that of Brazil, which has a surface seven times greater and four times more population. The disproportion with respect to its neighbors Ecuador and Venezuela is enormous, although the media persist in showing that the real threat to regional peace comes from Caracas.

Under the two governments of Álvaro Uribe (2002-2010) campesinos were dispossessed of 6 million hectares and there were 3 million displaced. To the policy of privatizations by his predecessor (telecommunications, banks, oil), Santos now adds the re-prioritizing of the economy oriented to the exploitation of minerals, gas, coal, gold and oil, and the expansion of the agro-exportation of soy, sugar cane and African Palm. The one part of capital that “invests” in those businesses comes from paramilitarism and drug trafficking, which have united weapons and stolen goods.

Colombia figures among the 10 most unequal countries in the world. With the labor reforms, businessmen no longer even pay for extra hours (overtime). Health and education suffer cuts to swell the war budget and privatization wants to advance on the universities, despite the wide student mobilization. For that function “armed neoliberalism,” the prodigal son of Plan Colombia, now crowned with the FTA.

To the inside, Plan Colombia is plunder and militarization to stop resistance. To the outside, it converts the country into the principal platform of the Pentagon’s military policy. A study by the Center for Investigation and Popular Education (Cinep, its initials in Spanish) points out that under the two Uribe governments social mobilization was the world’s highest in the last half of the century: almost four times more conflicts per year than in the decades of the 1960s and 1970s, and 50 percent more than in that of the 1990s.

The war and the militarization have been started precisely in the departments (states) that present the greatest social resistance, which are also in those where the advance of the extractive megaprojects is most intense. The war that Plan Colombia promotes, whose benefits will be decanted by the FTA, is to free territories for the accumulation of capital. It’s worth considering the linkage between war and neoliberalism, violence and accumulation, to comprehend that we’re dealing with the model, although it is dressed up by an electoral media dispute every four years and declarations against drug trafficking and the guerrilla.

But the model tends to overflow throughout the region. On September 27, Paraguay’s Chamber of Deputies voted for the state of emergency for 60 days in two states (departamentos): Concepción and San Pedro, the poorest, and in which the campesino movement led some of its most important mobilizations. The excuse is fighting the Paraguay People’s Army (Ejército del Pueblo Paraguay, EPP), a group that according to the attorney general has 10 members. The measure that enables the armed forces to act as internal police had already been adopted in 2010 for 30 days in five departments, without detaining any EPP member.

Abel Irala, of Serpaj, attributes militarization to the productive: “Agro-business needs to advance over drug trafficking lands, and in that conflict militarization plays in favor of soy. The campesino that plants marijuana is the last on the ladder, and the woman, when they put her in prison, she sells that land to get out of prison, and it is sold to the soy farmers.” The Coordinator of Human Rights denounced that there are 500 social militants processed, that torture is more frequent and that the justice system uses the charges like “disturbing the public peace,” for realizing marches that do not cut out routes, and “sabotage,” to the road blocks, that carry a sentence of 10 years in prison.

It is no accident that Colombians are the military advisors of Paraguay’s repressive forces. “Armed neoliberalism,” with or without the FTA, does not recognize ideological borders and proposes to annihilate or domesticate the anti-systemic movements. In the midst of the deep crisis that we live in, there are excessive signs that those above gambled on hard and pure al militarism.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, October 21, 2011

Solidarity With Chiapas Prisoners

To All Friends of Political Prisoners Everywhere:

Eleven (11) political prisoners in Chiapas, Mexico, started a hunger strike and/or fast on September 29. 2 have already been released and 2 more have joined the protest. Their relatives started the occupation of a section of the main plaza in San Cristóbal de las Casas, where the World Summit of  “Adventure Tourism” begins today! We, the Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas, signed a letter to the editor of La Jornada in support of the struggle. It appears in Spanish in today’s edition:

Solidaridad con presos en Chiapas/ Solidarity With Chiapas Prisoners

(English translation follows below)

Nos solidarizamos con los presos políticos de la Voz del Amate, Solidarios de la Voz del Amate, presos de Mitzitón y Voces Inocentes, adherentes a la Otra Campaña del EZLN, que han iniciado una huelga de hambre y ayuno para lograr su liberación.

Sabemos que se han visto orillados a poner en peligro su vida y su salud para revertir la injusticia y oponerse al poder que encierra, desaparece y mata a los que son pobres, diferentes y tienen la dignidad de luchar contra el sistema de explotación. Vemos en la digna y justa lucha de los presos un paso más hacia la construcción de un mundo donde otros muchos mundos quepan.

Por esto también decimos a ustedes y a sus familiares que resisten en el plantón de la Plaza de la Resistencia, en San Cristóbal de las Casas, que no están solos, desde lejos acompañamos sus pasos y estaremos al pendiente de su situación. Sabemos, por ejemplo, que el mal gobierno los intimida y viola sus derechos al dificultar el ingreso a los penales de médicos, familiares y visitantes.

Responsabilizamos al gobierno de Juan Sabines Guerrero –que tanto se ufana de su protección a los derechos humanos– de lo que pueda sucederles al negarles la atención médica que requieren, pero sobre todo de los daños a su salud física, emocional y mental al prolongar su encierro y su tortura.

Grupo de Solidaridad Zapatista de Wellington (Nueva Zelanda), Red de Solidaridad Zapatista del Reino Unido (Colectivos de Londres, Edinburgo, Glasgow, Bristol, Dorset, Bradford y Manchester), Comité de apoyo a Chiapas (California)

English translation

We are in solidarity with the prisoners from The Voice of El Amate, The Voice of El Amate Solidarity, Mitzitón prisoners and Innocent Voices, all of them adherents to The Other Campaign, that have started a hunger strike and fast in order to obtain their freedom.

We know that they are risking their lives and health in order to obtain justice. Through this peaceful means, they oppose those in power that lock away, disappear, humiliate and kill those who are poor, different and have the necessary dignity to struggle against the exploitative system that perpetuates their condition. We see in their just and dignified struggle, a step towards the construction of a world where many worlds fit.

This is why we want to let the prisoners and their relatives who resist in the occupation of the Plaza of Resistance in San Cristóbal de las Casas know that they are not alone, that from afar we walk with them and that we will remain vigilant to their struggle. We know, for example, that the bad government is trying to intimidate you, violating your rights by not allowing access to the prisons to doctors, relatives and visitors.

We hold the government of Juan Sabines Guerrero –who is particularly proud of his human rights record– responsible for whatever may happen to the physical, mental and emotional health of the prisoners on the hunger strike by denying them the required medical help and through the unnecessary extension of their imprisonment and their torture.

Zapatista Solidarity Group of Wellington (New Zealand), Zapatista Solidarity Network of the United Kingdom (Collectives from London, Edinburg, Glasgow, Bristol, Dorset, Bradford and Manchester), Chiapas Support Committee (California)

Worldwide Declaration in Support of Zapatistas in San Marcos Avilés

Dear Friends,

The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba)and the Movement for Justice for the Barrio in New York are once again requesting signatures to a Worldwide Statement in in Support of the Zapatista Support Bases in San Marcos Avilés, Chiapas, Mexico. The Chiapas Support Committee is collecting signatures. We will send them in on October 16 and Frayba will decide when to use them. If you would like to sign this statement, please send your name, the name of your organization or collective, and what city you live in to: by October 16. [If you do not belong to an organization or collective, you can use the Chiapas Support Committee’s name.] Remember! The Worldwide statement in support of the Bachajón 5 in April contributed to their release. So, you can really make a difference by signing.

En español –  Firma la Declaración Mundial:

Gracias/ thanks,

The Chiapas Support Committee

Worldwide Declaration in Support of the Zapatista Support Bases of San Marcos Avilés, Chiapas, Mexico.

It has been over ten years since the Color of the Earth March, during which the Zapatistas gave the political class of Mexico one more opportunity to advance in the historical debt of 500 years of oppression against indigenous peoples throughout Mexico and the Americas. In spite of this violent and enduring experience, the indigenous Zapatista communities have kept alive a vibrant and profound history of resistance and struggle for over 17 years with the public uprising of the EZLN.

Since this historic moment, which represented an important step forward in their struggle for dignity and construction of autonomy, they have continued to fight against the neoliberal capitalist system that seeks to erase them.

Today, the Zapatista communities are a spirit of struggle, life, and dignity in the necessary building of communal being and the exercise of self-determination.

As a consequence of this, the Mexican State, by way of political actors and pro-government organizations, has attempted to dismantle the process of realizing the San Andrés Accords that is being carried out through the daily practices of the community, including for instance their projects of self-governance, justice, jobs, health, appropriate technology, education, and others.

The advancement of the Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Education System has served as a pretext to attack the Support Bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, of the San Marcos Avilés ejido, in the Chilón municipality of Chiapas, which have suffered various forms of violence—such as death threats, harassment, dispossession, sexual assault, forced displacement, amongst others—at the hands of members of the PRI, PRD, and PVEM.

On September 9, 2010, after the construction of the first autonomous school in said ejido, which forms part of the Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Education System, over 170 people were violently displaced from their homes by a paramilitary group, comprised of 30 individuals and headed by Lorenzo Ruiz Gómez and Vicente Ruiz López—both affiliated to the PRI, PRD, and PVEM. This group, which was armed with machetes and firearms, violently broke into their homes and even attempted to rape two women of the ejido.

According to testimony from inhabitants of the region, this attack was deliberately orchestrated to undermine the autonomous education project. Consequently, the Zapatista Support Bases were forced to flee their homes and spent over 33 days in the wilderness, surviving off plants and herbs. On October 12, 2010, upon returning to their community, and accompanied by a solidarity caravan, the displaced found their homes and belongings—including their animals, corn, and beans—ransacked. Their central crops, such as coffee and fruit-bearing trees, were also destroyed. At present, the aggressions, harassment, and threats persist.

The ongoing harassment and aggression have created the conditions of possibility for further violence, impunity, and systematic human rights abuses. They have, moreover, severely debilitated the daily life of members of the Zapatista Support Bases of San Marcos Avilés by preventing the harvest of their basic dietary foods, such as corn and beans.

Currently, with regards to the status of their health, we are aware of several severe cases of malnourishment of the population, which acutely impact women and children, and of the death of a young girl. In the San Marcos Avilés community, like in nearby communities, a typhoid epidemic runs rampant, and has claimed the life of at least one child.

It is clear that violence was utilized against the exercise of Zapatista autonomy, as embodied in its educational system, in order to undermine this historical process which the Zapatista Support Bases continue to develop via this new institution of learning.  As indigenous peoples, they have an undeniable right to build their autonomy, defend their ancestral lands, and create educational systems that support and reflect the cultural and intellectual practices of their own community. This right, furthermore, is endorsed by the San Andrés Accords, Convention #169 of the International Labour Organization, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In light of the ascending severity and frequency of these acts, we demand the following:

1. An immediate and permanent end to the harassment, death threats, plundering, dispossession, sexual violence, and forced displacement perpetrated against the Zapatista Support Bases of San Marcos Avilés.

2. Respect for the right to self-determination, particularly as expressed in the construction of autonomous governance, justice, and education of indigenous peoples.

3. That the right to adequate nutrition be guarantied and upheld, as it constitutes the foundation of the right of all human beings to enjoy the highest level of mental and physical health.



Sicilia Movement Shows Support for Zapatistas

Para leer en español:

Sicilia Movement Shows Support For Zapatista Bases

** He demands guarantying the life and integrity of said communities

** Indigenous install occupation demanding the liberation of prisoners

By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, October 8, 2011

Javier Sicilia showed “moral and political backing to each and every one of the Zapatista support bases” by the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD), headed by him.

In a message read this morning by the MPJD’s Resistance Actions Commission, in a press conference, Sicilia expounds: “During the time that we were in the state of Chiapas, with the Southern Caravan (in September), we were informed about the threats and attacks the Zapatista support bases suffer, particularly in San Patricio community, La Dignidad autonomous municipality, corresponding to the official municipality of Sabanilla.”

Similarly, the civilian movement demands that the federal and state governments “immediately guaranty the life and integrity of all the EZLN’s support bases” in the autonomous community of San Patricio. That, continues Sicilia, “besides that free access is guaranteed and respect for the said community’s lands since we consider that said aggression is an attack, not just against the Zapatista support bases, but on a new hope for the nation’s reconstruction: the autonomies.”

Sicilia emphasizes that in the MPJD: “different indigenous peoples participate with the hope that we may construct ‘a world where many worlds fit;’ therefore, any attack on any of the country’s indigenous communities, we consider an attack on our Movement.”

The MPJD’s delegation also announced a message to the Good Government Juntas in the Los Caracols, of Roberto Barrios and Oventic, announcing to them that it will meet in Chiapas to “be informed directly in your voice what is happening here, we are here to demonstrate our support.”

The movement “has given punctual follow up about what happens in the Zapatista towns, and we observe with concern what happens in different villages inside their autonomous municipalities.” He also observes: “how the autonomous education projects developed by the Zapatista peoples in different population centers receive attacks in Los Altos, the jungle and the Northern Zone of the state.”

In two more messages, directed to Las Abejas of Acteal and to the prisoners on a hunger strike and fast in the San Cristóbal prison, the MPJD reiterates its peaceful vocation. To the latter he says: “We fully recognize the fast and hunger strike as two forms of struggle of great moral and physical radical [nature], which seek to bring afloat the truth and touch the conscience of those who do them and of their adversary. We trust fully that this hunger strike and fast that they have started may bear the fruits that everyone hopes as soon as possible, and that we will be able to meet in a solidarity embrace of freedom.”

Also this morning, the family members of these indigenous prisoners, in the majority women, installed themselves in an occupation at one side of the Cathedral, demanding the liberation of members of the Voice of El Amate, Innocent Voices, Solidarity with the Voice of El Amate and the organized community of Mitzitón.

In the same atrium of what’s called the Cathedral of Peace the World Summit of Adventure Tourism will be celebrated next weekend, to which the hotel and restaurant owners expect a large number of visitors that come to evaluate the state’s beauties. Authorities already installed a big pavilion of plastic for the event, a few meters from where the indigenous occupation demanding justice is found.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, October 8, 2011

September 2011 Zapatista News Summary


In Chiapas

1. Paramilitaries Encircle Zapatista Community of San Patricio; Eviction Feared; Massacre Threatened – Numerous denunciations, Urgent Action Alerts and newspaper articles during September warn of the paramilitary encirclement of San Patricio, a Zapatista community in the Northern Zone of Chiapas, Caracol of Roberto Barrios. The paramilitary group threatening the community is apparently none other than Paz y Justicia, the deadly gang that terrorized the Northern Zone in the 1990s. The situation is day-to-day. The attackers have threatened a “massacre” for October 7. A translation of one of the articles describing the siege is posted on our blog:

2. La Garrucha Junta Denounces Attempted Land Grab in Nuevo Purisima – On September 20, the Good Government Junta based in the Caracol of La Garrucha denounced that 45 individuals claiming to be “independent” (belonging to no organization) arrived in Nuevo Purísima on September 18 to “take possession” of acres of land recuperated by the EZLN as a result of the 1994 Zapatista Uprising. They were armed with machetes and said they had documents. They arrived in trucks belonging to the Ocosingo municipal government. The following day, another 100 individuals arrived who the Junta identified as paramilitary and carrying firearms. The Junta further alleges that the local government is using money from the United Nations via the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to support these dangerous land grabs.

3. Sicilia Caravan Visits Chiapas – The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity’s Southern Caravan traveled through Chiapas in mid-September. It visited Ciudad Hidalgo on the Chiapas-Guatemala border near Tapachula and a shelter for migrants who pass through Chiapas on their way north.  A small group of Caravan members were permitted to enter Oventik and to meet with the Good Government Junta in order to thank the Zapatistas for their show of support for the Movement with their big protest march in May. The Junta welcomed them, thanked them for coming and then just listened. The Zapatista Junta did not offer their word. The Caravan visited with Las Abejas (The Bees) in Acteal, civil society in San Cristóbal and said a few words while passing through Ocosingo on the way to Palenque. Much of the focus in Palenque was on the Central American migrants who pass through there and are victims of crime.

4. Complaint Filed in US Against Zedillo for Acteal Massacre – On September 16, a Miami law firm filed a complaint in the federal district court of Connecticut against former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo on behalf of 4 Jane Does and 6 John Does, alleged victims of the December 22, 1997 Massacre. The complaint seeks monetary damages, both compensatory and punitive. Las Abejas denounced this lawsuit, saying it was politically and economically motivated and that the only legal representative of the Acteal survivors and family members of victims is the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba).

5. Political Bosses in Chilón Destroy Schools – On September 24, in Guaquitepec community, Chilón Municipality, a group of 100 campesinos headed by local caciques (political bosses) violently entered and destroyed the installations of the Emiliano Zapata Bilingual Middle School, as well as the Bartolomé de Las Casas Intercultural College. These centers have provided quality bilingual and intercultural education. Their students come from many Tzeltal communities in Chilón, Ocosingo, Altamirano and the Chol Zone to the north.

6. Hunger Strike By Political Prisoners – On September 29, 7 political prisoners started a hunger strike at the state prison located in the municipality of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. Another four are fasting for 12 hours per day for health reasons. The 11 participants are members of The Voice of El Amate and Innocent Voices, two organizations belonging to the Zapatistas’ Other Campaign.

In Other Parts of Mexico

1. Movement for Peace Visits Southern States – The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD) organized a “Caravan to the South” that visited cities, towns, and rural communities in Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco, Veracruz and Puebla. The Caravan left Mexico City on September 9 and returned on the 18th. It encountered various difficulties along the way, like security threats, some press problems and severe storms. The Caravan’s tour highlighted human rights abuses resulting from the “Drug War,” the Low-Intensity War in Chiapas and the exploitation of Immigrants, primarily from Central America. Along the way, the MPJD invited organizations to join its movement (not in Oventic). I have seen two articles that reported the size of the Caravan. They estimated that there were between 500 and 600 people in different buses and vehicles plus security.

In the United States

1. Occupy Wall Street Targets the Real Criminals! – A group of people started to occupy a park in New York’s financial district and to demonstrate against Wall Street investment bankers that are destroying the US and World economy, while enriching themselves. Aimed directly at the core of neoliberal economics, these demonstrations have caught on with lots of folks. And now, if you have not already done so, you can check out their blog to learn how it is spreading to other cities, including SF:

2. Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne Arrives in Mexico with 3 Black Hawk Helicopters  – On September 15, US Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne arrived in Mexico. He brought 3 Black Hawk helicopters for the Navy with him, courtesy of the Merida Initiative. He also praised the Merida Initiative, through which $612 million dollars in equipment and training had been delivered to Mexico. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Latin American Issues, Paul N. Stockton, referred to these numbers later in a meeting with Admiral Saynez, Secretary of Mexico’s Navy, and Robert Gates, former US Defense Secretary. Remember! The Mexican Navy’s principal base for fighting drug cartels Is now in Southern Mexico (Veracruz). 

3. Rep. Connie Mack Wants Counterinsurgency Strategy Applied to Mexico Drug War – On September 13, US Representative Connie Mack, a Republican Congressman from Florida, convened a hearing on the “Drug War” in Mexico and recommended that a counterinsurgency strategy be applied against drug cartels on the Mexico border, similar to that used by US forces in Afghanistan. Mack is the very conservative Chair of the House Western Hemisphere Subcommittee. You can read the proposal on his website:

The Obama administration responded that the Merida Initiative was working fine and, therefore, there was no need for Congressman Mack’s proposal.


Compiled monthly by the Chiapas Support Committee.

The primary sources for our information are: La Jornada, Enlace Zapatista and the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba).

We encourage folks to distribute this information widely, but please include our name and contact information in the distribution. Gracias/Thanks.

News Summaries are now posted on our blog:

Click on the Donate button of to support the construction of Zapatista indigenous autonomy.


Chiapas Support Committee/Comité de Apoyo a Chiapas

P.O. Box  3421, Oakland, CA  94609

Tel: (510) 654-9587


Interview with Gustavo Esteva in Oaxaca

Para leer en español:

Oaxaca, “Trapped” by Violence Exercised by the State: Gustavo Esteva

** “Terrible, the condition of the indigenous; that encourages emigration”

By: Alonso Urrutia y Octavio Vélez, Envoy and correspondent

Oaxaca, Oaxaca, September 12, 2011

During recent years Oaxaca has confronted an “extreme violence,” which goes beyond that which the country currently suffers, with the aggravating factor “that it is a violence that essentially comes from the State, with a guaranty of impunity” to those who directly exercise it, assured Gustavo Esteva, member of the Coordination of the Citizen Space for Justice and Truth in this state.

Attacks on social strugglers co-exist with those that originate from the “economic order,” whose objective centers on stealing land from indigenous communities for the purpose of exploitation, coming from, among others, mining companies, Esteva added, who says that 800, 000 hectares have been sold in concessions to different companies, with the goal of taking the indigenous peoples away violently, “but that is not going to be permitted” by the organizations.

About the situation that prevails in Oaxaca, within the context of the passage of the Caravan for Peace, Esteva pointed out that the state has suffered a political decomposition, tied to the theme of security in the recent 15 years, aggravated by the “psychopathic tyranny” of Ulises Ruiz. Oaxaca is trapped in violence exercised by the State.

“We can say that it is a systematic repression, a strategy of intimidation of the people, of control of will, of domination. In the state, police, politician and criminal are interchangeable terms,” he indicated.


–It’s not only repression. It’s something more –responds Esteva, to denounce the State’s collusion with criminality.

“A clear example of this coexistence is the murder of the human rights defender Bety Cariño in San Juan Copala, in charge of paramilitaries financed by the State, on a humanitarian aid caravan. Some time later there was another caravan to the place, in the state’s attorney general participated, that could not reach Copala either, with the argument that the paramilitaries were there, the same ones that were financed by the State itself. That is Oaxaca. It is difficult to distinguish between what is criminal and what is institutional.”

–¿Is there an impunity in a sense different than that occurring on the national scale?

–There is collusion between criminals and the State here. One can refer to the criminals and the police and they are the same person. Today the difference is that in Oaxaca we have lost the fear of fear. In thousands of communities the violence that permeates other states has not been able to prosper, because of the strength of the social fabric, of the community organization, it is there where the solution is.”

State violence, he emphasized, had its most emblematic expression on November 25, 2006, when it acted against the then popular movement, with a result of deaths and injuries. “In reality it was when that Felipe Calderón war started, because it was a concerted action with the Ulises Ruiz government, which knew how to pressure it with the logic that if the fall of a governor was permitted, afterwards would come that [the fall] of a president.”

The condition of the indigenous is “terrible, and that has encouraged a strong migration that, paradoxically, is what permitted recuperating the ability to plant in the field, because the remittances are used to finance it (planting),” he pointed out.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sicilia Caravan Leaves Chiapas

Para leer en español:

Sicilia Caravan Ends Visit to Chiapas; They Ask That the INM (Migra) Disappear

** They demand that “Felipe Calderón’s war end”

By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy

Palenque, Chiapas, September 17, 2011.

The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity’s “Caravan to the South,” culminated its tour through Chiapas with a caravan of hundreds of lighted candles through the central avenue and a generalized cry of sympathy and generosity for the Central American migrants that enter the country through the borders of this state and of Tabasco with Guatemala.

“We ask for the disappearance of the National Institute of Migration (INM, its initials in Spanish) because of its anomalies and abuses against migrants,” exposed a collective of Chol women from Palenque.

The agreed reception for the caravan that Javier Sicilia heads, along with a group of victims of the violence from different parts of the country through which it already passed (from Ciudad Juárez and Torreón to Cuernavaca and Oaxaca), was the responsibility of the Xi’Nich organization, civil organisms Sadec, parishes from the Northern Zone and base communities of the church, among others; also of migrants (undocumented, but here in the public plaza covered by the citizen mobilization), natives from Honduras and Guatemala, who were called “brothers” by all the speakers.

Women from Palenque denounced that in the Pakalná barrio (now almost another city), a scarce three kilometers from here, “the migrants encounter a market of crime, and the women are easy prey.” They demanded that “the competent authorities take notice of the issue” and they denounced that INM agents, “which ought to protect the migrants,” con are frequently responsible or remiss faced with the extortion, kidnapping, rape and murder.

The Xi’Nich Committee in Defense of Indigenous Freedom said it is against drug trafficking, which has had a presence in the region for a long time. But also, “from our communities, we point out that the policy of Calderón is one of death and poverty, and more migration.” In other words, it is also a problem for indigenous Mexicans: “Nothing else remains for us than to emigrate to the tourist centers or beyond the northern border. Calderón converted Mexico into a place of war, not into a place for living well. What he has constructed is the live image of the lie and of death.”

Xi’Nich, the organization that almost 20 years ago, before the Zapatista Uprising, walked for more than 50 days to Mexico City to demand an end to the repression and better living conditions, demanded a “stop to Calderón’s war, health and education, no militarization, respect for the migrant brothers and no more discrimination against indigenous peoples and migrants.”

On the extremes of the plaza there were two surprising installations. One, taking advantage of the intricate roots of a big tree, was displaying dozens of lighted candles and the names of dozens of the dead and disappeared in the North. At the other [extreme], Honduran migrants sheltered in the Migrant’s House in Tenosique, Tabasco, were drawing cardboard signs asking for respect and peace with all the colors of the world.

“Father Alberto,” parish priest of Palenque, denounced the widespread criminal extortion in the Chol Zone and pronounced himself in favor of “Christian hope that the violence ends.”

In a more dramatic way, Friar Tomás González, from Tenosique, who finds himself threatened, referred to the “mined field” that Mexico is for the Central Americans ever since cross our borders. Here, where organized crime operates, “their condition becomes a nightmare.” He asserted that: “the clandestine graves are not only in the North, but also in the South.”

And about the INM, he said: “We are witnesses to the fact that its agents operate like organized crime, and in Chiapas and Tabasco they are responsible for the journey of the brothers being so terrible. They pursue them, oblige them to go into the swamps, and put them in danger.” Besides, “the authorities are responsible for concealment” in this region, which has become “ungovernable.”

It was reported later in the evening that the religious man [Friar Tomás] was apprehended in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.

Also was Alejandro Solalinde, of the Migrants’ House in Ixtepec (Oaxaca), who in referring to the national holidays said that: “today we have more dependency than ever,” and that without freedom “one cannot have democracy.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, September 18, 2011