On 22 July, in observance of the monthly commemoration of the Acteal massacre (in which 45 persons were killed in 1997), the Las Abejas Civil Society released a new communique in which it shared its indignation regarding the invitation of the former president Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León to participate in the organization “The Elders, a global organization for peace founded by Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel”. Las Abejas recalled that “we know well that Zedillo is the primary responsible party in the Acteal massacre […]. If Zedillo, now a member of the Elders, had observed the San Andrés Accords and not formed paramilitary groups in Chiapas, the Acteal massacre would not have taken place, and we would not be writing this communique.”
Beyond this, Las Abejas warned of the violence that has gripped “the Puebla Colony [neighborhood] with the pretext over a dispute over land belonging to the Catholic Church […] just as in the year 1997.” Explaining, they noted, “The violent actions of the communal authorities of the Puebla Col., upon destroying the project of reconstruction of a Catholic church on Thursday 18 July, and the physical aggression and torture of 3 persons on 20 July, is a clear message expressing hatred and violence. What is taking place in the Puebla Col. is not a game. It is for this reason that we are concerned, and we worry for the lives of the Catholics and of our comrades from the Las Abejas Civil Society, as well as all those who do not agree with the violence, as in the case of a Baptist in the Puebla Col., who for the mere reason of refusing to participate in the violence was beaten.” Las Abejas affirmed that these acts derive from the impunity that prevails in the Acteal case, “because the paramilitaries have now seen that to rob and kill is not punished; on the contrary, they receive prizes from the government.” They requested “urgently to the competent authorities to provide their immediate attention to the conflict over land […] using peaceful means, without more pretexts and dawdling,” as well as punishment of those responsible for the aggresion against Mariano Méndez Méndez, Luciano Méndez Hernández, and Juan López Méndez.
Finally, they called for the continuation of the struggle for the release of Alberto Patishtán and congratulated their “Zapatista brothers and sisters,” wishing them “much health and strength so that it goes well for them in the little school,” as for the organization made jointly with other indigenous groups from the Itinerant Cathedral “Tata Juan Chávez Alonso,” who desire to participate.
For more information (in Spanish):
Comunicado completo de Las abejas del 22 de julio de 2013
Víctimas de Acteal repudian inclusión de Zedillo en club por la paz (Proceso, 23 de julio de 2013)
Las Abejas condena ingreso de Zedillo a The Elders (La Jornada, 25 de julio de 2013)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society, “the government is using two weapons in its strategy, lead bullets and sugar bullets” (25 June 2013)
Chiapas: Las Abejas denounce lack of justice in the Acteal case (23 April 2013)