Chiapas Support Committee

US: Hypocrisy and Cruelty

Expelling Venezuelas migrants who seek asylum.

From the editorial desk of La Jornada

Once again, the immigration issue exposes the hypocrisy, disdain for human rights, manipulation and cruelty of US leaders. Since Wednesday, the policy of granting conditional humanitarian freedom to Venezuelans entering the United States was abandoned, and the automatic application of Title 42 began –a provision established by former President Donald Trump that allows (in flagrant violation of international law on the right to asylum) the expulsion of migrants who enter without documents to its territory, under the pretext of combating the spread of covid-19.

With the new provisions, hundreds of Venezuelans have been expelled to our country (Mexico) in the course of a few hours, and it is estimated that about a thousand will be sent here every day for the next few weeks. Washington announced a new immigration plan that will receive a total of 24,000 Venezuelans who meet strict requirements: they must apply for entry via Internet before traveling, arrive by plane, have a contact that guarantees financial support, have a complete vaccination schedule and pass an evaluation of their biometric and security data. Any Venezuelan who enters the U.S. without meeting these conditions will be expelled. The number of admissions is derisory, given that in the last year 180,000 arrived in the United States, and that only includes crossings at the Mexico border.

If Washington’s treatment of all migrants from developing nations is deplorable and illegal, the turn against Venezuelans is doubly reprehensible when practically the entire U.S. political class is in agreement in denouncing the government of President Nicolás Maduro as an authoritarian, repressive and illegitimate regime, and therefore placing the citizens of the South American nation as the ideal candidates for humanitarian asylum.

TAPACHULA, CHIAPAS (MÉXICO) Venezuelan migrants in Tapachula, Chiapas. EFE/Juan Manuel Blanco

It also reveals the sadism of the superpower, which on the one hand undertakes a brutal sabotage against the Venezuelan economy, closing all avenues to provide its population with basic goods and services, and on the other hand slams the door on those who leave their place of origin in search of work, or professional and educational opportunities. In this way, thousands of people are confronted with the reality that Washington’s alleged unlimited support for the Venezuelan people is nothing more than a front for destabilization aimed at overthrowing the Bolivarian government and taking control of the natural resources of the country with the world’s largest oil reserves.

As has been the case since it became a gateway country for migrants from Latin America, the Caribbean and even other regions, the new U.S. policy towards Venezuelan citizens places Mexico in a difficult situation. With services totally overwhelmed and with financial capacities very different from those of its northern neighbor, it will have to find accommodation, provide support and, most likely, take in a large number of asylum seekers indefinitely. It is to be hoped that Mexican authorities and society will remember the mistreatment suffered for decades by our compatriots who have departed in search of the elusive American dream, and will react to the new arrivals with solidarity and empathy.

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Monday, October 17, 2022, https://www.jornada.com.mx/2022/10/16/opinion/002a1edi/ Translated by Schools for Chiapas and Re-Published by the Chiapas Support Committee

Human Rights and Militarization

Protesting students flee from an Army tank on October 2, 1968 in Tlatelolco Square, Mexico City.

By: Miguel Concha

Democracy, simply put in Rousseau’s terms, is that popular and collective will, given to a legitimate person to represent and address the needs of the people for the common good. However, when this political model moves away from human rights, security and the lives of the people, not only is true democracy put at risk, but also the people themselves.

This social peril has worsened in Mexico during the last six presidential terms, with failed security policies and policies to combat organized crime, which have failed to guarantee the rights to life and social peace. On the contrary, they have exacerbated violence in the country. This has been the result of militaristic logic implemented by the government through the increased use of the armed forces, which puts human rights at risk.

The National Guard, promoted by the federal Executive Branch of the current administration, was introduced as the body that would guarantee security and peace for the population, through public security activities with a civilian command. It is important to mention that this promise was made in the context of a war declared against drug trafficking since the six-year term of Felipe Calderón, which has failed to restore peace in the territories, but has increased violence and serious human rights violations. In spite of this, the constant reforms to the regulations of the National Guard, especially those recently approved, have generated fears about respect for human rights.

The regulatory framework at the start of this government, which gave way to the National Guard, established that citizen security should be the responsibility of civilian commanders in order to respect and ensure the rule of law; it also established the obligation for the gradual withdrawal of the armed forces from public security work, which was to take place over the next five years. However, with the recent modification, it is proposed that the direction of the agency will be under the Secretariat of National Defense, thus omitting the previously pledged civilian character and returning to the military nature; moreover, the period for the armed forces to remain on the streets was extended.

As has been pointed out by various civil society organizations and international human rights organizations, placing the military in support of public security tasks violates the rule of law and human rights.

Memorial stele at Tlatelolco dedicated to victims of the 1968 massacre.

It is necessary to understand that the crisis of violence and institutionality in the country is largely a consequence of capitalist policies that have opted for extractivism and dispossession of lands and territories through violence, and in complicity with the great international economic powers; of the repression of social movements and human rights defenders to protect social order, of the lack of justice in a country with an impunity rate of more than 90 percent, of a security model incompatible with democracy and peace, and the growth of organized crime.

The search for peace, through the clarification of truth and justice, has been the demand of various victims of crimes and serious human rights violations, who have suffered repression, excessive use of force and impunity under military command, as happened with the student movements on October 2, 1968 in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, in Tlatelolco, Mexico City, or, more recently, on September 26, 2014 in Iguala, Guerrero.

So, without having established the corresponding responsibilities and much less the due sanctions, impunity has been maintained.

These historical references remind us that military rule has been, unfortunately, synonymous with repression of protests and social movements, which has not guaranteed civilian security. Therefore, there is no place for the protection of life and human rights with military personnel doing civilian work.

Opposing the continuation of the failed security strategy of maintaining military rule in the streets is not unwarranted. To the contrary, it is necessary to design security strategies that avoid at all costs granting even more power to the Army, that prioritize guaranteeing the human rights of the civilian population as established in the Mexican Constitution and international human rights standards, and that confront organized crime in a multilateral manner and from different levels of government.

Security cannot be guaranteed with violence, weapons or the military, just as the excessive use of force is unnecessary to solve social inequalities. What we need is to build a social democracy to dismantle social structures and recover peace through the justice that has been taken from us with weapons.

1994!

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Saturday, October 15, 2022, https://www.jornada.com.mx/2022/10/15/opinion/012a2pol Translation by Schools for Chiapas, and Re-Published by the Chiapas Support Committee

Cristóbal Sántiz is free, more than 2 years after his arrest

Cristóbal Sántiz, indigenous Tsotsil Maya. Photo: Frayba.

The community defender was arrested when leaving work in San Cristóbal de Las Casas by officials of the Chiapas Attorney General’s specialized police

By: Yessica Morales

El Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) announced that after 2 years, 7 months and 6 days, Cristóbal Sántiz Jiménez,  Maya Tsotsil, community defender and representative of the Permanent Commission of the 115 Community Members and Displaced of Aldama, was released.

In 2020, the Frayba denounced that the State’s Attorney General (FGE) perpetrated grave violations of the community leader’s human rights, ever since he has been incarcerated in the State Center for Social Reinsertion for those Sentenced (CERSS) No.14 “El Amate,” in the municipality of Cintalapa de Figueroa; that’s why it demanded the immediate intervention of the federal and state governments for his rapid release.

Likewise, they pointed out that the detention of the defender occurred in a context of criminalization, arbitrary deprivation of his liberty and threats to his life that placed his integrity and personal security at high risk.

Incommunicado, criminalization and arbitrary deprivation of liberty of community defender Cristóbal Sántiz Jiménez Photo: Isaac Guzmán

The arrest was made when he left work on March 14, 2020, at 6:50 am, after 5 hours of being incommunicado, Frayba indicated that the detention was perpetrated by the FGE who transferred him to Tuxtla Gutiérrez and it was until 12:20 pm when the family was informed of the detention and transfer.

The organization also stressed that Sántiz Jiménez is one of the families dispossessed of their land by a paramilitary group from Santa Martha Chenalhó.

They also stated that the Tsotsil defender faced repeated death threats from the armed group and that after denouncing the omissions of the Mexican State over the escalation of violence in the Chiapas Highlands region, said State demanded his silence in exchange for his freedom.

He has been a representative of the Permanent Commission of Community Members and Displaced Persons of Aldama ever since the conflict emerged through generalized violence and forced displacements… and worked for 21 years as watchman at the Training Center for Industrial Work in San Cristobal de Las Casas, they exposed at that time in a statement.

Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo, Sunday, October 23, 2022, https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2022/10/cristobal-santiz-libre-a-mas-de-dos-anos-de-su-detencion/ and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Spirituality and autonomy

Jerá Poty Mirim, one of the Guarani leaders in Tenondé Pora indigenous territory.

By: Raúl Zibechi

Those of us who have been trained in materialism and Eurocentric critical thought have serious difficulties in comprehending and assuming the role of spirituality in the emancipatory processes. We are deeply dependent on Marx’s famous phrase that referred to religion as “the opiate of the people,” and the reduction of the spiritual to hegemonic ecclesiastical institutions seems to comfort us. However, ignoring the spirituality of the peoples leads to reproducing capitalism through individualism and consumerism.

Thanks to the support of a small group of activists from Brazil, I was able to get to know the Tenondé Porá indigenous territory, inhabited by the Mbya Guarani in the forests of southern Sao Paulo municipality. In the last 10 years, they have developed intense struggles through the “retaking” of ancestral land, a process in which they recuperated almost 16,000 hectares and founded 12 new villages, where before there were just two.

The experience in the Kalipety community, the dialogues with community members, the exchanges with friends and especially having participated in the rituals in the “house of prayer,” showed me the limitations of the critical thought in which we were formed. [1] One of these limitations, linked to a narrow materialism, is the misunderstanding of spirituality as the mortar of the communities, of their link with the land and territory, and as the axis of their past and current resistances.

Spirituality that is neither religion nor ideology. It involves bodies and not just minds, recreates itself in everyday life and sustains human and non- human life. Monocultures don’t exist in the villages, nor the concentration of the means of production and everything that is consumed is produced by working, much of it through collective work.

Some of the corn varieties grown in Kalipety village in the Tenondé Pora indigenous territory.

Unlike the mystical or cultural events of social movements, which for short periods accompany mobilizations and formations, for the Mbya Guarani, spirituality extends in a “timeless time,” as Mario Benedetti wrote. The “house of prayer” is the symbolic center of community life. Every day, at sunset, the community dances and sings to the sound of their music, for a few hours. On certain occasions the “prayer” extends until dawn.

Spirituality is not practiced to obtain an end, to attain something that is asked of someone (gods, priests or politicians). We pray to be, to continue being who we are, individually and collectively, to remain different peoples. The video about Las Abejas of Acteal, (Weaving territory), abounds in this theme without mentioning it, because of the naturalness with which the Tsotsil people and the Mayas resist and reproduce their lives.

The spiritualities of the peoples, their world views and values are tightly linked to the struggle for la autonomy. The reflection of Francisco López Bárcenas in “Autonomies and indigenous rights in Mexico” highlights forms of mobilization invisible to the outside, as those that “that they hold within themselves.” In these practices they turn to their spiritual guides with the aim of “restoring harmony between the men of this time and those of the past, as well as between society and its gods. “

In their sacred places they make offerings and commit to “mending their relationships with their ancestors, their deities and nature.” The reflection concludes by linking spirituality and autonomy: “Since many do not see them or seeing them do not understand them, they think that the peoples don’t mobilize, when in reality they are the most significant mobilizations for the peoples, because they construct their autonomy from them.”

Kerexu Aparecida harvesting corn on the farm in Kalipety.

Considering spirituality as a support for autonomy implies overcoming narrow materialism, in order to adopt a broader perspective. In Western thought the key to community is collective land, understood as a means of production and not a comprehensive life space. From what I could sense, and from what is established where the peoples resist (once again I remember the four families in Nuevo San Gregorio), spirituality is a central aspect that complements and sustains the collective possession of land.

The resistances of the peoples are ordered around their own world views and spiritualities. They don’t seem preoccupied with ideologies or programs, as is the case with Eurocentric critical thought.

It still lacks comprehending spirituality as the core of an ethic of life that questions our ways of living, in particular individualism; an ethic that sustains those who resist capitalism, those who don’t sell out, don’t give up and don’t give in.

Photos: Felipe Abreu | Mongabay

[1] My reflections are intertwined with those of several people: Tato Iglesias, from the Transhumant Network in Argentina; Silvia Beatriz Adoue, professor at the Florestán Fernandes School, of the MST, and anthropologists Lucas Keese, Alana Moraes and Salvador Schavelzon.

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Friday, October 21, 2022, https://www.jornada.com.mx/2022/10/21/opinion/019a1pol and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Guacamaya Leaks: The Narco uses 6 routes to move drugs through Chiapas

The military searches a small plane carrying cocaine in Pijijiapan last April / Photo: Archive: Cuartoscuro.

By: Alfredo Fuentes | El Sol de Mexico

Organized crime groups that traffic drugs from Central America to Mexico and the United States use at least six routes that cross through Chiapas by land and sea, indicate documents of Mexico’s Secretary of National Defense (Sedena) that were consulted by El Sol de México after the Guacamaya hack. [1]

Guacamaya Leaks

According to information in the possession of Sedena, the organized crime groups identified in the area —the Pacific Cartel (aka Sinaloa Cartel), Los Huistas and the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación— and even Mara Salvatrucha take advantage of the almost 700 kilometers (434 miles) of border that Mexico and Guatemala share, through Chiapas, for the shipment of drugs, principally cocaine, which arrives next in Tabasco, Veracruz and Oaxaca.

Regardless of the fact that three Military Zones operate in Chiapas, drug traffickers have made their way through Chiapas mainly by land and sea, since according to the document reviewed by this newspaper, Sedena has not identified air routes.

Air Routes

It points out that in the municipalities of Chiapas there are no identified air routes, but there are small planes that travel from Central America and use the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean to traffic drugs to Guatemala, where they land near the border line with Mexico and then cross into the country using the so-called “ant traffic.”

Contrasting with this private intelligence report, the Sedena has reported on repeated occasions they have seized small planes loaded with drugs in Chiapas. Just yesterday, it reported the seizure of an aircraft carrying around 340 kilos of cocaine from South America to Tres Picos, where it landed and was abandoned by a group of individuals who fled as soon as they became aware of the military presence.

Events like this occur relatively regularly. On September 1, the National Defense seized a small plane with 650 kilos of cocaine and dismantled an irregular airstrip; a month earlier, it seized 136 kilograms traveling from South America.

Land routes

Despite these large seizures by air, Sedena details that the main method used by criminal groups to transport drugs remains land, with five main routes identified. In second place are sea routes, where one route has been identified.

The first land route, known as the Pacific route, crosses the entire lower part of the state, between the municipalities of Hidalgo, Tapachula, Huixtla, Mapastepec, Pijijiapan, Tonalá and Arriaga, a few kilometers from the 36th Military Zone. On this route alone, between August 5 and October 8 of this year, the Army secured at least 2,195 kilos of drugs in five different events, which involved small planes.

Around 700 soldiers arrive in Comitán to combat crime. Photo: Residents.

The central part of Chiapas is where most activity related to drug trafficking occurs, because there are three transfer routes, according to the Sedena documents. This, despite the fact that there are two military zones, the 31st and the 39th, in the surrounding area.

The first of them extends along the Comalapa Border, La Trinitaria, Comitán, Amatenango del Valle, Teopisca, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapa de Corzo, Tuxtla Gutiérrez and flows into Ocozocoautla, Veracruz.

Another also begins in Frontera Comalapa, passes through La Trinitaria, Comitán, Tzimol, Las Rosas, Venustiano Carranza, Amatal, Chiapa de Corzo and Tuxtla Gutiérrez, to end up in Tapanatepec, Oaxaca. The last of these three central routes begins in San Cristóbal de las Casas, crosses San Juan Chamula, San Andrés Larrainzar and Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán until it reaches Pichucalco, and then Tabasco.

Finally, the Army has located another road closer to the Gulf of Mexico and farther away from any of the three military bases in the state. This part of Benemérito de las Américas, continues in Ejido Chancalá, Francisco I. Madero, La Unión, Bajadas Grandes and Palenque until reaching Catazajá, and Tabasco.

Organized crime violence

Violent clash of criminal groups near La Trinitaria and Frontera Comalapa, close to the Guatemala border.

The central area of Chiapas is where most organized crime violence has taken place during the year. Between February 12 and September 20, there were at least 9 high-impact violent incidents including clashes, kidnappings and disappearances.

For example, on May 1, there were a series of clashes in the vicinity of San Gregorio Chamic [municipality of Frontera Comalapa], when personnel of the 101st Infantry Battalion that was patrolling the El Jocote-Quespala highway were intercepted and assaulted by alleged members of the Sinaloa Cartel under the command of Isidro Rivera, aka El Chilo and Eddy El 90.

It also highlights the kidnapping of the commissioner of the Sinaloa ejido, in Frontera Comalapa, Rolando Rodríguez, who on September 20 went to ask for help from the soldiers due to the presence of organized crime, however, a group of armed men took him and he has not been seen again.

Sea route

With respect to the sea route, the Sedena points out that it departs from Guatemala and begins its journey in Mexico through the Ejidos El Gancho, Puerto Madero, Barra San Simón [Mazatán municipality], San José, Zacapulco, Boca del Cielo and Paredón to Salina Cruz, in Oaxaca.

Boca del Cielo is a tourist area with man\groves, beach and a turtle sanctuary.

On this route, Mexico’s Secretary of the Navy has carried out at least four large seizures on boats belonging to criminal groups between February and September, which added up to 2,535 kilos of drugs and 1,155 liters of fuel of illicit origin.

==Ω==

With information from Roberto Segoviano, Angeles Vargas and César Solís/ Diario del Sur and El Heraldo de Chiapas

Notes

[1] The Sedena documents are from military intelligence sources, as well as from reports of actions that took place in the field. There is always the possibility that these reports are based on inaccurate perceptions of those making the reports. In the opinion of this Blog’s administrators, the routes described in this article do not conflict with information obtained from our sources in Chiapas.

Originally Published in Spanish by El Sol de México, Friday, October 14, 2022, https://www.elsoldemexico.com.mx/mexico/sociedad/guacamaya-leaks-narco-atraviesa-chiapas-con-droga-por-seis-rutas-9034253.html and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Guacamaya leaks: Sinaloa Cartel dominates in Chiapas

A clash between armed groups and the Army took place the night of October 9 in Jiquipilas, Chiapas. PhotoL SSPC

By: Omar Rivera | El Sol de México

The Army recognizes that the Sinaloa Cartel is the one with a “presence in most of the state of Chiapas” and that maintains a territorial struggle against the Jalisco Cartel New Generation (CJNG, Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación) and Los Huistas, a group of Guatemalan origin, according to documents leaked by the Guacamaya group. [1]

In the document entitled Situation of Organized Crime Southern Border, dated June 19, 2022, the Secretary of National Defense (Sedena) states that: “factors such as drug trafficking, trafficking in people, narcotics, weapons and various illicit items, all of which deteriorate security, coupled with the numerous informal crossings, porousness of the border and the scarce surveillance of authorities, facilitate members of organized crime to carry out their activities with impunity.”

 Sedena mentions that the municipalities with the most organized crime activities are: Comitán, La Trinitaria, Frontera Comalapa, Amatenango de la Frontera, Tapachula and Suchiate.

The analysis points out that cells linked to the Pacific Cartel, aka the Sinaloa Cartel, struggles against local criminal gangs and the Guatemalan criminal group known as Los Huistas “for control of activities related to the shipment and commerce of drugs coming from Central and South America.”

The Army warns about the possibility that murders and clashes between members of antagonistic groups, mainly on the border strip will occur, starting with the death of one of the Pacific Cartel’s local leaders.

“In the state of Chiapas, the Sinaloa Cartel is the one that currently maintains hegemony over drug trafficking activities; however, the death of Ramón Gilberto Rivera Beltrán, “El Junior,” in July 2021, caused a leadership vacuum in the criminal group he headed, causing struggles and differences between the cells that make it up, considering a fracture within the structure of the cartel.”

The scene of “El Junior’s” murder in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas.

Sedena’s document also points to the leaders of the groups that generate violence. The Pacific Cartel has identified the brothers Isidro and Jesús Gilberto Rivera Ramírez as its main operators, dedicated to the collection and transfer of drugs, money laundering and trafficking of undocumented immigrants.

About the Mara Salvatrucha gang, it is said that it is led by Luis Alberto Ramírez López, alias El Chino, El Chinón or La Chinona, who operates in Tapachula, Ciudad Hidalgo, Mapastepec, Metapa de Domínguez, Cacahoatán, Tuxtla Chico, Frontera Hidalgo, Arriaga and Palenque.

The Secretary of National Defense recognizes that it has not identified the leader of the CJNG; however, “it has information that members of that cartel maintain a presence in the municipality of Tuxtla Gutiérrez.”

The report says that: “military personnel of Guatemalan origin have not been detected incorporated in organized crime groups;” however, last May, after a patrol in the El Lagartero community, Frontera Comalapa municipality, two vehicles and six people with rifles fled towards Guatemala when they saw the soldiers.

“They located two encampments in El Lagartero, in which one of them had parapets, blankets and different types of clothing (military-style uniforms, some with the legend of the Kaibiles).”

Cartels clash in JIQUIIPILAS

National Guard shows confiscated weapons the day after the clash in Jiquiipilas, Chiapas.

Between Sunday night [October 9] and early yesterday morning [October 10], there was a confrontation and also several shootings in the municipality of Jiquipilas, some 183.81 kilometers (approximately 113 miles) west of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital of Chiapas. [2]

Classes were suspended in the municipality and many businesses closed because shots were still heard yesterday, according to local residents.

Members of the National Guard carried out a blockade on the Cintalapa-Ocozocoautla stretch, entrance to the municipality of Las Jotas, where they installed checkpoints.

At the moment, the State’s Attorney General has not issued any statement, nor are there official numbers about the number of people, if any, who died in the clash. [3]

With information from Omar Ruiz/ El Heraldo de Chiapas.

NOTES

[1] A stunning leak of more than 4 million documents from inside Mexico’s National Defense Ministry (known as Sedena, for its Spanish acronym) has revealed collusion between high-level military officials and the country’s organized crime cartels. The leak, published by a group of hacktivists known as “Guacamaya,” the Spanish word for a macaw bird, is one of the largest in Mexico’s history.

[2] The compañeros at Borderland Beat report that 3 men in uniform were injured and that the CJNG and the Sinaloa Cartel dispute the area of Jiquipilas and Cintalapa because it is the route that connects to the coast and towards Oaxaca and for being a strategic point with the El Amate prison, according to police sources.

[3] Isaín Mandujano, reporting for Proceso, reports that municipal police at first responded to calls for help from citizens and that 3 of them were kidnapped (levantado).

Originally Published in Spanish by El Heraldo de Chiapas, Tuesday, October 11, 2022, https://www.elheraldodechiapas.com.mx/republica/sociedad/guacamaya-leaks-cartel-de-sinaloa-domina-en-chiapas-9017615.html and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

They deny return to those displaced from Santa Martha, and accuse them of killing 6

Camp of Displaced Persons in Polhó. Photo: Ángeles Mariscal.

By: Ángeles Mariscal

Residents of Santa Martha, Chenalhó [those who remain there), accused the group of more than 30 families that were displaced from that community of breaking an agreement for the distribution of lands and murdering six of their opponents. In this place, both groups are pointed to as making use of arms to seize the lands that were previously in the hands of their neighbors of Chalchiuitán and Aldama, and now dispute between them.

Meanwhile more families continue fleeing from Santa Martha across the mountains, the people who remain in the Santa Martha ejido, made up of 22 communities, announced their version of the events.

In a communication they relate that the communal property assembly had determined since last June, that the hectares that used to be in the possession of Chalchiuitán and Aldama were going to be distributed among 195 communal members. However, “60 heavily armed people were dissatisfied and began to take up arms … They ambushed members of the commission.”

Faced with that, the communal members (comuneros) detained 10 people, delivered them to the Prosecutor’s office, “but they went free and that same month they murdered a campesino by the name of Santos Sántiz Álvarez.”

They accuse Juan Ruiz Ruiz of that, “the leader of the dissident armed group.” It’s important to remember that this person and those who refused to distribute the land were expelled from the community since June, but not their families, who remained in Santa Martha until they began to flee through the mountains after their homes were burned, last September 29.

The comuneros of Santa Martha say that three days before the families left, they held a new assembly in which the men’s return was accepted, as long as they would pay for some damages that the community adjudicated.

But on the 29th, “the armed group tried to poison the spring from which all the inhabitants of Santa Martha drink; when they were caught, they fired their weapons and in their flight they killed Julio Díaz Gómez and Alfredo Díaz Díaz.”

According to this version, upon seeing this, the comuneros, “armed with sticks and stones,” chased the armed ones and in the confrontation, the now displaced group murdered Felipe Hernández Gómez and Juan Ruíz López; later they also murdered Juan Ruiz Morales and Juan Sántiz Álvarez. In total, they accuse them that in the most recent onslaught they killed 6 community members.

Because of the events described, the community members of Santa Martha asked that the displaced and their families not return. “Since the departure of the armed group there is an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, so far no other incident has been recorded,” they said.

They added that “peace is being constructed so that the inhabitants go out to work their lands without fear of the group that took care of the 22 hectares adjacent to Chalchiuitán and the 27 hectares that border on Aldama.”

The displacements continue

Those displaced from Santa Martha are outdoors in precarious conditions.

This Monday (October 10), while the comuneros were giving their version of events, more expelled families from Santa Martha fled across the mountains, until arriving at the camp of displaced persons located in the town of Polhó. [1]

The displaced families and the men accuse the Santa Martha comuneros of being the ones who are armed, and of having murdered several of their compañeros, in the framework of the recent confrontation.

Juan Ruiz Ruiz, alleged “leader of the armed group,” who is now in the camp for displaced persons located in the town of Polhó, in an interview held shortly after the displacements, he identified as a “defender of the land” and acknowledged that he had fought for it against his neighbors in Chalchiuitán and Aldama.

On these facts, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) said that: “in several areas of Chiapas there is a crisis of violence, diverse civilian actors use firearms as a mechanism of political, territorial and economic control,” and Chenalhó is one of them.

[1] El Heraldo de Chiapas reports that there are now 52 displaced families (212 people).

Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo, October 11, 2022, https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2022/10/niegan-retorno-a-desplazados-de-santa-martha-chenalho-los-acusan-del-homicidio-de-6/ and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Indigenous peoples continue struggling for their rights and survival

On October 12 (Indigenous Peoples Day), members of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI, Congreso Nacional Indígena) headed the “protest and resistance march” in Mexico City on the 530th anniversary of the arrival of Europeans in America. Photo: Luis Castillo.

By: Carolina Gómez Mena, Fernando Camacho and Jessica Xantomila

After 530 years since the arrival of the Europeans on the American continent, the struggle of the indigenous peoples for their territories and their survival continues, in an atmosphere where the “megaprojects of death and militarization are the new face of colonialism and capitalism.”

Participants asserted the above in the march that took place yesterday in the context of the Day of Struggle for Autonomy and Resistance of Our Peoples, in which they emphasized: “they did not conquer us. We exist because we resist. “

Since the morning, the National Indigenous Congress and the Indigenous Government Council (CNI-CIG), to which Otomi, Triqui and other ethnic communities belong, held a forum at the Samir Flores Soberanes House of Indigenous Peoples and Communities, the former headquarters of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI).

There they made it clear that the “misnamed discovery of America” is not an ephemeris of celebration, but of protest and resistance.

María de Jesús Patricio, Marichuy, spokeswoman for the CIG, urged “to articulate forces between the various struggles and movements to protect territories and natural resources in the face of megaprojects and militarization.”

After celebrating the second anniversary of the takeover of INPI by the Otomi community living in Mexico City, he accused that capitalism has put a price on land, water and territories, and because of this “they seek to exterminate our communities. “

In the afternoon, the CNI led a march from the Angel of Independence to the capital’s Zócalo, in which some of the parents of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students, searching mothers, students from various universities and members of civil organizations and trade unions also participated.

At UNAM’s Rectory, students wrote: “No to Militarization.”

On the walk various slogans were heard, such as “Christopher Columbus did not discover anything, Latin America was stolen and looted,” “This march is not one of celebration, it is one of struggle and protest,” and “Mexico is not a barracks, Army out of it.”

Although the call was for a peaceful march, a small group of young people with their faces covered painted against the National Guard and the Army, broke glass and vandalized a fast food establishment, without adults arriving. In the National Palace they tried to remove some of the metal fences and rockets exploded.

During the passage of the march along Juárez Avenue and 5 de Mayo, the presence of police elements annoyed some of the demonstrators, who confronted the uniformed men and tried to prevent them from following the progress of the walk.

Around 7 p.m., the contingent arrived at the Plaza de la Constitución, whose esplanade is occupied by the 22nd International Book Fair, so the rally was held in front of the National Palace, which was guarded by police.

In addition to representatives of the CNI, Melitón Ortega, of the Commission of Fathers and Mothers of the Ayotzinapa 43, took the floor, who agreed that the colonization process begun in 1492 continues today with the projects imposed by foreign companies in Mexico and the rest of the continent, regardless of whether the original peoples oppose it.

He pointed out that the current government has not made real progress in the Ayotzinapa investigation case, which makes it “the same or very similar” to that of Enrique Peña Nieto.

University students joined the call to fight against “militarism and capitalist and patriarchal war,” and demanded that instead of giving more resources to the armed forces, that money be allocated to the education sector.

Indigenous Peoples march for Peace and against Militarization on Indigenous Peoples Day / Día de la Raza.

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Thursday, October 13, 2022, https://www.jornada.com.mx/2022/10/13/politica/008n1pol and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

From the Maya Train to sympathizers “with a foreign appearance,” Sedena’s constant siege against the Zapatistas

Members of the EZLN during the Inaugural act of the 2nd International Gathering of Women Who Struggle. Photo: Isabel Mateos (AP)

Leaked emails from Sedena (Mexico’s Secretary of National Defense) Have allowed us to know that the EZLN is one of the most besieged by military intelligence due to its posture of rejecting the megaprojects and government programs.

By: Jacobo García

Mexico

Of all the files produced by the Mexican Army (Sedena) from surveillance of potential enemies, including drug cartels, feminist groups, parents of children with cancer or defenders of the land, the surveillance of the Zapatistas of the EZLN is the closest and most detailed.

The information obtained from the massive email leak permits knowing that the Army is obsessed with the bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) in Chiapas. The follow-up includes detailed fact sheets that include details of events, description of leaders and photographs of supporters. There is also a diagnosis about the future of the group that has allowed us to see the Army’s fixation with an indigenous movement that never fired a shot, but declared war on the State in 1994.

Up to nine different documents give an account of the operation of the caracoles, the movements of Subcomandante Galeano -formerly known as Marcos- or the political activities of María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, Marichuy, presidential candidate in the 2018 elections. Much of the military concern about the Indians has to do with their stance on some of the mega-projects promoted by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. In the document entitled “Position of the EZLN on the construction of the Maya Train”, in January 2020, the investigation that Sedena carried out in the regions with the Zapatista presence trying to find out the way in which the insurgents acted against these works is revealed.

Map of the planned route of the Maya Train, with the section that crosses through Chiapas in red, the same color with which they indicate the territory in which the Zapatista caracoles are located.

According to conclusions that the soldiers draw from envoys to the event, the assertions of Subcomandante Galeano -identified as Rafael Sebastián Guillen Vicente- that the movement is growing, are false. The lack of economic resources has reduced the carrying of support bases, so that the EZLN will act only by hammering in a national and international public opinion. “When it doesn’t have the power to convene to counteract the projects, only the discourse will be limited and to attack the federal government in a media way for the implementation of these projects, advised by human rights bodies and international observers,” the report said.

El rechazo del The movement’s rejection of said projects is based on the idea that the Government and the private companies will extract natural resources from the territory, including water, wood and minerals, and therefore the ecosystem will be affected. However, according to Sedena, the movement has lost adherents thanks to putting social programs into effect, such as “Sembrando vida,” that have not been to the liking of the commanders, or by the forced contribution of 200 pesos per month per adult, as well as by the monthly family contribution of 10% of the sale of agricultural products.

In another PowerPoint from January of this year, with the motive of the celebrations for the 26th anniversary of the 1994 Uprising, a document was prepared in which leaders, municipalities and activities are described. In one of these documents titled “Activities carried out by militants of the EZLN,” it points out: “Currently, Caracol 2 in Oventic, San Andrés Larrainzar, Chiapas, is the one that represents major relevance, due to the events that they have held and indoctrination activities, which Rafael Sebastián Guillen Vicente (Subcomandante Marcos) attends regularly.

Slide featuring “activists and sympathizers” of the EZLN, including former independent presidential candidate María de Jesús Patricio Martínez “Marichuy” and singer Mon Laferte.

In another document, a Zapatista festival is described as follows: “Date and place: Dec. 26-29. 2019. Caracol IV, Autonomous Municipality 17 de November 17 (Altamirano, Chis.). Activity: “Second International Meeting of Women who Struggle.” They carried out cultural activities (theater, dance, poetry and regional dances). Number of participants: Approx. 3,140 people (760 Zapatista support bases, 800 students, 800 nationals and 780 people of foreign appearance from 43 countries), headed by Antonio Hernández Cruz, aka “Moisés,” current leader of the EZLN and Rafael Sebastián Guillen Vicente, aka “Galeano,” political, moral and intellectual figure of said group. Remarks: Concluded without incident, the file prepared by the military indicates.

The entire document consulted is headed by the word “confidential,” summarizes and outlines the leaders and the location of the autonomous municipalities. It is accompanied± by photographs taken in a hidden way of “Marichuy” and a group of sympathizers “of foreign appearance” or the appearance of Mon Laferte visiting the Zapatista regions. The report includes a map that delimits the area controlled by the EZLN, which includes the municipalities of Las Margaritas, Altamirano, Amatenango, Chilón, Motozintla, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Ocosingo, Palenque and San Andrés Larraínzar, in Chiapas.

Beyond the mountains of Chiapas, in another document found by this newspaper, a military chief of Querétaro Military Camp No.16 sends his superiors a series of files with the profile of the Zapatista leaders in Querétaro. In it, next to the name of the spy, the public or private activities carried out are summarized. In some cases, these cards are limited to writing: “Perform activities of your profession: dentist.”

Originally Published in Spanish by El País, Saturday, October 8, 2022, https://elpais.com/mexico/2022-10-08/la-obsesion-de-sedena-por-los-zapatistas.html?ssm=TW_MX_CM&fbclid=IwAR1dTKyVPsj3Khta9VmPIheRnhIJPMpovABsowvJ-A9fAeIN3HBOCthJWko and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

The extreme right took root in our societies

By: Raúl Zibechi

If anyone has the illusion that the extreme right is a passing phenomenon, the first round of the Brazilian elections should convince us otherwise. It’s here to stay, as happens in Italy, the United States, Chile, Colombia and increasingly in countries such as Argentina and Uruguay, where it did not have a solid tradition.

The Liberal Party (PL, Partido Liberal) of Jair Bolsonaro, became the primary political force by getting 99 Deputies and considerably increasing its representation, as well as in the Senate, where it obtained 13 seats. The PT elected 68 deputies who, together with their allies, total 80, and only nine senators.

The Parliament is as rightwing as it was since the 2018 election that Bolsonaro won. Adding the allied parties, Bolsonaro reaches 198 deputies, while Lula could reach 223, if he reaches agreements with some center-right parties. There are 92 seats left out of a total of 513 that, according to the survey of Folha de Sao Paulo, can lean towards whoever offers better positions or facilities to do business.

If the Parliament will be a thorny space that will make Lula, if elected, a centrist president, the ultra-right also took over most of the governments of the states, which play a key role in governability, since they influence the federal and state chambers.

What seems unusual is that after four years of deterioration of the economy, the terrible handling of the pandemic and permanent anti-democratic attitudes, Bolsonaro obtains more than 50 million votes that show a country divided into two halves, a division that will continue after the second round on October 30.

Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil, sometimes compared to Donald Trump.

The strong roots of the ultra-right, both in Brazil and in other countries, should make us reflect on its root causes, to operate more efficiently and try to stop this wave.

The first thing to consider is the global systemic crisis that is dismantling the international system of states and the alliances between them. In each region and country, tendencies towards ungovernability and chaos are generated. The dispute between the declining power, the United States, and the ascendant one, China, is a destabilizing factor that favors the generalization of wars between nations.

In this climate, political, social and cultural polarization between classes, skin colors, sexes and generations has grown. Top-down violence is the way in which the ruling classes seek to reshape societies according to their interests, increasingly abandoning any tendency to the integration of popular sectors and peoples. This is an unprecedented challenge for the anti-systemic forces that we are not succeeding in debating and acting accordingly.

The second thing is the tremendous depoliticization existing in societies, the remarkable expansion of consumerism with its burden of alienation and paralysis in the face of the challenges represented by the ongoing crisis/storm. The new capabilities of domination through the most advanced technologies (from social and cellular networks, to artificial intelligence) are not finding answers to the height of the threats posed to humanity.

It’s true that at this point the left has its share of responsibility for having abandoned all anti-systemic attitudes. But if we refine our gaze, we will find that in other periods the left reflected the resistances from below, but did not create them. No one taught the working classes to neutralize Fordism and Taylorism, just as no one taught indigenous and black peoples to confront colonialism, nor did women to confront patriarchy.

In Brazil, Lula da Silva is in a run-off election against Bolsonaro for the presidency. Da Silva, a former president, is considered “progressive.”

Although I wish to be wrong, I believe that it is rebellion itself, a characteristic that has always nested in poor and violated humanity, that today is being neutralized by the ruling classes. Perhaps it is just an urban phenomenon, where exposure to the mechanisms of domination is considerably greater. Perhaps for this reason, our journeys in search of spaces in resistance are mostly towards rural areas, far from the mundane media noise.

Finally, I think that our analyses are too skewed towards ideologies, as if they were the key to explain the growing roots of the extreme-right. But human beings move by issues more linked to real life, although not necessarily by an instrumental rationality. Ideologies come after having taken a position, as a way of justifying and giving flight to what has already been decided.

The powerful spirituality that nests in the peoples who resist, cannot be a coincidence. Sharing spaces and times of celebrations is the mortar of communities, without whose emotional and mystical cohesion it would not be possible to resist or dream of a world different from the one that oppresses us. Spirituality is the common primary of life; but by not feeling it, we are shipwrecked in pure solitude.

Originally Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Friday, October 7, 2022, https://www.jornada.com.mx/2022/10/07/opinion/019a2pol and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee