Interview with the comisionado of the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón (In Spanish)
On April 24 a press conference took place in the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (CDHFBC) with members of the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, who are adherents to the Other Campaign. The members of the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón denounced the detention in arraigo (pre-charge detention) of 8 men, detained and held incommunicado between April 13 and 18. They also denounced the actions of members of the Organization for the Defense of the Rights of Indigenous and Campesinos (OPDDIC) who collaborated with the Federal and State police during the repression of a roadblock in protest, and the destruction of the tollbooth at the entrance to Agua Azul on April 17.
The CDHFBC expressed concern regarding the militarization which the state has carried out and of the use of public security forces and laws to “discourage the population from organizing in defense of their human rights”. The Center also denounced that “in the last few months we have seen that the Mexican Government, on Federal, State, and municipal levels, has begun a policy of persecution and criminalization of movements and organizations of social dissidents”.
“The inhabitants of the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Other Campaign, are part of an indigenous movement, which has opposed neoliberal plans involving the use of their land and exploitation of natural resources. For many years the region of Agua Azul has been a tourist zone whose many attractions have been administered and used by the tzeltal peoples of Bachajón. As an important part of the ecotourism project and the part of the Rivera Maya, it has been a focal point of the State Government for international investment.”
The case of the tzeltal people of San Sebastián Bachajón is an example of what is happening all over Latin America with native peoples who “reclaim their rights to the land and to auto-determination”.
“The context of these events shows a clear picture of the counterinsurgency, implemented by the Mexican Government and carried out by the Mexican Army and the Federal and State Public Security Forces”. The CDHFBC stressed that “the police operation was carried out with the help of military intelligence, which was revealed to CDHFBC by members of the State Government”.
Finally, it is important to mention that the eight detained under arraigo (pre-charge detention) continue in the house of arraigo “Quinta Pitiquito” in Chiapa de Corzo. The Center denounced that the system of arraigo, which since the judicial reform of June 2008 is constitutional in Mexico, continues being a “systematic violation of human rights” and that the house of arraigo is “a place of coercion and torture”.
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