Chiapas Support Committee

Mexico’s attorney general investigates the murder of Chiapas journalist Fredy López Arévalo

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Photo taken from the Facebook page of Fredy López Arévalo

In 81 % of the cases involving the murder of journalists in the last 10 years no person has been prosecuted, according to the Global Impunity Index of the CPJ corresponding to 2021.

By: Editor Alma Martínez

The Attorney General of the Republic (FGR, its initials in Spanish), “attracted” [took jurisdiction over] the investigations into the homicide of journalist Fredy López Arévalo, an event that occurred in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, last October 28. The FGR decided to exercise jurisdiction by treating it as a serious crime and by elevating it to the exercise of the right to information or freedom of expression.

In response to the request for jurisdiction, formulated by the FGR, the FGR’s Prosecutor for Homicides and Femicides, delivered the corresponding investigative notebook, the Chiapas Prosecutor’s Office indicated in a statement.

According to preliminary investigations, the victim arrived at his home in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, in his automobile, coming from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, when he was attacked by a man who fired a gun. López Arévalo had a professional career as a journalist since the 1980s and collaborated with different national and international media. Currently, he administered the social network magazine “Jovel News,” through which he shared news related to political and security issues, among others.

According to the Office in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN-HR), this murder is added to another six murders and two disappearances of journalists documented during 2021, in which a link between the journalistic activities of the victims and the aggressions suffered is possible.

Impunity

In Mexico, being a journalist is to risk one’s life. Last November 4, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) urged Mexican authorities to carry out a prompt and exhaustive investigation into the murder, as well as to clarify whether the attack was motivated by his journalistic work.

The brutal death of journalist Fredy López continues the alarming tendency of violence against the Mexican press, and consolidates the terrible condition of Mexico as one of the world’s most violent countries for the exercise of journalism, declared Jan-Albert Hootsen, the CPJ’s representative in Mexico.

He added that unless the Mexican authorities take the investigation of these attacks seriously, López’s death, like so many others, will remain unpunished.

The crime occurred the same day that the CPJ placed Mexico, for the second consecutive year in sixth place on the list of countries where justice does not resolve cases involving the murder of journalists.

For its part, Article 19 announced that in a country where the press is attacked every 13 hours, neither the right to dissent nor the right to information is guaranteed, especially considering that 145 journalists have been murdered from 2000 to date, 11 women and 134 men; 25 have occurred during the mandate of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Thurs day, November 25, 2021

https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2021/11/fgr-atrae-investigacion-del-asesinato-del-periodista-freddy-lopez-arevalo/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Greed is the Name of the Game

Cerro San Pedro

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

The situation seems desperate and at the same time, no one knows what to do. The ticking of the world’s time against the clock is sounding (or at least some well-informed people are quite convinced of that) and nothing that should change is really changing. As if humanity, or a large part of it, could not be detained. The circus of powers, businesses and interests come together with the masters of the world, and they continue to do with it as they please. They always win in their wars and in our disasters.

The dramatic aspect of the matter is that the machinery of production and consumption that guarantees the welfare of the so-called one percent, takes the better part of the global population, appropriates its needs, and turns it into a captive clientele. Those who don’t fit, pariahs and condemned nations, will be cast aside. The shareholders and boards of directors of the mining companies and weapons manufacturers are the worthy heirs of King Leopold of Belgium, the killer of the Congo. Now, at a suicidal scale.

It turns out that it is unthinkable for both populations and governments, even if they pass as legitimate and responsible, to stop the machines, the chains of unbridled production, the fever of money and the destructive construction that they call development, business, divine mission or mere vanity generate so much death among living beings and so much indestructible garbage.

Scientists have been paying attention for decades, drawing conclusions and calculating projections. People across the planet feel every day more and more the effects of this global change in climate and the 4 elements, the fluttering of a butterfly in the Desert of The Lions that causes an earthquake in China.

There is no lack of organized and conscious resistance, but it continues to be dwarfed by the obstacles that it faces to influence essential change. There is moderate or naive (adolescent or literally childish), radical, rural, performative, anarchist, diffusion and analysis of alternative research. Rarely massive, easily persecuted, and not often together. Their fragility is extreme. Environmental defenders, for example, are assassinated constantly in Latin America and elsewhere in the South.

We have conglomerations of collectives, towns and entire regions that by tradition or conscience (or both) seek in agricultural production and sober existence, not only their sustenance, but the healing of the world. In them, the ancestral wisdom (in times when memory has an expiration date) and recent scientific knowledge come together — for once they have arrived at the same conclusions and enhance one another.

Because of continuous combustion, the Earth is in peril. The temperatures are being shuffled, cold where it was hot and vice versa, epidemics, drought here, flooding there, rivers, air and soils poisoned by the residues of extraction and industrial production. And, how to avoid the urban sprawl and its addiction to energy?

Many were already convinced to stop the extraction and burning of petroleum and the exponential spread of its products and waste. But who will get out of the car, turn off the heat, forego electricity, or the devices devouring lithium, coltan and other new minerals that feed technology? Will we stop emptying the oceans of fish? Or producing millions of tons of manure from cows in a stratospheric production chain? Stop pushing agricultural development for the most voracious capitalism?

Meanwhile, the poles and glaciers melt and drain into the sea, the coasts are inundated, the most beautiful forests and jungles burn. To top it all, for the benefit of those who seek to extract and extract and extract material to consume it.

It is known that mining, modern mining more than anything, is lethal for soils, people and life. Even so, nothing stops it. No speech, no hypocritical law stops the mining companies, be they national or Canadian, Russian, Chinese, it’s all the same. Here we have the gold mine that will devastate, before our eyes, the most beautiful and vital part of the southwest of the state of Morelos, because of the legal delivery of its soil to Esperanza Silver (subsidiary of Alamos Gold Inc.)

According to the Morelos Movement Against Metal Mining Concessions, within a radius of 10 kilometers from the point where it plans to carry out the project, spanning the surfaces of the municipalities of Temixco, Xochitepec, Miacatlán, Emiliano Zapata and Coatetelco, 200 thousand people will be irreparably affected in terms of their health, their environment, and the possibility of developing sustainable activities and their heritage, due to the dust, the contamination of the soil and surface and groundwater as an effect of mineral extraction and processing.

The damages will be irreparable in Temixco, an area of popular rivers and swimming holes; in the beautiful Rodeo and Coatetelco; in Xochicalco, archeological treasure of the Mesoamerican classical period. Expendable soil, history and people: greed is the name of death.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, November 15, 2021

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/11/15/opinion/a09a1cul/

English translation: Schools for Chiapas

Re-Published by the Chiapas Support Committee

EZLN: 38 years of consciousness raising and construction of autonomy

zapatista_women

By: Gilberto López y Rivas

On November 17, we commemorated the 38th anniversary of the founding of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional) by a small guerrilla group composed of five men and one woman, three mestizos and three indigenous men, who entered into the mountainous zone of the Lacandón Jungle in the Mexican southeast. This proportion of its composition was to change: the political-military organization is today majority indigenous and with a significant presence of women in all its organizational spaces.

The Zapatista Mayas have walked many paths during these 38 years of clandestinity, recruitment and exponential growth of their ranks among the Tseltal, Tsotsil, Chol, Tojolabal and Mam peoples, their military and political preparation for the January 1, 1994 Uprising, the dialogue and negotiation of the San Andrés Accords with the federal government (1996) and, after the betrayal of the political class and the three powers of the Union, the extraordinary process that opens with the construction and strengthening of local, municipal and regional self-governments, based on autonomy.

The EZLN makes the autonomous exercise a strategy of peaceful resistance against the counterinsurgency war, organized crime, para-militarism and corporate invasion of territories, which goes beyond the self-governments, transforming the autonomous subject in various directions: inter-generational and gender relations, which promote a unique participation of women and youth, the permanent political, cultural and ideological awareness of its membership, the preparation and relief of the militancy in the political spaces of their structures and hierarchies.

This experience of comprehensive autonomy constitutes a paradigmatic example of the revolutionary nature of these processes in the forging of highly politicized and participative communities, which can establish a new type of democracy and forms of government, which are synthesized in the govern-by- obeying concept, a redefinition with the surrounding environment, local and national, a real change in the development of a solidarity economy.

The defense of the autonomous subjects to the action of the market and its state agents means control of territory from the communities. At the same time, the Zapatista Mayas strengthen in the spaces where their hegemony prevails, a multi-ethnic weave of diverse peoples, overcoming secular conflicts over boundaries and resources, through consensus, tolerance and overcoming religious, ethnic and cultural differences. Likewise, and without pretending to fall into vanguardism, which also characterized many of the national liberation groupings, the Zapatista Mayas promoted the formation of the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Government Council (CNI-CIG, their initials in Spanish), which currently embodies the resistance of the indigenous peoples to the process of recolonization, continued with special vigor by the current government of historical change.

Like none of the political-military organizations that emerged after the triumph of the Cuban revolution, the EZLN overcomes proletarian perspectives about revolutionary subjects, forming its popular army with indigenous peoples, who appropriate the insurgent project and transform it. This fact signifies a qualitative change in the conception of the indigenous world that the national liberation organizations had been holding, in which they conceive indigenous peoples, in the best of cases, as a secondary and subordinate ally of the revolutionary processes, on which one must impose a veiled form of paternalistic assimilation. Far from a stagnant version of Marxism, it is applied to the objective and subjective conditions that the founding group encounters, which one might expect, caused ruptures, criticisms and disagreements that still flourish today, in equivocal demands, out of place and loaded with resentment that, in the current context, only help the counterinsurgency and the established power.

Despite a counterinsurgency strategy that has been active non-stop since 1994, exacerbated at present by extremely provocative actions of criminal paramilitarism, militarization and militarism deployed in the extension and depth of national territory by the current Fourth Transformation government, the EZLN celebrates its 38th anniversary with an audacious political initiative for life, against capitalism, racism and patriarchy, which takes to the  limits of the world its dialogue with the peoples and movements in struggle, beginning in the disobedient land of Europe.

Keeping the flame of the concrete and possible utopia, the ethical congruence of the “everything for everyone, nothing for us,” is an extraordinary political merit of the EZLN in its 38 years of struggle, without surrendering, without selling out and without giving in.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, November 26, 2021

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/11/26/opinion/022a2pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

The (supposed) limits of capitalism

Beatriz Aurora

By: Raúl Zibechi

For a long time some of the Marxists claimed that capitalism has structural and economic limits, established in “laws” that would make their (self) destruction inevitable. Those laws are immanent to the system and are related to central aspects of the functioning of the economy, like the law of the decreasing tendency of the rate of profit, analyzed by Marx in Capital.\

This thesis led some intellectuals to speak of the “collapse” of the system, always as a consequence of its own contradictions.

