Chiapas: Frayba Denounces Increased Militarization in Zapatista Territories

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In a bulletin published on May 2nd, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba) reported that “since December 2018, the Mexican state increased the militarization of the territories of indigenous peoples bases of support of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (BAEZLN in its Spanish acronym) especially in the region of the Lacandon Jungle as part of the continuation of the counterinsurgency strategy to erode autonomy projects in Chiapas.” It considered that this increase shows that “the Mexican State reaffirms its commitment to war in a region where Indigenous Peoples build a Life with Dignity.”

It indicated that the Center, through the documentation compiles by the Civil Observation Brigades (BriCO in its Spanish acronym), registered that since the end of 2018, the number of incursions by the Mexican Army through the headquarters of the Good Government Council (JBG in its Spanish acronym) to La Esperanza, in La Realidad Caracol (official municipality of Las Margaritas) had doubled. It documented that there were “19 land patrols, (with soldiers armed with machine guns) and five flights by helicopters, from January to April 2019. Of concern is the regularization of flights over communities and the increase in military movements in the last month.”

It affirmed that “the military incursions constitute acts of intimidation and harassment against the Zapatista Original Peoples in resistance, they represent an aggression against their right to autonomy and represent a risk to the life, integrity and security of the entire population.” It also reported that “so far this year, Frayba recorded two acts of espionage against the BriCo, in the international observation camp located in La Realidad”, [an] action [that] violates the integrity and personal safety of those who monitor human rights violations in the region and whose work is based on the Declaration on the Right and Duty of Individuals, Groups and Institutions to Promote and Protect Human Rights and Universally Recognized Fundamental Freedoms of the United NationsOrganization”.

This complaint coincides with the one published by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN in its Spanish acronym) in a statement on April 10th: “In our mountains and valleys the military, police, paramilitary, and spies, ears and informants have increased. The flights of military aircraft and helicopters have reappeared, as well as artillery vehicles.”

Finally, Frayba called for national and international solidarity “to strengthen the path of peace and respect for human rights facing the risk of a new military offensive to the Zapatista territories.”

For more information in Spanish:

Estado mexicano incrementa militarización en territorios zapatistas (CDH Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 2 de mayo de 2019)

Denuncia Frayba estrategia contra pueblos originarios y EZLN (La Jornada, 3 de mayo de 2019)

Incrementa militarización en territorios zapatistas (Chiapas Paralelo, 3 de mayo de 2019)

Los de abajo (La Jornada, 4 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Denuncian vigilancia militar en Chicomuselo (27 de marzo de 2019)

Chiapas: Centro de derechos humanos denuncia riesgos ante militarización de Chilón (25 de enero de 2019)

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