Chiapas: Acteal, 16 years in search of justice

22 de diciembre de 2013 @ SIPAZ

22 December 2013 @ SIPAZ

On 22 December 16 years passed since the Acteal massacre in the Chenalhó municipality, an act that killed 45 indigenous Tsotsil persons (14 girls, 4 boys, 8 men, 19 women, 4 of whom were pregnant) as they were praying in the Acteal chapel.  During the massacre, units of the Police of Public Security were located 200 meters from the site.  Members of the Las Abejas Civil Society once again commemorated the anniversary of the massacre this year, beginning on 21 December by sharing their experiences of struggle and ending with a pilgrimage and mass on 22 December.  Hundreds attended the commemoration.

“This sixteenth anniversary of the Acteal massacre we recall as being illuminated by a light that emerges from the Sacred Land of Acteal, but this light shines also through the darkness which covers our country in threatening clouds,” noted Las Abejas in their communique.  “Today counterinsurgency is for all, not just the indigenous of Chiapas.  It is made up of two parts: trickery and repression–or, as some say, the carrot and the stick.  Or, as Abejas have said at times: balls of sugar and bullets […].  It is precisely what the bad governments are doing, whether run by Manuel Velasco or Peña Nieto and their programs such as the National Crusade against Hunger.  They have created programs of assistance by taking advantage of the needs of the people in communities; their objective is to ease their conscience to cover over the looting and handing-over of our country to neoliberal foreigners.  The worst thing is that, so that the people don’t lose the ‘spell,’ they do propaganda, promoting the idea that the government brings good things and supports the people.”

Las Abejas also recalled the 98 persons displaced from the Puebla Colony “over a problem that has been going on for 8 months without resolution.  Now the government says that it wants to resolve the problem so that the displaced return to their homes, but it wants to impose conditions in exchange for such a resolution.  The conditions are that paramilitaries not be mentioned, that justice not be demanded, and that we silence ourselves […].  And now after leaving the side of justice and truth, the government says that the problems will be resolved with productive support and communal programs.”

Las Abejas ended by saying that “the people now are walking on the construction of another justice, and one of those paths is with the People’s Permanent Tribunal (TPP); we must meet more often.  We want nothing more than justice for Acteal, other massacres, and cases of human-rights violations throughout Mexico.”

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) read a communique at the commemoration which indicates that “Amidst impunity, the people save their memory, reflect, and find alternatives based on truth for the construction of justice.  In this way, relatives, witnesses, and victims of State crimes perpetrated in the Northern Zone, the Jungle, and Highlands of Chiapas met on 6 and 7 December in the Susuclumil community of Tila for the pre-audience of the work-group on Dirty War as violence, impunity, and lack of access to justice with the People’s Permanent Tribunal.  The session was called ‘Meeting for justice and truth,’ in which the judges declared: ‘It is not to the institutions of the Mexican State that we are looking for justice, but rather to alternative spaces for the construction and defense of our own justice, in addition to aiding with the convergence and union of the indigenous.'”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de Las Abejas a 16 años de la Masacre de Acteal (22 de diciembre de 2013)

Boletín de CDHFBC: La memoria histórica: un instrumento para la verdad y la construcción de justicia (22 de diciembre de 2013)

El sistema de justicia, podrido: Las Abejas (La Jornada, 22 de diciembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Anniversary of the Acteal massacre (27 December 2012)

Chiapas: Commemoration of 20th anniversary of Las Abejas and coming 15th anniversary of the Acteal massacre (21 December 2012)

Chiapas: Survivor of Acteal massacre dies (16 November 2012)

Chiapas: the Las Abejas Civil Society denounces reactivation of paramilitaries in its community (12 October 2012)

National-International: Zedillo obtains immunity for the Acteal case(19 September 2012)


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