In a communiqué published on 20 October, the Center for the Rights of the Woman in Chiapas (Cdmch) and Services and Assessment for Peace (Serapaz) denounced that there continues a “situation of violence, harassment, and fear” in the autonomous Zapatista community of San Patricio, official municipality of Sabanilla, located in the northern zone of Chiapas. Following a visit to the community on 15 and 16 October, these institutions could declare that “at least one part of the invading paramilitary group was forced to retreat by the government; the authorities have compensated for their violent and clearly counter-insurgent action, granting residents land in the ranch La Josefina, in the municipality in Palenque; regardless, according to what has been told us, some paramilitaries have remained to surveil the community. Our comrades fear that the retirement of the paramilitaries is merely a new trick and that they will be ambushed and massacred upon leaving to cultivate their crops. for this erason they have yet o exit the community at all.” The communiqué mentions also that “there exist threats that the paramilitary group Hidalgo Union from the municipality of Sabanilla will arrive to retake the land and continue the harassment and looting of the land and territory belonging to the community of San Patricio.”
They report that due to the insecurity that prevails in the community, the Zapatista support-bases have transferred children younger than 7 years of age to a secure place, so as to protect their integrity. They denounced as well that the aggressors have destroyed the maize, beans, and rice crops of the support-bases, having sold these, taken their firewood, and killed their cattle. “These violent provocations and aggressions have impeded our support-base comrades from carrying out their daily work, including that of preparing their food.” All of this implies a situation of humanitarian emergency that will not be resolved within the near term.
They warned finally of the “counter-insurgent violence employed by the municipal and state governments that reward paramilitary groups which harass and violate the human rights of indigenous peoples, granting them lands and permitting the reproduction of these groups in light of such perks.”
For more information (in Spanish):
Comunicado completo del Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas y de Serapaz (20 October)
Sigue acoso en San Patricio (Cuarto Poder, 21 October)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):