On December 21st and 22nd, Las Abejas de Acteal Civil Society commemorated the 24th anniversary of the Massacre of 45 members of the Acteal community and celebrated 29 years of struggle and resistance.
The celebrations began on December 21st with the inauguration of the library in Acteal. Its construction had been a long process and was possible thanks to donations and people who collaborated in the design and construction. “We want to thank our sister Luz Rodriguez and the soul of our brother Rafael Landerreche, who was a very good man in this land, for having the idea and the will to build a library at the headquarters of our organization. The books in the library are Rafa’s voice, may he rest in peace, and they reflect how he saw life, they are related to what he learned with the Organization of Las Abejas de Acteal and with our people, with what he was able to investigate and left written on the life and work of Alonso Vazquez, may he rest in peace”, said Las Abejas. In addition, the library houses books that reflect realities from other places beyond Chiapas and Mexico.
The following day the commemoration of the Massacre of December 22, 1997, began with the homage to the flag and the gathering each year in Majomut, where the pilgrimage to Acteal began. In Acteal all visitors were welcomed with the song of Las Abejas and the reading of the communiqué. The celebrations were attended by the National Indigenous Congress, the Indigenous Council of Government, the Believing People of the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas, the media and civil society organizations, such as the International Peace Service (SIPAZ).
“Today marks 24 years of impunity for the Acteal Massacre, a state crime committed against the indigenous and organized peoples of Chiapas, in which 15 girls and boys, nine adult men, 21 women – four of them pregnant, who had their bellies opened with machetes and their babies torn to pieces; There are 45 people plus four unborn babies, who were cruelly murdered with treachery, premeditation and advantage by PRI paramilitaries from the Chenalho municipality, created and financed by the Mexican government and armed and trained by the Mexican army, within the framework of the implementation of the Chiapas 94 Plan Campaign”, Las Abejas denounced in the statement. “24 years after the Massacre, nothing has changed; it has been five six-year terms of office and the policy is to maintain violence and impunity, causing conflicts in organized peoples to justify the militarization of the communities that resist and organize against the megaprojects of death that dispossess land and territory.”
Several civil society organizations expressed their solidarity with Las Abejas, such as the National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” (Red TDT). They also pointed to the murder of the human rights defender and president of Las Abejas de Acteal, Simon Pedro Perez Lopez, which occurred on July 5th of this year, by members of a criminal group from Pantelho. “We do not forget his indelible presence (…), with him in his mandate and service to the people, we had the honor of walking side by side in the year 2020, dark times for justice, his mettle and his action was collective, as is the the way of Las Abejas de Acteal that walks for peace, for which today we honor, together with the martyrs of Acteal, as women and men who have shed their blood on the paths of freedom and justice”, stated Pedro Faro Navarro, Director of the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights. They congratulated Las Abejas for having received the Mariano Abarca Environmental Defense Award this year, considering them a sanctuary of humanity by receiving hundreds of forcibly displaced people.
Las Abejas reaffirmed their persistence in the fight for Truth, Justice, Not Forgetting. “Today we are in this Sacred Land of the Martyrs of Acteal, to continue denouncing the crime of the State committed here 24 years ago; and we urge the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to issue the report on the merits of Case 12,790 Manuel Santiz Culebra et al. (Acteal Massacre) on the responsibility of the Mexican State”, said the Las Abejas board of directors.
The days of commemoration were accompanied by music, dance and the screening of documentaries about Simon Pedro and Rafael Landereche. At the end of the event, a Eucharistic celebration was held, they went down to the graves to pay homage and pray for the martyrs and receive the final blessing.
For more information in Spanish:
Hoy nos encontramos en esta Tierra Sagrada de los Mártires de Acteal (Las Abejas de Acteal, 22 de diciembre de 2021)
Los libros son la voz de Rafa (Las Abejas de Acteal, 21 de diciembre de 2021)
A 24 años de la masacre de Acteal, saludo de la Red TDT (Red TDT, 22 de diciembre de 2021)
Acteal, símbolo de Resistencia, Memoria, Verdad y Justicia (Frayba, 22 de diciembre de 2021)
For more information from SIPAZ: