26 December 2007

Zapatistas in code-red alert

From the 13th to the 17th of December, took place the 1st International Colloquium In Memorian Andrés Aubry in Chiapas, Mexico, co-organised by the independent magazine Contrahistorias, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the Universidad de la Tierra.

The theme of the Colloquium was "Planet Earth: Antisystemic movements" and it gathered many intelectuals in an exchange of ideas of resistance.

Amongst many other contributions, on the 16th, the Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos (El Sup) held a speech intitled: "Feeling Red: The Calendar and the Geography of War"...

On this speech he drew attention to the fact that once again, their communites are being the target of aggression. He said: "The signs of war on the horizon are clear. War, like fear, also has a smell. And now we are starting to breathe its fetid odor in our lands."

Already Ernesto Ledesma Arronte and his colleagues at the CAPISE (Center of Political Analysis and Social and Economic Investigations) had alerted to an increased pressure against the autonomous zapatista people by several federal institutions, including agrarian and public security institutions, but also by the federal mexican army and paramilitary groups.

On all 56 permanent military bases run by the Mexican state on indigenous land in Chiapas, there has been an increase in activity, with an escalation on weapons and troops.

Also, there has been a recent increase on the hostilities from paramilitarised groups against families that support the zapatista movement, including shots fired into the air, brutal beatings, and threats of death, rape and dismemberment...

Arronche himself has been a victim of intimidation, with his house being broken into last February, as reported by Amnesty International.

They state: "Local human rights organizations believe that the break-in may be part of a pattern of threats, intimidation and harassment of activists who are involved in a nationwide peaceful civilian political campaign, La Otra Campaña (The Other Campaign)."

This campaign by the EZLN, on which Arronche also took part, concided with the presidential election campaign and seeked to mobilise leftwing grassroots organizations and raise social and political issues (ignored by the major candidates), including indigenous rights.

According to El Sup, for months the Zapatistas have been resisting violence and trying to expose these provocations. But by choosing to hold The Other Campaign instead of lining up behind the leftist candidate in the elections, the movement made powerful enemies. He says: "We understand that our positions are not being welcomed with the same openness and tolerance as before". And now their calls for help are being met with a deafening silence.

Both Naomi Klein and John Berger, present at the Colloquium have been active in appealing for the support of the civil society to the Zapatista movement.

John Berger, during the presentation of his new book (Con la esperanza entre los dientes), has said: "The Zapatista project is in real danger, and if it does disapear, it will have consequences felt all over the world".

Enlace Zapatista, EZLN
Primer Coloquio Internacional In Memorian Andrés Aubry
Sentir el rojo: El calendario y la geografia de la guerra, SCI Marcos
Centro de Analisis Politico e Investigaciones Sociales (CAPISE)
Mexico: Fear for safety, Amnesty International
Zapatista Code Red, Naomi Klein
A la movilización en defensa del zapatismo, De t@d@s para t@d@s

1 comment:

bwb said...

Alva og Ulrikke said:

"...Particularly interesting what you write about the zapatistas, I didn't know about that. When I was in Chiapas last year there was no talk about any increased activity of the army and paramilitaries, it must have started recently. They really need our support (the zapatistas, not the militaries!), because they are doing a lot of good and important things. They are also a very important symbol for all indigenous people, in Mexico and elsewhere."


It is very interesting to know the experiences first-hand of someone who has been in Chiapas recently!

According to the CAPISE website (check links), some of the troubles (pressure/violence/threats) started in August/September, and have been intensifying every month... Once in their website, just scroll down for reading their "Informes".

This post is also a cry for help to the Zapatista movement and everything they represent!!