More recently, more than a few thinkers argue that capitalism has “environmental limits” that would lead it to destroy itself or at least to change. Its most predatory aspects, when in reality what has limits is life itself on the planet and, very in particular, that of the poor and humiliated half of its population.

Today, we know that capitalism has no limits. Not even revolutions have been able to eradicate this system since, time and time again, in the bosom of post-revolutionary societies capitalist social relations expand and from within the State the bourgeois class in charge making them of prosper resurfaces.

The expropriation of the means of production and exchange was, and will continue being, a central step for destroying the system, but, more than a century after the Russian revolution, we know that it’s insufficient, if there’s no community control of those means and of the political power in charge of managing them.

We also know that organized collective action (the struggle of classes, genders and skin colors against oppressions and the oppressors) is decisive for destroying the system, but this formulation is also partial and insufficient, although genuine.

The updating of thought about the end of capitalism, cannot but go hand in hand with the resistances and constructions of the peoples, in a very particular way of the Zapatistas and the Kurds of Rojava, of the Native peoples of different territories of our America, but also of Blacks and campesinos, and in some cases of what we do on the urban peripheries.

Some points seem central to overcome this challenge.

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The first is that capitalism is a global system, which encompasses the entire planet and must permanently expand so as not to collapse. As Fernand Braudel teaches us, scale was important in the implantation of capitalism, hence the importance of the conquest of America, since it permitted an embryonic system to spread its wings.

Local struggles and resistances are important, they can even bend capitalism on that scale, but to end the system, alliance/coordination with movements on all continents is essential. Hence the tremendous importance of the Tour for Life that the EZLN is carrying out in Europa these days.

The second is that the system is not destroyed once and for all, as we debated during the seminar Critical thought versus the Capitalist Hydra, in May 2015. But there is an aspect that profoundly challenges us: only constant and permanent struggle can suffocate capitalism. It isn’t chopped from a block, like the heads of the Hydra, but in another way.

Strictly speaking, we must say that we don’t know exactly how to end capitalism, because it has never been achieved. But our intuition is that the conditions for its continuity and/or resurgence must be limited, subjected to strict control, not by a partt or a State, but by organized communities and peoples.

The third point is that we can’t defeat capitalism if we don’t construct another world at the same time, other social relations. That other or new world is not a place of arrival, but a way of living that in its daily life prevents the continuity of capitalism. The ways of life, social relations, the spaces that we are capable of creating, must exist in such a way that they are in permanent struggle against capitalism.

The fourth point is that, as long as the State exists, there will be a chance that capitalism will expand again. Contrary to what a certain thought proclaims, let’s say progressive or left, the State is not a neutral tool. The powers below, which are non-state and autonomous powers, are born and exist to prevent capitalist relations from expanding. They are, therefore, powers by and for the anti-capitalist struggle.

Finally, the new world after capitalism is not a place of arrival, it’s not a paradise where “good living” is practiced, but a space of struggle in which, probably, peoples, women, dissidences and the people below in general, will be in better conditions to continue constructing diverse and heterogeneous worlds.

I believe that if we stop struggling and constructing the new, capitalism is reborn, even in the other world. The story of Old Antonio who says that the struggle is like a circle, which starts one day but never ends, has enormous currency.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, November 19, 2021

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/11/19/opinion/021a1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

They remove the Mayor of Pantelhó and investigate him for homicide

Trujillo Morales

The mayor said that he has been pressured for weeks to resign from his position as mayor, but he refused to do as Leonel Reyes, coordinator of government delegates in the General Government Ministry, asked.

By: Isaín Mandujano

In a “secret session,” the plenary of the State Congress removed the constitutional authority and privilege [1] from the mayor of Pantelhó, Raquel Trujillo Morales, and the State’s Attorney General (FGE) opened a criminal process against him for the crime of homicide.

Raquel Trujillo Morales was elected mayor as a member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD, its initials in Spanish) in the elections last June 6. However, after the armed irruption of the El Machete Self-Defense group last July 7, he left Pantelhó and could no longer return to his municipality. The day for taking the oath of office, he did so from a hotel in the state capital, because the self-defense group and the 86 communities maintain a presence in Pantelhó.

The 86 communities and 16 different neighborhoods in the municipal seat, named their new council authorities so that they were recognized by the State Congress. However, they had no validity after September 30 until constitutional proceedings against Raquel Trujillo Morales. [2]

Trujillo Morales expressed having been pressured to resign, since they put blank sheets of paper in front of him in the installations of the General Government Ministry. Also, the government body allegedly presented his resignation, thus declaring the disappearance of powers in Pantelhó, so that now it can proceed to recognize the new councilors headed by the Tsotsil indigenous leader, Pedro Cortés López.

For his part, the former mayor assured that, all this. is a “fabrication of crimes” and that “in due course each one of the lies that the FGE mounted will fall.”

He said that he will face the criminal process because he is innocent and that he will return to his municipality with his held high: “I can’t deny my courage and frustration because with the hand on the waist the institutions that are supposed to exist to guarantee the Rule of Law lend themselves to these tricks.”

Imagine if they can do that to a municipal president, what can we expect as citizens? I strongly condemn the unprofessional and non-legal attitude with which the people and institutions that participated in this infamous act conducted themselves, the now former mayor said in a statement.

He holds the State responsible if something should happen to him, to his family or people close to his person or family.

Raquel Trujillo Morales, not only maintains the threat of being deprived of his freedom by the FGE and the state’s judicial apparatus, but also of being deprived of his life because of a threat that hangs over his person from the El Machete Self-Defense group.

The Self-Defense group points to him as being an accomplice of the civilian armed group called Los Herrera, whose founder Austreberto Herrera and his son, the leader of that group, Dayli de los Santos Herrera, are both prisoners in the El Amate Prison in Cintalapa, pointed out for different crimes. The civilian armed group is pointed out for different crimes, such as homicides and forced disappearances committed in Pantelhó for more than 10 years.

[1] This removes not only his power to carry out official duties, but also his immunity from prosecution, a privilege of office.

[2] Despite removing Trujillo Morales from office, the Chiapas government has not officially renewed or extended the authority of the municipal council elected by the people. That council continues to govern de facto.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Wednesday, November 19, 2021

https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2021/11/desafueran-al-alcalde-de-pantelho-lo-investigan-por-homicidio/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Llamado al gobierno mexicano de poner fin y desmantelar guerra paramilitar contra comunidades indígenas y zapatistas

Protesta contra la complicidad y apoyo del gobierno mexicano a ORCAO y otros grupos paramilitares en Chiapas; frente al consulado mexicano en San Francisco, California.

Alto a la guerra paramilitar contra las comunidades indígenas y zapatistas

Alto a los megaproyectos e industrias extractivas en territorios indígenas y zapatistas

To read the version in English, click here: End all Mexican Government support & disband the paramilitary war on indigenous and Zapatista communities.

17 de noviembre, 2021

Al Gobierno de México

Al gobierno de los Estados Unidos

El 19 de septiembre de 2021, el Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) emitió una grave advertencia de que Chiapas se encuentra al borde de la guerra civil. Todos los niveles del gobierno mexicano (el federal, estatal y municipal), con su apoyo a grupos armados paramilitares, han alimentado ataques violentos, matando e hiriendo a miembros de comunidades zapatistas e indígenas, quemando y saqueando propiedades comunitarias indígenas y forzando el desplazamiento de miles de mujeres, niños y hombres.

Exigimos que el Gobierno Federal de México y el Gobierno de Chiapas pongan fin a su complicidad con las agresiones actuales contra los zapatistas y las comunidades indígenas y honren su responsabilidad internacional de garantizar, respetar y proteger la vida y seguridad de las comunidades de Chiapas que ahora están bajo ataques graves y violentos.

Las autoridades públicas encargadas de hacer cumplir la ley, incluida la policía local y federal y la Guardia Nacional, se han coludido o han estado al margen mientras los paramilitares disparan contra las comunidades.

Exigimos el fin de toda complicidad y apoyo por parte de la policía mexicana y que los responsables de estos violentos crímenes sean detenidos, investigados y llevados ante la justicia.

Nuestras demandas

Al gobierno mexicano:

  • Alto a los ataques contra las comunidades zapatistas e indígenas en Chiapas;
  • Proteger y atender el retorno seguro de las comunidades indígenas que han sido desplazadas forzosamente por los ataques y la violencia de los paramilitares;
  • Desarmar y disolver los grupos paramilitares, incluidos ORCAO y otros;
  • Procesar a la ORCAO y otros líderes y miembros paramilitares responsables de la matanza y destrucción de comunidades zapatistas e indígenas;
  • Detener la violencia anti-migrante y poner fin a la detención de migrantes que pasan por México;
  • Detener los megaproyectos y todas las industrias extractivas en los territorios indígenas y zapatistas de México; y
  • Detener el Tren “Maya”, el corredor transístmico que incluye los “parques” eólicos de Oaxaca y el Proyecto Integral Morelos (PIM)

Al gobierno de los Estados Unidos:

  • Poner fin a todos los fondos militares y la asistencia al gobierno mexicano, incluida la Iniciativa Mérida;
  • Alto a la violencia, la detención y la deportación de migrantes que buscan asilo;
  • Desmantelar los oleoductos de Dakota y la Línea 3 y todos los oleoductos que atraviesan territorios y comunidades indígenas y que amenazan el suministro de agua de todos y todas y la vida.

Hacemos responsables a los gobiernos de México y Estados Unidos por cualquier pérdida adicional de vidas y el violento desplazamiento de los pueblos indígenas de sus tierras y territorios y la destrucción capitalista del mundo natural. Estamos comprometidos a actuar por la paz para evitar que ocurra una guerra civil en Chiapas y alzamos nuestras voces y fuerzas en solidaridad con las luchas de los pueblos zapatistas e indígenas.

FIRMAN

Proyecto de los Trabajadores Agrícolas Fronterizos

Chiapas Support Committee

Unión del Pueblo Fronterizo, El Paso

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Xochipilli Chicano/Latino Men’s Circle

Nicaragua Center for Community Action

Global Women’s Strike

Pueblo Y Salud, Inc.

La Red Binacional de Mujeres Que Luchan

Alcohol Justice

Mundo Gardens

Sexta Grietas del Norte

Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice

Peace and Freedom Party, socialist, on the California ballot

Freedom Archives

Día de los muertos DC

Mexico – U.S. Solidarity Network

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Oakland

Firmantes individuales

Caitlin Manning

Diana Bohn

Carolina dutton

Kelly Archer

Sarah Brooks

Sharat G. Lin

Isabella Smith

Ahuilitzli Mejia

Cheik Ouedraogo

Kate Keller

Ricardo Gouveia

Jennifer Ferrigno

Michael Golart

Todd Davies

Rafael J González

Paul Costuros

Matthew de la Torre

Diane Cherry

Joseph Bender

Pablo Gonzalez

Cinaed De Canntun

Charlotte Maria Saenz

Jennifer Murphy

Ariana Thompson-Lastad

Theresa Ortega

Rachel West

Jane Welford

Clarissa Del Visco

Brenda Villanueva

Carol I Moeller Costa

Aurolyn Luykx

Fernando Arista

Jessye Grieve-Carlson

Tiffany Konyen

Muhammad Mustafa Raza Khan

Amanda Bloom

Graciela Monteagudo

Neil Birrell

Michael Bass

Emory Douglas

Targol Mesbah

Mayra Jimenez

Janice Luna Reynoso

Jessica Toni St Bruno

Peter Rosset

Jose Ruiz

Andrew Claycomb

John Vasquez

Elizama Rodas

Rodolfo Casillas

Adam Vurek

Sarena Khasawneh

Norma J F Harrison

David Keenan

Alptekin Aydogan

Ciarree Parker

Anthony Faramelli

Karen Hoffmann

Meredith Staples

Claude Marks

Andy Gillette

Nick DePascal

Glenn Kasabian

Norberto Valdez

Joanne Castronovo

Zineb Mouhyi

James Mulligan

Stefan Ali, Esq.

Julie Webb-Pullman

Kyle Todd

Gerardo Morante

Ariadna Mondragon

Adan Garcia

Rev. Dr. Colin Bossen

Astrid Diego

Amy Raynel Juan

Call on the Mexican government to stop & disband paramilitary war on Zapatista & Indigenous communities

Members of the community and the Chiapas Support Committee gathered in front of the Mexican consulate in San Francisco to denounce the Mexican government complicity & support for ORCAO & other paramilitary groups in Chiapas.

End the Paramilitary War on Zapatista and Indigenous Communities

Stop all megaprojects and extractive industries on Zapatista and Indigenous territories

Para leer la versión en español, haga clic aquí: Alto a la guerra paramilitar contra las comunidades indígenas y zapatistas

November 17, 2021

To the Government of Mexico

To the Government of the United States

The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional) issued a grave warning that Chiapas is on the brink of civil war on September 19, 2021. All levels of the Mexican government, (Federal, State, and Municipal) with their backing of paramilitary armed groups, have fueled violent attacks, killing and wounding members of Zapatista and Indigenous communities,  burning and pillaging Indigenous community property, and forcing the displacement of thousands of women, children, and men.

We demand that the Mexican Federal Government and the Government of Chiapas end their complicity with the current aggressions against the Zapatistas and the indigenous communities and honor their international responsibility to guarantee, respect, and protect the life and security of the communities of Chiapas that are now under serious, violent attacks.  

Public law enforcement authorities, including local and federal police and National Guard, have colluded with or stood by as paramilitaries shoot into communities.

We demand an end to all complicity on the part of Mexican law enforcement and that those responsible for these violent crimes be detained, investigated and brought to justice. 

OUR DEMANDS

To the Mexican government:

  • Stop the attacks on Zapatista and Indigenous communities in Chiapas;
  • Protect and attend to the safe return of Indigenous communities who have been forcibly displaced by paramilitary attacks and violence;
  • Disarm and disband the paramilitary groups, including ORCAO and others;
  • Prosecute the ORCAO and other paramilitary leaders and members responsible for the killings and destruction of Zapatista and Indigenous communities;
  • Stop violence against and end the detention of migrants passing through Mexico
  • Stop the megaprojects and all extractive industries on Zapatista and Indigenous territories in Mexico; and
  • Stop the “Maya” Train, the Transisthmus Corridor including the wind “farms” of Oaxaca and the Proyecto Integral Morelos (PIM).

To the U.S. government:

  • End all military funding and assistance to the Mexican government including the Merida Initiative
  • Stop violence, detention and deportation of migrants seeking asylum 
  • Dismantle the Dakota and Line 3 pipelines and all pipelines that go through indigenous territories and communities and that threaten everyone’s water supply and all life.

We hold the Mexican and U.S. governments responsible for any further loss of life and the violent displacement of Indigenous peoples from their lands and territories and the capitalist destruction of the natural world. We are committed to acting for peace to prevent civil war from taking place in Chiapas and we raise our voices and forces in solidarity with the struggles of Zapatista and Indigenous peoples.

SIGNED (initial signatories)

Border Agricultural Workers Project

Chiapas Support Committee

Unión del Pueblo Fronterizo, El Paso

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Xochipilli Chicano/Latino Men’s Circle

Nicaragua Center for Community Action

Global Women’s Strike

Pueblo Y Salud, Inc.

La Red Binacional de Mujeres Que Luchan

Alcohol Justice

Mundo Gardens

Sexta Grietas del Norte

Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice

Peace and Freedom Party, socialist, on the California ballot

Freedom Archives

Día de los muertos DC

Mexico – U.S. Solidarity Network

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Oakland

Individual Signatories:

Caitlin Manning

Diana Bohn

Carolina Dutton

Kelly Archer

Sarah Brooks

Sharat G. Lin

Isabella Smith

Ahuilitzli Mejia

Cheik Ouedraogo

Kate Keller

Ricardo Gouveia

Jennifer Ferrigno

Michael Golart

Todd Davies

Rafael J González

Paul Costuros

Matthew de la Torre

Diane Cherry

Joseph Bender

Pablo Gonzalez

Cinaed De Canntun

Charlotte Maria Saenz

Jennifer Murphy

Ariana Thompson-Lastad

Theresa Ortega

Rachel West

Jane Welford

Clarissa Del Visco

Brenda Villanueva

Carol I Moeller Costa

Aurolyn Luykx

Fernando Arista

Jessye Grieve-Carlson

Tiffany Konyen

Muhammad Mustafa Raza Khan

Mayra Jimenez

Amanda Bloom

Graciela Monteagudo

Neil Birrell

Michael Bass

Emory Douglas

Targol Mesbah

Janice Luna Reynoso

Jessica Toni St Bruno

Peter Rosset

Jose Ruiz

Andrew Claycomb

John Vasquez

Elizama Rodas

Rodolfo Casillas

Adam Vurek

Sarena Khasawneh

Norma J F Harrison

David Keenan

Alptekin Aydogan

Ciarree Parker

Anthony Faramelli

Karen Hoffmann

Meredith Staples

Claude Marks

Andy Gillette

Nick DePascal

Glenn Kasabian

Norberto Valdez

Joanne Castronovo

Zineb Mouhyi

James Mulligan

Stefan Ali, Esq.

Julie Webb-Pullman

Kyle Todd

Gerardo Morante

Ariadna Mondragon

Adan Garcia

Rev. Dr. Colin Bossen

Astrid Diego

Amy Raynel Juan

ORCAO Paramilitaries Attack and Burn Zapatista School in Moisés y Gandhi

FOTO-EZLN-750x410-1

Above Photo reads: Stop the attacks on the Zapatista Peoples! Paramilitaries out of Chiapas!

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas. November 21, 2021.

To the Peoples of the World

To the Indigenous Governing Council

To the National Indigenous Congress

To the National and International Sixth

To the Networks of Resistance and Rebellions

As the Ajmaq Network of Resistance and Rebellion, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, we denounce the cowardly armed attack suffered by our compañeros and compañeras Bases of Support of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (BAEZLN, their initials in Spanish), of the Moisés y Gandhi Autonomous Community, belonging to the Good Government Council “New Dawn in Resistance and Rebellion for Life and Humanity,” Caracol 10 Flourishing the Rebel Seed, by paramilitaries of the Regional Organization of Ocosingo Coffee Growers (ORCAO).

The ORCAO paramilitaries from the community of San Antonio Las Flores, which is also part of the Siete de Febrero region, at 10:00 a.m. went to check the water pipes. They had only checked them for a few moments, when they began to shoot from different points towards the community of Moisés y Gandhi.

They were shooting intermittently, several high caliber shots hit three houses in the community, putting the BAEZLN of the community at risk.

The armed attack continued and at 4:30 in the afternoon, a group of paramilitaries approached the Zapatista Autonomous Secondary (Middle) School “Siguiendo el Caminar de los 2 Mártires” (“Following the Path of the 2 Martyrs”) of the community and set fire to three classrooms, burning them instantly. It’s worth remembering that on October 14 the Autonomous School suffered an armed attack by ORCAO; today they carried out their threat and their attempt to put an end to autonomous education.

This group of paramilitaries have carried out actions under the protection of the Ocosingo municipal authorities, where the misnamed Green Party (an offshoot of the PRI that plays dirty with Morena) governs, and where its main leader is an official of the municipality. They act under the protection of Governor Rutilio Escandón Cadenas in exchange for the votes that the Green Party gave him to become governor of Chiapas. A favor is repaid with a favor.

The actions they have carried out have been publicly denounced, however they have remained in total impunity: the looting, robbery and burning of the Arco Iris store on August 22, 2020, located at the Cuxuljá crossroads, Ocosingo municipality.

On November 8, 2020 the Good Government Council of Patria Nueva denounced “the kidnapping and torture of a comrade Zapatista Support Base from the community of San Isidro, annex of Moisés y Gandhi, by the paramilitary organization called ORCAO.”

On September 11, 2021 the paramilitary group kidnapped two members of the Good Government Council José Antonio Sánchez Juárez and Sebastián Núñez Pérez, keeping them as disappeared until September 19.

Faced with the acts carried out by the paramilitaries of the ORCAO, the complicity of the Green municipal government and the State and Federal governments of Morena,

211121_denuncia

We demand:

Immediate cessation of aggressions against the autonomous community of Moisés y Gandhi,

Enough of the counterinsurgency against the Zapatista communities initiated with the PRI, continued with the PAN and now implemented under Morena.

Respect for the Autonomies that the EZLN is building in its rebel territory.

The Heart is Below and to the Left

You are not alone!!!!!

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Originally Published in Spanish by Red Ajmaq

Sunday, November 21, 2021

https://redajmaq.org/es/ataque-armado-y-quema-de-la-secundaria-autonoma-zapatista-de-moises-y-gandhi-por-para-de-la-orcao

Translation: Schools for Chiapas

Re-Published by the Chiapas Support Committee

The Chimalapas, a chima victory

Chimalapa campesinos

On November 11, 2021, Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) ruled in favor of Oaxaca in its dispute with Chiapas over 64,777 acres in the area known as the Chimalapas.

By: Luis Hernández Navarro

The real driving force that moves the lawsuit over the territorial limits between Oaxaca and Chiapas in the Chimalapas Jungle, is the conflict between the Zoque community members (chimas) who defend their lands and natural resources, and the Chiapas loggers, ranchers, politicians and drug traffickers, who loot and attack indigenous communities.

In Serpent’s Knot, the extraordinary novel-testimony published in 2004, Alejandro Aldana Sellschopp narrates the kidnapping, a few hours after the armed uprising in January 1994 of General Augusto Castillejos (in reality the finquero and former governor of Chiapas Absalón Castellanos Domínguez, the one responsible for the Wolonchán Massacre) [1], guarded by the then Major Moisés of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN). On the same track, the writer also tells of the pillage of the Chimalapas at the hands of Chiapas politicians and loggers.

Interweaving stories of different personages, Aldana Sellschopp, relates how, Rodrigo del Monte, a personage at the service of the general’s brother, responsible for the cutting of cedar, mahogany and pine, instructs his subordinates: “we will organize people to move to San Isidro la Gringa, in the Chimapalas (…) from there we are close to Santa María and San Miguel, where there is a very big mess, because some say it belongs to Chiapas and others say Oaxaca; As you will see, there is no defined law and that gives us a chance to cut trees without problems.”

When one of his interlocutors tells him that the argument had already been resolved, Rodrigo responds: “No, man, fucking laws are worth shit, we screw them by moving the markers about 30 kilometers, and that’s it, now it’s Chiapas land, and to top it all off the very Secretary of Agrarian Reform, one Rafael Rodríguez, just now in April ruled that there in Cintalapa, that La Gringa is national property and now it doesn’t matter if the enemies fight with us.”

The novel also relates the moment in which, in that war over wood, the Oaxacans took Hernán (Jorge Castellanos Domínguez), the governor’s brother, as a hostage while he was devastating the jungle in November 1985. To release him, they demanded that the Chiapas president abandon predatory action in the region. “They cut us down –says a personage in the book–, became very fucked up, disarmed everyone, beat us up, it turned into a mess. The little shits didn’t respect don Hernán, they tied him to a pole and they say that Governor Heladio Ramírez will hand him over to the general; but I think that they will kill him.”

The kidnapping of Jorge Castellanos Domínguez is just one more episode in the uninterrupted ancestral struggle of the Zoque communities in defense of their territory. In 1867, they bought their own lands from the Spanish crown in order to preserve them. In 1850, the then president, José Joaquín Herrera, recognized the document. And in March 1967, Gustavo Díaz Ordaz’ presidential resolution validated the property of two communities: Santa María and San Miguel.

In the Zoque language, Chimalapas means “gourd of gold,” in memory of the payment made to the crown to obtain their viceregal titles. It’s located in eastern Oaxaca and shares borders with Chiapas and Veracruz. Its surface is greater than those of states like Tlaxcala or Colima. According to Miguel Ángel García, for many years dedicated to the defense of the indigenous communities and to the region’s biodiversity, “it has 594,000 hectares of land, of which 495,000 are forest and jungle, which makes it the most important of Mexico and also of Mesoamerica” (https://bit.ly/3wO1uSR).

Supported by the Chiapas government and with federal endorsement, in 1947 five large forestry companies with 25 sawmills were established in the region, led by the Rodolfo Pérez Monroy from Michoacán. Without concern for conservation of the environment or the needs of the population, they savagely exploited the jungle and the labor. Until, in 1977, the residents and workers rose up and expelled the loggers.

Then the hand of Absalón Castellanos continued the invasion of that territory with ranchers, new loggers and drug ranchers supported by Governor Patrocino González Garrido. At the same time, the state government sponsored migrations of poor Tsotsils from the Chiapas Highlands, of those displaced by the Cerro de Oro Dam [2], or of victims of the Chichonal Volcano [3] explosion.

To legalize the dispossession 160,000 hectares (approximately 64,777 acres) of the Chimalapas, in 1995 Chiapas modified Article 3 of its Constitution. Before that date, the boundaries of that state were clearly established and there was almost no overlap between its boundaries and those of Santa María and San Miguel. State governors like Julio César Ruiz Ferro and Roberto Albores sponsored the occupation of that territory and protected the predators. To nail down the illegal invasion, the government of Juan Sabines created Belisario Domínguez Municipality on that soil.

Last November 11, after a 10-year controversy, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation set the boundary line between the two states. It established that Belisario Domínguez Municipality, which the Chiapas government unilaterally created in 2011 in the Chimalapas, is in reality in Oaxaca territory.

The decision is, without a doubt, a legal victory for the golden communities in defense of their territory. A victory that ranchers, drug traffickers and loggers will not stand idly by.

Translator’s Notes:

[1] In 1980, after 28 fruitless attempts to legalize the land they farmed, indigenous people took over the Wolonchán finca. In May of that year, state police entered and killed one campesino and injured several others. Two weeks later, a large contingent of soldiers entered the community, launched tear others gas canisters and then began uninterrupted shooting. This caused the death of 12 people; 40 wounded, homes burned and 723 families expelled from the village. Days later in nearby Yajalón, police attacked a group of families from Wolonchán, leaving one dead and several injured. The victims were militants of the Socialist Workers Party.

[2] Cerro de Oro Dam (Gold Hill Dam, in English) and also known as Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado Dam is located in the state of Oaxaca. Construction began in 1973 and was completed in May 1989. 26,000 people were displaced as a result of the dam’s construction.

[3] The Chichonal Volcano (also known as El Chichón) is located in Francisco León, which is in northwest Chiapas. Presumed to be dormant, it erupted 3 times in 1982. It destroyed 9 communities, killing 1,900 people, which made it the largest volcanic disaster in modern Mexican history.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/11/16/opinion/017a1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

State Racism and War Against the People in Chiapas

Accion-Urgente

Above Photo: More than 3,000 residents of Aldama Municipality have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to paramilitary violence.

By: Gilberto López y Rivas

This past November 4th, the Fray Bartolomé Human Rights Center (Frayba) published on their page Urgent Action No. 10, which reports the forced displacement of more than 3 thousand inhabitants of the municipality of Aldama, whose recorded population is not greater than 5 thousand inhabitants. In the note they counted 47 recent attacks with high powered firearms against 10 communities, by a paramilitary group that operates out of Santa Martha in the municipality of Chenalhó, and denounced the ongoing absence and complicity of the Mexican government in attending to the serious situation and extreme violence, also revealed for several months by other social organizations, the Diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas and the EZLN itself, which, in its communiqué from the 19th of September, “Chiapas on the Brink of Civil War” confirms that the alliances of the government of Rutilio Escandón with drug trafficking are forcing the indigenous communities to form self-defense groups, because the government does nothing to protect the life, liberty and property of the inhabitants. The government of Chiapas not only gives shelter to the gangs of drug traffickers, it supports, promotes and finances paramilitary groups such as those that continuously attack the communities in Aldama and Santa Martha.

Frayba has repeatedly made it clear that the inefficiency and simulation of the actions of the Mexican state continue to foster an environment of violence and terror against the communities of Aldama, which since the 28th of March of 2018 had presented before the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights, a plea for cautionary measures “in the face of risk to life and physical and psychological integrity from the constant attacks with firearms that they receive — and continue to receive—  from paramilitary-style armed groups acting in the municipality of Chenalhó, Chiapas, who are causing the displacement of people.” Three years after this request and after multiple communications sent by Frayba and the Mexican State, finally on the 23rd of April in 2021, the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), under resolution 35/2021, decided to grant cautionary measures, registered with the number MC-282-18.” Despite the adoption of these measures, there have been more than a hundred aggressions counted, that have cost seven people their lives, and left another 22 wounded, provoking an environment of total insecurity that has disrupted community life.

The EZLN in its communiqué pointed to the actions of ORCAO, which it characterizes as a paramilitary style political-military organization that has uniforms, gear, weapons and a fleet obtained with the money that they receive from social programs. They keep some (for the organization) and give the rest to officials so that they could report that they were complying with social assistance.  With those weapons, they fire every night against the Zapatista community of Moisés y Gandhi.

In this context, it very concerning that the Zapatistas warn: “Given the action and negligence of the state and federal authorities, in the face of current and previous crimes, we will take the necessary measures so that justice is applied to the criminals of ORCAO and the officials that sponsor them… On another occasion there will be no communiqué. That is there will be no words, but actions.”

Doesn’t it seem evident that we are facing a scenario similar to the one which preceded the Acteal Massacre? With recommendations from an international agency, like the IACHR, to the Mexican state, its representatives are not aware of the seriousness of the deeds in the state that concentrates the greatest number of military personnel in the entire national territory. Could it be that those in the high command of the SEDENA are not informed by their second division of the existence of the paramilitary groups that have ravaged Chiapas from 1994 to this day? Is their commander in chief, busy as he is granting considerable increases in budget, mission, tasks, duties, responsibilities and perks to the armed forces, outside of the Constitution, going to continue to maintain the old theory of community conflicts, to avoid his responsibility of a situation that is reaching its limits?

The historical racism of the Mexican state, which despises the indigenous peoples, considered passive targets for the government’s policies and actions, continues in Chiapas with the multiple forms of violence that the counterinsurgency strategy follows, with the complicity of the local political class, by means of the saturation of the theater of war with soldiers, barriers, paramilitary groups and organized crime, despite the evident political and social risks and costs.

Whether it be by omission or commission, it will be the Mexican State that will have to answer for another humanitarian tragedy foretold.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, November 12, 2021

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/11/12/opinion/022a2pol

English interpretation by Schools for Chiapas

Re-Published by the Chiapas Support Committee