Chiapas: Fifth anniversary of the “Voz del Amate”

Voice of Amate (@zapateando.wordpress.com)

On 6 January was celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Voz del Amate in the CERSS no. 5 of San Cristóbal de las Casas, with the joint presence of 50 representatives of local and international civil society.

Following a celebration held in the prison’s chapel, Professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez recalled the creation of the Voz del Amate on 5 January 2006, which was adopted as a response to the Zapatistas’ Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle.  This organization of unjustly imprisoned prisoners founded to defend and promote human rights as well as principally the right to justice gained a first victory with the release of nearly 50 of its members following a hunger-strike undertaken in 2008.  Professor Patishtán is the sole member of the Voice of Amate that continues to be held prisoner, given that his penal charges are federal.  He is no longer held in the Amate prison but rather is now found in the CERSS no. 5 of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, where the organization “In Solidarity with the Voice of Amate” was founded in 2009.

This anniversary of struggle was a joyous occasion, thanks to the choir and musicians who, together with all the messages of encouragement and strength, stirred joy in the hearts of all.  It was also a moment for political denunciation, in light of the injustices and human-rights violations suffered by the prisoners on a daily basis.

Andrés Nuñez Hernández, member of In Solidarity with the Voice of Amate, denounced the unjustified movement of prisoners who struggle for their rights to facilities far-removed from their families, as well as the conditions under which Professor Patishtán was hospitalized some months ago.  Alfredo Lopez Jimenez, from the same organization, expressed his gratitude for the solidarity shown him during the 32 days that he engaged in a hunger strike in November 2010 in the Tonalá prison.  He suggested that one never silence oneself before the “injustice of the bad government.”

Julio Cesar Pérez Ruiz, one of the prisoners released in 2008 who is now a member of the Committee of Ex-Prisoners Innocent Voices, recommended that organization be adopted, that the struggle never be abandoned, while claiming that “justice does not fall from the sky; it is constructed.”  Also Rubén Moreno, member of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, insisted that “the work of human rights is the work of all.”  Beyond this, a member of the Collective Our Prisoners First stated that “the struggle for justice brings us together, and that is why we are here […].  Outside, we don’t feel free if you are all still held prisoners.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Communiqué in observation of the 5th Anniversary of the Voz de Amate (Denuncia Pública, Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, 7 January 2010)

For more information (in English):

– Chiapas: the case of Alberto Patishtán Gómez presented before the IACHR, and denunciation by la Voz de Amate (10 August 2010)

– Chiapas: visit to observe 2011 call for “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Honor denied (30 de julio de 2010)ç

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