A massacre in the NAFTA zone

Written for Ricochet Media

A national day of action in protest against the disappearance and massacre of 43 education students in Mexico occurred on Wednesday, Oct. 8. The national teachers’ union made the call to protest, which was answered in 59 cities in Mexico and included a silent march organized by the Zapatistas in San Cristóbal de las Casas. Protests occurred all over the world, including Canada.

The college students from the Mexican community of Ayotzinapa in the state of Guerrero, 43 of whom were disappeared from a bus on Sept. 26, were studying to be teachers and protesting the starvation of the public system they were planning to work in. The bus was ambushed by police, probably on orders from officials in the nearby city of Iguala, Guerrero, from the director of Seguridad Publica (Public Security), Francisco Salgado Valladeres, and the mayor, José Luis Abarca. Both of these men are currently on the run. Six people were killed in the ambush, among them people on an unrelated bus, which was mistaken for a bus with student protesters and was actually carrying a soccer team.

An unknown number of bodies, 34 at last count, almost certainly belonging to these students, were unearthed in a mass grave in Iguala. The bodies had signs of torture and were probably burned alive.

Randal Archibold, writing in the New York Times, put forward the theory that the police were a part of a gang, or passed the kidnapped students on to a gang, which was strange because the students “were not known to have criminal ties.”

Canadian journalist and author Dawn Paley, currently studying in Mexico, writes, “The killers in Iguala were not drug gangs. They were cops and paramilitaries. Paramilitaries are non-state armed groups who work with state forces. There can be no clearer example of the horrors of state and paramilitary violence than what has happened to these students.” This massacre, Paley notes, is far from the only mass grave in Mexico. The New York Times report went so far as to say the country was “accustomed to mass killings.”
the key context for these killings is the use of state violence, up to mass murder, to manage social protest and to dismantle the public sphere

All of these issues are linked — drugs, crime, corruption and politics — but the key context for these killings is the use of state violence, up to mass murder, to manage social protest and to dismantle the public sphere. In this case, the attack focused on an embattled network of rural teacher education that has survived only through student mobilization, that seeks to serve Mexico’s rural population of 28 million, 20 million of whom live in extreme poverty.

The first escuelas normales were established in Mexico in the 1920s. They were a part of the country’s distant revolutionary history, where the goal was to bring public education to Mexico’s countryside and to create schools that would educate teachers and rural leaders among Mexico’s peasants. They were explicitly based on inculcating values of democracy and self-governance.

Historian Tanalis Padilla has described a pattern of violence against normalistas over many decades in La Jornada, concluding that “the lives of normalistas seem to have little value.”

The state and police certainly have acted that way. Unless people in Mexico and their friends outside, including here in Canada, prove them wrong, we can expect more Ayotzinapas.

Reading from and a review of The Demands of the Dead, Oct 10, 12pm, Toronto Public Library

I will be reading from the Demands of the Dead on Friday Oct 10, 12pm, at the Toronto Public Library. If you’re in the city, come and check it out.

I also wanted to call attention to the review of the book by Megan Cotton-Kinch at the Two Row Times, which was also republished at Countercurrents.org.

Here’s the event listing:

The Demands of the Dead: A crime novel by Justin Podur

Fri Oct 10, 2014

12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

75 mins

Toronto Reference Library, Elizabeth Beeton Auditorium

Here’s Megan Cotton-Kinch’s review:

Book review: A detective story set in the middle of an Indigenous insurgency

Demands of the Dead, By Justin Podur
Reviewed by Megan Cotton-Kinch

While I’ve always enjoyed a good detective novel, I’ve always felt like this genre usually contains an underlying message of support for the police, and never really takes a critical look at the role of “law-and-order” in maintaining a society based on the oppression of poor people and the theft of Indigenous land. At best, this kind of stories will look at corruption in police and politics but offer no solutions. This is where Demands of the Dead transcends the genre, and moves beyond works like The Wire by actually looking at the larger political context and offering possible solutions. In the case of Podur’s novel these are represented by the Zapatista Indigenous insurgency, which has an important presence in the book.

In the opening of Demands of the Dead, an ex-cop receives an email, in Spanish that says, “The dead demand so much more than vengeance.” But the dead are more than the two dead police, or his dead friend, but include all the dead in southern Mexico who have been killed in the counter-insurgency. And unlike most books in the detective genre the novel does offer up the possibility of solutions that go beyond personal vengeance.

Did Zapatista guerrillas murder two police officers? Or was it the Mexican police? Or drug traffickers? What were the police, in the political context of an armed uprising, doing on Zapatista territory anyway? The main character “Mark” is in southern Mexico to investigate. But in reality he is there to investigate the murder of his best friend, a progressive lawyer and activist, back in New York, by cops on the force he used to serve on.

The novel, and its protagonist “Mark”, doesn’t shrink from looking at what it means to be an ex-cop, and ‘independent’ contractor working with semi-sponsorship from the American embassy and their proxies in the Mexican counter insurgency (police and military). Back in the States, Mark’s murdered best friend had told him, “You can’t help. You should just go. I don’t care what kind of person you are Mark. If you’re a cop, we’re enemies.” But Mark is not just an ex-cop, he also has wilderness survival and tracking skills, and a personal history that gives him connections to progressive lawyers and an inclination to cross into Zapatista territory to get their side of the story.

As asides into the two cases, one official and one personal, there are discussions of Zapatista political and military strategy, with people’s organizations and democratic decision-making as preferred weapons in a struggle, but with an armed self-defense strategy in reserve. Podur also shows what they are up against: a counter-insurgency strategy targeted at the Indigenous Zapatistia movement that is linked with machine politics, American imperialism and drug money.

Nonetheless, the novel has a very nuanced take on the state and police systems, seeing them worthy of analysis and full of contradictions.

The book has realistic fight scenes with descriptions to suit martial arts fans, and accurate descriptions of guns and military tactics. The main character’s wilderness skills are not overplayed but are realistic assessments of the kind of things that skilled trackers can do (hear people approach before they arrive due to concentric disturbances in the forest) and can’t do (find individual tracks of intruders on a heavily trafficked roadway). The one thing I’d wish for is more fully developed female characters with plot importance.

The author, Justin Podur, is better known as a non-fiction writer and commentator on political topics, including Indigenous issues and solidarity efforts with Palestine. He is a professor at York University who does research on forestry and forest fires. In the novel, this background is present but doesn’t overwhelm the story.

The novel is available for download or purchase as a book from Justin’s website http://podur.org/demandsofthedead

Mexican protesters sit in jail…

About a year ago I did an interview with Amina Sherazee, who is one of that rare group of activist/lawyers of tremendous integrity. In the interview, Amina pointed out something that a lot of folks forgot: that there had been escalating repression against movements in the Americas before 9/11, in North America particularly against ‘anti-globalization’ protesters. That repression continues, of course. A recent ‘anti-globalization’ protest in Guadalajara, Mexico, was repressed harshly, and several dozen Mexican activists still sit in jail, having been abused by authorities. They have initiated a hunger strike, with all the risks that that entails. I got this note in the mail from activist Jessica Pupovac, who compiled it.

UPDATE AND URGENT ACTION: VIOLENCE AGAINST MEXICAN ACTIVISTS CONTINUES IN GUADALAJARA.
June 7, 2004

ACTIVISTS INITATE HUNGER STRIKE IN JAIL
33 STILL IMPRISONED FACING PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE
information compiled by Jessica Pupovac, jespup@riseup.net

May 26-29, the Latin American -European Union Summit convened in Guadalajara, Mexico to expand international cooperation advancing the goals of free-market capitalism. As they set about to do so with no space for democratic participation or transparency, the faithful opposition arrived from all corners of the Americas and Europe to share information, network, and let their leaders know that they do not intend to give them the last word. A week of forums, panels and music culminated in the march of four thousand activists through central Guadalajara and was met with violent repression. One week later, 33 activists remain imprisoned, and reports of violent psychological and physical torture are slowly making their way out of the jail cells and to their international community of supporters. Those involved are calling for immediate action on the part of the global anti-capitalist movement, as well as “democracy-lovers” everywhere, to ensure that such human rights abuses – and attempts to violently silence opponents of failing economic ideals – will not go unnoticed or unpunished.

Unprovoked police harassment was rampant from the onset of the events in Guadalajara. On May 28, as out-of-towners began setting up camp at the Parque Juarez, a camping site they were guaranteed by Municipal President Emilio Gonzalez Marquez, they were surrounded by anti-riot police and detained from 6pm Thursday night until 3 am the following morning. The activists were not allowed to leave the park to find food, water or restrooms.

The following day, a large march drew over 4,000 labor union leaders, farmers, students, teachers and other concerned parties and was met with tear gas, beatings and mass arrests. Later on that evening up until 1 pm, police continued to arbitrarily arrest activist “types” from local restaurants, streets and parks. Some were even arrested from the Red Cross, where they had fled to receive medical treatment for injuries incurred at the hands of police earlier that day. In the end, 95 people were arrested or disappeared.

The activists were taken to five different jails and 2 different hospitals. The authorities refused to release their names or allow them access to lawyers until Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. Foreigners (from Australia, Italy, Spain, Canada and the US) were deported. However, Mexicans, particularly those from the capital, were not so lucky. For some, it was not until early Sunday morning that they were given food or water. Dehydration is becoming so severe that prisoners are reportedly removing buttons from their clothing and sucking on them to produce saliva. Many report severe beatings, humiliation (both men and women were forced to strip publicly and threatened with rape) and torture, including electric shocks to the genitals. Many were forced to sign false confessions incriminating themselves of offenses such as robbery, assault, property damage and inciting a riot. Many were shown police photos of movement leaders and threatened with more torture if they did not tell everything they know said individuals. Two prisoners who have refused to give any information or sign false confessions are covered with bruises and open wounds. Fourteen of the political prisoners have been denied bail. Others are expected to pay from 25,000 to 200,000 pesos to gain their freedom.

One woman, Liliana Galaviz Lopez, a photographer with the local Independent Media Center (or IMC, created to provide coverage of the Summit and counter-mobilizations), was taken to the hospital on Monday, May 29, due to injuries suffered during and after her arrest. She is currently being treated for “trauna craneocefalico,” or cranial trauma and brain damage. The Guadalajara IMC has been the target of continuing police harassment and was surrounded by ‘Preventitive Police’ forces for days following the march.

Despite multiple demonstrations in Guadalajara and Mexico City, as well as solidarity actions carried out Friday, June 4 in Barcelona, San Fransisco and Chicago, 33 of the detainees are still in jail and 10 of them have been on hunger strike since Friday, June 4. Local actions and letters of support are urgently needed. The Mexican government, as well as all governments that find it acceptable to silence dissent through brute force, must be made to know that the global network opposed to their policies of greed and exploitation is growing in size, momentum and coordination and such violent supression not only fails to deter us, it makes our convictions all the stronger.

**To donate to the legal defense fund, please go to
http://www.kloakas.com/aire.

**To find more information, go to www.guadalajara.mediosindependientes.org
or www.indymedia.org

**To tell the Mexican Consulate/Embassy nearest you that you are furious, please see below.

There will be a march today (Monday, June 7) in SAN FRANCISCO at 4pm beginning at the Convergence Center at 960 Howard St. (bet. 5th & 6th) and marching to the Mexican consulate at 535 Folsom St. (at 2nd St.). Please use the sample letter below, or write one of your own, and email, fax or call in your complaints to the Mexican embassy in DC as well as your local consulate (Chicago sample letter below – For all others, call the Embassy in DC at 202.728.1600 or go to http://mexonline.com/consulate.htm).

Mexican Consulate Information:
204 South Ashland Avenue
Chicago, IL
Phone: 312.738.2383 Fax: 312.491.8981
Email: info@consulmexchicago.com, camsa@consulmexchicago.com
Consul: Ing. Carlos Manuel Sada Solana

Dear Ing. Carlos Manuel Solana,

We the undersigned are presenting this letter to the Mexican Consulate of Chicago to be forwarded to President Vincente Fox as well as the Governor of Jalisco out of great concern for the persons who were arrested in connection with the protests that took place in Guadalajara, Mexico at the EU/Latin American Summit this past week. We are outraged by reports of sexual and psychological torture inflicted on the detainees. This is unacceptable behavior for a civilized democratic country. Thousands of organizations and individuals throughout the world aware of these atrocities. We know that Mexico has a deep concern for the human rights of all people and expect immediate action to correct the situation.

WE DEMAND:

FIRST- The immediate release of every prisoner and the halt of any legal procedure against them.

SECOND- That an investigation into the abuse of state power in Jalisco be initiated immediately so that the perpetrators of these grave violations of human rights do not go unpunished.

THIRD- The immediate end of all actions of intimidation that have been carried out against the prisoners, their families, and those who have already been released.

FOURTH- We demand that the physical integrity of all the prisoners is guaranteed and the immediate end of any type of torture that has been carried out against them.

FIFTH-The organizations hereby present, as well as the families of the prisoners, put direct responsibility on the President of the United States of Mexico, Vicente Fox Quesada and the Governor of Jalisco, Francisco Ramírez Acuña, in terms of the physical integrity of the prisoners and their families as part of a general repressive strategy used by the government apparatus.

SIXTH- That the participation of the defense lawyers is permitted.

Sincerely,

Colombia’s ELN, Mexico, and the Government

Colombia’s second-largest guerrilla group, the ELN (Ejercito de la Liberacion Nacional, or Army of National Liberation) is talking to the government and to the Mexican government about a possible peace negotiation with the Mexican government as guarantor.

If you are wondering how the Mexican governnment, which deploys pretty much the exact same techniques (a US-funded and trained military, paramilitary killers to commit massacres and assassinations to create a refugee problem and destroy the popular base of a guerrilla movement) if on a smaller scale, is supposed to guarantee a peace between Colombian guerrillas and the government, you are not alone.

A little bit about the ELN. The stereotypes about ELN, which have a grain of truth, are: that it at its founding it was more inspired by the Cuban revolution (whereas the FARC is much more a Colombian-based group that organized for self-defense against landowners, private armies, and state violence); that it is more interested in dialogue with the social movements (it tried to spur a major dialogue effort that included social movements years ago); and that it is militarily smaller and weaker than the FARC. Given Uribe’s hard-line stance against the guerrillas, it seems hard to imagine that he would accept a ‘peace’ that isn’t essentially a surrender. Given the history of Colombian guerrillas putting down their arms to get slaughtered, it is hard to imagine the ELN would go for such. So I’m not sure where these dialogues can go.

Trouble in Chiapas

The Zapatistas in the Altos region of Chiapas report problems with the local municipality that have gotten violent, with 35 people being wounded — 18 by firearms and 17 with rocks, sticks, and machetes. The conflict is between the Zapatista autonomous municipality of Los Altos and the nearby municipality of Zinacantan, which is controlled by Mexico’s ‘left’ political party, the Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD. 109 families have been displaced by this violence against the Zapatistas, directed, according to them, by the municipal president and the municipal police.

The Zapatista response has been first this communique following the investigation (included below in its entirety), but they promise to investigate further. It is a risky situation and it might be part of a strategy by the establishment to try to escalate the conflict with the Zapatistas, as they have done repeatedly over the years.

Originally published in Spanish by the Rebel Zapatista Autonomous
Municipalities
************************************
Translated by irlandesa

Two Statements from the Corazón Céntrico de los Zapatistas Delante del Mundo
Good Government Junta

#1

Corazón Céntrico de los Zapatistas Delante del Mundo Good Government Junta

Snail Tzobombail Yu’un Lekil J’amteletik
Tao’lol Yo’on Zapatista Ta Stukil Sat Yelob Sjunul Balumil.
Los Altos Region of Chiapas, Mexico.

April 15, 2004.

To National and International Civil Society
To the National and International Press

Sisters and brothers:

After calmly investigating the situation, this Good Government Junta is apprising you of the following:

1. – The Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) has joined in with the war which the bad government is waging against the zapatista Indian peoples. Through its municipal presidents and caciques who are affiliated with their party, the PRD has moved from making threats against our compañeros and compañeras to attacks with firearms. The good of the people does not matter to the PRD. They only want to hold positions in order to make money, and that is why they make friends with the caciques and paramilitaries, in order to exploit the people, just like the PRI and the PAN. The only difference is that the PRDs appear in videos.

2. – The PRD are saying that it is a social, not a political, problem, but that is not true. It is obvious that it is a political problem. It is a problem between those who, like the PRD, see politics as merely a business and whoare willing to commit crimes in order to win and those who truly seek the recognition of Mexican indigenous rights and culture.

3. – It is not a problem of just the Zinacantán PRD, but of the entire national PRD. For some months now the national press has been reporting the human rights violations in Zinacantán, with the cutting off of the water and the threats. The state and national PRD did not say anything, and they continued to support the bad governments and the caciques in their party. The PRD only do something if they have to fix things when a video appears on television or if there are elections, but the people do not, in reality, matter to them.

4. – The work of the Good Government Juntas is not to make money, to engage in business or to violate human rights, but to seek resolution through dialogue when there are problems between zapatistas and non-zapatistas and between the autonomous and the governmental municipalities.

5. – That is why, following the path of respectful dialogue, the Good Government Junta of Los Altos of Chiapas went to great effort, from the inception of the problem, to seek a civil and peaceful agreement with the official authorities of the chiapaneco municipality of Zinacantán. However, the PRD Municipal President of Zinacantán, the first councilperson, the commander of the Municipal Police, the leader of the PRD and members of the Democratic Revolutionary Party refused to reach an agreement, and they continued to harass our compañeros and compañeras, violating their human rights by leaving them without water and threatening them. All of this was because the zapatistas did not want to be part of the PRD’s scams and thefts. The bad PRD governments just laughed every time the Good Government Junta invited them to engage in dialogue.

6. – Seeking at all times to avoid a violent confrontation, on February 12 the Good Government Junta of Los Altos of Chiapas and the zapatistas mobilized in order to bring water to our compañeros. After that it continued to insist on reaching an agreement through dialogue, but the PRD authorities continued to refuse, and they kept up with their threats.

7. – On April 10 of this year more than 4000 EZLN support bases organized a peaceful mobilization in order to deliver 45,000 liters of water to the zapatista families who had been affected, and we demonstrated peacefully in the municipal seat of Zinacantán.

8. – At that point, the PRDs began bothering the zapatistas and displaying pistols. In order to avoid a problem, the event was concluded, and we began withdrawing. It was not possible, however, because the Municipal Police had blocked the road with their patrol cars and with rocks and logs. As we were making our way, we were attacked with firearms, rocks and sticks. There are photographs and videos which show what took place.

9. – As a result of the attack, 35 compañeros were wounded, 18 by firearms and 17 by rocks, sticks and machetes. Two compañeros are still in serious condition. The names of the injured are:

By firearms:

1. – Isidro Ruiz Díaz, with a gunshot wound to the chest.
2. – Guadalupe Díaz Hernández, wounded in the back, legs and hands from a shotgun.
3. – Francisco Javier Cruz Díaz, with a gunshot wound to the left chest.
4. – Lorenzo Pérez Díaz, with pneumothorax injuries due to gunshot wounds.
5. – José Pérez Pérez, with a gunshot wound to the left knee.
6. – Daniel Ruiz Cura, with a gunshot wound to the left thigh and a fractured femur.
7. – Abelardo Gutiérrez Árias, with a gunshot wound to the right leg.
8. – Rulfo Gutiérrez Díaz, with a gunshot wound to the leg.
9. – Hermenejildo Hernández Nuñez, injured by a gunshot wound to the left cheek.
10. – Mario Sánchez Hernández, with a gunshot wound to the left ear.
11. – Carmelo González Sánchez, with a gunshot wound to the left ear.
12. – Pascuala Santiz Pérez, with a gunshot wound to the thigh.
13. – Felipe Hernández Pérez, with injuries from blows and a bullet in the leg.
14. – José Antonio Ruiz Gómez, with blows and gunshot wounds in the right arm.
15. – Vicente Ruiz Hernández, with blows and an injury from gunshot wound in the left shoulder.
16. – Rufino Hernández López, with blows and gunshot wounds.
17. – Lorenzo Pérez Gómez, with a gunshot wound to the right arm.
18. – Rufino Hernández López, with gunshot wounds to the gluteus which exited through the muscle.
19. – José Manuel Gómez Espinoza, with various machete wounds and a gunshot to the head.

From rocks, sticks and machetes:

1. – Modesto Hernández Jiménez, with multiple blows to the head and the ear,
from rocks.
2. – Juan Díaz Díaz, with multiple blows from cement blocks and rocks.
3. – Maximilano Bautista Díaz, with multiple blows from rocks and a fracture
of the left forearm.
4. – Miguel Núñez Ruiz, with blows to the back from rocks.
5. – Hilario Cruz, with blows to the left arm from rocks and sticks.
6. – Edmundo Díaz Gómez, with blows to the forehead.
7. – Victorio Ruiz Jiménez, with injuries to the leg from rocks.
8. – Lorenzo Méndez Ruiz, with injuries to the forehead from rocks.
9. – Manuel Ruiz Gómez, with injuries to the head from rocks.
10. – Hernesto Díaz Díaz, with injuries to the head from rocks.
11. – Arnulfo López Gómez, with cuts to the head and multiple blows.
12. – Mariano López Pérez, with injuries to the head, back, forehead and
leg, from rocks and sticks.
13. – Marcos Pérez Hernández, with injuries to the face and left shoulder
from rocks and sticks.
14. – José Díaz Hernández, with blows to the face and thorax from rocks.
15. – Amparo Alvarez, Solis, with blows to the head and face from rocks.
16. – Martha Martínez López, with blows to the arm and head from rocks.

Several vehicles belonging to the zapatistas were also damaged.

10. – Out of fear of being attacked again, zapatista support bases from the communities of Jechbó, Elambo Alto and Elambo Bajo moved out. There are 109 families (a total of 484 persons, men, women, children and old ones) who are unable to return to their communities of origin. There homes were looted and destroyed by the PRDs, the water tanks were destroyed and they stole from the stores.

11. – The principal authors of this cowardly attack are:

Martín Sánchez Hernández, Municipal President
Mateo Pérez Sánchez, First Councilperson
José López González, Chief of the Municipal Police.
José Pérez Conde, leader of the Zinacantán PRD.

12. – We are waiting for justice to be done and for the punishment of those who attacked our peaceful zapatista demonstration and of those who have been harassing and attacking the zapatistas of Zinacantán for the last few months. Instead of making stupid statements, like those made by the Secretary of the State Government of Chiapas, the authorities should detain the aggressors.

13. – The Good Government Junta of Los Altos of Chiapas will move forward with the investigation in order to learn the names of those who, along with the PRD President of Zinacantán, the Municipal Police and the PRD, attacked the EZLN support bases. If justice is not served, the Good Government Junta of Los Altos of Chiapas will forward the results of the investigation to the Comandancia General of the EZLN, accusing the attackers of being paramilitaries who attacked the zapatista peoples.

14. – The Good Government Junta of Los Altos of Chiapas is calling on national and international civil society to mobilize, in demand of the punishment of the attackers and of the conditions for the return of the displaced to their communities, and in repudiation of those who make politics a criminal business.

Sincerely,

From the Resistance and Rebellion for Humanity Caracol II. Corazón Céntrico de los Zapatistas Delante Del Mundo Good Government Junta of Los Altos of Chiapas. Oventik, Chiapas. Mexico.

April of 2004.

[Embossed seal stating: Corazón Céntrico de los Zapatistas Delante del Mundo Good Government Junta, Oventic, San Andrés Sackamch’en de los Pobres Municipality, Chiapas”]

[Four signatures of members of the Good Government Junta]

Caracol: Resistance and Rebellion for Humanity, Ta Tzikel Vocolil Xchiuc Jtoybail Sventa Slekilal Sjunul Balumil.

San Andrés Sakamch’en de los Pobres, San Juan de la Libertad, San Pedro Polhó, Santa Catarina, Magdalena de la Paz, 16 de Febrero, San Juan Apóstol, Cancuc.

**************************************************************

#2

Corazón Céntrico de los Zapatistas Delante del Mundo Good Government Junta

Snail Tzobombail Yu’un Lekil J’amteletik
Tao’lol Yo’on Zapatista Ta Stukil Sat Yelob Sjunul Balumil

Investigation of the Good Government Junta,
Corazón Céntrico de los Zapatistas Delante del Mundo,
Caracol 2.

Oventic, Municipality of San Andrés Sakamch’en de los Pobres,

Concerning the Attack on EZLN Support Bases

April of 2004.

To the People of Mexico and of the World
To National and International Civil Society
To the National and International Press

Sisters and Brothers All

This Good Government Junta is informing you that the war which has been
planned by the bad governments along with their local caciques like the Municipal Presidents and their paramilitaries is continuing to grow. Their threats and their attacks against the communities in resistance and their autonomous authorities are increasing. As a very clear example of this:

We have the communities of Jechbó, Elambo Alto and Elambo Bajo, in the municipality of Zinacantán, where they cut off the water supply in December of 2003.

They cut the water hose, took away the well and tank they had in the community, and the problem has continued to worsen at the present time. The zapatista bases continue without the right to have their water, because the PRD municipal official, his municipal agents and his local caciques are not allowing the zapatista bases to collect water. Nor are they allowing anyone to store water for those families. Their only crime is that of being zapatistas, of fighting for their rights, of being in resistance, of not taking handouts from the bad government and of not belonging to any political party.

The Good Government Junta of Caracol 2 sent a letter to the Municipal President of that municipality, telling him to resolve the problem in a proper manner and to give the zapatista support bases the right to water, but that Municipal President did not respond positively.

That is why the Good Government Junta sent, on February 12, a commission of the Autonomous Municipalities of Los Altos of Chiapas in order to carry thousands of liters of water to those families who had been affected. They also old the communities and their Municipal President to not take the right to water away from the zapatista bases of that municipality, that they should not cause trouble among the very brothers of the community, and that they should have respect despite their differences of ideas, of organization, of party or of the religion they have. If there is a problem, it can be resolved properly, without reaching the point of confrontations among brothers of the same municipality.

Ten Years On In Chiapas

http://www.zcommunications.org/ten-years-on-in-chiapas-by-justin-podur

January 1, 2004 will be the 10th anniversary of the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico. In 2004, it will be 20 years since the founding of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, or EZLN (1).

For people concerned about human rights, the 10-year long rebellion has some interesting lessons.

Continue reading “Ten Years On In Chiapas”

From Aguascalientes to Caracoles

http://www.zcommunications.org/from-aguascalientes-to-caracoles-by-justin-podur

For some 10 years, the Zapatistas have inspired people all over the world. The Zapatistas’ ‘Autonomous Municipalities’, in particular, have been models of community organization and democratic self-governance. These municipalities managed to provide not only better basic services (health, education, culture, infrastructure) than the Mexican state ever had, but they did so in spite of violent opposition by the (US-backed) state and the paramilitary auxiliaries it employed.

Continue reading “From Aguascalientes to Caracoles”

The Government’s Mask Comes Off In Chiapas

http://www.zcommunications.org/the-governments-mask-comes-off-in-chiapas-by-justin-podur

Two years ago, just after Vicente Fox’s election ended the PRI’s 71-year long dictatorship over Mexico and just before Pablo Salazar’s election as governor of Chiapas raised such high hopes of change, there was a literacy class in the Tzotzil, Abeja refugee community of X’oyep in the Altos.

The teachers, young urban university students from northern Mexico had given their students the assignment of writing a single page composition, on any topic they chose.

Continue reading “The Government’s Mask Comes Off In Chiapas”

Movements of Resistance in the Americas

A proposed view of history

Much of Latin America won independence from Spain in the 19th century. All countries that were independent faced the same problem: the former imperial powers continued to control decisive military, financial, and propaganda might. How could the newly decolonized (or, in the case of indigenous nations, never decolonized) countries prevent a recolonization?

Continue reading “Movements of Resistance in the Americas”