Chiapas: visit by the governor to San Patricio, northern zone; challenge to official strategy by OSC

Visit by the governor to San Patricio (@ state government)

A press-release from the Chiapas state-government that was published in different local media the following day has reported that governor Juan Sabines Guerrero visited the La Lámpara stretch of land belonging to the community of San Patricio in the Sabanilla municipality on 23 October so as to take account of “the reconciliation work that Chiapas authorities have undertaken,” given the “good results [that have been seen] thanks to the efforts of the interested.”  It should be recalled that since 10 September there have been denounced death-threats, robbery, injuries, and looting against residents of the community of San Patricio, autonomous municipality of La Dignidad (official municipality of Sabanilla) in the northern zone of Chiapas.

At the site, the governor noted that “We are here to endorse and hand over this document so as to newly give you the juridical certainty of possession of this land and these homes, given that the invading group was not only removed from these lands–taken to another municipality far from here, so that they no longer bother you, so that they no longer disturb the peace of this community–if someone else were to do so, we are ready to listen to denunciations and act in accordance with right to protect the human rights of the residents.”  Noé Castañón, secretary of governance, detailed that 19 trusteeships were handed over, including some for seven persons who are a part of the “autonomous group.”

However, approximately 60 organizations and collectives as well as hundreds of people acting personally distributed a public letter on 24 October that was directed to Felipe Calderón and Juan Sabines Guerrero.  In this they question the strategy of both levels of government regarding the management of the conflict in different communities of the state of Chiapas.  In their words: “worry and rejection that these observed tendencies as governmental policies [continue], among the most recurring ones: omission of multiple denunciations and requests for intervention made, as they know; their complicity in destroying the social fabric of communities with the polarization of conflicts; the generation of emergency food and health conditions in communities that are besieged; the political administration of justice which flagrantly violates the human rights of indigenous peoples in Chiapas.”

They stressed moreover that “the official discourse of the Chiapas state-government has been converted with regard to human rights to a public slogan that favors the the perpetuation of grave faults that hurt the population in general.  The use in media of language has not only costed millions to the state budget, which is in fact increasingly indebted, but the highest cost is that of hundreds of lives and communities that are condemned to the abandonment, marginalization, and structural injustice in which the state of Chiapas has been mired since time immemorial.”

They concluded by alerting that “today, as always, we note the fragility in which the weak conditions of ‘peace’ are arranged amidst this context of war.  Finally we warn that under this scenario the autonomous communities in resistance whose populations comprise Support Bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) are those who are in the focus of a possible confrontation and indeed a reactivation of hostilities like those which we keep within the collective memory of our besieged Mexico.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Autoridades chiapanecas dan solución al problema de San Patricio (La Crónica de Hoy, 25 October 2011)

Acude Juan Sabines a la restitución del predio “La Lámpara” en la comunidad San Patricio(Boletín de prensa, gobierno del estado de Chiapas, 23 October 2011)

Noticia: Carta Pública a Felipe Calderón (presidente de México) y Juan Sabines Guerrero (gobernador de Chiapas) (OSC, 24 October 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Update regarding the situation in San Patricio, northern zone (27 October 2011)

Chiapas: MPJD arrives once again to Chiapas, there to express solidarity with Las Abejas, prisoners on hunger strike, and Zapatistas (10 de octubre de 2011)

Chiapas: harassment and risk of forced displacement in autonomous community of San Patricio in the northern zone (26 September 2011)

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