Caravan to the South in Tonala (@SIPAZ)
On the second day of its journey in Chiapas, the Caravan to the South coordinated by the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity directed itself from Tapachula to Tonalá where it was received by the “Digna Ochoa” Center for Human Rights AC, together with the Tonalá Civic Front and the Autonomous regional Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas. There was held an event in the plaza of the central park in which also participated organizations such as the migrant house of Chiapas. There was a letter read by Nataniel Hernández Núñez, ex-director of the Digna Ochoa Center, who had to leave the state in light of the death-threats and harassment directed against him.
Later the caravan began its journey to San Cristóbal de Las Casas, stopping in Cahuare, near Chiapas de Corzo, where the population has been demanding the relocation of the firm “Cuts and mortar of Grijalba” for the negative environmental, labor, and social impacts it has had. Despite the rain, the Caravan’s members marched to the zócalo where they carried out a public act for the Cry of Independence, calling for silence as a form of protest against the violence that reigns over the country. “There is nothing to celebrate. There is no independence,” noted Javier Sicilia, the most well-known figure who has led the Movement for Peace.
From there members went ot the theater of the city where they carried out another public act. Members of the diocese of San Cristóbal, civil and social organizations, survivors of the massacre of Acteal, and the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center For Human Rights, among others, held public banners of welcome and support for the Caravan. They indicated that hte Caravan arrives “to these lands and in this context in which autonomous, indigenous, and campesino communities face and resist paramilitary sieges; federal troops occupy their lands; poverty now grips urban population; and migration leaves communities empty.” They also denounced “the official looting that facilitates private exploitation of natural resources and minerals that criminalizes entire communities; hundreds of prisoners unjustly incarcerated who are silenced by means of torture; the cases of feminicides that have risen; the free expression which is restricted by public conventions; thousands of youth who are stigmatized for protesting the present and demanding a possible future; the reigning impunity in tribunals; and governmental omission, another aspect of the exercise of the criminal politics of the State.”
In his comments Javier Sicilia expressed that “from these lands near San Andrés Larrainzar, we not only opine but also demand as a task of the nation without which there can be no peace, justice, or dignity–without which there is no true independence–that the Accord come to there, which the nation recognizes, be respected–that the San Andrés Accords be respected.”
Acteal, arrival of the Caravan to the South, 15 September 2011 (@SIPAZ)
That same night, a representation of about 100 members of the Caravan went ot he community of Acteal, municipality of Chenalhó, where there was held an event that, more than just hte traditional cry of independence on the date, gave a cry of pain for the 50000 victims of the war against drug-trafficking and the 45 victims of the 1997 Acteal massacre. A cry in which protestors demanded that the federal government change its strategy of combatting organized crime, one that expressed the commitment to find a new, more just and dignified, life, by means of strategies of civil non-violent resistance.
The rain and delays resulting from the numerous landslides on the highway notwithstanding, the activists were received with traditional music by more than 400 indigenous persons who waited their arrival during more than seven hours. The Las Abejas civil society read a communiqué regarding its support for the Caravan for Peace which denounces the violence and injustice caused by the Army and the National-Security Law, remembering that the authors of the massacre of Acteal continue to be free: “our struggle now for nearly 14 years has been one for truth and justice regarding the Acteal massacre, and now we have joined the struggle to put an end to Calderón’s war. We are here united to give evidence once again that our Mexico every day increasingly is flooded by the blood spilled by all the violence that has its roots in the bad government and its system.”
The ceremony lasted nearly five hours. Upon ending the members of the caravan returned to San Cristóbal to continue their journey to Ocosingo and Palenque with the rest of the caravan.
For more information (in Spanish):
Bienvenida la Caravana al Sur del Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad a Chiapas (Comunicado de prensa de organizaciones e individuos, 12 September)
Centro Frayba Saluda al Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad(CDHFBC, 15 September)
Caravana del Sur en tierra zapatista: expectativa por diálogo con Marcos (CNN México, 15 September)
Palabras de Javier Sicilia en San Cristobal de las Casas (Radio informaremos, 15 September)
Marcha expedición en San Cristóbal de las Casas contra militarización(La Jornada, 16 September)
Diócesis de San Cristóbal respalda a caravana (El Universal, 16 September)
… y el silencio se alzó contra la violencia (El Universal, 16 September)
Caravana por la Paz exige en Grito que se cumplan acuerdos de San Andrés (Proceso, 16 September)
Comunicado Las Abejas de Acteal (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 16 September 2011)
¡Mexican@s al grito de PAZ! (Audios del evento en Acteal, Blog de la Sociedad Civil Las Abejas)
Exigen en Las Abejas cambiar la estrategia oficial para combatir al crimen organizado (La Jornada, 17 September 2011)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Chiapas: Day 1 of the Caravan to the South (26 September 2011)
Oaxaca receives Caravan to the South (23 September 2011)
Chiapas: Annunciation of the Caravan to the South in Chiapas (23 September 2011)
Mexico: March “Steps for Peace” (19 August)