Chiapas: Las Abejas de Acteal remember Manuelito

November 21, 2015


Three years after his death, the Las Abejas Civil Society of Acteal commemorated Manuel Vázquez Luna (Manuelito), who died on 10 November 2012 in the “badly named ‘Hospital of the Cultures’ in San Cristóbal de Las Casas Chiapas, after having suffered 18 days of discrimination and victimization by medical negligence.” The commemoration took place in Acteal, “House of Memory and Hope.”

“Manuelito left us to reunite with his parents, sisters, grandmother, and uncle,” who were killed on 22 December 1997 “by PRI and Cardenist paramilitaries from the official municipality of Chenalhó, Chiapas.” Las Abejas of Acteal recalled that “that day of the Acteal massacre, Manuelito remained below the bodies of those killed and was bathed in blood. He saw how the paramilitaries opened fire against women and children.” Despite having experienced the pain of the near-total loss of his family, he decided “not to life in pain, but rather to convert pain and cries into hope and joy […] by means of stories, jokes, songs, and riddles.”

Las Abejas assured that Manuelito “is now in all parts of Acteal. He is in the clouds that rest on the mountains of Acteal, in the air that embraces us upon arriving here to Acteal, in the wind that blows and refreshes our memory and hope. He is in each raindrop that falls on the sacred lands of Acteal, and in each tree-leaf and in the foliage that grows around Acteal, House of Memory and Hope. He is in all parts of the cosmos. He is in our heart.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado en Memoria de Manuelito (Las Abejas de Acteal, 7 de noviembre de 2015)

A un año de la muerte de nuestro hermano Manuelito por irresponsabilidad médica (10 de noviembre de 2013)

Manuelito deja de existir de esta Tierra para vivir por siempre en nuestra memoria, lucha y esperanza (Las Abejas de Acteal, 12 de noviembre de 2012)

Manuelito siempre fue una luz fuerte en Las Abejas, ahora guiará más con su brillo nuestro camino (Koman ilel, 11 de noviembre de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

Chiapas: Pilgrimage of the Believing People in Chenalhó. Communiques from the Las Abejas Civil Society

December 7, 2013

Peregrinación del Pueblo Creyente zona Altos a Acteal (@CDHFBC)

Pilgrimage of the Believing People in the highlands region to Acteal (@CDHFBC)

On 14 November, the 11 parishes of the Pastoral Team of the Tsotsil Region of the Highlands of Chiapas organized a pilgrimage from Yabteclum to Acteal “toward the end of expressing our solidarity with the parish of San Pedro Chenalhó, where we demand an immediate solution to the problems being experienced in the Puebla community.”  In a communique, the Believing People recounted the death-threats and aggressions suffered by those displaced from the Puebla Colony and denounced the lack of respect on the part of the authorities at the municipal, state, and federal levels.  Indeed, they went further by indicating that “the authorities of the three levels of government have not only been arms akimbo while they violated our rights, but in reality they have been assisting our violators.  We just learned that at the most recent assembly of the Puebla ejido it was announced that they had spent 115,000 pesos on their movement, between the paying off of officials and the mobilizations that they made in San Cristóbal and Mexico City.  From where has all this money come?  We are witnesses that, at least in part, the government itself has provided, given that when they kidnapped Father Manuel we heard that the authorities had awarded 20,000 pesos to Agustín’s group, in addition to beverages for all the people so as to calm them down.”  They concluded their communique noting that “We have now returned to pilgrimage and we will once again share our word, because we will not rest nor guard our silence until we attain justice.  We demand that the federal, state, and municipal governments recognize our right to possess and rebuild our chapel.  And our word to the authorities at all levels of the government is the same as that shared by the prophet Amos: ‘Hate bad and do good.  Do justice to the poor in the courts and thus perhaps the Lord will take pity on you” (Amos 5:15).

In previous days, the Las Abejas Civil Society also published several communiques.  On 10 November, one year after the death of “Manuelito,” one of the survivors of the Acteal massacre of 1997, they noted that “We recall the strategies of the bad government, that when it finds a victim or a survivor of a massacre such as that of Acteal, what it does is offer money or material goods so as to trick people and thus make them forget and stop demanding justice for the martyrs.  So then we ask, how is that correct, that the government offer money or food in exchange for attending to the sick?  The worst thing that the government does is to silence its victims by letting impunity reign over justice.”

In recent days, the Las Abejas Civil Society has also made a public invitation to participate in the event that it is organizing for 21 and 22 December 2013, the anniversary of the massacre.

For more information (in Spanish):

Palabras del Pueblo Creyente en peregrinación por familias desplazadas de ejido Puebla (Pueblo Creyente zona Altos, 14 de noviembre de 2014)

Invitación a participar en las celebraciones del aniversario de la Masacre(Sociedad Civil Las abejas).

A un año de la muerte de nuestro hermano Manuelito por irresponsabilidad médica (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 10 de noviembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 22 October communique from Las Abejas: “We continue to resist” (23 de octubre de 2013)

Chiapas: Press-conference by Las Abejas, 4 years after the beginning of the release of those incarcerated for the Acteal massacre (21 August 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society warns of violence in Chenalhó “reminiscent of the year 1997″ (4 August 2013)

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)

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