Chiapas Support Committee

International Women’s Day Speak Out Circle



This Speak Out Circle is part of the Sexta Grietas del Norte Encuentro (Gathering) In, Against and Beyond the Capitalist Hydra Saturday and Sunday, March 7 (9am to 10:pm) and 8 (9am to 6:30pm) at the Omni Commons. It’s open to the public and we invite you to join us.




Zapatistas will join the women’s protests of March 8 and 9

By: Elio Henríquez

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas

Women commanders and coordinators of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) reported that women from that grouping will join the protests and strike programmed for March 8 and 9, called by the Brujas del Mar (Witches of the Sea) collective.

“On March 9, the compañeras who have the responsibility for autonomous authority, for organizational or military command, for commissions of education, health, media and for all the work that we do as Zapatista women, won’t show up for our jobs,” they said.

They explained in a communiqué that on March 8 they would meet “in our caracoles, we’ll talk about the pain and rage that we heard in the two encuentros that we have had. We’ll also discuss the struggles, ours and yours, compañeras and sisters who read us, and we will wear a black mark on our clothes.”

The Zapatista leaders pointed out that on March 9 “many of us will not leave our villages, in the early morning we will turn on thousands of lights. The light of women will shine in the Caracoles and in the Zapatista villages.”

“That will be our way of telling you that we support that idea of a ‘March 9 without women,’ as one more initiative of women who struggle for life. And as we are the majority in Zapatista autonomy, then that day it’s going to be paralyzed,” they added.

The Zapatista women approved the initiative because “we look at it as something valuable, good, noble, honest and legitimate. And we will support it according to our ways. Because any woman, whether one or many, who struggle for life, must know that they are not alone.

“We think it’s a good idea, because on March 8, you are going to look at and feel our pains and our rages. And on March 9, the patriarchal macho men are going to worry about what we think, plan and feel, because they won’t know,” they said.

The Zapatistas commented that: “with so much killing we just go from one mourning to another, from one pain to another, from one indignation to another. Maybe that’s the damn system’s plan: to be killing and disappearing us so that we don’t have the time or way to organize and struggle against the patriarchal and capitalist model.”

“Just like we are not asking permission from commands and authorities, nor from fathers, sons, boyfriends, husbands or lovers, but rather we are going to do it [the women’s strike] because we didn’t rise up in arms in vain since January 1, 1994,” they pointed out.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, March 2, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee



CNI-EZLN: “Our struggle is not for power. Our struggle is for saving Mexico.”


February 26 2020

To the people of México:

To the networks of resistance and rebellion:

To the National and International Sixth:

To the communications media:

To the Human Rights organisms:

To the organizations in defense of territory and Mother Earth:

By means of this communiqué we make public that compañeros and compañeras of San Antonio Bulujib and Guaquitepec communities in Chilón municipality, Chiapas, belonging to the National Indigenous Congress (CNI, its initials in Spanish), were violented, repressed and kidnapped at 5 o’clock in the afternoon last February 23 by the San Antonio Bulujib ejido authorities belonging to the paramilitary groups called “CHINCHULINES” and “ORCAO”, as well as by members of the MORENA political party in the region, in REPRISAL FOR HAVING PARTICIPATED IN THE “WE ARE ALL SAMIR” DAYS IN DEFENSE OR TERRITORY AND MOTHER EARTH” convoked by the Zapatista National Liberation Army and the CNI. We’re talking about María Cruz Espinoza, Juana Pérez Espinoza, Feliz López Pérez, María Cruz Gómez, Ana Gómez Hernández, Alejandra Gómez, María Luisa Pérez Gómez, just 1 year old, María del Rosario Mazariegos Gómez, 11 months old, Manuel Cruz Espinoza, Juan Gómez Núñez and Isidro Pérez Cruz, who were beaten and kidnapped for having placed a sign about the days of “We are all Samir” at the entrance to San Antonio Bulujib.

On February 24, until 8:30 at night, after more than 24 hours of having been deprived of their liberty, our compañero and compañera CNI members were released under conditions: the authorities of San Antonio Bulujib community said that if the CNI group wanted to fix the problem they would have to pay a fine of fifteen boxes of soft drinks and $2,500 pesos, being threatened that in case they don’t pay the fine that the authority imposed, their permanence in the community would be conditioned on the eleven detainees renouncing being CNI members. At the same time, the ejido authorities indicated that if our compañeros and compañeras don’t pay the fine by the afternoon of Sunday, March 1, 2020, they will be evicted from their lands and houses, which will be sold, and they will be enclosed in the town jail.

We hold the three levels of government and the paramilitary groups organized in the communities responsible for what can occur to our compañeras and compañeros, and specifically we hold responsible the head of the federal executive, ANDRÉS MANUEL LÓPEZ OBRADOR, the head of the state executive of Chiapas, RUTILIO ESCANDÓN, the San Antonio Bulujib ejido authority, MIGUEL LÓPEZ GUZMÁN, the Vigilance Council, MATEO GÓMEZ MÉNDEZ, a member of the ORCAO and CHINCHULINES organization, the Municipal Auxiliary Agent JUAN SILVANO MORENO, his alternate MANUEL GÓMEZ PÉREZ, and JOSÉ PÉREZ, the alleged leader of the ORCAO, promoter of the paramilitaries that are dedicated to provoking and invading lands, protected by the bad federal, state and municipal government, who in the name of a supposed fourth transformation are threatening the security and the life of the eleven above-named compañeros and compañeras and other CNI families.



February 26, 2020

For the Integral Reconstitution of Our Peoples

Never more a Mexico without Us

National Indigenous Congress

Indigenous Government Council

Zapatista National Liberation Army


En español:




The so-called Maya Train and conflict engineering

The Maya Train will travel at a high speed and fueled by hydrogen-fueled train

By: Magdalena Gómez

February 20 completed one year of the unjust and not investigated murder of Samir Flores. This crime will mark the current government although it seems not to realize it. Numerous peoples are carrying out actions throughout the country and some in other countries, as part of the Days in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth, “We Are All Samir,” which will culminate in Amilcingo, Morelos. This movement is a backdrop now that the government strategy of the so-called Maya Train is in progress, yes or yes, or it goes because it goes or its most recent and absurd translation, such as the statement of the head of Semarnat [1], Víctor Toledo, in the forum “Nature, Indigenous rights and national sovereignty on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec,” in the sense that the Indigenous consultation was “totally legitimate,” despite recognizing that “it was not technically adequate,” as marked by international standards. He added: “The general answer was a conditioned yes.” A lot has already been written regarding the principle of validity. Habermas, in particular, emphasizes that it is the sum of the principles of legality and legitimacy. Not one or the other, but both, and in this case both are absent, therefore the official consultation is invalid.  When I talk about strategy I mean the one that is evidently in progress to defend the pseudo-consultation through voices that challenge those who have denounced its invalidity. Meanwhile, the project is progressing and the vast majority of the communities that will be affected are unaware of its environmental and cultural impact, and immediately, in the increase in the land market for the development poles that are projected from train stations of the so-called Maya train. It is not only with indispensable media debates that this dispute will be resolved, nor through them will communities that were not consulted have conditions to accept or reject the aforementioned megaproject. The damage has already been done, the simulation of a consultation has been consummated.

We have to see what the definitive position is of the first district court based in Campeche (12/2020) on March 3, regarding the amparo promoted by the Indigenous and Popular Regional Council of Xpujil (Cripx), which has provisional suspension. It will surely be followed by others, justly challenging the validity of a project that was not decided with and from the Indigenous peoples. For now, the official response has been the discrediting and threats to the promoters of the amparo, through those who are aligned with the project. That’s a task that closely resembles what’s called conflict engineering, which consists of the classic method of maintaining control of a group, increasing the visibility of their internal differences, highlighting their contradictions, in order to amplify their latent divisions and paralyze their organization. The challenge is not minor and the consequences of this will be the state’s responsibility.

However, the determining factor will be the resistance of the Indigenous communities that have been displaced in the so-called consultation and supplanted by ejido and municipal authorities in the five states through which the so-called Mayan Train will cross, which, as it has been insisted, is more than a train and even when it was stated as a territorial reorganization plan, it has already been decided not to mention this dimension. Toledo, called on opponents not to fall into “simple denial” and not to be “immature.” A day later, in a statement (016/20), the continuity of the decision-making scheme without consultation was announced: “Semarnat is organizing the formation of committees in the 84 municipalities involved in the projects, in which they will be generating participatory ecological systems to trigger processes of permanent dialogue for the purpose of not repeating ‘the Cancun model’, which is prey to enormous tourist corporations.

Will they form committees without Indigenous communities giving their voice? Will they continue with the ejido and municipal interlocution? How will they explain that these committees are a supposedly palliative mechanism of damage that originated over a decision vitiated around a project that has not been analyzed in the integrality of its impacts and that was never previously consulted?

Firmness was expected from Semarnat in the absence of environmental impact studies; it’s not enough to point out that no tree will be cut down because the damage was already done when the old railroad tracks were built. It is clear that the entire federal government has joined Fonatur [2] in defending the so-called Maya Train. Meanwhile, organizations, such as the Assembly of Defenders of the Maya Múuch ‘Xíinbal Territory, despite the threats against Pedro Uc Be, continue their work with the communities opposing it and other devastating megaprojects in their territory.

Samir Vive, is a sowing, wait for the harvest.

[1] Semarnat is the Spanish acronym for the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

[2] Fonatur is the Spanish acronym for the federal agency that promotes tourism.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




Samir Flores and the resistances

Samir Flores Soberanes

By: Raúl Romero*

On February 11, 2019, Samir Flores and a group of opponents of the Morelos Integral Project went to protest an activity where President Andrés Manuel López Obrador [AMLO] would be present. With banners, slogans and modest sound equipment, the protestors stayed for the whole event until they were able to get the president’s attention. AMLO, who was accompanied by Cuauhtémoc Blanco and Hugo Erick Flores, among others, turned towards the group Samir was in and, visibly upset, with his right hand raised and his index finger also raised, he said to them in a challenging tone: “Listen! To me, radicals of the left are nothing but conservatives.” Nine days later, on February 20, Samir Flores would be murdered outside his home.

It has not been the only time that AMLO has discredited individuals, peoples and social organizations that express the pain and discontent of a country that continues bleeding day by day. He has done so against the movements of victims, migrants, women, original peoples and journalists. In order to discredit their protests and demands, he refers to some of these sectors as “provocateurs,” “the undersigned,” “ridiculous,” or any qualifier that helps to place them as “ conservatives.”

In this discourse that focuses on people/oligarchy antagonism, with its adaptations according to the moral and ideology of the head of the executive (liberals/conservatives, good/bad), there is no room to observe other contradictions or oppressions. Exploitation does not appear in this discourse, so that exploiters and owners of capital that were previously located as part of the “mafia in power,” are now protected with the President’s popularity.

The same thing happens with the extractive projects and megaprojects, some of them previously promoted or implemented by neoliberal governments. The Trans-Isthmus Corridor, the Morelos Integral Project or the Constellation Brands are now taken up again by the current administration and presented as necessary. In other cases, it’s just enough to change the name or the location, like the Train misnamed Maya or the airport in Santa Lucía. It doesn’t matter that in the past the resistances and struggles of the peoples have stopped them, today they are the currency of promises of a better future, the same promises that others have already made.

But this speech is not exclusive to the president. In any space they can, government officials and AMLO supporters reproduce it. “The Zapatistas are an invention of Salinas,” or “Where were you when neoliberalism was imposed?” “Migrant caravans are an invention of Trump,” and “There are ‘black hands’ behind the women’s movements.” The objective is the same: to annul the resistances, disparage them, place them in the same camp as the real dominant forces, although many of the latter are in reality with the president.

This strategy is based on a premise: “the country is doing well”, “the people are happy,” if anyone differs, he is conservative or allied with the right. In the worst cases, the president and his followers can always have “other data” for confronting the reality. The strategy leads them to present themselves as the only “left” and to claim a monopoly on the truth.

The problem is that López Obrador is the President of Mexico, the head of State and, as such, his voice has an echo and consequences.

In a context of political and criminal violence like what Mexico has experienced for more than a decade, where women, journalists and defenders of territory are constantly murdered, a context in which the president discredits or minimizes the resistances and the problems that they outline, making use of the privileged media space that he has, opens the door to harassment, threats and to the worst demons.

An example of the above is the situation that residents of Calakmul, in Campeche experienced in recent days. In the face of obtaining an amparo (temporary suspension) of work on the Maya Train, they were harassed on social networks and threatened by supporters of the president. The case of the journalist Frida Guerrera also comes to light, because after questioning the president at a morning press conference about what the federal government is doing given the grave situation of femicides and gender violence, she was severely attacked in social networks.

Given this situation, the resistances face the challenge of developing more pedagogical communication strategies and strengthening all kinds of security measures. The violence of the State and of capital is finding new forms in our country; we must not stop denouncing them, but above all imagining exits from them.



Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


Organizations analyze plan to avoid the imposition of megaprojects

María de Jesús Patricio Martínez (Marichuy) in the Cañadas of the Lacandón Jungle, Chiapas

By: Rubicela Morelos Cruz

Amilcingo, Morelos

Around one thousand people, members of the Peoples Front in Defense of Land and Water (FPDTA) of Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI)-Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), parents of the [missing] Ayotzinapa students and opponents of different megaprojects met yesterday “to struggle together and try to overthrow the capitalist monster” that they said, would kill off all the los peoples of the country.

In the assembly, Jorge Velázquez, opponent of the Morelos Integral Project, explained that the purpose of the meeting is to define an action plan to resist united and not to permit the imposition of that project, as well as the Train Maya and the Trans-Isthmus Corridor, in addition to demanding the clarification of the murder of the activist Samir Flores Soberanes.

The meeting was held at the primary school in the center of the Nahua community of Amilcingo, municipality of Temoac, located in the eastern part of the state near the Popocatépetl Volcano.

The principal speaker at the assembly, which started at noon, was María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, of the Governing Council of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), who asked everyone to unite to struggle against the “monster,” as she defined capitalism.

“We are here to analyze the situation that each one of us has in our places of origin and to see how this dispossession that the great capitalists are carrying out is affecting us and in what way it’s urgent to give a response, and that is organizing from below, with alliances among other organizations like ours,” the councilor expressed.

Prior to her welcome speech, in an interview, she assured that these kinds of meetings seek to know the models of struggle that the different peoples are doing to avoid the dispossession of their territories and communities.

“Repression sharpens”

According to María de Jesús Patricio, repression has sharpened during the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, because of which she maintained that this government is equal to the previous ones.

For his part, Jorge Velázquez specified that there would be four working groups related to a balance of the work of these days, alliances with the peoples and movements, internal and external communication strategies, and international policies.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee





“We are all Samir,” the EZLN proclaims in a day of Resistance


Caracol Resistance and Rebellion A New Horizon, Good Government Junta The Light That Shines on the World, Dolores Hidalgo, recuperated land.

An extract from an article by Isaín Mandujano

 TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ, Chiapas (apro)

To the cry of “We are all Samir,” thousands of support bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación, EZLN) initiated a day of civilian resistance this Thursday in defense of territory and Mother Earth, one year after the murder of Samir Flores Soberanes, of the Nahua people of Amilcingo, Morelos.

Very early, with candles in hand, indigenous masked men and women started to mobilize in the different Caracoles inside the territory of EZLN influence, where they erected canvases and posters with Samir’s face and the demand for punishment of his murderers and of all those activists and land defenders that have been gunned down in the country.

The “dislocated actions” were carried out within EZLN territory, but also in other regions of the state, where the National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Nacional Indígena, CNI) has a presence, as well as in other parts of the world where the EZLN has sympathizers and adherents to their rebel cause.

The “Day in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth” is to demand justice for the dead, disappeared, prisoners and to demonstrate a rejection of the “megaprojects of death,” according to the EZLN.

[The article contains photos from each Caracol posted on Enlace Zapatista}

Caracol Resistance and Rebellion for Humanity, Good Government Junta Central Heart of the Zapatistas Before the World, Oventik.

Link to photos from each Caracol / Enlace a las fotos de cada caracol:


Originally Published in Spanish by

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee



Police repress parents and students in Chiapas; 4 are hospitalized

Caravan members and students flee tear gas.

By: Isaín Mandujano

TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ, Chis. (Proceso Digital)

State Police repressed students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College and parents that search for their 43 disappeared sons with tear gas when they were attempting to carry out a roadblock jointly with students from the Mactumatzá Rural Teachers College.

With a balance of several people injured, the students were repressed at a point known as Coca Crossing, located on the Northwest Bypass of the Chiapas capital, a high-traffic highway for entering and leaving the city.

The site of the roadblock that they intended to carry out is less than 500 meters from the Mactumatzá Rural Teachers College, where they took refuge from the tear gas bombs.

The students responded with Molotov cocktails and fireworks to this attack from the state police.

The Ku’ Untic Human Rights Center, which Diego Cadenas Gordillo directs, placed responsibility on the state government of this attack that members of the Caravan of Mothers and Fathers of the 43 disappeared from Ayotzinapa suffered on their passage through Chiapas.

This non-governmental organism pointed out that: “in a traitorous way while a dialogue was taking place between Mothers and Fathers from Ayotzinapa and the commander of the Secretariat of Citizen Security and Protection, members of the Chiapas Attorney General’s Specialized Police came from behind and shot point blank at the people who were carrying out an information activity about the Ayotzinapa case.”

The arrival of the Caravan of Mothers and Fathers in Chiapas had been made public days ago as part of a national information campaign, accompanied by students from the Mactumatzá Rural Teachers College.

As a result of the aggression on the part of Chiapas anti-riot police against the caravan, the result as of this moment is four people hospitalized [1], among them a minor, the sister of one of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students.

[1] Juan Antonio Flores García, a first-year Ayotzinapa student, was hit in the head with a tear gas canister. He was admitted to the hospital in grave condition and operated on. His prognosis after surgery is “uncertain.”


Originally Published in Spanish by

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee






The temporary suspension against the Maya Train

Meeting in Defense of Life and Territory PHOTO: MARTÍN ZETINA /CUARTOSCURO.COM

By: Luis Hernández Navarro

The screech of emergency brakes on the Maya Train turned on alarm lights for investors. Campeche communities pressed the legal button to stop the government locomotive. And the Judicial Power of the Federation granted them a temporary suspension for the execution of the project.

The request for protection of justice was presented last January 6. In it, the Peninsular Maya and Ch’ol people, settled in Xpujil, capital of Calakmul municipality, evidence “the simulated and fraudulent indigenous consulta (consultation or referendum) ordered by the federal Executive and executed to the detriment of the indigenous peoples of Campeche, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Chiapas.”

The amparo (temporary suspension) –the complainants denounce– starts with the fact that the consultation process was carried out without complying with los international standards that ILO Convention 169 sets forth, as well as in contravention of what the Inter-American Court on Human Rights points out.

The consulta that the federal government organized did not comply with the character of informed or prior, “because we did not receive detailed information sufficiently in advance, nor was our right to participation respected, since the structure of the forums of the supposed information phase, was designed and implemented unilaterally, and so its forms and modes were not consistent with the communities’ forms of deliberation and making agreements.”

Instead of taking the opinion of all the people, the Fonatur and the INPI concentrated on consulting municipal and ejido representatives. The consulta was not carried out in good faith, nor was it culturally adequate.

The Indigenous and Popular Regional Council of Xpujil (Cripx, its initials in Spanish) presented the request for an amparo. The Council was founded in 1995 with more than 3,000 heads of family, indigenous and mestizo. Its members immediately butted heads with the ejido commissioners’ monopoly on agrarian and social representation. Like many other social movements in the Mexican countryside, in order to have a legal figure capable of receiving funds and to have political interlocution, they became a [nonprofit] civil association (asociación civil, AC). They displaced the pro-government Council of Zoh Laguna, which maintained political control in the area for years.

The Cripx promoters come from the experience of liberation theology and the Church Base Communities. The parish priest of Candelaria, José Martín del Campo, played a key role in their formation; between 1983 and 1984 he was transported to Xpujil with some men, who then reached their families.

Together with other residents, the new settlers formed the Cooperative called Sa’clajel Ty Maty’el (New Dawn of the Countryside, in Chol). They impelled very relevant struggles, like the April n1995 roadblock to demand water, health care and education. After the 1994 EZLN uprising, the Army multiplied its presence in the municipality. Members of the Cripx were frequently accused of being linked to the Zapatistas. As a consequence of the mobilizations, some of its leaders were arrested.

Calakmul is located in the southern part of the Yucatan Peninsula. The municipality, born in 1996, is in the hands of the PRI. Until the late 1960s, it had a low population density. But, the promotion of colonization of the jungle on the part of [former president] Luis Echeverría’s government changed the pattern. Migrants coming from more than 23 states arrived in those lands. Its inhabitants are dedicated to subsistence and commercial agriculture, and partially to tourism (about 40,000 tourists visit the area each year). Almost 40 percent are found in a situation of food poverty.

The power, decision-making capacity and resources in the municipality are concentrated in the ejido owners, leaving out the majority of the population: women, young people and settlers. The communities were divided inside. In 1989, the biosphere reserve decree further complicated the situation.

Like other migrants, Romel González arrived in Calakmul in 1989. Trained in liberation theology, he participated in the popular urban movement in San Agustín, was the leader of the National Plan de Ayala Coordinator on the peninsula, and accompanied the formation of the Cripx. Today, he is one of the organization’s spokespersons.

The New Dawn Cooperative fractured when some of its founders and advisors entered fully into party politics, several at the hand of Layda Sansores. Others refused to follow that route. They are the ones who make up part of the Cripx. They have not ceased promoting the construction of popular power, starting exemplary alternative development projects, municipal schools, community tourism and forest fire management.

Their old compañeros and now detractors work in the municipal government and, without consulting the communities, promote the Maya Train. They have pressured those who signed the amparo (for example, in Nuevo San José), so that they withdraw their signature and declare that they were forced to sign. In exchange, they offer to resolve a land problem for free.

The amparo that the Cripx promoted expresses the feeling of a wide sector of Calakmul that has no ejido or municipal representation and whose opinion was not taken in the consulta. They are a legitimate expression of discontent over a consultation that, according to the UN-HR, did not comply with international human rights standards in the matter.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




Social Protest and criminalization

Miguel López Vega

By: Magdalena Gómez

In these times when the so-called Fourth Transformation is stated as a fact, it’s worth reflecting on the implications of the detention in Puebla, as a virtual political prisoner, of the community leader Miguel López Vega, councilor of the National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Nacional Indigena, CNI) and member Peoples Front in Defense of Land and Water Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala, an opponent of the gas pipeline and the thermoelectric plant in Huexca. At the same time, he is a community journalist for Radio Zacatepec and is incorporated into the Federal Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and journalists of the Secretariat of Governance (SG, aka the Interior Ministry).

His most recent participation is tied to the protest of the Santa María Zacatepec community, one of the three auxiliary boards of Juan C. Bonilla municipality, against the decision of the State Water and Sanitation Committee of Puebla (Ceaspue) to tube the industrial waters of the Huejotzingo Textile City Park, which will flow into the Metlapanapa River. The community posture in defense of the river has been firm, and the reasons for preventing its pollution solid. Specifically, last January 24 Miguel López Vega delivered the minutes of agreements of the community assembly effectuated one week before to the Puebla government, in which they removed the president of the auxiliary board of Santa María Zacatepec by means of uses and customs, and the people elected a new representative to continue with the river’s defense. He was detained upon leaving the government office and moved to the House of Justice in Tlaxcalancingo, Puebla, The next day, he was secluded in the prison in San Miguel, accused of obstruction of a public work, damage to the streets and roads and the use of explosives, without presenting evidence, except the statements of two Ceaspue workers. From the outset, one observes that the use of legal criminal figures to individualize penal processes is arbitrary in the case of conflicts and mobilizations resulting from community decisions. Especially serious is the accusation without evidence of the use of explosives. These criminal types are incompatible with human rights and especially with those related to indigenous peoples, and lend themselves to the discretion of the political and economic interests at stake.

As soon as the arrest was known, campesino and social organizations, business people and residents of Santa María Zacatepec blocked the México-Puebla federal highway to demand his release, which was withdrawn prior to a community assembly, in order to attend a dialogue table with the state government, which marked off the criminalization, which at least speaks to the need to investigate the Ceaspue and personnel of the state prosecutor’s office.

The immediate reaction of the CNI and the World Association of Community Radios Mexico Chapter (Amarc Mx, its Spanish acronym) and state organizations were key, as well as the Article 19 international organization. For its part, the Zeferino Ladrillero Human Rights Center announced the creation of an international observation mission made up of Front Line Defenders, Services and Advisory for Peace, the All Rights for Everyone Network.

Given the unsustainable accusations and above all the political demand, Miguel López Vega was released on January 29, but the [legal] process is still not complete; every 15 days he is obliged to sign into the San Miguel prison in the capital of Puebla. The judge set a deadline of March 29 to provide evidence and conclude the criminal process for “attacks on the roadways” (roadblocks). The legal quality of his defense is guaranteed, because his lawyer, Juan Carlos Flores Solís, was also a political prisoner in the previous government for his participation as part of the opposition to the Morelos Integral Plan’s gas pipeline and has promoted and won restraining orders (amparos) in that case. He reported that the Ceaspue did not present licenses for construction of the work, an environmental impact statement or permission from the National Water Commission for discharge into the tributary. In addition, there were anomalies in the accusatory statements of Ceaspue workers, for which the judge determined to throw them out.

In this context the project to discharge industrial waters into the Metlapanapa River was closed by the Juan C. Bonilla municipal council, with intervention from the Governor of Puebla, Miguel Barbosa, in the logic of damage control, without being a definitive cancelation, because there is talk about conducting environmental impact studies, which open the margin for manipulation. However, it was evident that the community of Santa María Zacatepec is united and organized and counts on broad social and political support. The presence of María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, Marichuy, with members of the CIG at the moment of the community leader’s release was very significant. The strength of symbols!


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee