Chiapas Support Committee

Zapatista Squadron 421 arrived in Mexico City

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Subcomandante Moisés and other indigenous people welcomed the Zapatista retinue that ended the journey started last May. Photo: Jair Cabrera Torres

By: Fernando Camacho Servín

Amid great expectation and a chaotic welcome, members of the Squadron 421 Zapatista delegation arrived last night at Terminal 1 of the Mexico City International Airport, after visiting some thirty European countries, where they exposed their struggle and got to know the different collectives of that continent.

Although Lufthansa Airlines Flight LH498, coming from the German city of Frankfurt, appeared “on time” on the airport screens and was programmed to arrive at 7 pm; in reality, however, it was almost 9 pm when the eight representatives of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) arrived.

From 6 pm, various groups gathered in front of Gate E3, among them members of the Otomí community residing in Mexico City, as well as students, activists and sexual diversity groups, who waited for the Squadron 421 delegates amid slogans, shouts of support and resonances of the batucada. [1]

Due to the lateness of the arrival, Subcomandante Moisés –one of the Zapatista leaders who will travel to Europe next Monday, as part of the delegation called La Extemporánea– tried to dialogue with the police that guarded the gate for international arrivals in order to ease the exit of his compañeros.

Despite that, the EZLN representatives were taken through a different door than the one announced and immediately began to be followed by the civilian groups that were waiting for them and by the media, which generated shouts and shoves, in the midst of which the Zapatistas were escorted to get into an elevator and quickly leave the place.

As we reported in this daily newspaper, members of Squadron 421 set sail last May 3 from Isla Mujeres with the goal of reaching Europe across the Atlantic Ocean and touring Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Catalonia, Sardinia, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Slovenia, the Spanish State, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Basque Country, Poland, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.

[1] Batucada is a sub-style of samba and refers to an African-influenced percussive style and is characterized by its repetitive style and fast pace.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, September 12, 2021

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/09/12/politica/007n1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

The Zapatista delegation La Extemporánea arrives in the capital of the country

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▲ Civilian organizations formed a security wall so that the EZLN delegates could enter the place. In the center, Subcomandante Moisés. Photo: Jair Cabrera

By: Fernando Camacho and Elio Henríquez

Members of La Extemporánea, the delegation of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) that will depart on Monday for Europe to meet with diverse social collectives on that continent, arrived in Mexico City last night, where the Otomí community residing in the country’s capital received them.

Amid incessant vivas and cries of support from those who went to welcome them, the 177 delegates of the Zapatista commission arrived a little after 10 o’clock at night at the local space of the Uníos collective, located at number 32 Carmona y Valle Street, Doctores District.

The EZLN representatives traveled in four passenger buses, accompanied by a group of observers and activists from civil organizations that formed a security wall so that the delegates could enter the building without mishap, which they entered without making statements.

Marisela Mejía, a member of the Otomí community, underscored the importance of La Extemporánea’s journey, so that the indigenous people of the Cho’ol, Tsotsil, Tseltal and Tojolabal languages that comprise it –among them Subcomandante Moisés– can strengthen ties with the old continent’s civil and popular organizations.

This activity “has a very important meaning because we’re going to visit that Europe of below, those communities and peoples just like us. They are mirrors and we are going to make that exchange of struggles, in which it’s necessary that they listen to us, as well as to listen to them. We are going to raise awareness and look at ourselves in those mirrors,” she defined.

The Zapatista delegation had left yesterday morning from Jacinto Canek Zapatista Caracol located in the Indigenous Center of Integral Training-University of the Earth Chiapas, with headquarters in San Cristóbal de las Casas.

The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center reported that some of it’s members accompanied the caravan as observers, for the purpose of “dissuading and monitoring that no human rights violations are committed during the transfer.”

The organization asked national and international civil society “to be aware of this initiative that reaches more than 30 countries of Europe. La Extemporánea will continue the work started by the Zapatista Squadron 421 maritime delegation that last June began with a series of activities in part of the European territory and that since its arrival the EZLN re-named Tierra Insumisa or Slumil K’ajxemk’op” (Un-submissive Land).

Today, according to the Enlace Zapatista web page, members of the EZLN’s representation will take PCR tests for detection of Covid-19.

Also today, at 6:30 pm the Squadron 421 delegation will arrive in Terminal 1 of the Mexico City International Airport.

On Monday, September 13, La Extemporánea will leave the Uníos space for the capital’s air terminal, bound for the city of Vienna, Austria, after making a stop in Madrid, Spain.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, September 11, 2021

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/09/11/politica/007n1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

EZLN: Itinerary of La Extemporánea

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September 10, 2021: The airborne delegation [La Extemporánea] will depart the Jacinto Canek caracol early in the morning.

September 10, 2021: At an unspecified time after 18:00hrs, La Extemporánea [i] will arrive at the location on Carmona y Valle Street in Mexico City.

September 11, 2021: PCR testing of La Extemporánea.

The Squadron 421 will arrive from Europe at 18:30hrs on Lufthansa flight LH498 at the Mexico City airport, Terminal 1.

We invite everyone to come to welcome Squadron 421.

September 12, 2021: Preparations.

September 13, 2021: The first airborne group will leave for the airport from the Carmona y Valle Street location at 08:00hrs. They will depart Mexico at 12:10hrs and have a layover in Madrid, Spain, after which they will take Iberia flight IB6400 to their destination of Vienna, Austria.

The second group will leave for the airport from the Carmona y Valle Street location at 16:00hrs. They will depart Mexico at 20:45hrs and have a layover in Madrid, Spain, after which they will take Iberia flight IB6402 to their destination of Vienna, Austria.

September 14, 2021. La Extemporánea will arrive in Vienna, Austria, in that geography called Europe.

That’s all.

[i] See the EZLN’s August 17, 2021 communiqué for an explanation of the use of “La Extemporánea” [the extemporaneous]: https://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2021/08/17/only-500-years-later/

En español: http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2021/09/08/itinerario-de-la-extemporanea/

Women’s Victory

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Mexico Decriminalizes Abortion

A La Jornada Editorial

In a historic and unanimous vote, [Mexico’s] Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) declared unconstitutional Article 196 of the Coahuila Penal Code, which punishes with imprisonment for one to three years women who abort voluntarily and those who assist them. As presiding minister Arturo Zaldívar reported, this decision established a mandatory criterion for all the country’s judges, so that similar cases pending resolution in any court in the country, must rule in the same sense.

In simple terms the foregoing means that: “from now on it will not be possible, without violating the criteria of the Court and the Constitution, to prosecute any woman who aborts” in the cases considered valid by the constitutional court. The decriminalization of the right of women to decide about their bodies is nothing less than a civilizing conquest that puts Mexico in the vanguard of the issue by making it the first nation in Latin America where a constitutional court rules on the human right of the woman to determine if she wants to be a mother or not.

Members of the Supreme Court have the merit of putting an end to a deplorable institutional inertia that maintained a fundamental right in limbo, left to the arbitrariness of local congresses and rulers. But, the victory belongs to all the women who for decades have fought in defense of their dignity, their sovereignty and their rights until achieving legal recognition of the inalienable power they have over their own bodies.

Now that abortion is decriminalized, the task of regulating it lies ahead. Now it’s up to the Legislative Power to approve regulations that establish terms and procedures, as well as arrange for the creation of infrastructure and assign the resources necessary to guarantee access to the voluntary interruption of pregnancy for women who require it. In that regard, it’s clear that it’s not enough to provide facilities and personnel, but that it must be legislated broadly and with a careful adherence to the perspective of gender, so that the services provided are medically, ethically and psychologically adequate. It cannot be forgotten that for many women the termination of a pregnancy is a difficult decision, still charged with guilt and social stigmatization, and therefore the health personnel must be prepared to accompany them with total respect for their autonomy and dignity.

Faced with such a challenge, federal legislators would do well to observe the example of Mexico City, where, far from leaving the exercise of this right to the discretion of the market, mechanisms were created to ensure the gratuity, security and decorum of the services public institutions provide.

In conclusion, this transcendental advance on the road to dismantling the regime of oppression that women have suffered must be greeted in the most effusive terms, but without losing sight of how much remains to be achieved, both a life free of gender-based violence, and substantive equality at all levels of public and private activity.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/09/08/opinion/002a1edi

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

“We can’t take it anymore, we are migrants, not animals”

This article further describes why the Zapatistas issued the “Against Xenophobia and Racism” communiqué.

Migrants

Text by: Ángeles Mariscal

Photos by Ángeles Mariscal 

With torn feet, under sun and rain, hundreds of migrants from Haiti, Venezuela, Cuba, Central America and other nations continued the caravan that left last Saturday from the city of Tapachula, Chiapas, a place where some have stayed for more than a year, without work and awaiting the Mexican government’s response to their requests for asylum. They say the Mexican immigration system has collapsed.

Tapachula became a prison for them, because immigration authorities impose a ban on leaving the city, even though their appointments to attend to their requests are not until January.

“I can’t take care of my family there in Tapachula, the only work that I can find there is unloading truckloads of goods in the market, from 2 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon, for 100 pesos a day. This only gives me enough to buy some tortillas and vegetables for my children,” explained Alexandro Rodríguez Valera, from the Dominican Republic, who has been in the city for seven months.

This situation is compounded by racism, discrimination and abuse by some some settlers, who see in others competition for jobs, because in Chiapas, 7 out of 10 people live in poverty.

On their second day of walking, they survived a violent detention attempt by immigration agents, military and elements of the National Guard. Some were detained and taken to the immigration station.

Among those who continue, the fatigue is already felt. Every few minutes they make stops, trying to shield themselves from the sun or the rain, under the trees of the coastal highway that runs from the city of Tapachula to the center of the country.

Only two municipal ambulances came close to look them over and give fluids to those who showed signs of dehydration, to bandage the legs of those whose pain will prevent them from continuing.

“There is still so far, so very far left to go.”

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On their second day, they have only advanced 74 kilometers. A solidarity trailer tried to give them a ride, hundreds got on in the first moment, but then distrust made them get off. They decided to continue walking together, as a measure of protection.

Along the migratory route, adding to the threat of deportation are threats of organized crime, which also has made a business of kidnapping migrants.

Some organizations brought water and food, but as of now there is no more humanitarian aid. “We can’t take anymore, there are children, men whose feet are so torn up that they can’t walk,” says Filomena Martín, one of the few Haitian women who speaks Spanish.

“There are children who have not had any bread since yesterday, and only drink water. You can’t do that, those people (Mexican authorities) have hearts of stone; they are mothers and fathers too. They have to have compassion, to have mercy. If we are making the decision to go on foot in a caravan, it is because the situation is truly very difficult, very hard for us,” the woman explained.

“In Tapachula,” she said, “there’s no room for more migrants and thousands more are still coming. And now there are Hondurans, Guatemalans, Venezuelans. There are Haitians, Cubans, Africans, from everywhere. We can’t take anymore. We have asked the President of Mexico and the organizations to have mercy on us, to look at the situation. Today is the second day and there is so far, so far to go.”

Brien –young, strong, athletic– cannot hold back his tears as he speaks with the staff of the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) that came to observe the caravan. He immigrated from Haiti, crossed the jungle of the Darien Gap in Colombia, and now feels vulnerable in the face of his situation in Mexico.

“Please do something, I ask you from the bottom of my heart, please, we truly can’t take anymore. Please, in the streets there are pregnant women, children. The only thing we want is to be at peace, to get somewhere where we can work, and live as immigrants, and live free. Peace! Peace! We don’t want to go to the United States, we want to get to a place in Mexico where there is work, where there is a life for us. We are migrants, not animals.”

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A Collapsed Immigration System

Enrique Vidal, from the Fray Matías de Córdova, explained that the Mexican immigration system on the southern border has collapsed, without a budget or staffing to attend to the requests of the thousands of people entering the country.

“There is a historical arrival of immigrants in Mexico, a product of the systemic crisis that their countries of origin are experiencing, and the Mexican government has not reinforced the immigration system with either budget or personnel in order to respond to the migrants’ requests.”

In the case of those who decided to embark on the caravan to leave the city of Tapachula, he explained that they had waited several months for a response to their applications, but the majority could not get an appointment until January.

This forces them to stay in Tapachula, “which is experiencing a serious humanitarian crisis due to overcrowding, lack of basic services, and the gradual but widespread deterioration of the physical and emotional well-being of migrants living in precarious health conditions.”

Vidal revealed that the Mexican immigration system must be modified, and provide options for migrants who so desire to remain in the country safely, to have options for employment, and to integrate into society without racism and discrimination. And so those who want to reach the border of the United States can do so, and begin their applications for that country.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Monday, August 30, 2021

https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/2021/08/no-podemos-mas-somos-migrantes-no-somos-animales/

English Translation: Schools for Chiapas

Re-Published by the Chiapas Support Committee

Against Xenophobia and Racism, the Struggle for Life

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ZAPATISTA SIXTH COMMISSION

Mexico

September 4, 2021

To whom it may concern:

In accordance with the Zapatista Good Government Councils, the CCRI-CG of the EZLN and the indigenous Zapatista communities, we declare the following:

First: In recent days we have witnessed the inhumane treatment by the Mexican State of migrants trying to leave the silent and invisible trap in which they find themselves in the city of Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico.

Second, as in previous governments, the Mexican government promises sanctions for the “excesses”committed by agents of the National Institute of Immigration (INM, its initials in Spanish) in response to citizen complaints and claims of these cruelties. This promise is nothing but another lie. The agents are told that this will be said publicly, to avoid pressure from so-called public opinion, but that they should continue with their manhunting methods without fearing the consequences. No migrant should go beyond Chiapas.

Third: Even among the elements of the so-called National Guard there is discontent. Because they were told that their mission was going to be to fight organized crime, and now they have them as dogs of prey hunting dark-skinned people. Because that is the instruction: hunt down anyone with dark skin color: “Stop any fucking black person you come across,” is the order. It is a foreign policy statement.

Fourth: The indoctrination of the agents of the National Institute of Immigration borders on the ridiculous. They are told that they are defending Mexico from an invasion, as an INM official brazenly declared. It would not hurt for the National Institute of Immigration to take some basic history classes — now that classes are back in session– to understand that those who are invading are from the United States government, which is imposing this migratory policy that contradicts the entire history of the Mexican State’s foreign policy.

Fifth: The maneuvers carried out by the INM to keep human rights organizations and the press from documenting its actions remind us of what the Salinas de Gortari government did in the first days of 1994, when it closed all access to the Lacandón jungle to prevent people from knowing what it was doing. And the manhunt for migrants reminds us of the Zedillo government that, in 1995, sent dogs after us.

Sixth: It is embarrassing enough for a government that calls itself progressive to bow to the foreign policy of the U.S. government, without adding its imitation of how Chiapas landowners, just a few years ago, used to subjugate their peons. According to the religious references that are so dear up there [in government], it is preached: “may your left foot not know who you are kicking with your right foot.”

Seventh: We call upon every honest and sensitive person to demand that this situation be stopped now. And that, to the extent of everyone’s possibilities, humanitarian aid be provided to the migrants.

For our part, the Zapatista indigenous communities, through their 12 Good Government Councils and the Zapatista Sixth Commission, have collected a modest amount of money, which will be sent to some of the shelters or organizations that do humanitarian work with migrants in Chiapas.

We call on the Sexta Nacional, the Networks in Resistance and Rebellion, the collective “The Hour of the Peoples has Come,” the Non-Governmental Organizations and people of good will throughout the world to do what they can to, first, stop the hunt perpetrated by the INM with the National Guard’s support and, second, to improve the living conditions of the migrant population present in this geography called Mexico.

Just like these migrant brothers and sisters and those of us who are extemporaneous, the day will come when we will all be migrants and extemporaneous on this planet. And whoever does not have the color of money, will be persecuted, hunted, confined, disappeared, eliminated.

Hence, against xenophobia and racism, the struggle for life.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés | Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

Mexico, September 4, 2021.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Enlace Zapatista

Saturday, September 4, 2021

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2021/09/04/contra-la-xenofobia-y-el-racismo-la-lucha-por-la-vida/

English Translation: Schools for Chiapas

Re-Published by the Chiapas Support Committee

From Kabul to Tegucigalpa: refugee or immigrant?

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▲ Some 640 Afghans crammed into a US Air Force plane to be moved from Kabul to Qatar.

By: Miguel Tinker Salas* and Víctor Silverman*

Although separated by almost 14,000 kilometers, the disasters in Afghanistan and in Honduras have a common denominator: US policies that victimize both countries. In the first case the failed war against terrorism, which ultimately expanded the radius of action of these groups, and in the second case the failed war against drug trafficking, which ultimately increased the number of criminal groups, extended their penetration of State institutions and increased the violence that the population faced, particularly women.

In both cases, thousands of individuals and families are now displaced, converting them into refugees or exiles, as a result of policies promoted by Washington. Sadly, this story has been repeated in every country where the US or its NATO allies have intervened, be it Cuba, Vietnam, Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Sudan, Libya, Syria, and now Afghanistan and Honduras.

After 20 years of war and occupation, the US now abandons Afghanistan. Images from the Kabul airport, where thousands of people were trying to escape the Taliban are terrifying. Families, women and even young people scaling the walls that surrounded the airport to get on the planes generated sympathy around the world, but in particular among the Western media that for years had perpetuated the myth that US actions in Afghanistan had achieved their objective. These same media outlets highlight the treatment women will receive as a result of the Taliban victory. The US and its European allies organized an unparalleled evacuation to extract more than 120,000 people who allegedly cooperated with the occupying army, or with the old corrupt regime that the US financed.

Although they don’t generate the same international attention and sympathy, similar images emerge in Honduras. Hundreds of people, not in airplanes, but in trucks, buses, and on foot a leave their country every day. Their numbers include hundreds of minors and women, refugees from femicide, who are forced to leave Honduras, where the corrupt government, which has the de facto support of the United States, is incapable of meeting the most basic needs required for daily survival. Even when they don’t flee from a political force like the Taliban, these people are victims of an economic and military project that makes it impossible to remain in their own country. Without international aid and facing a situation of poverty and violence, these people are forced to form caravans in order to escape from organized crime or government forces that try to profit from their precarious situation.

Like in Afghanistan, where the US maintained corrupt, sectarian and unpopular governments in power, as was the case with Hamid Karzai or Ashraf Ghani, in Honduras the US supported the coup against Manuel Zelaya in 2009. Afterwards, the State Department did what it could to prevent his return. Washington recognized the victory of the current president Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH), even when international observers from the very same United States concluded that his victory was due to electoral fraud. To stay in power, JOH, whose government operates like a kleptocracy, represses social movements and sectors that criticize his government. Although federal courts in the US have pointed to him as a participant in drug trafficking, Washington continues supporting him to avoid a possible triumph of the left. Just like Afghan President Ghani, who fled from his country with four cars and a helicopter full of money, according to the Afghan ambassador in Tajikistan, the reality is that, without US support, Hernández would not be the president of Honduras today.

More than half a million Afghans have been displaced in the last months of the conflict. Those who weren’t able to leave by plane (or helicopter, like their president), now head toward the border with Pakistan from where they hope to march to Europe. Despite the sympathy that their situation generated, their future is uncertain. The European Union (EU) has already indicated that it will not give them refuge, they are “migrants.” Emmanuel Macron, president of France, declared that his country: “has to protect itself from Afghan immigrants.”

As in the US, the same sectors of the right that promoted the intervention in Afghanistan, and that reject Central American and Haitian immigrants, criticize the possible arrival of Afghans in the US. Some sectors of the left and the right propose granting asylum, but only to the Afghans who were loyal allies of the US army. Among the Afghans, as well as the Central Americans, without considering their responsibility in both cases, the US and the European countries distinguish between those who deserve help and those who they leave to their fate.

According to the UN’s Agency for Refugees, there are more than 82 million displaced persons, the highest number in history. To that number are added 272 million migrants. Jointly, almost 5 percent of the world’s population has been expelled from their homes as a consequence of economic, political, social and environmental disasters. In moral terms, and in practice, it’s not possible to distinguish between migrants and refugees.

How should the world respond to this humanitarian crisis? Confronting a more uncertain future in which the world is in danger as a result of permanent wars, impoverishment and global warming, a new human right must be established: the right to emigrate.

* History Professors, Pomona College

@mtinkersalas y @victorsilverman

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/09/01/opinion/020a2pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

For Life: The Departure of “La Extemporánea” to Europe

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Zapatista Sixth Commission

Mexico

August 30, 2021.

To the Europe below and to the left:

To the Sixth in Mexico and abroad:

To the organizations, groups, and collectives that seek truth and justice for the victims of forced disappearance:

Sisters, brothers, and hermanoas:

Compañeroas, compañeras, compañeros:

We would like to begin by saluting the struggle and the commitment of all those people who search for the disappeared, for their missing loved ones. Their struggle is also, and above all, a struggle for life. It is no coincidence that on this day, we announce the following:

First, after an endless string of paperwork, obstacles, and problems, we hereby announce that the Zapatista Airborne Company, which we have called “La Extemporánea,”[i] will leave Mexico City for Europe on September 13, 2021.

Second, the destination is the city of Vienna, in that geography called Austria, and we will travel in two groups.

Third, a first group will leave the Mexico City airport on September 13, 2021, at approximately 12:10hrs. It will arrive in the city of Madrid, in that geography called Spain, at 06:00hrs on September 14. After a 2-hour layover and connection, the flight will resume at 08:20hrs, to land in the city of Vienna, Austria, at 11:05hrs on September 14. A second group will depart on the same day, September 13 at 20:45hrs with a layover, also in Madrid, at 14:35hrs on September 14, resuming the flight at 16:00hrs and landing in Vienna at 19:00hrs on September 14. Fourth, La Extemporánea is organized into 28 “Listen and Share our Word” teams (made up of 4-5 compas each), plus one Play and Mischief team, and one Coordination team. La Extemporánea can thus cover 28 corners of the European geography simultaneously. A few days later, we will be joined by the delegation of the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Governing Council and the Peoples’ Front in Defense of Land and Water. Along with that delegation of sister organizations, we will continue the work started by the 421st Squadron, which is currently covering that geography they call Switzerland.

Fifth, in a few days we will announce the date on which we will leave the Semillero “Comandanta Ramona” to gather in the caracol of Jacinto Canek in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. From there we will travel by land as a vehicle caravan to Mexico City where we will garrison at the premises on Carmona y Valle street until the day and time of departure. We include this in case anyone wants to accompany the departure and trip from San Cristóbal to Mexico City. Sixth, we dedicate this effort (which included many non-Zapatistas and some even anti-Zapatistas), to all the disappeared, to the families who suffer in their absence and, above all, to the women and men who fight to find them and achieve the truth and justice that we all need and deserve. Know that your example, your tireless work, and your refusal to give up, give in, or sell out are for us, the Zapatista peoples, a lesson in human dignity and authentic commitment to the struggle for life. While we are in Mexico City, we will deliver the minutes of the assemblies of the Zapatista, non-Zapatista and anti-Zapatista communities, with their agreements to support the fight for truth and justice for the victims of violence, according to the popular referendum that was held on the first day of August of this year, 2021.

That’s all.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

General Coordinator of the Journey for Life—Europe Chapter

Still Mexico. Year 501.

[i] See the EZLN’s August 17, 2021 communiqué for an explanation of the use of “La Extemporánea” [the extemporaneous]: https://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2021/08/17/only-500-years-later/

Simulated, inefficient and unpunished; the investigation of the Viejo Velasco Massacre

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By: Alma Martínez

*According to the semiannual report of the National Search Commission (NSC) for Chiapas, the federal subsidy authorized for actions to search for missing (disappeared) persons is $8,780,727.00 pesos. However, from 2019 to 2021 only two days of search have been carried out. 

Relatives of disappeared victims and surviving victims of the Viejo Velasco Massacre, together with the Coordinator of Indigenous Social Organizations, CDLI-XI’NICH, UCISECH, TSOBLEJ YU’UN WOCOLTIC, issued a communiqué in the framework of the International Day of the Victims of Forced Disappearances, in which they demanded the appearance alive of their compañeros Antonio Peñate López and Mariano Pérez Guzmán; as well as the presentation alive of the 43 Ayotzinapa students and all missing persons in Mexico.

In memory of the indigenous people who were disappeared, executed and forcibly displaced on November 13, 2006 in Viejo Velasco community, Ocosingo municipality, they remembered them now with hope for justice and mentioned that they live with pain and uncertainty for them.

They also remember María Núñez González who was murdered inside her house when she was pregnant, and Petrona Núñez González who was kidnapped and tortured the same day and who was later able to escape. However, she died in 2010 as a consequence of the psychological effect that she experienced.

They expressed their displeasure with the “simulated, inefficient, ineffective investigation, which remains unpunished.” Without such an investigation, as of the moment they know nothing about the whereabouts of their missing compañeros because of the action and omission of the State with regard to a paramilitary operation.

They also indicated that according to the semiannual report of the National Search Commission (NSC), from March 15, 1964 to June 30, 2021 there are 89,488 people disappeared and non-located in the country.

According to this report from February 8, 2019 to June 30, 2021, the NSC, in coordination with authorities from the three levels of government and with relatives of missing persons have participated in 1,758 search days in the field, in 28 states and 268 municipalities; in Chiapas, they have only carried out two search days.

The Massacre

After 14 years, the IACHR admits the Viejo Velasco Massacre case.
Photo: Frayba

Some 14 years ago in Viejo Velasco, Chiapas, approximately 40 people coming from the communities of Nueva Palestina, Frontera Corozal and Lacanjá Chansayab (of the “Lacandón Community”), armed with machetes, clubs, shotguns and 22 caliber rifles, some in military and public security uniforms, entered the community violently.

These people were accompanied by 300 members of the then Chiapas Sectorial Police with high-powered weapons known as goat horns: Ar-15s and AK-47s. Also present were five Prosecutors from the Public Ministry, two experts, the Regional Commander of the Jungle Zone for the then State Agency of Investigation with seven members under his command and a representative of the former Secretariat of Social Development.

These acts caused the forced displacement of 36 inhabitants, four extrajudicial executions and four forced disappearances, of which the remains of two people were found and were delivered to their relatives five years later.

Afterwards, the Mexican State issued arrest warrants in effect against members de the CDLI-XINICH Social Organization, who it points to as responsible for murdering its own compañeros.

However, the “Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas” Human Rights Center (Frayba) stated that those responsible for these acts are the paramilitary group called the Organization For Defense of Indigenous and Campesino Rights (OPDDIC), accompanied by State Police and other public servants.

They explained that 14 years after the massacre, no one in authority has been investigated, identified, judged or sanctioned for being the intellectual and/or material author of the violations to the life, personal integrity and liberty, judicial guarantees and protection and private property, as well as forced disappearance and violence against women.

Meanwhile, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) closed the precautionary measure and processed the complaint against the Mexican State, in which it points out its international responsibility for extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, forced displacement, torture, arbitrary deprivation of freedom and irregular arrest warrants as a consequence of the Viejo Velasco Massacre.

For more background information on the Viejo Velasco Massacre, see:

  1. https://chiapas-support.org/2014/02/05/murder-in-the-lacandon-jungle-background-on-viejo-velasco-massacre/
  2. https://chiapas-support.org/2014/02/05/viejo-velasco-massacre-7-years-later/

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Monday, August 30, 2021

https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2021/08/simulada-ineficaz-y-en-impunidad-investigacion-de-la-masacre-de-viejo-velasco-a-14-anos/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Afghanistan: after the failure

portada

By: Víctor Silverman and Miguel Tinker Salas*

Thousands of innocent dead, religious intolerance, oppression of women and millions of refugees! Those will be the inevitable results of the collapse of the “government” of Afghanistan in the face of the Taliban’s triumph. For the 38 million Afghans who have suffered decades of war, the human disaster intensifies.

A short time ago President Joe Biden declared: “The United States has returned.” It certainly has returned, but not in the way Biden anticipated. In Washington, the resounding military failure of the Afghan “army” means something different than it means to the country’s population. Some observers advance and anticipate the end of the US as a world leader. They emphasize that the defeat in Afghanistan will produce the collapse of the system of alliances that are an essential part of the so-called “world order.” For them, the alternative to the posture of permanent war is crisis. In the past, prognoses about the eminent collapse of US power were utilized to strengthen the empire’s power. In reality, the present defeat could initiate a cycle in which an attempt is made to reaffirm the global role of the United States.

Many inside the centers of power in Washington would fail a history class. The majority believe that US military defeats were the product of tactical errors. The New York Times recently wrote that the Taliban victory “reflects years of miscalculation.” But what has happened is much worse that a simple tactical error.

What happened is a resounding defeat of the “nation-building” project, the latest example of the madness of the dream of the “neoconservatives” and liberals who proposed transforming countries, with the use of weapons, to create “modern, transparent, secular and, especially, capitalist states.” A civil war also underscores, once again, the limits of the imperial power.

The US has suffered many defeats –Korea, in the 1950s, Cuba in the ‘60s, Vietnam, Nicaragua and Iran in the ‘70s, for example–. During the ‘70s, some in the upper echelons of power absorbed the lessons that the victory of the communists in Vietnam produced. This defeat demonstrated that an empire, although it may be at the pinnacle of its power, doesn’t have the ability to dominate the world. It was not able to overcome a guerrilla army that has the support of a large part of the population –especially when its allies are corrupt and don’t have popular support–. The victory of David against Goliath does not imply that Goliath abandons the club to attack his supposed enemies.

Despite the lessons of the 1970s, after Vietnam, the US intervened in Nicaragua, Lebanon, Honduras, El Salvador and many other countries. The current situation in Central America, corruption, poverty, violence, drug trafficking and authoritarian regimes are products of United States intervention in the region. After decades of the war against drugs in Colombia and Mexico, they continue promoting military solutions in the face of social problems. None of these experiences fostered changes in the fundamental methods of the US imperial system: alliances with nationalist forces of the center or right, creation of armies following the US model, integration into a world economy based on free trade and investment treaties, capitalist consumption and promotion of the ideology of “democracy” and now neoliberal multiculturalism.

During the 80s, the end of the “cold war” and the collapse of the Soviet Union and the disintegration of Eastern Europe, seemed to confirm what a sector of the elite believed; The US had inaugurated the end of history, as the political scientist Francis Fukuyama proposed in 1989. During the decade in which the unipolar moment prevailed, the idea spread, according to Madeleine Albright, US ambassador to the UN in 1998, that: “if we have to use force, it’s because we are America, the indispensable nation.”

The 9/11 attacks toppled the happy consensus in the elite. The terrorist actions of Al-Qaeda never threatened the global position of the United States. Likewise, it never presented a military target where advanced weapons could be used. Nevertheless, the US responded the same way as it did in the past. After the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion (Cuba, 1961), President John Kennedy argued that now: “we have to make our power credible and Vietnam seems like the place.” After 9/11, President George W. Bush decided that US credibility required more than a legal process or a clandestine operation against Bin Laden and his associates. War has never been a solution to the challenges that nationalist movements represent, or fundamentalist terrorism, and much less drug trafficking. Both liberals and conservatives voted for the invasion. Only Congresswoman Barbara Lee voted against the invasion of Afghanistan. What will be the next place where the US will try to demonstrate its military capacity and its socio-political vision?

After Afghanistan, Biden or any other president, of whatever party, will face the same challenge and will propose the same solution that Kennedy, Johnson, Reagan, Bush, Obama and Trump proposed. In a short time, the logic of power, the unification of the nation and the political popularity that emerges with the start of a war and the use of their gigantic military forces, will again provoke historic amnesia among the elites. Before long, the US and its policy of permanent war will be in evidence once again.

* History Department, Pomona College

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, August 16, 2021

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/08/16/opinion/020a1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee