Chiapas: “Sowing autonomy” for 32 years

November 21, 2015

@Paisà García

On 17 November, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) observed the thirty-second anniversary since its founding. Its creation occurred after the arrival of the National Liberation Forces (FLN) to the Lacandon Jungle and following the indigenous congress of 1974, as well as within the context of a struggle over land, upheaval by indigenous and campesino social organizations, as well as the ecumenical work of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese in accordance with liberation theology and the preferential option for the poor, as endorsed by Vatican Council II. It was not for another 10 years of a clandestine accumulation of strength that on 1 January 1994 the EZLN rose up in arms against the Mexican Army, demanding work, land, housing, food, health, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice, and peace.

Several groups released pronunciations congratulating the EZLN for its more than 32 years of struggle, such as the General Confederation of Work (CGT) Chiapas and the Network against Repression and for Solidarity (RvsR). In this way, several collectives organized events to celebrate the date, both at the national and international levels.

For more information (in Spanish):

RvsR: Feliz cumpleaños EZLN: 32 años mirando un horizonte (Enlace Zapatista, 17 de noviembre de 2015)

CGT celebra el aniversario del EZLN. 32 años sembrando autonomía. (CGT Chiapas, 17 de noviembre de 2015)

EZLN: 17 de noviembre de 1983 (Rebelion, 17 de noviembre de 2012)

Las FLN-EZLN 42 años después (Alainet, 2 de octubre de 2011)

Declaración de la Selva Lacandona (EZLN, 1993)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Death-threats and physical attacks against the BAEZLN in the Tzakukum community (13 September 2015)

Chiapas/National: EZLN announces second level of the Zapatista School (10 September 2015)

Chiapas: Risks to the lives of Zapatista support-bases (BAEZLN) (3 July 2015)

Chiapas: Denunciation of paramilitary attack on the El Rosario community, pertaining to the La Garrucha caracol (30 June 2015)

Chiapas: La Garrucha Good-Government Council (JBG) denounces two paramilitary attacks (17 May 2015)

National: Inauguration of the First World Festival of Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: Update regarding forced displacement of EZLN support bases belonging to the La Garrucha caracol (2 September 2014)

Chiapas: Forced displacement of EZLN support-bases belonging to La Garrucha caracol (29 August 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN pays tribute to murdered Support-base and announces organizational changes (10 June 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN communiqué “Pain and rage” (18 May 2014)

Chiapas: Annual report from Frayba on “Human-Rights Insurgency”

November 21, 2015

Foto @ SIPAZ

Participation by Estela Barco during presentation of report @ SIPAZ

On 5 November, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) presented its annual report that carries the title “The Human-Rights Insurgency,” which deals with the “perspective, questions, and situations” that the CDHFBC has documented and monitored in Chiapas from March 2014 to March 2015. During the presentation of the document, several members of the directive council of CDHFBC spoke, including Blanca Martínez Bustos, director of the Fray Juan de Larios Center for Human Rights; Jorge Santiago Santiago; Estela Barco Huerta, general coordinator for the Social and Economic Development of Indigenous Mexicans; and the president of the council, jtatik Raúl Vera López, bishop of Saltillo.

The CDHFBC described the present context as a moment that “is a dark time, amidst the implementation of saddening repressive measures that constitute State terrorism, whereby military occupation and the state of siege are normalized. With this, the violations that make up crimes against humanity such as torture, forcible disappearance, extrajudicial executions, femicide, and forcible displacement, among other crimes, are daily occurrences in Chiapas and Mexico.”

The document proclaims the comprehensive defense of human rights that is the work of the CDHFBC. The questions it addressed include torture, impunity, defense of land and territory, as well as the ongoing war context, which in the report corresponds to four chapters: Torture, an implicit negation; A look at the cracks of impunity; War in Chiapas, territory, and peoples; and Reality of war-context.

The CDHFBC expressed that torture “is engrained and generalized in the Mexican justice system, and it is not only denied but even rationalized.” From the perspective of historical memory, remembrance is the principal pillar “of the struggle of victims and their families in the cases of crimes against humanity […]. They collectively protect and transmit memory against forgetting and impunity.” With regard to the “internal armed conflict in Chiapas,” the “communities and organizational processes persist and resist in defense of their autonomy and territory amidst State policies that seek to plunder land, spirit, and culture.” Lastly, the chapter on “Reality” is dedicated to the Zapatista teacher Galeano, who was murdered on 2 May 2014 in La Realidad, official municipality of Las Margaritas, Chiapas.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe: La Insurgencia de los Derechos Humanos

Boletín Frayba presenta su Informe Anual: La Insurgencia de los Derechos Humanos (CDHFBC, 4 de noviembre de 2015)

Despojo territorial, espiritual y cultural, una constante en Chiapas: Frayba (Chiapas Paralelo, 6 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 25-year anniversary of “Frayba” (30 March 2014)

Chiapas: Presentation of the six-year report from the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (26 March 2013)


Chiapas: Provisional return of displaced families from Banavil for Day of the Dead

November 19, 2015

Tumba de Antonia López Méndez.  Foto: @Sipaz

Gravesite for Antonia López Méndez. Photo: @Sipaz

From 30 October to 3 November, the four families displaced from Banavil, Tenejapa municipality, returned provisionally to their homes. During these days, they visited the gravesite of Antonia López Méndez, the daughter of one of the families, who died on 21 February 2015, 11 years of age.

It bears recalling that the families were displaced at the beginning of December 2011, following an attack carried out by militants from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) carrying firearms. During the events, Alonso López Luna was forcibly disappeared and, to date, his whereabouts remain unknown. In this way, the attack also cuased the death of Pedro Méndez López, while six others were injured. Beyond this, Lorenzo López Girón, the son of the disappeared, was arrested, as was Francisco Santiz López, a Zapatista support-base (BAEZLN). Both of these have since been released.

In a communique, the displaced families affirmed that “we returned well during our provisional return, though the bad governments (federal, state, and municipal) did not guarantee our security.” The displaced continue to hold the three levels of government responsable for the aggression that provoked the displacement, and they have demanded the revelation of the fate of Alonso López Luna, the carrying-out of ten arrest-orders against those responsible for the displacement and forcible disappearance, the return of families, the cancellation of two arrest-orders, the compensation of losses incurred, and the presentation with life of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa.

For more information (in Spanish):

Familias tseltales en retorno provisional regresan a su desplazamiento forzado (Chiapas denuncia pública, 4 de noviembre de 2015)

“Nuestras exigencias al Estado mexicano: VERDAD, JUSTICIA, RETORNO Y PAZ”, tzeltales desplazados de Banavil Chiapas. (Pozol Colectivo, 4 de noviembre de 2015)

“No muere nuestra memoria aunque el mal gobierno lo quiere acabar nuestras raíces”, indígenas desplazados de Banavil, Chiapas. (Pozol Colectivo, 3 de noviembre de 2015)

[FOTOS][VIDEO]Retorno provisional de familias desplazadas de Banavil, Chiapas.

(Koman Ilel, 5 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Displaced families from Banavil complete 3 years and 7 months of forcible displacement (July 21, 2015)

Chiapas: Death of Antonia, a displaced girl from the Banavil community, Tenejapa (March 8, 2015)

Chiapas: 3 years since the forcible displacement of the families from Banavil (December 16, 2014)


Chiapas: Displaced Tojolabal families from Primero de Agosto community denounce threats of a new displacement

October 10, 2015

Mujeres, hombres, niñas y niños desplazados en campamento de desplazamiento @RadioPozolTojolabal men, women, and children displaced from the Primero de Agosto community @RadioPozol

On 1 October, in a public denunciation, the displaced Tojolabales who comprise the Primero de Agosto community denounced that “due to the omission of the official authorities, the violations of our rights, death-threats, threats of kidnapping, threats of a new displacement, and harassment continue.” On 29 September “authorities and ejidatarios from the Miguel Hidalgo ejido came to threaten us from 30 meters’ distance from where we are living displaced to tell us that they had plans to jointly kidnap six of our comrades and perform a new armed displacement with the backing of their leaders, the CIOAC-Historical, and the three levels of government.” Furthermore, on 30 September, “Armando Méndez López fired into the air with a gun, telling us that any one of these days we would be displaced and our comrades taken.” On 2 October, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights released an Urgent Action indicating that “the present situation is similar to that which immediately preceded the first forcible displacement. This puts at risk the lives, security, and physical integrity of the displaced families.”

These families, which have now spent seven months displaced in the 23 September community, observed that “the Chiapas state government committed itself on 25 February 2015 to make justice and distribute the lands equally […] but it has not observed its promise; on the contrary, it has allowed the situation to worsen. The Mexican State has been absent or complicit in the criminal actions taken against our people.”

It bears mentioning that on 23 February 2015, ejidatarios from the Miguel Hidalgo ejido who pertain to the Independent Historical Center of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos (CIOAC-H) violently displaced 57 people from the Primero de Agosto community, which since 1 August 2013 had “suffered death-threats, murder-attempts, and attempted kidnappings, robbery, looting, and destruction at the hands of the ejidatarios from the Miguel Hidalgo ejido, members of CIOAC-H.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Familias de Primero de Agosto temen nuevo desplazamiento forzado (Chispas Denuncia Pública, 2 de octubre de 2015)

Riesgo de nuevo desplazamiento forzado a tojolabales del poblado Primero de Agosto (Frayba, Acción Urgente, 2 de octubre de 2015)

Tojolabales de Primero de Agosto cumplen siete meses en desplazamiento forzado (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 2 de octubre de 2015

Familias de Primero de Agosto temen nuevo desplazamiento forzado (Radio Zapatista, 2 de octubre de 2015)

Chiapas, AU: Riesgo de nuevo desplazamiento contra tojolabales del poblado Primero de Agosto (Centro de Medios Libres México, 2 de octubre de 2015)

Chiapas: Indígenas tojolabales temen nuevo desplazamiento forzado. Con armas de fuego son hostigados por la Cioac-H (Radio Pozol, 2 de octubre de 2015)

FRAYBA: Riesgo de nuevo desplazamiento forzado a tojolabales del poblado Primero de Agosto (Red Contra la Represión y por la Solidaridad, 4 de octubre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: At nearly half a year of forcible displacement, the Poblado Primero de Agosto denounces new threats (7 September 2015)

Chiapas: Peace Network denounces absence of Chiapas state government in the Primero de Agosto case (22 July 2015)

Chiapas: The Primero de Agosto community completes 4 months of forcible displacement and continues demanding its forthright return (2 July 2015)

Chiapas: The Network for Peace asks for the displaced people of Primero de Agosto to be attended to (27 May 2015)

Chiapas: Communique from forcibly displaced families from Primero de Agosto denounce threats (24 April 2015)

Chiapas: Families of the Primero de Agosto community “in precarious conditions” (21 March 2015)

Chiapas: 57 Tojolabal indigenous people forcibly displaced from their community, Primero de Agosto (8 March 2015)

Chiapas: Actions for the one-year anniversary of the Ayotzinapa disappearances

October 8, 2015

© Koman Ilel, Zapatistas por Ayotzinapa

Zapatistas for Ayotzinapa @ Koman Ilel

On 26 September a year passed since the 43 students from the Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, were forcibly disappeared. In different states and abroad, actions and mobilizations were held to demand clarification for what happened to the youth as well as those killed and injured on the tragic night of 26-27 September 2014.

For its part, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) announced in a communique entitled “For pain, rage, truth, justice” that “on that day 26 September, thousands of Zapatistas, children, youth, women, men, others, elders, and the living and the dead will mobilize ourselves in our territories to embrace all those persons who have been affected by sorrow and rage due to the prisons, disappearances, and death imposed by those from above. We will embrace them also because thus we also embrace ourselves as Zapatistas. In this way we call on all honest and upright persons on Earth to do the same, according to your calendars and geographies, and in accordance with your times and means. While at the same time they seek to placate us with lies and insults using lack of truth and justice, humanity will continue to be nothing more than a grotesque face in the history of the Earth.”

Beyond this, the Las Abejas Civil Society of Acteal dedicated some words to the disappeared in a public communique, declaring that “we wish to be in the hearts of the parents of the young students; we wish to be in the heart of Ayotzinapa. We wish to be in the heart, the dream, the soul, the struggle, the memory, and the hope of the 43 disappeared, as well as the 3 murdered and the other comrade who remains in a coma. We also wish to be I the heart, dreams, memory, and hope of the thousands of disappeared throughout Mexico. We wish to be in the heart, dream, memory, and hope of the comrade women who have been victimized by femicides […]. But we do not wish to have a simulated justice, that justice full of corruption and hypocrisy, as the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) sought to sell to the parents of the 43 from Ayotzinapa and to the people of Mexico. Instead, what we wish for is a justice that would be as we always have stressed it must be: truthful, dignified, righteous, lasting, healthy, and human. This is what we call ‘The Other Justice.’ And this Other Justice we must develop ourselves from below, the women and women of good conscience […]. Ayotzinapa is a crime of State, and it must remain within the consciousness of the three levels of government in Mexico. As people of Mexico meanwhile we will walk and strive for the Other Justice, against this crime against humanity that targeted young students who had a dream of educating themselves to become educators in their communities. We will tell this to our children, our youth, so that it becomes living history.”

Beyond this, several people protested in the state in at least 40 municipalities, by carrying out marches, roadblocks, and cultural festivals.

For more information (in Spanish):

En Chiapas también el pueblo se organizó para exigir justicia y aparición con vida de los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa (Voces Mesoamericanas, 29 de septiembre de 2015)


Comunicado de Las Abejas de Acteal en solidaridad con Ayotzinapa (Las Abejas de Acteal, 26 de septiembre de 2015)

También en Chiapas hoy #DíaDeLaIndignación, manifestaciones de apoyo a Ayotzinapa (Chiapasparalelo, 26 de septiembre de 2015)

EZLN protesta en Chiapas por los desaparecidos de Ayotzinapa (La Jornada  26 de septiembre de 2015)

Congregan ciudades de Chiapas marchas por Ayotzinapa (El Universal, 26 de septiembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero/National: “Fruitless” meeting between relatives of the disappeared from Ayotzinapa and EPN (8 October 2015)

Guerrero: Group of Experts on Ayotzinapa case presents its report 6 months on (13 September 2015)

Guerrero: Tlachinollan dedicates its XXI activity report to parents of the disappeared of Ayotzinapa (11 September 2015)

National/Guerrero: Nine months after the Ayotzinapa atrocity, relatives express that they will not be silenced (3 July 2015)

Chiapas/Guerrero: Delegation of relatives and comrades of Ayotzinapa students tour CNI communities (29 June 2015)

Guerrero/National: 8 months after the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, there is no progress (9 June 2015)

National: Yaqui leader Mario Luna is released and declared innocent

October 8, 2015

Fernando Jiménez y Mario Luna, representantes del pueblo yaqui. Foto @ Benjamín FloresFernando Jiménez and Mario Luna, representatives of the Yaqui people. Photo @
Benjamín Flores

On 23 September, Mario Luna Delgado, leader of the Yaqui people, was released from prison no. 2 in Hermosillo, Sonora, after having been imprisoned since 11 September 2014. His release was expedited by the fact that the corresponding judge found no evidence supporting the charges against him: that is, kidnapping and robbery of a vehicle. Mario Luna had led protests and organized roadblocks in the community of Vícam against the extraction of water from the dam system on the Yaqui River, which was to be transferred to the city of Hermosillo. Luna opposes the construction of the Independence Aqueduct.

This release took place 10 days before the departure of Guillermo Padrés Elías as governor of Sonora state, who is to be replaced by a representative of the National Action Party (PAN).

It bears mentioning that Fernando Jiménez, another of the leaders of the Yaqui nation, had been released on 28 August, after a Yaqui committee together with representatives from Amnesty International submitted a petition with 15,000 signatures to the Secretary of Governance demanding the release of the detained and the application of due process in both cases.

For more information (in Spanish):

Tras un año preso, declaran inocente al líder yaqui Mario Luna (Proceso, 23 de septiembre de 2015)

Liberan al líder yaqui Mario Luna (La Jornada, 23 de septiembre de 2015)

Dejan en libertad a Mario Luna (El Imparcial, 23 de septiembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas/Nacional: Caravan from Yaqui Nation in defense of water arrives in San Cristóbal (17 May 2015)

Chiapas/National: CNI and EZLN express solidarity with Yaquis of Sonora against the looting of water (21 July 2013)

National/Chiapas: CNI and General Command of the EZLN demand release of Mario Luna (16 September 2014)

Chiapas: Commemoration for those killed and disappeared during the conflict in the zone below Tila

October 8, 2015

Altar de las víctimas @ SIPAZAltar for the victims @ SIPAZ

On 20 September, in the community of Masoja Shucja, Tila municipality, a commemoration was held to remember those killed and forcibly disappeared between the years 1994 and 1999 in the region below Tila. Around a hundred people participated in the event, designed to never “forget our fallen and disappeared comrades, and so we remember them. They will always be in our hearts,” as the People United for the Defense of Electrical Energy (PUDEE) expressed, being adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle from the Northern Jungle region, authored by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). Following a mass, relatives of the disappeared and murdered spoke and demanded “true justice, the presentation with life of the disappeared, and compensation of damages and the suffering caused during the conflict in the communities,” adding that “the situation of the communities in the zone below Tila, Chiapas, has not changed. We do not live in peace or tranquility. The three levels of the bad government actually are the ones responsible for the low-intensity warfare we confront. We explain how our communities are now experiencing problems due to the divisions that surged during the recent elections, though there also exist families displaced by the armed conflict or counterinsurgency against the EZLN during the years 1996-1997.”

They also indicated that the paramilitary group “Development, Peace, and Justice” is being reorganized at present, affirming that “in its actions to control the communities and municipalities they use political functionaries, specifically their portable high-frequency radios, and carry arms which are for the exclusive use of the Army in public areas to threaten and intimidate their opponents. They hire young drug-addicts, go out hooded to block roads and highways, impeding free transit, and they attack and rob violently.” Beyond this, they recalled the proximate anniversary of the forcible disappearance of the 43 teacher-students from Ayotzinapa, noting that “we will continue to express our support for them; they are not alone.”

It should be observed that the conflict in the zone below the Tila municipality began with the imposition of the Chiapas Campaign Plan 94, a counterinsurgent strategy taken by the Mexican government to prevent the expansion of the EZLN during the 1990s.

For more information (in Spanish):

Familiares de víctima de la contrainsurgencia siguen exigiendo justicia (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 21 de septiembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Event “Heart of memory, sown on our lands” in Masoja Shucjá, Tila (12 November 2014)

Chiapas: 18 years since the disappearance of Minerva Pérez, her case remains unpunished (25 June 2014)

Chiapas: 17 years after the forced disappearance of Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres, her case is taken up at the IACHR (25 June 2013)


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